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 top top DVD or streaming top top Vimeo while the 6 hour series Well beyond the Basics, aimed an ext for professionals but understandable through anyone, is available by streaming top top Vimeo. (We left this website up since we have had countless requests to keep the info available.)

*
The just section that the skeleton us haven"t talked about in previous articles in this series is the rib cage, so here it is. Because the rib cage support the majority (but not all) that a western saddle, exactly how it is shaped and how it move is an extremely important for how a saddle fits and also works on the horse. The is necessary to understand that the horse has 18 ribs, which is a lot compared to other domestic animals. Pigs have actually 14 to 15. Cows, sheep, goats, cats and also dogs all have 13. World only have 12. The reality that horses have that lengthy a rib cage to assistance a saddle is one of the reasons I think they yes, really were designed to be ridden!

*

The anatomy of a rib is pretty basic. The body provides up many of it. Up height there is a head and also a tubercle which both affix to the spine. At the bottom the connects come a long piece that cartilage in ~ the costochondral junction. Costo has to do with rib. Chondral has to do with cartilage. So the costochondral juction is wherein the bone the the rib join the ar of cartilage that eventually connects castle all together at the bottom. The cartilages on the first couple of ribs are much shorter, thicker and also heavier, and therefore less flexible, than those top top the ribs farther back.

You are watching: How many ribs do horses have

*

The ribs attach to the spine at two spots. The head the the rib connects in ~ the join in between two vertebrae while the tubercle joins higher up top top the vertebra ~ above its transverse procedure (which is very much smaller than the transverse processes on the lumbar vertebrae.). So even though the connections are movable joints, having actually two joints that nearby together makes it is pretty firmly associated up top. 

*
*

It is crucial to remember the the rib head and tubercle are hidden under inch of muscle. Girlfriend can"t feeling the ribs till lock come out from under all the muscle. Climate what you space feeling is a methods down the human body of the rib, nowhere near the rib top themselves. Sometimes civilization who don"t know anatomy fine talk about saddles sitting on the "rib heads". This is one impossibility. 

*

The human body of the ribs vary a many in length, width and also the quantity of curve depending on where in the rib cage lock lie. Length wise, the very first is the shortest. Then they acquire longer to around the tenth or eleventh and also from there earlier they get shorter again it spins the critical rib is around the size of the second. Shape wise, the an initial rib is nice straight, however they boost in curve quickly from the second to the seventh, remain that shape to the 16 or so, and then the curve reduce on the last pair again. (1)

*

They also change their angle family member to the ground. The an initial rib actually angle ahead a bit. The 2nd is pretty vertical, and after the they slope backwards more and more. If you cut crosswise through the human body of the horse, the end of the last rib is typically at the level that L3. 

*

It is the shape of the ribs themselves, just how curved lock are and how they are set onto the spine, the determines the shape of the rib cage - if they space "well sprung" or "slab sided" or what in between. Skilled anatomical drawings such as the ones above are usually made from real specimens. Looking at the difference in the form of the rib cage in between these 2 is a an excellent comparison of the selection of shapes we room trying come fit. 

Effect that the rib cage form on saddle fit

Remember that us aren"t placing the saddle straight on the ribs. It rests ~ above the muscle that is over the ribs. However the skeleton act as the structure for the muscles, so the shape of the rib cage under the muscle affects the specs the the tree. The all at once size the the horse - broad of the rib cage side to side - is just one of the points that determines the spread in between the bars. But the angle of the bars is established by the underlaying form of the rib cage and also musculature on height of it. The ribs in the last picture, where the ribs come out relatively wide before curving down, would require a more comprehensive angle on the bars because that a good fit. The persons in the picture over that one leave the spine and also go down fairly quickly. A narrower angle in between the bars would be necessary to fit this horse, depending upon his muscle volume. 

So what wake up at the bottom the the ribs? 

*

The an initial eight ribs are attached directly to the sternum by your costal cartilages, for this reason those ribs don"t have actually the range of motion the others do due to the fact that they room pretty solidly linked both top and also bottom. The last nine or ten have actually their cartilages attached to each other in a curve, the costal arch, i m sorry is tightly connected to the cartilage that the eighth rib and also therefore to the sternum. In most varieties there are regularly one or two ribs at the finish that space not linked to the others by cartilage and also these are called "floating ribs". While reportedly they can occur in horses, it doesn"t appear that lock are really common.

You have the right to see the costal arch top top a gaunted up horse or a horse taking in a yes, really deep breath. It is seen much more easily on thinner equines than fatter ones. You can feel it quite quickly on many horses, particularly at the top, ago end.

*

The sternum chin is interesting. We have tendency to think the the "breastbone" is one bone but really, that is like the spine - a repertoire of different bones (seven in number) called sternebrae. They space all linked by cartilage without joints in between them, and also while part fuse together early in life, some never are totally calcified also in old age. So while the sternum is heavy - no joints - that isn"t every bone either and lots that pressure, such together from a super tight cinch, can impact it, specifically in a young horse. The shape and also how it ties into the ribs is the bony component of what renders up the underline.

How the rib cage form affects cinch position

The cinch will always go to the area the the horse with the the smallest circumference. The underline of the horse and also the shape of the next of the rib cage are two contents that recognize where that the smallest circumference lies. 

*

If the underline that the equine is reasonably flat, the cinch has actually has no factor to move and will an ext likely remain where that starts. 

*

If the underline slopes up in the direction of the front legs, climate the cinch will move forward. 

*

If the slopes up going backwards, the cinch may have a tendency to move earlier on the horse.

*

If the horse has a an extremely round barrel, the narrowest ar is at the front, so the cinch will have tendency to move forward. This conformation merged with an underline that slopes up towards the former can end up with the cinch being an extremely close behind the elbow, possibly causing cinch sores, particularly if the is in a forward rigging position.

*

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

However, that is very important come remember the the cinch place does not recognize the saddle position! The saddle place is collection by the where the form of the bars matches the shape of the horse"s back. the is perfectly OK come ride your steed with the saddle tree in its ideal place best behind the shoulder blade, and a cinch that is angled forward. The cinch will no pull the saddle the end of location or reason excess pressure on the shoulder knives if the tree fits the horse. In fact, moving the rigging front so the cinch have the right to hang upright "in the girth groove" will certainly put an ext downward push on the front of the bars and is more likely to reason interference v shoulder movement due to the fact that the shoulder chisels cannot slip underneath the rounded former bar tips prefer they can with a saddle that is rigged farther back. 

So the form of the rib cage is really essential in how the saddle works on the horse. But it likewise moves, and also we"ll discuss that following time.

See more: What Is 1.5 As A Decimal Fraction Into A Fractional Number, Decimals, Fractions And Percentages

 

(1) lot of the anatomical details in this post, as in part previous posts, originates from Sisson and Grossman"s The Anatomy that the Domestic pets Robert Getty editor fifth ed. This is still taken into consideration one the the peak anatomy messages for teaching veterinarians.