Are Horse Legs Fingers? Myth or Reality?

I recently have been a part of the debate “do horses have fingers?” It has shocked me to my deepest core how complex the horse structure is. To be very honest, I have never come across such statements before but this recent debate has made it clear to me that I was living an ignorant life. Just so you never feel this way ever in your life, I’m here to discuss what I know so far. 

The few advanced horse enthusiasts in my area gathered to settle the debate, as despite the scientists’ statements it has been still on. We discussed, exchanged our views, and examined the horse to establish our views. Now that I’m satisfied with the outcome of our debate and the scientists’ statement, here is my answer. 

Read a guide on interesting fact What is Degloved Horse Hoof?

Are horse Legs Fingers?

Well, it’s not a myth but a reality. Horses “really” have fingers. A recent revolutionary study has revealed that it’s not just humans that have fingers, horses do have been blessed with the same. 

If horses have fingers, why are they not so visible?

The horse’s fingers are visible, it’s just that we are too busy considering or believing them to be something else. The other reason why we have a hard time finding the horse’s fingers is that they do not resemble human fingers at all. So, for these two reasons, the fact “horses have fingers” is misunderstood as a myth.

Horse legs are fingers, this statement is backed by science 

In the beginning, it was just a people’s belief, a few years later it got scientists’ approval as well. As now science calls it fingers, there is no legitimate reason left not to believe it. 

Horse legs are indeed fingers, but not all four legs can be called fingers

You can not call all horse legs it’s fingers as each animal has been blessed with legs. So horses, like all other animals out there, have legs as well. 

The front legs are only considered the horse’s fingers

From far behind, the front legs do appear more like legs but they are “actually” the horse fingers. The front legs even include a shoulder that is invisible but can be felt upon touch.

Now that you have got to know that horses do have fingers but they are slightly different from human fingers, each front leg has two fingers. So, by totaling, each horse has four fingers. Let’s move ahead and see what else you still not know;

Everything Else You Need to Know About Horse’s fingers;

Another shocking fact is that horses have been blessed with four fingers

No, the four legs are not being referred to as “four fingers”. Each front leg has two fingers, so by combining two fingers in each front leg, we get four. 

The horse’s fingers are not designed to move or function like humans

It might sound odd but the horse fingers, as you can judge, are not made to move similar to humans. Human fingers are far more flexible than horses, the horse fingers on the other hand are best for the purpose they are made for.

The horse’s fingers are made to support him in walking

The humans use their fingers to eat, hold, and perform almost all functions whereas, the horses have been using them to stabilize walking, trotting, and running. Their fingers have no other use except stabilizing the body while trotting, walking, or running. 

Let alone the fingers, horses have forearms, elbows, and wrists as well

It might be even more shocking but horses do have the forearm and the wrist, just like us. The area where the back of the front leg meets the abdomen is called the elbow, the front leg area which is recklessly called the horse knee is not “actually” the knee but the wrist instead. The horse’s elbow can flex forward but the wrist is fixed, it can move to the side or front. 


The finger bones start from the carpus(knees, that should be called wrists) go all the way down to the fetlock joint

Like humans, horses do have giant middle fingers, the finger bones start from the horse wrists(carpus), the middle finger bone(cannon) go all the way down to fetlock joints whereas the other fingers hardly reach half of the cannon bone(middle finger). 

As the horse reaches maturity the finger bones that do not go all the way down to fetlock joints, start attaching to the cannon bone. 

The two-finger bones that do not reach the fetlock joint keep on floating when the horse is young and the demands are minimal. As it attains maturity, the said finger bones start attaching them to the cannon bone(middle finger), giving the horse the deserved resistance against sideways forces. 

The part of the horse’s body you have been calling “foot” is also not footing at all

Another shocking revelation has been made by the scientists recently, the part of the horse’s body we call foot or hoof, is not a foot at all. It’s a tough fingernail instead. Like our fingernails, it grows and must be trimmed. 

Horses have fingers, whether they have thumbs or not is not yet disclosed satisfactorily 

It’s fair to think if the horse has an elbow, wrist, fingers, and fingernails, it might have a thumb too. Whether it has a thumb or not the study has not given us a satisfactory answer, so it’s better to wait to get the facts revealed than to talk about it with zero knowledge. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Where do horses have been hiding their fingers? 

Horses have been hiding it in their front legs, let alone fingers; they have elbows, wrists, and fingernails as well. 

Is the statement “horses have four fingers” true? 

Yes, for the record it is true. We had doubts about it a few years back but now scientists have revealed that the horses have fingers, two in each front leg. 

Are horse hooves actually the fingernails? 

Undoubtedly yes, the horse hooves are actually tough fingernails that grow and need trim just like regular nails. 

Are horse’s legs just fingers? 

It’s super hard to believe but yes the horses’ legs are fingers and yes they do not mind walking with the help of fingernails, which are normally referred to as “horse’s feet” or “hooves”. 

How can we call a horse’s legs it’s fingers? 

We call horse’s legs “legs” because they appear very much like hooved animals’ legs but the inner structure is a different story. The horse’s front legs have finger bones that go all the way down to the fetlock joint. So, if we look at it this way, it’s not wrong to call them fingers. 

Are horse’s feet fingers? 

No, the horse’s feet are not fingers. The fingers are located in the front legs. The front leg has elbow, wrist, and finger bones including a giant middle finger bone. 

In brief, the statement “horses have fingers” is not a myth but a reality. This statement is 100% true, say the scientists. The horse’s finger bones start from knees that are actually the horse’s wrists and go all the way down to fetlock joints. The hooves that we often refer to as horse’s feet are actually tough fingernails that grow and need trim just like ordinary nails. 


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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