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Remove the stiffness of the muscles in the girth

Leveraging the muscles in the girth area can cause discomfort to the horse and, consequently, affect the quality of the horse’s work. I want to tell you how to identify the relevant problem and solve it.

Your horse never had bad habits under the saddle, was responsive and determined to cooperate, but suddenly changed – started pressing her ears and backing up when you asked her to go forward? She refuses to rise at a gallop, and it is difficult to raise it with the right foot? She is not lame, but you see that something is wrong with her? What is going on?

Pectoral muscle is one of the three pectoral muscles that help your horse’s foreleg. I am pointing to the ground, which spreads out and down to the ground.

Posterior Pectoral is one of the three pectoral muscles that help move the horse’s foreleg. I point to the top of a muscle that expands and goes down.

Despite the fact that various reasons can be based on various reasons, I, based on my experience of a sports horse masseur, can say that the most frequently encountered of them is muscle stiffening in the girth area. Below I will tell you how to identify and correct this problem using sports massage techniques.


Among the three pectoral muscles, Posterior Pectoral should be distinguished, which helps to move the foreleg. This flat triangular muscle lies on the ribcage behind the horse’s front leg. It extends from a point on the back of the humerus (large bone of the forelimb below the shoulder) to points along its chest and sternum (brisket) on the midline of the abdomen. When this muscle contracts, it pulls the leg back. Other muscles contract to move the limb forward, but the leg cannot freely swing forward if the Posterior Pectoral does not relax to release it.

Simple muscular enslavement is one of the most common causes of a horse’s refusal to work. If enslaved enslaved, it does not allow the legs to move freely. Forward movement becomes blocked. The movement of the corresponding hind limb may also suffer, as the horse always moves synchronously in front and behind. In this case, the horse may exhibit signs of “being downtrodden”, object during saddling or saddling, or move in short, hurried steps. In extreme cases, the horse may even stand on a candle to resist moving forward. Often, however, the symptoms are not so pronounced.

As the horse feels discomfort, pushing the leg forward, it can:

difficulty climbing up or down the hills;
reluctant to rise at a gallop with the right foot or baptize;
hang your legs over an obstacle;
have difficulties in overcoming obstacles that force it to reach the front (latitudinal obstacles);
to show reluctance when asked for an increase or during tempo changes; and
will tire quickly because it must work against being enslaved in order to go forward.
If a horse exhibits one or more of these signs, it will be easy for you to find out if Posterior Pectoral is involved. Just perform this simple check from each side: stand at the horse’s shoulder and place a palm (flat) on the area behind the elbow. This place is quite sensitive, so keep in mind that a horse may try to quit or even hit or bite, especially if it experiences painful sensations.

If the muscle is relaxed, this area will feel smooth and soft. If it is enslaved or spasmed, you will feel the knot – an area resembling a small hot dog, across the muscle (perpendicular to the ground).

Working on

The muscle can be relaxed with a simple massage technique. Standing at the horse’s shoulder, lay the brush flat on its side, right behind the elbow. The hand should be relaxed. Using mild, moderate pressure throughout the palm or base of the palm, gently work along the muscle at a distance of about one and a half times the length of the palm. The horse will tell you, putting his ears, trying to leave, or giving another signal if the pressure is too strong. As a rule, the knot softens in just a few minutes. Then the muscle will become soft and supple, and the horse will relax.

In the case of the muscle, I am standing on the ground. I am feeling a little hot-dog-shaped vertical lump.

To find the Posterior Pectoral stiffness and spasm, I stand at the horse’s shoulder and press the area behind the elbow with a flat brush, moving down toward the ground. I feel under the palm or soft muscle tissue, or a small bundle of muscles that resembles a hot dog.

After the massage, you can do exercises that complete the procedure, activating and extending the muscle fibers. For this, it will be especially useful to work on canter.

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