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Horse anatomy has always fascinated me. After getting a degree in fine art, I had the opportunity to collect and build a pony skeleton from the ground up. In order to put the bones back together, I did research on equine anatomy by attending large animal dissections at the NCSU Vet School, studied equine anatomy as sculpture at the Kentucky Horse park, and poured through numerous books on horse skeletal structures and movement. One of these books contained the work of Edweard Muyerbridge who is famous for creating the world’s first ever movie of a galloping horse!

Muyerbridge’s movie of a galloping horse

In the late 19th century, Muyerbridge created his series of photos of a galloping horse and pieced them together to create the first motion sequence photographs that captured the movement of horses at high speeds.

Horses Inside Out

Gillian Higgins, creator of Horses Inside Out, is inspired by Muyerbridge and is taking his work into the 21st century with painted horses and slow-motion videos, along with clear explanations that allow the audience to observe and understand what is happening under the skin as the horse moves.

Horses Inside Out is an award-winning, internationally recognized organization. Its purpose is to give riders, coaches, therapists, in fact, anyone interested in discovering more about horses, a fascinating insight into equine locomotion, training, management and welfare from an anatomical perspective.

Gillian recently wrote an article about Muyerbridge and how he influences her work, which she graciously allowed us to share.

Equine Movement and Muybridge

Written by Gillian Higgins

Ever since, as a student in Cirencester when Gillian came across the work of Edweard Muyerbridge, she was fascinated by his photographic studies of horse movement. A few years later she came across a poster showing his work. That poster is still on her office wall!

Edweard, a photographer born in England but who had emigrated to America in 1850, became involved in equine locomotion when Leland Stanford, a horseman and former Governor of California who was interested in horse gait analysis, disagreed with the general fashion in which horse gaits were portrayed in paintings of the day.

At that time, the style was for galloping horses to be painted with their forelimbs and hind limbs being stretched out in front and behind respectively.

 

Painting: “Baronet” by George Stubbs – note the interpretation of the legs.

To learn more about the history of the study of equine anatomy and movement watch the Free video lecture in the Horses Inside Out Academy HERE

…After a few unsuccessful attempts, Edweard came up with the idea of arranging 24 cameras at intervals of 27 inches.

Using his own invention Muybridge went on to put the images together creating a proto-motive. The world’s first ever movie was of a galloping horse!!

Read the full article and others on the Horses Inside Out website, and see more instructional anatomy webinars and demonstrations of horse movement.

Check out this video produced by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art about Eadweard Muybridge who is remembered today for his pioneering photographic studies of motion, which ultimately led to the development of cinema.