Equine Interaction

Horse Intro

Horse Interaction Introduction

Horses (Suwatâga) belong to a family of animals called Equidae and we often refer to animals in this family as Equines. Other animals in this family include donkeys and zebras.   

Horses were domesticated in Eurasia several thousand years ago and have had many different jobs including as transportation and livestock. Today in North America, horses are generally kept as pets, working or performance animals.  


Equine Terminology

Equine Terminology

Mare - an adult female horse 

Stallion - an adult, uncastrated male horse  

Gelding - an adult, castrated or “gelded” male horse (Note: Horses are usually considered adults after they turn 4 years old )

Foal – a horse under 1 year old 

Filly – a female horse under 4 years old 

Colt – a male horse under 4 years old 

Hand – the main unit of measurement for a horse’s height in North America. A hand is equivalent to 4 inches. In some places, centimeters are used instead of hands.  

Pony – a domestic horse 14.2 hands high or less  


Equine Physical Exam

Physical exams are probably one of the most important skills in veterinary medicine. It is important to understand how to complete a physical exam on a horse as there are many species differences such as the presence of a very large cecum, that must be considered in veterinary medicine. Learn some of the critical skills needed to complete a physical exam on a horse in the video below.


Radiographs & Injections

The main goal of veterinary medicine is to diagnose and treat an animal. One of the main diagnostic tools that are used is the radiograph. Knowing how and where to give an injection is a valuable skill in equine medicine. Learn how to give an injection on a horse and how to take a radiograph on the distal limb of a horse in the video below! It is important to note that no radiographs were taken during this video. If they were, additional precautions and equipment would be needed to protect the handler and anyone in the background.


Hoof Care, Testing & Lameness

Horses are high performance animals that are used for riding, competitions, work and many other activities. Therefore, the legs and hooves of a horse are very important. If they are not cared for, horses won’t be able to perform all of their important jobs! Even if your horse is just for riding it is critical to provide them with hoof care to keep them happy and pain free. Lameness is an abnormal gait or stance; limping would be an example of this! Learn how to pick up a horse hoof, clean it and even complete a lameness exam in the video below!