updated: 2022-02-09 11:33:02

It is a well known fact that many horses have problems correctly developing the larger muscles of the hind quarters.
Aside from irregularities arising from conformational issues, one of the most notable traits in a horse that is incorrectly using it's hind end is the lack of development in the Medial Gluteal muscles, coupled with the over-development of the Semitendinosus (part of the hamstrings) and Bicep Femoris.
The neurological communication to the horse's eyes, ears, nose and more sensitive areas is far faster with specific muscle fibres per motor neuron. However, in the gluteal muscles and those of the hind quarters, communication is more limited with potentially thousands of muscles fibres per single motor neuron.
This makes it very hard to target and train specific muscles, especially during rehabilitation or once an incorrect movement pattern has been established. Unfortunately many believe that aids and gadgets can work miracles and build muscle. This may be true in some cases but in extreme examples the same fact remains.
No level of gadgets or aids will build or engage a muscle that has shut down with no communication. Attempting to engage a horse's hind quarters when there is limited communication and "pushing them through it" will result in resistance that is shown physically and behaviourally.
This is an example of why it is so important to listen to our horses when they buck, rear, swap leads/refuse to pick up one lead and speed off to name a few. The horse is trying to demonstrate to the rider that it is in discomfort. If the development of muscle in the hind quarters does not follow the correct pattern it can result in forward tilting of the pelvis and imbalance in the lumbar region to name a few.
A tilted pelvis and resulting muscular tension can mean the horse will have a weak back. If it is not encouraged to strengthen and come up, therefore allowing the pelvic, lumbar and sacral regions to relax, it will mean that the hind quarters are effectively being blocked.
A horse with discomfort behind can give the appearance of being strung out behind, putting extra pressure on their lower back, hocks and stifles. There are many exercises, in hand or ridden, to help build the muscles of the hind quarters, some with fantastic results! Contact me for more information


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