The "Bad Horse" and Anatomy

anatomy sculpture stroy Dec 23, 2020



  • A story, The "Bad Horse" and Anatomy...

  • Bi-Monthly Nerd-out About Anatomy Video Clip Joint's of the Equine Body...

  • Full Video Transcript



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The "Bad Horse" and Anatomy 


On a foggy summer morning I was getting ready to take my horse to a show. It was the last of the season… we needed just a few more points to qualify for nationals with my faithful little mare. 


After making sure my horse's essential needs are of course cared for by my team of pros... I’m one of those do it myself horse people when getting ready for a show. I spent the weeks leading up to the show grooming, clipping and exercising in preparation. She looked superb with a glistening coat. The tips of each hair looked as though it had a piece of glitter on the end of it. She couldn’t be more ready to hit the show ring and WOW all the judges, I thought!


I made her comfortable for the night and turned out the barn lights. I slept well that night as I had done all the packing and prepping I needed since the drive was long the next morning. 


I woke up early at about 3:00am. The air was cold, the earth was still and everything was dark. I walked up the un-light path to our barn and flung on the lights. I fed all the horses and then went to fetch the truck and trailer. 


Mary was all wrapped up ready for her ride to her last show of the year. I led her to the trailer and she stopped dead in her tracks... I looked around to see if there was anything that could be a concern but there was nothing I could see or hear. After some lengthy encouragement she finally jumped in the trailer. We set out immediately… 


I didn’t give the situation much thought except that she hadn’t done this before and I was irritated about her issue with getting into the trailer… 


How often do we have these experiences and leave them unaddressed? Brushing them off as something annoying leaving the horse to deal with insecurity and discomfort...  


So many horses are subject to being labeled with things like, lazy, ornery, grumpy, sour, etc…  I immediately labeled my mare out of ignorance as being stubborn. Thinking of her as if she was another human making a decision not to behave… When in the past she had always been willing… This was my first mistake...


These behaviors are too often assumed to be issues of training... so the horse goes through a program to "make her behave” because she should "respect" people as a follower should...


It's true horse's are herd animals and by nature followers... however there is something much deeper that will always take over, that is the horse's need of survival...


Every fiber within the horse's body is wired to keep him alive. This means when he is compromised physically he will act out in an attempt to protect himself. This should lead every horse person to consider not the training or intelligence of their horse but what the horse is feeling physically.   


If he is by nature a follower and only by nature will he act out in self preservation if he feels his life is threatened... then shouldn't we consider the comfort and care of his body first before assuming he is a lazy, ornery, grumpy, sour, mischievous, bad or unwilling animal?


By addressing his physical needs before his training needs it's possible to prevent most behavioral issues that are caused by pain and discomfort. Once the horse is comfortable in his body only then can a training program be effective and safe long term. 


By shifting your mindset to ‘is this behavior caused by pain or insecurity?’ you can proactively help your horse remain in a state of calm willingness that will allow you both to continue your upward progress in your training. 


So often this large piece of the puzzle is overlooked causing horse and rider partnerships to spiral downward while blaming the horse’s behavior for his inability to work with his rider.  


This causes the rapid ‘disposal’ or replacing of horses as the rider “progresses”. However progress in skill and technique alone are of little importance when you are unable to identify your partner’s needs you are limiting your success to work effectively with him. Then the easy route is taken, leaving yourself with the inability to solve issues you may encounter in the future. Continue down this path and you will never be a truly independent horse person who understands how to care for your horse’s physical needs. It simply becomes a game of competing to the highest level before the horse shows signs of braking down then on to the next one…


Wouldn’t it be first more satisfying to know you have the eye and sensitivity to ensure your beautiful partner is free of physical pains and discomforts as you progress in skill and technique together over many years? It would then also produce in your horse a more beautiful physical outcome both in the way he looks and the way you work together. By working through issues that come up you are enabling both yourself and your horse to be outstanding competitors while enjoying a bonded relationship of care, consideration and understanding. 


How can you do this? You are probably thinking I have professionals to tell me what’s going on with my horse. I work with a well educated team who does this for me… AND you should! But you are a missing link in this circle of professionals… you are the link that ensures your horse is at 100% each day. You are the link that chooses what professionals care for your horse, and... not every professional is going to treat your horse in a way that will help him most. You are the link that ensures your horse has tack appropriately fitted… YOU are the link that ties all of the specialists together to create a harmonious partnership for YOU and your horse. 


This means YOU are responsible for understanding your horse’s anatomy, your horse’s physiology, your horse’s muscular development, your horse’s behavior in order to make YOUR partnership the way YOU want it to be each day. 


Join the movement of horse people who are proactively learning equine anatomy in sculpture in order to better care for their horses and close the missing link between themselves and their professionals. Click here to start now!  


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From the Bi-Monthly Nerd-out About Anatomy Classes


like I said, use your chart, don't be afraid of not knowing all of the names and everything, it's a lot to remember. So I use references. So make sure you use your reference so that in the more you do it, the easier it's going to be. In remembering those names, you memorize them little by little. So going back to the head and talking about some of the major joints that are really, really affect the horse, the first one is the temporal mandibular. And how am I going to do this? Temple mandibular is where the mandible attaches to the stationary part of the skull with the cranium up in here. And that's right in here. Now, this is an extremely important part of the laws now, of course, every part is because the whole course is connected, but this in particular and the reason being. We are directly affecting the entire body of the horse by having our hands connected to the mouth. However, that is a bit of bitterness or what have you. This joint has direct connections to the poll, which has which connects muscles through the back. And the tail will lead to the tail, affecting the horse's ability to extend and collect the sacrum ability to step under, collect and in its also has connections to the ventral chain muscles. And that is through a well, there's a lot actually different connections. But one of the major ones is the hyoid apparatus. Now the hybrid apparatus, we have one as well, and it sits on the inside of the jaw and connects to the temple mandibular right at that joint, but on the inside. And it's a series of bones that are quite small.


There's the lingual process that inserts into the tongue and allows the tongue to move. This set of bones has muscular connections, cartilage and all sorts of connections to the horses, poll.


Which, like I said, connects through to the tail and then to the horse's tongue, like I mentioned, and the ventral chain muscles which run all the way down the body, down the belly and up into the pelvis. So really, by riding the horse, you have to be very careful because that structures, it's pretty sensitive and affecting a lot of parts of the body. And we'll get into the apparatus one day. We'll probably build it.


But for now, just knowing that that tempo mandibular junction is extremely important to the health of the horse, then we have the Atlanta Occipital, which connects the head and to the neck. And obviously we can't see that because we're going to sculpt it. Then we have the humoral joint, which is this these two coming together. So the humerus coming to the scapula, that's that joint. And then we have the Capitol joint down here and that's these three bones coming together, the ulna, femur and the radius.


So that's those guys coming together and then we have the Carpus joint as the knee. All of these guys, lots of little joints going on here, not going to get into that day one day and I do have a schedule having to do an up close of that structure, which will be very interesting because there's a lot going on in there. And then the fetlock, pastern, hoof which we don't have structure in which we will be building, we move over. So, OK, something I actually do not mention is that the different parts. So right now we're looking at the appendix. Your skeleton and joints to declare is the this part of the legs and the axial is just part of the vertebra, the the vertebra and the thorax and all of that. So you have that in your chart. So so moving over to the pelvis into joint major joint is this hip joint here. It's the femur patellar joint as well as the femoral tibial joint. So my apologies. I would point you completely to the wrong place. So the femur patella and your height is down here and the femur root femoral tibial joint, these are all in here. So the patellar joint is where the patella is right here. And if femoral tibial joint is down here. So this is the patellar joint. This guy here and then the other one. I just mentioned here and moving up. This is the hip joint. So that's where that is.


This meets the hip and then we have the sacroiliac joint, which sits on the sacroiliac joint, is here on the inside. So here you can see that make two dance. Because you could see.

Roughly, because that's where the sacrum sits and the sacrum is are the five fused bones in the horse's body, and that, along with the large hip joint, is what creates movement in the horse's backend and pelvis. We do not want to see the pelvis moving. That is a stationary object by the horse lifting its back, by the legs moving. This these legs moving is what makes this this system tuck under. Right. Go outward. But this pelvis we never want to see moving. So when it moves, that means there's damage to the cartilage. So that's a stationary object within the body, ideally. And then what else do we have? We have the tarsal joint down here. And so is this whole thing, and again, lots and lots, lots of things going on down here in the in hock joint and then down below the hawk is the same as the front. So those are joints or at least the major ones. You have some more on your diet. I suggest you take a look at that.


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