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"front knees"

From: Elaine

Dear Jessica, I know this is a trivial question but I really need an answer. What is the proper way to refer to a horse's knees? My trainer says "front knees" because you mean the knees on the front legs, but I don't get why he would say "front knees" instead of just "knees". I thought horses had hocks in their hind legs instead of knees! So what is correct and is there ever a time when "front knees" would be the correct term? What is the answer?


Hi Elaine! You're right, a horse has ONE pair of knees, and the knees are a feature of FRONT legs only. So "knees" is the correct term. Having said that, if your trainer is an elderly man who has said "front knees" for fifty years, you're unlikely to get hm to change his habits. And since you know exactly what he means by "front knees", the term isn't going to lead to any misunderstandings.

I agree that it can be annoying to hear someone say "front knees" or any of the other colloquial, inaccurate terms -- "filly colt" is one that always makes me sit up and stare for a moment -- but if your trainer is helping you with your horse, why not just focus on the good information you get from him? You can make a private vow to use the term "knees" when YOU talk about equine anatomy. ;-)

And as for "front knees", yes, there IS a time when it would be a correct term -- elephants have knees on both front and hind legs, so if you were riding an elephant, he would lift a FRONT KNEE to help you climb aboard. ;-)


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