If a horse is stretching his neck excessively, having problems changing or picking up leads, and is uncomfortable while working in circles, check the brachiocephalicus.
What signs and symptoms does a horse exhibit when experiencing brachiocephalicus muscle dysfunction?
- Stretching the neck upwards or to the opposite side of afflicted muscle
- In motion the horse travels fine in a straight line, but will feel off on circles. If the muscle is not treated, the horse will start to feel off during all movement
- Has problem picking up front lead on affected side
Where is the brachiocephalicus muscle located?
The brachiocephalicus muscle is a superficial (top layer) muscle found on each side of the neck. It attaches the base of the skull (mastoid process of temporal bone) and first cervical vertebra (C1) to the upper bone in the front leg (humerus).
What movements of the horse are attributed to the brachiocephalicus muscle?
- Moves front leg forward
- Brings front leg in toward other leg (adduction)
- Bends the head and neck to the same side as muscle contraction (lateral flexion)
Activities that cause brachiocephalicus muscle pain and symptoms in the horse:
- Riders who balance on the reins (lesson horses)
- A horse whose discipline requires collection and flexion of the head/neck (dressage, race horses)
- Sudden change in direction causing a rider to jerk the horses head to one side (polo horses)
- Sudden stops, turns, twisting head, neck, shoulders (polo, reining, working cow)
- Pulling sulkies or buggies (trotters, pacers, harness horses)
- Pulling back when tied
How Can Equine Massage Therapy Help With Brachiocephalicus Symptoms:
Massage therapy can help with the brachiocephalicus muscle by releasing a stress point that is located in the muscle near the shoulder. Once the stress point is released the muscle is checked for additional stress points and tension which are released. The head and neck are then stretched, encouraging the muscle to return to a tension free normal state.
Recommended Books About Horse Anatomy
Learn Equine Anatomy
If 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: 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
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 Brachiocephalicus Muscle of the Horse
Equine Brachiocephalicus Muscle consists of two muscles:
- Origin: inscription of clavicle
- Insertion: crest of the humerus
- Action: advances limb, adducts limb
- Innervation: Axillary nerve
- Origin: clavicular intersection
- Insertion: mastoid process of temporal bone
- Action: advances limb, lateral flexion of neck, rotates head
- Innervation: Ventral branch of Accessory nerve(cranial nerve XI)