Generally speaking, a muscle features:
– a point of origin (anchor)
– a muscle belly (power), and
– a point of insertion (motion)
It is during the cooling down period after a strenuous workout, when insufficient oxygen (anoxia) is getting to the muscle that it is most susceptible to strain and spasm.
Stress is most likely to occur at the muscle’s anchor, where it attaches to the bone by tendonous fibres and is the least flexible. Stress point locations are the same for all horses.
However, different disciplines stress different points. Depending on whether you use your horse for racing, eventing, showjumping, dressage, endurance, polo, hacking or anything else will determine which points are stressed the most by repetitive movements.
When a muscle can no longer accommodate what is being demanded of it, it will pull or tear.
Prevention is better than cure
The best protection against injury there is, is prevention. Most injuries due to muscular strain can be prevented. The more that is expected of your horse, the greater the need for preventive maintenance.
Not your horse, you say? Unfortunately, even a buck in just the wrong way, out in the field, is enough to strain a muscle. By the time you notice a problem with your horse’s movement, it’s a sign that a problem has already taken hold. With a sensible training program and regularly scheduled therapy sessions, you can optimise your horse’s wellbeing and performance.