The Anatomy of the Horse

The Anatomy of the Horse

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by George Stubbs

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George Stubbs (1724–1806), an English artist famous for his portraits of thoroughbred race horses and for other animal paintings, was also the author of the illustrations and text of The Anatomy of the Horse, one of the truly remarkable anatomical studies of its subject. First published in 1766, Stubbs' work was based on numerous dissections, a


George Stubbs (1724–1806), an English artist famous for his portraits of thoroughbred race horses and for other animal paintings, was also the author of the illustrations and text of The Anatomy of the Horse, one of the truly remarkable anatomical studies of its subject. First published in 1766, Stubbs' work was based on numerous dissections, a practice far from generally accepted in his century. Stubbs' horses, shown in this edition on 36 large plates, are memorable for their uncanny life-like quality, nobility, and extreme anatomical precision.
In this systematic study, Stubbs depicts the horse in three positions ― side, front, and back. He first presents the skeleton alone in each of these three positions, then devotes to each position five studies of layers of muscles, fascias, ligaments, nerves, arteries, veins, glands, and cartilages. Accompanying each of these eighteen etchings is a schematic etched outline with lettered parts that are keyed to the identifying text. The text is given both in Stubbs' original version and in a modernized version prepared in the Thirties by J. C. McCunn and C. W. Ottaway.

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Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1976 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14048-3



The First Anatomical TABLE of the Skeleton of the HORSE

Bones of the Head


THE frontal bone or bone of the forehead.

b The supra-orbital foramen which transmits the supra-orbital artery and nerve. These vessels are distributed to the skin and connective tissue of the upper eyelid and the region adjacent thereto.

c The suture between the supra-orbital process of the frontal bone and the zygomatic process of the squamous temporal bone.

de The coronal suture.

d The squamous or scale-like portion of the coronal suture.

e The serrated portion of the coronal suture which is between the frontal and parietal bones.

f A suture between the frontal and nasal bones.

g The suture between the frontal and lachrymal bones. (This suture is on the inner wall of the orbital cavity.)

hik The parietal bone.

i The squamous suture between the parietal bone and the squamous temporal bone.

k The lambdoid suture between the parietal bone and the occipital bone.

lmnoppq The occipital bone.

l The occipital crest, which is very strong in the horse. Behind and below this crest is the nuchal crest to which the ligamentum nuchæ is attached.

The suture between m and n is situated between the supra-occipital bone and the ex-occipital bone, which are portions of the complete occipital bone. In young horses this suture is not firm and the bones are easily separated. In adult life the union becomes firm and strong, and the four parts of the occipital bone are firmly united into one complete structure.

o The styloid or paramastoid process of the occipital bone.

p The occipital condyle which in life is covered by articular cartilage and articulates with the atlas.

rsstuwx The temporal bone.

r The zygomatic process of the squamous temporal bone.

t The part of the squamous temporal bone which articulates with the condyle of the mandible or lower jaw bone. This part comprises three areas: the emenentia articularis, the post glenoid cavity, the post glenoid process, from before backwards.

uw The petrous portion of the temporal bone. It is called the petrous temporal bone. In the horse the squamous and petrous portions of the temporal bone are not firmly united.

u The mastoid crest of the petrous temporal bone.

w The external auditory meatus, i.e., the entrance to the middle ear.

x The suture between the zygomatic process of the squamous temporal bone and the zygomatic process of the malar bone.

yx The orbital portion of the palatine bone.

y The suture between the palatine bone and the frontal bone.

z The suture between the palatine bone and the superior maxilla bone.

1 2 3 4 5 6 The lachrymal bone.

I A small tubercle (the lachrymal tubercle) to which is attached the orbicular muscle of the eyelids.

2 The lachrymal fossa leading to the naso-lachrymal canal.

3 The suture between the lachrymal bone and the malar bone.

4 The suture between the nasal bone and the lachrymal bone.

5 The suture between the lachrymal bone and the frontal bone.

6 The suture between the lachrymal bone and the superior maxilla bone.

7 8 9 10 The malar bone.

8 9 The suture between the malar bone and the superior maxilla bone.

10 The suture between the lachrymal bone and the malar bone.

11 11 12 13 14 The superior maxilla or upper jawbone.

12 The infra-orbital foramen. The lower opening of the superior dental canal which extends from under the region marked axy, i.e., the superior dental foramen. (One of the foramina of the maxillary hiatus.)

13 The suture between the nasal bone and the superior maxilla bone.

14 The suture between superior maxilla bone and the nasal process of the premaxilla bone.

15 The premaxilla bone (nasal process).

16 The nasal bone.

17 17 17 17 18 19 19 20 The mandible, lower jawbone, or inferior maxilla.

17 17 17 17 Roughened areas for the insertion of the masseter muscle.

18 The mental foramen which transmits the mental nerves and blood vessels to the chin. The mental nerve is the termination of the inferior dental nerve, and the vessels are the terminal branches of the inferior dental artery and vein.

19 19 The coronoid process of the mandible.

20 The condyle of the mandible which articulates with the emenentia articularis, the glenoid cavity, and the post-glenoid process of the squamous temporal bone.

21 A fibro-cartilaginous disc called the meniscus which is interposed between the condyle of the mandible and the glenoid area of the squamous temporal bone.

The Vertebræ of the Neck

A Æ E abbcde The atlas or 1st cervical vertebra.

A The anterior part which articulates with the occipital condyles.

a The tubercle of the atlas.

bb The wings of the atlas.

c Slightly anterior and medial to this letter is a raised roughened area which corresponds to the spine of a typical vertebra.

d The posterior part which articulates with the axis or 2nd cervical vertebra.

e The posterior foramen of the atlas, which is situated in the wing and through which passes the retrograde branch of the occipital artery.

N.B. This vertebra like all other vertebrae is arranged in series. Posteriorly it articulates with the axis on the odontoid process of which it is pivoted. Anteriorly it articulates with the occipital bone, which bone, bearing some resemblance in form to a vertebra, is called a cranial vertebra.

E The antero-internal foramen of the atlas.

Æ The antero-external foramen of the atlas.

fghiklmn 1 2 The axis or 2nd vertebra of the neck.

f The posterior part of the body or centrum which articulates with the body of the 3rd cervical vertebra.

g The odontoid process which projects into the ring of the atlas and articulates with the floor of that bone.

h The ventral spine or inferior spinous process of the axis.

i The transverse process.

k The dorsal spine or superior spinous process.

l The posterior oblique or articular process, this process bears an articular facet within the dotted lines. m The intervertebral foramen which gives exit to the 3rd cervical spinal nerve.

l Entrance to the vertebral foramen which pierces the root of the transverse process. The anterior aperture of this foramen is shown at 2. It gives passage to the vertebral artery.

opqrstuwxy. The 3rd cervical vertebra.

o The ventral spine, or inferior spinous process.

p The anterior end of the body or centrum, which articulates with the posterior end of the body of the 2nd cervical vertebra.

q The posterior end of the body.

r The transverse process.

s The right anterior oblique process.

t The right posterior oblique process.

u The dorsal spine or superior spinous process.

w The vertebral foramen.

x The left anterior oblique process. (Shaded area.)

y The left posterior oblique process (shaded area) seen through the intervertebral foramen. This foramen gives access to the bony spinal canal which contains the spinal cord and its membranes. Figures before mentioned with reference to the 3rd cervical vertebra may be applied likewise to the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th bones. It will be noted that the vertebral foramen is absent in the 7th bone, the transverse process marked r is a single structure and that the superior spinous process or dorsal spine is well developed and pointed. Another striking feature of the 7th cervical vertebra is its shortness in the anteroposterior direction when it is compared with the other cervical bones. In the 6th vertebra the ventral spine is small and not visible, but there is a 3rd or ventral portion of the transverse process marked z.

The bones of the spine from the neck onwards

I abcdefG The 1st dorsal vertebra.

a The body.

b The transverse process.

c The anterior oblique process.

d The posterior oblique process.

e The superior spinous process.

f The posterior oblique process of the left side (shaded area) seen through the intervertebral foramen.

G The intervertebral disc.

2 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 The dorsal vertebrae behind No. 1, and to which the letters of explanation applied to No. 1, refer.

ABCDEF The six lumbar vertebrae. The explanatory letters also apply to these bones.

ggghiiiiikklllmmmm The sacrum, or great bone of the spine. It is composed of five vertebrae which in adult life are firmly united. ggg The ventral surface of the sacrum. This surface still shows indication of the five segments.

h The transverse processes of the sacrum, which are joined together forming its lateral edge.

iiiii The five dorsal spines.

kkk The ventral sacral foramina which transmit the ventral roots of the sacral nerves.

lll The superior or dorsal sacral foramina which transmit the dorsal root of the sacral nerves.

The ventral and superior sacral foramina correspond to the intervertebral foramina of other parts of the spine.

mmmm Indicate roughened areas which represent the fused oblique processes of the five sacral vertebrae.

nopq The 1st coccygeal or tail vertebra.

n The body.

o The transverse process.

p The anterior oblique process.

q The superior spinous process.

r The intervertebral disc.

The above letters may be applied to such of those bones of the tail which retain the characteristics of what might be called a typical vertebra. It will be noted that the first few bones of the tail, i.e., up to about the 6th, retain the typical characters of the vertebrae. From this point these characters gradually disappear the terminal caudal vertebrae being simply elongated rods of bone which are somewhat constricted in their middles. These bones gradually diminish in size as they pass backwards. On an average there are 18 bones in the tail.

Bones in the Thorax and Shoulder Region

aaaaab The sternum or breast-bone.

aaaaa Represent the bony segments of this bone. The part marked b remains for a considerable time cartilaginous.

1 cde The 1st rib.

c The tubercle of the rib which articulates with the transverse process of the 1st dorsal vertebra.

d The head of the rib which articulates with facets on the bodies of the last cervical vertebra and the first dorsal vertebra. The lower end of this rib articulates with the sternum at the point e. These markings will serve for the description of the rest of the ribs. It will be observed that the eight anterior ribs are directly connected with the sternum. The other ribs are called the asternal ribs and their connection with the sternum is not direct. All the ribs with the exception of No. I possess well developed costal cartilages marked e on the posterior series of ribs. In the first anatomical plate the ribs of both sides of the chest are illustrated.

fg A portion of the inner side of the left scapula.

hikllmmnnopq The right scapula or shoulder blade.

h The neck.

i The spine. The letter being in the position of the tuber cle of the spine.

k The corocoid process.

ll The posterior or costal edge.

mm The anterior or cervical edge.

nn The vertebral or dorsal edge, which is sometimes called the base.

o The infra-spinous fossa.

p The supra-spinous fossa.

q The cartilage of prolongation.

Bones in the Right Fore Limb

abcdefghik, Klm The humerus or bone of the arm.

b The deltoid tubercle into which is inserted the deltoid muscle. At a point a little above b the teres minor muscle is inserted.

cdefgh The upper extremity or head of the humerus.

cde c and e are the inner and outer tuberosities of the upper extremity of the humerus. Between c and e is a smooth groove, this groove is divided by a central ridge marked d. The groove is covered in life by a smooth cartilage and gives passage to the tendon of origin of the biceps muscle. The latter tendon shows a groove on its deep face which is opposed to the ridge d.

h The articular head of the humerus. It is covered by articular cartilage and articulates with the glenoid fossa of the scapula.

i The external condyle of the humerus.

k The internal condyle of the humerus.

K The articular surface of its lower extremity.

l The coronoid fossa. This fossa receives the coronoid process of the radius when the cubit or elbow joint is completely flexed.

m The olecranon fossa. This fossa receives part of the olecranon process of the ulna when the elbow is extended.

nopqr The radius.

no The upper extremity.

o The bicipital tuberosity into which is inserted the tendon of the biceps muscle.

pqr The lower extremity of the bone.

p A groove which gives passage to the tendon of the extensor metacarpi magnus muscle.

q A groove which gives passage to the tendon of the extensor pedis muscle.

r A groove which gives passage to the tendon of the lateral extensor or extensor suffraginis muscle. sttuu The ulna.

s The olecranon process.

tt The articulation for the humerus—the sigmoid cavity.

uu The attenuated lower extremity of the ulna which in aged horses becomes fused to the shaft of the radius.

wxyz 2 3 The bones of the carpus.

w The scaphoid.

x The semilunar.

y The cuneiform.

z The pisiform.

2 The os magnum.

3 The unciform.

The inner bone of the lower row, the trapezoid, is shown marked 1 on the carpus of the left fore limb.

4 5 6 7 The metacarpal bones. The large metacarpal bone marked 4 5 is often called the shank bone. This bone corresponds to the 3rd metacarpal bone of the human hand. Of the small metacarpal bones sometimes called the splint bones, that marked 6 and 7 corresponds to the 4th metacarpal of the human hand. That marked 8 and 9 corresponds to the 2nd metacarpal bone. The points marked 7 and 9 can be felt in the living animal. The numbers mark the lower extremities of the splint bones which are sometimes called the buttons.

4 The upper extremity of the large metacarpal bone, which articulates with the lower row of carpal bones.

5 The lower extremity, which articulates with the sesamoid bones and with the 1st phalanx. 10 11 Indicates two bones which are placed behind the lower extremity of the large metacarpal bone and are called the sesamoid bones. They provide posteriorly a smooth groove for the passage of the deep flexor tendon. They function as a fulcrum for this tendon. 12 13 The 1st phalanx or os suffraginis or great pastern bone.

14 15 The 2nd phalanx or os coronae.

16 The 3rd phalanx or os pedis or the so called coffin bone.

17 A transverse elongated sesamoid bone articulating with the 2nd and 3rd phalanges which because of its likeness to a boat is called the navicular bone.

In the Left Fore Limb

cde The three protuberances of the humerus which correspond to those marked cde in the right limb.

op The radius.

o The bicipital tuberosity.

Below this point the numbers and markings are similar to those of the right limb, except that the trapezoid bone, i.e., the inner bone of the lower row of carpal bones is shown and indicated by the mark 1.

In the Pelvis

abcdefgghiiklll The pelvis viewed from the right side. The pelvis is sometimes called the basin bone. It is made up of two parts each of which is called the os innominatum. These two parts are joined in the ventral mid-line. Each innominate bone is made up of three bones which from before backwards are called the ilium, the pubis, and the ischium. At the point of union of these bones there is a deep cup shaped fossa—the acetabulum—with which the head of the femur articulates.

abcd The ilium.

bc The crest of the ilium.

b The antero-external angle of the ilium or tubercoxae (the angle of the haunch).

c The internal angle of the ilium or tuber-sacrale (the angle of the croup).

d Behind this point is the site of origin of the rectus femoris muscle.

efgg The ischium, sometimes called The "H" or hich bone.

e The superior ischiatic spine.

f The tuber ischii.

gg The lower border of the small sacro-sciatic foramen is formed by this portion of the ischium. The obturator internus muscle passes over the bone at this site.

hii The os pubis.

ii The anterior edge of the pubis which forms part of the brim of the pelvis and is in direct continuity with the pubic edge of the ilium otherwise called the ilio-pectineal line.

k The obturator foramen in the floor of the pelvis.

lll Indicates the external margin of the acetabulum or cotyloid cavity.

aabccdfghiikll The left os innominatum.

The explanatory letters apply also to this part.

In the Hind Limbs

abccddefghi The right femur or thigh bone.

a The shaft or diaphysis of this bone.

bccdde The upper extremity.

b The neck.

cc The articular head which is covered by articular cartilage, and articulates with the acetabulum of the pelvis.

dd The great trochanter.


Excerpted from THE ANATOMY OF THE HORSE by GEORGE STUBBS. Copyright © 1976 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Anatomy of the Horse 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the anatomy of horses for use in sculpture or painting/drawing. It has 36 full page plates of reference, frontal, side and back. Each angle starts with the whole horse, skin, arteries, then muscle groups, etc, until all you see is the skeleton, super useful for sculpting in layers! a must have. Don't expect to see colors, real photography or weird angles, just amazing drawings from 3 different views, each detailed layer by layer of flesh over the skeleton.