I'll start with the landmarks on the bottom of the foot, Marjorie Smith has a great diagram for this:
Learn all of these.
Yes, I know, that's extraordinarily helpful. Moving on...
It's also helpful to know that bones that make up the hoof and the bottom of the leg. I picked this next photo because it's very simple to see the bones and how they fit together:
This graphic is not so simple but highlights more of the structures that you should know about:
- P1 - proximal phalanx - long pastern
- P2 - middle phalanx - short pastern
- P3 - distal phalanx - coffin bone/pedal bone
- Navicular bone - distal sesamoid
- Deep flexor tendon - deep digital flexor tendon
- Coronary band - coronet band
- Plantar cushion - digital cushion
It might help to think of the horse's lower leg as analogous to our hands and feet. The cannon bone is the "same" as one of our metacarpals or metatarsals (the bones inside our foot or palm), while the three bones inside the fetlock and hoof are analogous to the bones in our fingers or toes, only in humans we call those bones phalanges and not phalanxes. Unlike us, walking around with all our weight on our cannon bones and hocks, horses walk around on the ends of four toes. Horses used to have more toes, a couple million years ago, their vestigial remains are now called splint bones.
|Why hello there, cute little horse ancestor|