The Incredible Equine Neck

Find out how your horse can hurt his neck, risks for injury and disease, and associated therapies, so you can give your horse the best chance for a strong neck and an athletic future.

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The Incredible Equine Neck
Although horses’ necks are heavily muscled structures that protect big, sturdy vertebrae and more fragile structures lying beneath, disease and trauma can still occur. | Photo: Thinkstock

From perils to preservation tactics

We often base our first impression of a horse on the conformation of his head and neck, noting how his neck comes out of his shoulder and how “clean” it is at the throatlatch. Horses frequently race neck and neck, sometimes winning by one. And we can’t overlook the tumult performance horses’ neck flexion has caused in the industry in recent years. But for all the focus on the horse’s neck, sometimes we overlook how vital it is for routing crucial nerves around the body and how its health contributes to the horse’s overall soundness.

In this article we will explore equine neck anatomy, risks for injury and disease, and associated therapy, so you can give your horses the best chance for a strong neck and an athletic future.

Equine Neck Anatomy

The equine neck is a complex structure in which more than a hundred muscles support and move seven very large bones called vertebrae. The sensitive spinal cord and peripheral nerves intersect each vertebrae before continuing down the forelimbs

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Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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