Jump to: navigation, search

Chestnut (horse anatomy)


The chestnut, also known as a night eye,[1] is a callousity on the body of a horse or other equine, found on the inner side of the leg above the knee on the foreleg and, if present, below the hock on the hind leg.

Chestnuts vary in size and shape and are sometimes compared to the fingerprints in humans.[1] For purposes of identification some breed registries require photographs of them among other individual characteristics.[1] However, because chestnuts grow over time and horse grooms often peel or trim off the outer layers for neatness, their appearance is subject to change.

Contents

Distribution among equines

File:Somali Wild Ass chestnuts.jpg
African wild ass foal with black chestnut on foreleg, no chestnut on hindleg
File:Chestnuts-2.jpg
Domestic horse with chestnuts on fore and hind legs

The evolution of the horse involved a reduction in the number of toes to one, along with other changes to the ancestral equid foot. The chestnut is thought to correspond to the wrist pad of dogs and cats, or to be a vestigial scent gland similar to those found in some deer and other animals.[2]

The domestic horse is almost alone among extant equines in having chestnuts on the hind legs.[2] Chestnuts are absent from the hind legs of asses and zebras.[3] The majority of domestic horses have chestnuts on all four legs, as does the Przewalski's horse,[3] but a few horse breeds are reported to lack chestnuts on the hind legs.[3] These include:

  • Caspian pony (some individuals)

Grooming

Chestnuts grow over time, protruding from the surface of the leg. Grooming for horse showing may include peeling or trimming the outer layers to give a neater appearance to the leg; they may peel more easily if softened first with baby oil or moisturizer. If left alone, eventually the chestnut peels naturally.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J. Warren Evans, Anthony Borton, Harold Hintz, and L. Dale van Vleck (1990). The Horse (2nd ed.). Macmillan. p. 80. ISBN 0716718111, 9780716718116. http://books.google.com/books?id=oyHr4hVs0m0C&pg=PA80&vq=fingerprints. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 William Ridgeway (1905). The origin and influence of the Thoroughbred horse. University Press. pp. 538. http://books.google.com/books?id=PuETAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA12&dq=chestnut.  chapter 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J. C. Ewart (1906). "The tarpan and its relationship with wild and domestic horses". Nature 74: 113–115. doi:10.1038/074113a0. http://books.google.com/books?id=G9URAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA113. 
  4. Ives, Vickie; Tom Norush, Gretchen Patterson (2007-02). "Corolla and Shackleford Horse of the Americas Inspection" (PDF). Horse of the Americas. http://www.corollawildhorses.com/Images/HOA%20Report/hoa-report.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 


External links



Share

Premier Equine Classifieds

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...


The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...


Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...


That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...