It is important to know where the bones are but also understand that in themselves bones cannot move. It is the action of the muscles, tendons and ligaments that create motion or action. Thus how the muscles feel - tense or relaxed, stiff, plump, dry, contracted, elastic is essential to good movement -and keeping the horse supple and straight. If the muscles are askew, so is the skeleton and osteoarthritis can set it. 

We want to keep the muscle girdle elastic and not turn it into a straight jacket. And we want to make sure our horses muscles are EVENLY developed on each side so the skeleton is not pulled out of alignment.

* Dr.Deb. Bennett has a number of free, downloadable educational papers on her site that speak about the role of the bones and muscles and about balance, straightness and collection. Very interesting work.

Painted stallion  by Debranne Patillo, owner of This is WolfeMen stallion Clint Eastwood last year shown here with skeleton and some key ligaments on top and with key superficial and deep muscles below. We will label muscles and bones next.

IF you decide to paint a horse please be very careful as most paint is TOXIC. On this horse, the anatomist used non toxic street chalk(wet), non toxic tempera paint and non toxic washable wide tip markers (they are good to throw out after one or two use). 

Pastels are toxic so do not use these and be aware that paint wrinkles the skin of the horse when applied to large surfaces. Wet chalk dries and you get it all over your clothes. 

Not every horse likes to be painted so please exercise caution - this horse was painted by a professional for more information on how to learn about anatomy and painting horses you can visit

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