Regarding the Horse’s Axial Skeleton
The axial skeleton is the part of the horse’s endoskeleton* that contains the skull, vertebrae column, sternum, and ribs. If you are not familiar with the skull, ribs, ect, this is what they are composed of. The skull has 34 bones and 4 cavities, the cranial cavity, the orbital cavity, the nasal cavity, and the oral cavity. The cranial cavity encloses and protects the brain. While the Orbital cavity surrounds and protects the eye, the oral cavity is a passage to the respiratory system and the digestive system, and finally, the nasal cavity leads to the respiratory system and also includes the extensive pericardial sinus. Moving along, the vertebral column has about 54 bones including 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, the atlas and axis which support and move the skull, 18-19 thoracic (the vertebrae that the spine is mostly made from) vertebrae, 5-6 lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, and 15-16 caudal (tail) vertebrae. Although, the number can be different according to different breeds of horses. The Arabian for example only has 5 lumbar vertebrae, and 16 cervical vertebrae. The sternum is located on the back of the pelvis and is the part that the backbone attaches to, usually having one or two of the lumbar vertebrae fused to it. And ultimately, the ribs, horses usually have 18 pairs of ribs but the Arabian has 17 pairs. The ribs are used to enclose and protect the vital organs such as the heart and lungs. So the next time you see a horse, think about all the interesting things I have told you today and make sure to check out next week’s blog about the horse’s Appendicular skeleton.
*A skeleton on the inside of a creature’s body.