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Jan 282013
The equine infraspinatus muscle connects the horse's shoulder blade to the upper leg bone.

Horses who show lameness in the shoulder and buckling knees may have pain in the infraspinatus.

What signs and symptoms does a horse exhibit when experiencing infraspinatus muscle dysfunction?

  • Horse stands with the front leg bent at the knee, keeps weight off affected side
  • Shortened stride
  • Lameness in the shoulder

Where is the infraspinatus muscles located?

  • The infraspinatus attaches the shoulder blade (scapula) to the bone in the upper leg (humerus).

What movements are attributed to the infraspinatus muscle?

  • Moves the shoulder forward (extension).
  • Bending of the shoulder joint (flexion)
  • Moves the leg to the outside as in a sidepass (abduction).
  • Plays an important role in prevention of dislocation of the shoulder.

Activities that cause infraspinatus muscle pain and symptoms in the horse:

  • Landing when jumping (jumpers, eventers, steeplechase)
  • Side to side movements  (dressage horse, cutting horses, reining horses, work cow horses)

How Can Equine Massage Therapy Help With Infraspinatus Symptoms?

Massage therapy can help with infraspinatus muscle pain and symptoms by releasing stress points  near where the muscle (tendon) connects to the bone. The muscle is then worked to relieve additional tension. Gentle stretching of the shoulder and front legs muscles will encourage the infraspinatus to return to its normal state.

Recommended Books About Horse Anatomy

Learn Equine Anatomy

Clinical Anatomy of the Horse will guide you in learning about the anatomy of the horseIf you are someone who wants to understand your horse inside out, this book is for you! Clinical Anatomy Of The Horse  is the most comprehensive visual equine anatomy book on the market. Images are not diagrams, they are pictures taken while examining live horses and photos of autopsies performed immediately after death. The photos are very graphic so viewer be warned. But if the site of a dissected body does not bother you, I highly recommend this book. It will give you a visual map of the anatomy and physiology of your horse

Discover How The Skeleton and Muscles Move When Your Horse Is In Motion

How Your Horse Moves helps you understand how groups of muscles work together for movement.
How Your Horse Moves: A visual guide to improving performance, should be in the library of everyone who rides and takes care of horses. Author Gillian Higgins paints the skeleton and muscles on live horses with amazing precision. The photos allow you to not only see exactly how your horse’s bone structure is put together but also shows how the muscles move as the horse is in motion. Ms. Higgins also provides information about the skeletal bones, easy to understand information about muscle and soft tissue bio-mechanics explanations of movement, a trouble shooting guide and simple but effective stretches for not only your horse but you too! If you are an equine massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor, this book is a must have.

Learn Basic Equine Massage Techniques To Help Your Horse

Learn basic equine massage techniques and the theory behind equine massage
The Basic Principles of Equine Massage/Muscle Therapy is book for those who want to learn to help their horse with basic massage techniques. The first part of the book explains massage theory and equine anatomy in an easy to understand format. The next section of the book is a pictorial of Mike Scott working on a horse. Mike shows which technique to use, placement of hands and gives an idea of how much pressure to apply. The book ends with sections on stretching your horse and proper saddle fitting. Though the book is geared to beginners, professional equine massage therapist will glean knowledge and tips. This is a good book for beginners and a great reference book for the experienced equine bodyworker.

Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation of the Infraspinatus Muscle if the Horse:

  • Origin: The infraspinatus fossa and scapular cartilage and spine
  • Insertion:  Fleshy on greater tubercle of humerus, strong tendon to lateral surface of the greater tubercle distal to lateral insertion of supraspinatus
  • Action: Extends and flexes the shoulder joint, substitutes as a ligament to prevent dislocation of the shoulder.
  • Innervation: Suprascapular Nerve


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