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Jan 282013
Serratus Thoracis muscle connects the horse's ribs to the shoulder blade.

If your horse is sore in the girth and withers area and has an uneven gait causing your saddle to slip to one side, check the serratus thoracis muscle.

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

  • Reacts when the girth is tightened
  • Soreness around the girth area
  • Possible soreness in the wither area
  • Uneven carriage of the trunk will cause the saddle to slip to one side
  • Gait is stilted and shortened, often lifting one front leg higher than the other, or a tendency to drag a foot

Where is the serratus thoracis muscle located?

The serratus thoracis is a deep layer muscle. It attaches the ribs to the shoulder blade (scapula).

What movements are attributed to the serratus thoracis muscle?

  • Supports the trunk.
  • Raises neck when the front leg is fixed.
  • Assists in inspiration (inhaling).

Activities that cause serratus thoracis muscle pain and symptoms in the horse:

  • Landing after a jump (jumpers, eventers, steeplechase)
  • Quick starts, sudden stops and hard change of direction (racers, cutters, reiners, working cow, barrel horse, gymkhana, polo)
  • Horses who pull against the bit (jumpers, eventers, race horses, polo)

How Can Equine Massage Therapy Help With Serratus Thoracis Symptoms?

Massage therapy can help with serratus thoracis muscle pain and symptoms by releasing a stress point located toward the back of the shoulder. The muscle is then worked to relieve additional tension. Gentle stretching of the neck, shoulder and back muscles will encourage the serratus thoracis 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 Serratus Thororacis of the Horse:

Origin: First 8 or 9 ribs
Insertion:  Scapular cartilage, and two adjacent triangular areas on medial surface of scapula
Action:  Suspends trunk, raises neck when forelimb is fixed, supports inspiration
Innervation:  Ventral branch of cervical nerve


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