Have you ever spoken to or read a summary from an equine professional and found yourself a little confused about the terminology they're using? Here's a diagram that should help explain some basic directional terminology for you, and at the very least give you a good reference point when deciphering the information they're giving. You might even like to download a PDF copy of the directional terminology to keep on hand at home.
Caudal: The rear portion of the horse – the plane going towards the hind.
Cranial: The front portion of the horse – the plane going towards the head.
Distal: Meaning further away from the main part of the horse’s body. Ie: The hoof is the most distal part of the leg.
Proximal: Meaning closer to the body, or point of attachment. Ie: The knee is proximal to the ankle.
Dorsal: The back surface, or topline
Ventral: Underneath the belly. The under part.
Lateral: Away from the middle plane (mid line) of the horse’s body. Also refers to the outside or external part of a surface.
Medial: Towards the middle plane (mid line) of the horse’s body. Also refers to an inner or more internal part.
Palmer: From the bottom of the front hoof (the sole) continuing up to the back of the knee.
Plantar: From the bottom of the hind hoof (the sole) continuing up to the back of the hock.
Rostral: From top of head and towards the nose.