We are no longer structure saddle trees. We have actually two saddle to the right videos obtainable on our westernsaddlefit.com website. Western Saddle right - The Basics, aimed in ~ riders, is available either on DVD or streaming ~ above Vimeo while the 6 hour series Well past the Basics, aimed much more for professionals however understandable by anyone, is accessible by streaming top top Vimeo. (We left this website up since we have had many requests to save the info available.)

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The just section the the skeleton us haven"t talked about in previous posts in this series is the rib cage, so here it is. Given that the rib cage support the bulk (but not all) the a western saddle, how it is shaped and how it move is very important for exactly how a saddle fits and also works on the horse. The is necessary to recognize that the horse has 18 ribs, which is a lot contrasted to other residential animals. Pigs have actually 14 to 15. Cows, sheep, goats, cats and also dogs all have actually 13. Civilization only have 12. The fact that horses have actually that lengthy a rib cage to assistance a saddle is among the factors I think they yes, really were design to it is in ridden!

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The anatomy the a rib is pretty basic. The body renders up most of it. Up height there is a head and also a tubercle i beg your pardon both attach to the spine. In ~ the bottom it connects to a lengthy piece of cartilage at the costochondral junction. Costo has to do v rib. Chondral needs to do with cartilage. Therefore the costochondral juction is wherein the bone the the rib join the section of cartilage that eventually connects them all together at the bottom. The cartilages on the first couple of ribs are much shorter, thicker and heavier, and also therefore much less flexible, than those ~ above the ribs furthermore back.

You are watching: How many ribs does a horse have

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The ribs connect to the spine at two spots. The head the the rib connects at the join in between two vertebrae while the tubercle joins greater up on the vertebra top top its transverse process (which is very much smaller sized than the transverse processes on the lumbar vertebrae.). So also though the relations are movable joints, having two joints that near together provides it is quite firmly linked up top. 

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It is crucial to remember the the rib head and tubercle are surprise under customs of muscle. Friend can"t feel the ribs till castle come out from under all the muscle. Climate what you are feeling is a methods down the human body of the rib, nowhere close to the rib top themselves. Sometimes civilization who don"t know anatomy well talk about saddles sitting on the "rib heads". This is one impossibility. 

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The human body of the ribs differ a many in length, width and the lot of curve relying on where in the rib cage they lie. Length wise, the first is the shortest. Then they acquire longer to around the tenth or eleventh and from there ago they get shorter again it spins the critical rib is about the length of the second. Shape wise, the first rib is pretty straight, yet they boost in curve quickly from the 2nd to the seventh, continue to be that shape to the sixteenth or so, and then the curve to reduce on the last couple again. (1)

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They also change their angle loved one to the ground. The first rib actually angle ahead a bit. The second is quite vertical, and also after the they slope backwards much more and more. If you reduced crosswise through the human body of the horse, the finish of the critical rib is normally at the level the L3. 

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It is the form of the ribs themselves, just how curved they are and also how castle are set onto the spine, that determines the shape of the rib cage - if they room "well sprung" or "slab sided" or somewhere in between. Expert anatomical drawings such as the ones above are usually made from real specimens. Looking in ~ the difference in the form of the rib cage between these two is a good comparison of the variety of shapes we are trying come fit. 

Effect that the rib cage shape on saddle fit

Remember that we aren"t placing the saddle straight on the ribs. It rests on the muscle that is end the ribs. But the skeletal act together the structure for the muscles, for this reason the shape of the rib cage under the muscle affects the specs of the tree. The as whole size the the horse - width of the rib cage next to side - is among the things that determines the spread in between the bars. Yet the edge of the bars is identified by the underlaying shape of the rib cage as well as musculature on height of it. The ribs in the critical picture, wherein the ribs come out relatively wide prior to curving down, would need a wider angle ~ above the bars because that a good fit. The ones in the picture over that one leave the spine and also go down reasonably quickly. A narrow angle between the bars would certainly be required to to the right this horse, depending upon his muscle volume. 

So what wake up at the bottom of the ribs? 

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The first eight ribs room attached straight to the sternum by their costal cartilages, for this reason those ribs don"t have the range of activity the rather do because they are pretty solidly connected both top and bottom. The last nine or ten have actually their cartilages attached come each various other in a curve, the costal arch, which is tightly linked to the cartilage of the eighth rib and also therefore come the sternum. In most types there are frequently one or 2 ribs at the end that space not linked to the rather by cartilage and also these are dubbed "floating ribs". While apparently they can happen in horses, that doesn"t show up that lock are really common.

You can see the costal arch on a gaunted up equine or a horse soaking up a yes, really deep breath. The is seen more easily ~ above thinner horses than fatter ones. You have the right to feel that quite quickly on most horses, particularly at the top, ago end.

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The sternum chin is interesting. We often tend to think that the "breastbone" is one bone yet really, that is favor the spine - a collection of separate bones (seven in number) called sternebrae. They space all connected by cartilage without joints between them, and while part fuse together early in life, some never are entirely calcified even in old age. Therefore while the sternum is hard - no joints - it isn"t every bone either and also lots that pressure, such together from a super tight cinch, can impact it, particularly in a young horse. Its shape and how that ties into the ribs is the bony part of what makes up the underline.

How the rib cage form affects cinch position

The cinch will constantly go to the area of the steed with the the smallest circumference. The underline the the horse and the shape of the next of the rib cage space two materials that determine where that the smallest circumference lies. 

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If the underline of the steed is relatively flat, the cinch has actually has no factor to move and will more likely continue to be where that starts. 

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If the underline slopes up towards the former legs, climate the cinch will move forward. 

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If that slopes increase going backwards, the cinch may have actually a propensity to move earlier on the horse.

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If the horse has actually a very round barrel, the narrowest ar is at the front, so the cinch will often tend to relocate forward. This conformation combined with one underline that slopes up toward the prior can finish up through the cinch being very close behind the elbow, possibly resulting in cinch sores, particularly if that is in a forward rigging position.

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For an ext flat sided horses, the cinch will not move forward as easily. 

However, that is an extremely important to remember the the cinch place does not recognize the saddle position! The saddle place is set by the where the form of the bars matches the form of the horse"s back. the is perfectly OK to ride your horse with the saddle tree in its ideal place appropriate behind the shoulder blade, and also a cinch that is angled forward. The cinch will not pull the saddle the end of place or reason excess press on the shoulder blades if the tree fits the horse. In fact, moving the rigging front so the cinch can hang vertical "in the girth groove" will certainly put an ext downward push on the prior of the bars and also is an ext likely to cause interference v shoulder movement since the shoulder chisels cannot slip underneath the rounded former bar tips favor they can with a saddle that is rigged furthermore back. 

So the form of the rib cage is really necessary in just how the saddle functions on the horse. But it also moves, and we"ll comment on that next time.

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(1) much of the anatomical information in this post, as in part previous posts, comes from Sisson and also Grossman"s The Anatomy that the Domestic pets Robert Getty editor fifth ed. This is still thought about one of the top anatomy messages for to teach veterinarians.