Equine Limb Specializations

Equine limbs are designed for prolonged standing and distance running. The straighter thoracic limb (left) is designed to support weight and absorb impact. Its fetlock joint is supported by three tendons/ligaments that stretch and then rebound. A fibrous cord stabilizes the shoulder joint and fascia helps support the thorax. In the pelvic limb (right) cranial and caudal fibrous cords (reciprocal apparatus) syncronize stifle and hock joint actions. There is also a patellar locking mechanism (not shown).