The relationship between spinal biomechanics and pathological changes occurring in functionally normal equine thoracolumbar spines was studied in 23 horses. Ventrolateral vertebral body osteophytes occurred in 36 per cent of the spines. The majority occurred between the 10th and 17th thoracic vertebrae with the largest being found between the 11th and 13th thoracic vertebrae, the region of the thoracic spine where the greatest amount of lateral bending and axial rotation occurs. Impingement of the dorsal spinous processes was detected in 86 per cent of the spines with most lesions occurring between the 13th and 18th thoracic vertebrae. The severity of occurrence of impingement did not appear to be related to regional spinal mobility. Degeneration of intervertebral discs was observed in three of four specimens that were sectioned sagittally. It occurred in the first thoracic and the lumbosacral intervertebral discs and appeared to be related to the increased dorsoventral mobility and the increased disc thickness of these joints. The characteristic distribution of fractures of the thoracolumbar spine is discussed with respect to the biomechanics of the spine.