Thigh bone connected to the hip bone

Thigh bone connected to the hip bone

skeleton cropped

Dem Bones

 . . . Knee bone connected to the thigh bone

Thigh bone connected to the hip bone

Hip bone connected to the back bone . . .

Dem bones gonna walk around . . .

A wet lab assembling an equine skeleton . . . I knew I had to take the class. You can see the mostly completed result above (no tail) and some details below. That’s my dog, River, sniffing the right front foot.

Lola Michelin of the NWSAM assembled quite a group of people and skill sets for the job: Lee Post, a man with a passion and lots of experience assembling skeletons of all kinds, model and mount makers, a photographer, and several willing friends and students. We worked long hours for four days to prep the bones for mounting and them ready for mounting.

Lola knew the horse, Jordan, and that added to the value of the workshop. She knew what his physical issues were, and we could look at the bones and see how they had adapted to (as living tissue) — or caused his limitations. He had many, and as a result, wasn’t ridden very much. Jordan spent the last year or two of his life at Lola’s farm on Vashon Island; his owners had agreed to the eventual use of his skeleton.

Getting the tissue off the bones was a big challenge that happened before the workshop. It  took a year because it was composted. That was after the necropsy to cut the body into manageable pieces. It turns out that horse manure has the right chemistry and microorganisms to do the job very effectively over time.

As I held the bones in my hands, I knew something essential about Jordan. To see and feel how they fit and move together has inspired me to continue to learn more about equine anatomy and biomechanics. It was a wonderful learning experience. Thank you Jordan, and Lola!

spine lit - angle crop carpal - knee with hands - crop 

hoof on table - crop hoof on skewer - crop

Photos by Barbara Breckenfeld







By |2017-02-27T10:04:40-08:00August 27th, 2014|Equine Health, Inspiration, Uncategorized|2 Comments


  1. Anne September 5, 2014 at 1:59 PM - Reply

    What a fascinating learning experience. Like the best physical therapist, or massage therapist (and indeed, that is the work being done here, only on horses instead of people) it is only by going to the bone structure that you really understand how all this stuff works.
    Thanks for sharing this experience with me.

  2. Barbara Breckenfeld September 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM - Reply

    Thanks for your comment, Anne. One of the things I’ve learned is how much MORE there is to know! We often think our bones hold us up, but actually it is our connective tissue using the bones as levers and to organize around. It’s the connective tissue that I influence through my work.

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