Equine Anatomy May Be Best Learned through Art

A farrier’s assessment of conformation may be improved by drawing the horse

Farrier Takeaways

  • One effective method of increasing your understanding of the equine anatomy that underlies the conformation of the horse’s hindquarter is drawing.
  • The conformation of a horse’s hind limb can accurately be assessed only by means of a plane that bisects the limb.
  • The horse’s living limb is structured by joints that are cantilevered in three dimensions and functions by a complex, subtle spiraling in-and-out.

“The anatomist has to observe….to picture…the body not as a surface but as a [three-dimensional] space, in order to understand which he must in his imagination walk through the anatomical elements and perceive what lies behind them.”1

My first task in beginning this series on the anatomy and function of the equine hind limb is to teach the anatomy that underlies the conformation of the horse’s hindquarter.

There is no better way to learn anatomy than to enroll in a class where drawing is required. I have participated in and taught such classes, both for university students and general public.

A hundred years ago, this was the way anatomy was taught, and whether the students were hopeful of becoming veterinarians, medical doctors, anatomy professors or paleontologists, they were required to turn in a notebook of their drawings before receiving a passing grade.

Let me add from the outset: I don’t want to hear anyone exclaim “but I can’t draw,” because all normal human beings can draw.2 In any exercises I might suggest, the expectation is just that you give your best effort; an…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all American Farriers Journal content and archives online.

Dr deb bennett

Deb Bennett

Dr. Deb Bennett has studied classification, evolution, anatomy and biomechanics of the horse. She worked at the Smithsonian Institution, until founding the Equine Studies Institute. She is an author who has published four books on horse-related topics, in addition to articles in most major equine magazines in North America.

Top Articles

Current Issue

View More

Current Issue

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings