The muscular system
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The Muscular System. By Alexis DiStasio and Kate Brown. The Equine Muscular System. Large muscular system which allows movement Gives a horse definition Allows posture . 3 Types of Muscles. Smooth Cardiac Skeletal. Smooth Muscle.

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The muscular system

The Muscular System

By Alexis DiStasio and Kate Brown

The Equine Muscular System

  • Large muscular system which allows movement

  • Gives a horse definition

  • Allows posture

3 types of muscles
3 Types of Muscles

  • Smooth

  • Cardiac

  • Skeletal

Smooth muscle
Smooth Muscle

  • Found in digestive, circulatory, and urogenital systems

  • Sustained, rhythmic contractions

  • Made up of spindle-shaped cells with a single nucleus

  • Least specialized

  • Involuntary movement

Cardiac muscle
Cardiac Muscle

  • Found only in the heart

  • Highly specialized

  • Rapid, rhythmical contraction and relaxation

  • Never tires, allowing heart to continually pump blood

  • Involuntary movement

Skeletal muscle
Skeletal Muscle

  • Most highly specialized

  • Used for movement and can contract quickly

  • Function: to provide powerful, rapid contractions to allow locomotion

  • Attached to limbs of skeleton

  • Voluntary – controlled by brain and nervous system

Riding Horse

  • Voluntary muscles are significant.

  • Flexor muscles:

    • bend joint

  • Extensor muscles:

    • straighten joints


  • This is a long triangular muscle

  • located at the top of the neck

  • Action - To draw the scapula upwards and forwards


  • A triangular muscle

  • located on the side of the neck

  • Action- Acting alone, the splenius draws the head and neck towards the side


  • Situated on the side of the neck and withers.

  • It is a triangular muscle

  • Action - acting alone the trapezius pulls the shoulder upwards and forwards.

Latissimus dorsi

  • Located on along the back down to the chest

  • Acting alone helps move the front legs and chest

Superficial gluteus
Superficial Gluteus

  • The most superficial muscle of the croup.

  • It is V-shaped

  • Action – move the thigh outward

Biceps femoris
Biceps femoris

  • long, thick, muscle

  • extending from the superior part of the croup to the stifle

  • Action- It flexes the tibia and with assistance helps in the act of rearing

External intercostal
External Intercostal

  • Aseries of thin, flat muscles between the ribs

  • Action - Move the ribs upward and forward and assist in inspiration.

Posterior deep pectoral
Posterior Deep Pectoral

  • Broad flat muscle

  • Extends from under the abdomen

  • Action – to pull the scapula in a backward direction


  • Long, thick muscle

  • located in the neck

  • Action - help move the neck


  • Thick square muscle

  • Located on the lower jaw

  • Action – brings the teeth of the lower jaw and the teeth of the upper jaw together

Slow twitch muscle fibres
Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibres

  • Slow contractions and relaxation times

    • Used for maintaining posture when exercising at slow speeds

  • Gain energy to function through aerobic (oxygen) metabolism only

  • Activities such as driving, dressage, and endurance riding

Fast twitch muscle fibres
Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibres

  • Two Kinds:

    • Fast-twitch, high-oxidative fibers

    • Fast-twitch, low-oxidative fibers

Fast twitch high oxidative fibres
Fast-Twitch, High-Oxidative Fibres

  • Good oxygen capacity

  • Use oxygen to supply energy while working at high speeds

  • Gain energy through aerobic and anaerobic metabolism

  • Used during eventing, jumping, polo, and racing

Fast twitch low oxidative fibres
Fast-twitch, Low-Oxidative Fibres

  • Does not have good oxygen capacity

  • Burn oxygen quickly

  • Used for short bursts of fast work

  • Anaerobic metabolism only

Work cited
Work Cited




  • Anatomy and Physiology of Farm Animals. Pages 164-65

  • The Equine Body. By Beth Maloney (Chpt. 6)