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Equine Patella: Gliding Vs. Resting Zones

This video (from 1989) is straightforward (and insightful) there’s not a whole lot more to say beyond Jon Zahourek’s clear demonstration of the “crisp division” within the equine patella.

Two zones—one for resting, one for gliding. (That patella was built for speed!)

But the video gives us a chance to list a few facts about horses—more specifically, about horses doing what they do best.


· The average stride length of a Thoroughbred is more than 20 feet. Thoroughbred Man O’ War (way back in 1919 and 1920) had a stride length of 28 feet at full gallop. Twenty-eight feet!

· Horses breathe only through their noses.

· Each breath is in rhythm with their strides.

· They breathe in when their legs extends. They exhale when their legs come together. Longer stride? More time to inhale and exhale.

· Modern racehorses trace their ancestry to the same 30 or so horses. (There isn’t much genetic variability.)

· Since the 1700s, horses have become a little faster. (But not much.)

· A horse’s slender legs and small hooves support a much greater proportion of weight than the human foot. A human being would have to put his entire body’s weight on his middle finger to duplicate the proportion of weight the horse hoof supports as it hits the ground.

· Horses can carry an extra supply of blood in their spleen—which comes in handy when they run.

· When at rest, about 35 percent of the total blood volume in humans and horses is comprised of red blood cells. Humans maintain that proportion even during exercise. Horses increase their red blood cell numbers to more than 65 percent of blood volume during a race.








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