Equine Anatomy: The Sesamoidian and Annular Ligaments

Structures play important role in flexor tendon and muscle interaction

We are over a third of the way to learning all of the ligaments that I feel are important for every farrier to know. The next nine will be in two categories. First we will cover the sesamoidian ligaments, which hold the sesamoids in position and strengthen the fetlock. Then we will cover the annular ligaments, which hold the tendons against the leg when it is flexed. 

All of these ligaments connect bone to bone and each group has a particular job. Knowing that job will help you to remember the names and locations of each individual ligament.

Sesamoidian Ligaments

I use quite a few drawings to identify all of the sesamoidian ligaments. If I use fewer drawings, it makes it difficult to distinguish one ligament from the other. It is important that you understand where each of these ligaments is in relation to each other, so I recommend that you try to draw them all on one diagram once you are comfortable with them individually.

1. Superficial Sesamoidian Ligament (Figure 1). The superficial sesamoidian ligament originates at the distal aspect of the proximal sesamoid bones. It courses distad, and inserts into the proximal short pastern. It is sometimes referred to as the Y ligament due to its shape.

2. Middle Sesamoidian Ligament (Figure 2). The middle sesamoidian ligament lies just to the side of the Y-ligament proximal, and under the Y-ligament distal. It originates from the distal aspect of the proximal sesamoid bones and courses distad to insert into…

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Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is the owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame.

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