Learn the equestrian sport of polo

Equine Leg Fractures

Anatomy

The bones in the leg of a horse which are susceptible to fractures:

Hock
The knee of a horse's hind legs.
Thigh
The leg area above the hock and below the stifle.
Stifle
The stifle is the joint at the end of the thigh corresponding to the human knee.
Pastern
The area between a horse's hoof and fetlock joint on each leg.
Fetlock
Ankle joint of a horse's leg.
Cannon
Bone of the lower foreleg between the knee and the fetlock. Also called the shin bone.
Forearm
The upper part of the foreleg above the knee of a horse.

Leg Bone Fractures

If leg bone fractures break through the horse's skin, the injuries are usually not operable because the wound becomes infected.

Blood flow to the injured area is critical in the healing process. A horse's leg is supplied with blood by two small arteries that can easily be severed by a fractured bone.

A surgical operation can be performed on a fractured bone in a horse's leg that fuses the bones together.

As a horse comes out of anesthesia it is confused and disoriented. After surgery the horse is moved to a pool recovery system and placed on a raft, so that when it comes out of anesthesia it will not create additional injuries.

If a horse has only three legs to stand on, the injured leg will continue to fail and break down. Leg bone fractures are treated so that the horse can walk in a matter of days to aid in healing.

Barbaro, after winning the 2006 Kentucky Derby, suffered three fractures to its right hind leg during the running of the Pimlico Preakness Stakes. The horse had leg bone fusion surgery at the University of Pennsylvania George D. Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center the next day. Barbaro developed laminitis and was euthanized.

The skeletal bones of a polo pony