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.

ARTICLES

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Hock provides the horse thrust under immense strain

The peculiarly structured joint plays a critical role for performance and working horses

Weight-bearing upon flexed hocks puts enormous strain on all parts of the hock joint. Along with the equally complex stifle joint, the hock is crucial to the horse’s ability to flex and extend the hind limb and create the forward thrust that is the “impulsion” so often sought by horse owners who compete in the Olympic disciplines.


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Equine Anatomy May Be Best Learned through Art

A farrier’s assessment of conformation may be improved by drawing the horse
“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.”
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Equine Reciprocating Systems

Hoof Trim has Varied Effects on the Equine Forelimb

Demonstrations and real-life examples challenge farriers to think about their approach to solving foot problems
Throughout this series, I have illustrated the concept of systems anatomy. Veterinary education and that of traditional farriers are based on regional anatomy, which studies regions and the anatomical components of each. The perspective of systems anatomy is that bodies are organized hierarchically, i.e. building up from small functional units (for example, cells or single tissues) to subsystems (for example, organs), which work together to make up a major system such as the nervous, circulatory or musculoskeletal system.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Do You Know the Nuts and Bolts of the “Orthopedic Trim?”

Farriers test their knowledge about how the forelimb functions
Over much of the past year, through this series I have presented the building blocks of information needed to understand the structure of the forelimb reciprocating apparatus in horses. Starting from collagen and elastin at the molecular level and working through all the various connective tissues structured by those two molecules, you have had the opportunity to learn equine anatomy and terminology as enrolled university zoology, pre-medicine or pre-veterinary majors would.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: New Parts and Novel Attachments

Understanding the anatomical parts and novel attachments critical to reciprocating systems in the modern-day equine will lay the farrier’s groundwork for achieving soundness
Writing this installment in our Equine Reciprocating Limb series, I could not help but hear the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” running through my head — especially the punch line: “The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles.” That very aptly sums up one of my main points: if anatomical parts aren’t connected, reciprocation does not happen.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Extreme Skeletal Specializations

In this sixth installment, Dr. Deb Bennett discusses the impact of the equine joint shape on the horse’s forelimb
Most, if not all, farriers are already familiar with the chain of bones that forms the equine forelimb: scapula, humerus, radius-ulna, carpal bones, cannon bones and splints, pastern bones and coffin bone. Added to this list are the three pseudo-bones called sesamoids, which lie behind the ankle and coffin joints.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Periosteum, Joints and Growth

In the fifth in this series, Dr. Deb Bennett illustrates how the horse matures and the role joints play in locomotion
The periosteum, thin but tough connective tissue that enwraps all true bones, was the focus of the third installment of this series, “Equine Reciprocating Systems: Connecting Tendon to Bone.” Knowledge of the periosteum creates a good starting point for learning the structure of joints.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Examining the Shoulder to Thorax Junction

In the fourth in this series, Dr. Deb Bennett illustrates the relationship between the horse’s forelimb and the body.
A cross-section cut through the horse’s thorax reveals that the equine rib cage is far from being a round barrel. Instead, it is shaped like a peach leaf: pointed at the bottom, with rather flattened sides. Slapped up against the flattened surface formed by the rib cage is the scapula, and the junction so formed is the connection between the horse’s forelimb as a whole and its body.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Connecting Tendon to Bone

The third installment of this series examines bone formation and its relationship to the muscle tendon
The forelimb reciprocating apparatus of the horse is a unique and important biomechanical system that every farrier must understand before good decisions concerning hoof trim and appliances can be made. Detailed study of tissue types is the first step, but we also have to be careful of our choice of terminology.
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Equine Reciprocating Systems: Interosseous Muscles to the Suspensory Apparatus

In this second in a series, Dr. Deb Bennet continues a discussion of the horse’s forefoot becoming a single digit.
In the first installment of this series on the anatomy and function of the forelimb reciprocating apparatus in horses (September/October 2019 American Farriers Journal), I discussed the many differences between white vs. yellow ligament tissue. In this installment, we focus on the relationships between muscles, the tendons of muscles, and yellow ligaments.
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