The muscles attached in this area allow for the drive off the hind quarters needed for running and jumping. While more muscle gives an increase in strength, fatigue happens more quickly in bulky muscles.
554 - H H o r s e P r o j e c t G u i d e - Parts of the HorseMuscles of the Front Leg*note the lack of muscles in the lower legs of the horse.Muscular SystemHip- The hip area is made up of the:1. Lumbar Vertebrae (goes from the last rib to the point of the hip and covers the loin)2. Sacral Vertebrae (croup)3. Coccygeal Vertebrae (tail)4. Ilium5. Ischium (point of buttock)6. Pubis7. FemurThese bones form the pelvic area. It slopes away from the spine at a 60° angle. The ilium is attached to the spine by ligaments.The length of the pelvis varies with the breed, but length and width are necessary to any breed. The longer the pelvis, the longer the muscling.The muscles are the largest tissue mass in the horse’s body.Muscles are classified as:smooth muscle- this muscle type is involuntary (automatic) and is active in the digestive tract, respiratory and urinary and reproductive systems.cardiac (heart) muscle- this muscle type is involuntary (automatic) and is active in the circulatory system.skeletal muscle- this muscle type is voluntary and functions in the movement of the horse.
564 - H H o r s e P r o j e c t G u i d e - Parts of the HorseMuscles work by contracting (shortening of muscle fibers) and relaxing (lengthening of muscle fibers). Skeletal muscles tend to work in pairs because muscles can only pull, not push. One muscle group flexes (bends a joint) and another extends (straightens). In the leg of the horse are a group of muscles that cause flexion of a joint (flexor muscles) and an opposing group that extends or straightens the joint (extensor muscles).Flexion- The shortening (flexing) of a muscle to bend a joint.Extension- The lengthening (extending) of a muscle to straighten a joint.The contractive process is a chemical reaction within the muscle that produces heat in addition to performing work. The heat of contraction and recovery is important in body temperature regulation. This is why, in cold weather, horses shiver to produce heat to help them maintain body temperature.Muscle is an extremely adaptable tissue. A horse’s muscles adapt in relation to the specific type of training it receives. Training for quick bursts of high-intensity exercise involves training for strength. This involves increasing muscle mass through high-intensity exercises for short periods of time to increase strength. Training for endurance, three-day eventing, cattle drives or combined driving etc. involves building up the muscles over a period of time where the work load on the muscles is progressively increased.Overexertion of a muscle, without adequate conditioning, will lead to muscle fatigue. A careful conditioning program, combined with proper nutrition, will prevent muscle disorders.
- Fall '15
- Horse anatomy, cannon bone