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Pony Anatomy Tutorial: legs and joints by secret-pony Pony Anatomy Tutorial: legs and joints by secret-pony
I made a few sketches to explain pony leg/joint anatomy to somepony,
but I figured other people might be able to use these sketches to learn pony anatomy as well.

For animal legs I've always remembered a picture from my biology book in high school
which compared the skeleton structure in human arms with the legs/wings of animals.
The "equivalent" bones had the same color, so it was really clear to see how the joints worked. (like this: [link])

These sketches are in no way anatomically accurate,
they're just a simplified visualisation of the similarities between human and animal limbs
and to show how you can use your arm as a reference when drawing ponies :giggle:

Also, pony/horse bones don't look like that... I just drew some random bone-y thingies there x3

Don't forget to check out my other tutorials:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsharkglasses:
sharkglasses Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is fantastic! Thanks for sharing it with us!
Reply
:iconjuuxmiko:
JuuxMiko Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014
at first i wasn't sure how that would work, because a horse/pony leg does not work the same as a human arm, but then I remembered that MLP ponies don't have normal real life horse/pony legs oh oh oh
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
It kinda does irl though, but a lot less intuitive than I tried to draw here! x3
x
Reply
:iconearthtopaigey:
EarthToPaigey Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks a million for this! It's very nice to have the visual aid. :]
Reply
:icontesterkagier:
TesterkaGier Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
I did not think that the human frame is similar to the legs of ponies :D

Reply
:iconfirekirby135:
firekirby135 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
This is... well... I'm not going to say it's WRONG, as it isn't entirely inaccurate, plus we're talking about cartoon ponies here. However, there is a little discrepancy that I do feel should be pointed out. That discrepancy is exactly what parts of the legs correspond to what in the hind leg. First off, the knee joint is actually in the thigh of the cartoon ponies. What everyone assumes is the knee (and what you have listed here as corresponding to the elbow) actually corresponds to the ankle. It should be obvious by this point, but the only hinge joints past that  in a human are the toes. Yes, the hooves  are actually the toes of an equine, not the hands and feet. Like I said though, this diagram isn't entirely wrong, only slightly so. The forelegs are fine, but in the hind legs are missing a bone, the femur, which would be in-between the blue bone (tibia fibula) and the pelvis.
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Student Digital Artist
"These sketches are in no way anatomically accurate, 
they're just a simplified visualisation of the similarities between human and animal limbs 
and to show how you can use your arm as a reference when drawing ponies :giggle:"
Reply
:iconlukaner-z:
lukaner-Z Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013
very clarifying 
Reply
:iconcaffinated-pinecone:
Caffinated-Pinecone Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
!!!
OH GOD I N33DED THIS
Reply
:iconshadowsketch91:
ShadowSketch91 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Student General Artist
nvm got it XD
Reply
:iconshadowsketch91:
ShadowSketch91 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Student General Artist
can't download it on my mac... wtf is this! XD
Reply
:iconvaschain:
VasChain Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks, man.
this is very useful
Reply
:iconthatguyontheinterweb:
ThatGuyOnTheInterweb Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I needed this... just to be sure. Thanks!
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
heh, np! ^^
Reply
:icondavidcurser:
DavidCurser Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
who didnt know that?
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
well, I've seen some cringe worthy anatomy going around ^^;
and it's more meant to show how you can use your arm as an easy reference anyway ^u^
Reply
:icondavidcurser:
DavidCurser Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
i did the same with speechbubbles
we share a feeling
Reply
:iconmenollysagittaria:
MenollySagittaria Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ponies seem to have a ball joint at the elbow in the show. O.o
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
*shrugs* I'm not a biology expert nor someone's trying to draw in a show-accurate style.
This is just how I do it and how I think it looks good (too). ^u^

Anatomy should be correct (to a certain extend), but drawing styles and such always leave room for a little interpretation :3
As long as the basics are all right (such as limbs not bending in the wrong direction or having too many joints), then I find almost anything goes :nod:
Reply
:iconmenollysagittaria:
MenollySagittaria Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, the show frequently has the front pony legs bending in the "wrong" direction XD That's what I was referring to. They seem to be able to bend both up and down.
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
True, but it works... somehow x3
I'd put it in the part that's open for interpretation :giggle:

I sometimes I give my ponies human-esque shoulders... because it doesn't look too bad after all x3
Reply
:iconmerkleythedrunken:
MERKLEYtheDRUNKEN Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
My pony-hindlegs always look odd, so I can use any help I get!
Thank you!
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Student Digital Artist
good luck! ^^ :icondashsaluteplz:
Reply
:iconmerkleythedrunken:
MERKLEYtheDRUNKEN Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013
Thank you! I'll give my best!
Reply
:iconrex42:
Rex42 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow! these are great! thank very much for shearing!
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
yw, I hope they're helpful ^^
Reply
:iconchasnim22:
Chasnim22 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Student General Artist
I thank you
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Np :3
Reply
:icondraneas:
draneas Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so useful! nice!
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I'm glad. ^^
Reply
:iconsyncallio:
SynCallio Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Man, I wish I'd seen this when I started drawing ponies. Clear and concise!

I try to use horse anatomy and human equivalents for drawing ponies, but I suspect my ponies have "cat" in them. Because that's the four-legged creature I'm around. :kitty:
Reply
:iconkorban3:
Korban3 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is fantastic!
I'm drawing up designs for the joints so I could out a wooden pony together. This really helped clear up the leg structure, especially the hind legs, for me. Should be much easier to make this little guy now. Thanks for making this!
Reply
:icontshadowknight:
TShadowKnight Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
I'm now kicking myself for not checking your DA more often. This is very helpful for something I'm trying to do =p
(Fortunately Angerelic brought this up)
Reply
:iconzerodevil:
ZeroDevil Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012
Nicely done.

This should prove useful for anyone who wants to know basic appendage posing.
Reply
:iconaffinityshy:
AffinityShy Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012   Filmographer
This is a great visual reference. The color coding helps a lot. Good work!
Reply
:iconkadenjahusk:
KadenJahusk Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This will come in handy!
Reply
:iconevilbob0:
Evilbob0 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012
LOL. The random bone thingies you gave the ponies definitely made me laugh.

And you're definitely oversimplifying things. Think about how many bones are in the human hand to allow adept manipulation. The pony hoof as one apparently solid appendage would prolly be even more complex to allow their manipulation. lol. :D

It's a good reference though. Thx!
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Shhht, it's good enough! xD
Reply
:iconhandofcreation0:
HandofCreation0 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For some reason I just imagine marshmallows... and it works.
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
lol? xD
Reply
:icondemonicdubstep:
DemonicDubstep Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! I suck at back legs and laying down.
Reply
:iconsonic-chaos:
Sonic-chaos Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very helpful. I always mess up the back legs >_<
Reply
:iconvectasus:
Vectasus Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You compare both the front- and hind legs to human arms. Interesting.
Reply
:iconsecret-pony:
secret-pony Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Ofc it's not anatomically correct, but the comparison is harder to make with our legs than with our arms.
Our knee joint is placed in a horse/pony's hip and their "knees" are actually our ankles.
I find it confusing so I stick with comparing arms :giggle:

It's also easier when I'm doubting, I just stick out my arm in the pose I want and I have my reference right in front of me ^^
Reply
:iconsyncallio:
SynCallio Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The thing I keep in mind is "ponies walk on their toes." Think of how a cat or dog walks, how the heel is halfway up the leg and only touches the ground when they sit. That's how four-legged animals walk, hoofed or not. (So much "cat" in my ponies!)

Or those prosthetic legs for amputee runners that are basically leaf-springs. PopSci.com

Of course, my "reference" is currently napping in my lap. Not everyone has a cat or dog on hand. :-)
Reply
:iconmenollysagittaria:
MenollySagittaria Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, not necessarily. Not all. Bears are "plantigrade" meaning they walk on what is roughly equivalent to the fronts of our palms. Rabbits, raccoons, hedgehogs, and wolverines are other plantigrades that I can name off the top of my head.

And horses and other hoofed animals are "farther" up on their toes (toenail, actually) than dogs or cats. They're called ungulates.
Reply
:iconrimefox:
RimeFox Featured By Owner May 21, 2014
actually most of four-legged animals are plantigrade, only several "families", like canines, felines and similar  to them  have digitigrade structure of leg. It's unstable and energy-ineffective structure.

Ungulates actually have different structure of limbs, unique to them, their front  legs can be  straight, like plantigrade, and thus statically stable. Read legs are stable at bottom part, only strained  muscles are at hip, but those are main propulsion muscles.

Hooves aren't toes, what left of toes in  that anatomy is welded into solid bone, known as canon. Practically, hooves are fingertips with overgrown toenails :p
Reply
:iconvectasus:
Vectasus Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I see. I'm not criticizing. Its always good to see how other artists see things differently. If i draw i imagine my hands and feet being strapped to stilts, or either being very long. Its art, not science. If it looks good, it is good.
Reply
:icon25nanao16:
25Nanao16 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
they have...bones!!?//
Reply
:iconsachiaoitori:
Sachiaoitori Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Student General Artist
Technically the hooves are analogous to the fingers and the forelimb (green) is analogous to the hand/foot, but hey, close enough XD /isabiologystudent
Reply
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