Magic angle magnetic resonance (MR) imaging consists of imaging tendons at 55° to the magnetic field. In people, magic angle MR imaging is valuable for detection of chronic tendon lesions and allows calculation of tendon T1 values. Increased T1 values occur in people with chronic tendinopathy. The T1 values of normal equine tendons have been reported but there are no available data for abnormal equine tendons. Twelve limbs were studied. Two limbs had diode laser tendon lesions induced postmortem, four limbs had diode laser tendon lesions induced in vivo and six limbs had naturally occurring tendon lesions. The limbs were imaged at 1.5 T using both conventional MR imaging and magic angle MR imaging. The post-mortem laser induced lesions were identified only with magic angle MR imaging. The in vivo induced lesions and naturally occurring lesions were identified with both techniques but had a different appearance with the two imaging techniques. Magic angle imaging was helpful at identifying lesions that were hypointense on conventional imaging. Increased T1 values were observed in all abnormal tendons and in several tendons with a subjectively normal MR appearance. The increased T1 value may reflect diffuse changes in the biochemical composition of tendons. Magic angle imaging has potential as a useful noninvasive tool to assess the changes of the extracellular tendon matrix using T1 values.