Ligaments: Holding it all Together

This is the third article of a short anatomy series. We are looking at the basic knowledge a farrier must understand to shoe horses at a top level. We discussed bones and the tendons that move those bones in two earlier articles (See American Farriers Journal, November, 2006, Pages 61 to 63 and American Farriers Journal, December, 2006, Pages 94 to 97 ).

Now, we’ll turn to ligaments — the tissue that holds the bones together.

Ligaments are elastic and their primary function is support. For the most part, they connect bone to bone. There are just over 25 primary ligaments in the horse’s leg that we’ll be looking at. But for those who want to get deeper into the topic, there are quite a few more.

Breaking It Down

I have found that the easiest way to learn ligaments is by grouping them. That lets you concentrate on learning each group and the individual ligaments within it. You take what can be a big, overwhelming number and break it into several smaller and more manageable bites.

The first group of ligaments we’ll look at is made of those that are an exception to the bone-to-bone rule. Instead, they attach bone to tendon, bone to cartilage or skin to ligament. There are nine ligaments that fit into this category. If you want, you can break the group down even further by putting the check ligaments and ligaments of the collateral cartilages into separate categories.

First we’ll look at the check…

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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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