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Freddie Fox - His Story Continues...

Updated: Jun 5

Horses Inside Out: Freddie Fox

In July 2021 we sadly said good-bye to the wonderful Freddie Fox, who most of you will instantly recognise as the face of Horses Inside Out. He was the horse of a lifetime and he gave so much to the world of horses and helped to educate thousands of people across the world through Horses Inside Out.

Gilllian Higgins winning the 1* class at Gatcombe, receiving the prize for the best young rider under 25 from HRH the Princess Royal.
Gillian Higginswinning the 1* class at Gatcombe, receiving the prize for the best young rider under 25 from HRH the Princess Royal.

After 24 years, it was such a sad day when we lost him. During our time together we rode all round the countryside, on beaches, competed in dressage, showjuming and team chasing, trained with Caroline Moore, Richard Davison and many other top coaches, evented up to intermediate level and our highlight was winning the 1* class at Gatcombe, receiving the prize for the best young rider under 25 from HRH the Princess Royal.

Freddie was the original Horses Inside Out horse. He has been with Horses Inside Out from the very beginning. He has been painted with every anatomical system, the skeleton depicted from the side, from above, in front and behind! The muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments as well as the digestive, respiratory, endocrine, lymphatic, cardiovascular and even the reproductive system of a mare in foal! I think he holds the record for being the first Gelding in Foal.

He has travelled all over the UK to lecture demonstrations and events. One of his many highlights was visiting BBC Television Centre in London where he famously sampled the grass in the Blue Peter Garden. In later years he became a wonderful ride for my father and an expert teacher for my partner in all thing’s stable management.

Having given so much, it was only fitting that Freddie should continue to raise awareness about equine anatomy, biomechanics, posture, movement, soundness and welfare for the good of horses everywhere. So we made the very difficult decision to keep Freddie's bones.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to the Veterinary department at Bristol University for so sensitively and beautifully helping to prepare his skeleton. After carefully studying the bones and varnishing them for protection, we took time to decide on the best position to showcase Freddie. We chose to base the position on the trot pose of Freddie in the Horses Inside Out logo and as featured on the front cover of How Your Horse Moves. We felt that this position demonstrates a large range of limb movement and allows people to consider how their own horses skeleton moves.

Freddie Fox's skeleton continues to educate thousands of people across the world
Freddie Fox's skeleton

With the help of my father (whose mechanical engineering background was invaluable) we started the long, meticulous and challenging process of "building" Freddie's skeleton. I have so much respect for this horse so a great deal of care was taken and to be honest, it felt like such a privilege, we just wanted to make sure we did him justice.

Having decided on the position it was a case of then meticulously measuring the length of the bones and angles of the joints to design the supporting frame which was produced and welded together by my good friend Phil from Old Dog Steel.

I was pleased to include every part of the skeleton in this build including the hyoid apparatus and the sternum and costal cartilages which we particularly difficult and fiddly to get right.

At the Horses Inside Out Conference in February 2023 we revealed Freddie’s skeleton. I must admit I got very emotional when sharing his story. It was fabulous to see (when asking the audience to raise their hands) how many people had met Freddie on a course or at a lecture demonstration, had seen videos of him in the Horses Inside Out Academy or seen pictures of him in my books. So I was not the only person to get emotional that day! Everyone seemed fascinated by his skeleton and appreciative of the opportunity to learn more from him.

Here's what Mark Johnson - Freddie's farrier had to say:

I met Freddie at this year's Horses Inside Out Conference after he had travelled over the rainbow bridge. When one interacts with a horse over several year's it's almost impossible not to feel some connection. Freddie had his issues and in our latter years the process of hoof care became more challenging for both of us. Yet bless him, with his final evidence of various pathologies revealed, which I know caused him a degree of discomfort, he always tried for me. Freddie is a legend in his own right and it's a courageous act on behalf of Gillian to carry on and allow her beloved horse to continue to help educate all of use who wish to learn. I haven't the words really, when I stand by his skeleton there is a deep "something" present - that's for sure.

Since the conference he has taken part in a number of courses and events at Horses Inside Out HQ and will continue to do so into the future. He will also be featuring in the Anatomy Exhibition at the next Horses Inside Out Conference.

I am so proud and pleased that he will live on and continue to help others learn.

Five Fascinating Facts

Here are five fascinating points that we can learn about equine anatomy from Freddie’s skeleton.

Fact 1: About the Neck

Freddie Fox's skeleton - looking at his cervical vertebrae
Freddie Fox's skeleton - cervical vertebrae

I love this view of Freddie’s lower neck vertebrae. You can clearly see the 4th, 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. As the picture is taken from underneath and slightly to the side (a ventral-lateral perspective) it gives a nice view of the underside of the vertebrae and both the left and right transverse processes. This is where anomalies such as cervical vertebral malformation can sometimes be seen. However with Freddie these are all nice and symmetrical. :-)

To learn more about the neck check out the on demand webinar: Understanding the Horse’s Neck:

And join us for the online seminar on Saturday 7th October with Dr Jessica Kidd on Understanding Equine Orthopaedic Problems:

Fact 2: About the Lower Limb

Freddie Fox's lower limb
Freddies Fox's lower limb

In this close up shot of Freddie’s lower limb you can clearly see the lower part of the cannon bone, long pastern, short pastern and pedal bone. The surface of the bone should be reasonably smooth but as Freddie was 25 years old there are some signs of a long life… the almost bubbly appearance on the sides of the short pastern and end of the long pastern is one example can you spot any others?

If you’d like to learn more about the lower limb and the associated tendons and ligaments check out the on demand seminar: Understanding the Tendons of Lower Limb:

And join us for the online seminar on Saturday 7th October with Dr Jessica Kidd on Understanding Equine Orthopaedic Problems:

Fact 3: About Head and Neck Position

Freddy Fox's skeleton - head and neck position
Freddy Fox's skeleton

I love this moody shot of Freddie’s head and neck. He’s holding quite a high head position here so it makes it hard to imagine all the topline musculature and soft tissue structures that lie above the neck vertebrae. No wonder there are so many misconceptions about the positioning of the neck vertebrae in horses!

To learn more about the neck check out the on demand webinar: Understanding the Horse’s Neck:

To learn more about the anatomy of the head check out the book Illustrated Head Anatomy and the on demand webinar: Anatomy of the Head

Fact 4: About Continuity

Freddy Fox's skeleton - thoracic vertebrae and scapula
Freddy Fox's skeleton - thoracic vertebrae and scapula

In anatomy everything is connected to everything. For learning purposes, we often divide the body into parts, however, this breaks up the body in our mind. I love this photograph of the base of the neck turning into the thoracic vertebrae between the scapulas. It really helps give a sense of continuity. No wonder then, what happens in the back affects the neck and visa versa.

To learn more about the neck and the anatomical connections check out the on demand webinar: Understanding the Horse’s Neck:

Fact 1: About the Skull

Freddie Fox's skull
Freddie Fox's skull

What a gorgeous view of Freddie’s skull – the angle seems to have captured his character an personality! Notice the holes in the bones these are call foramen and are where nerves emerge to serve the muscles and superficial structures of the lips and nostrils. Understanding the anatomy of the head is vital for bridle and tack fit. If you want to learn more about this come on our seminar – Get Ahead! On Saturday 2nd December with myself and Dr Chris Pearce. You can join us online or in person at the Royal Agricultural University.

Also check out the book Illustrated Head Anatomy

I do hope you have enjoyed this article. Please do add your comments and questions below

Gillian xxx

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Mit 5 von 5 Sternen bewertet.

What a wonderful horse. So pleased that his journey continues.

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17. Juli 2023
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How lovely and what a privilege to continue to learn from Freddie Fox!

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