How many bones does a horse have?

Expert Answers
gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The exact number of bones horses have vary from breed to breed. Generally horses have 205 bones (in comparison, adult human beings have 206 bones), not including the tail bones (generally 18). These 205 bones include:

  • 54 bones in the vertebral column
  • 36 ribs
  • 1 sternum
  • 34 bones in the skull
  • 40 bones in the front legs
  • 40 bones in the hind legs

The bones have the key functions of providing locomotion, supporting the body and protecting the internal organs of the horse. 

Some breeds differ slightly in the distribution and total number of bones. For example, the Arabian breeds have 17 thoracic vertebrae and 5 lumbar vertebrae instead of the usual 18 and 6, respectively. 

These 205 bones can be divided into five different categories, including long bones, short bones, flat bones, irregular bones and sesamoid bones. 

Hope this helps. 

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