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Jan 282013

The equine spinalis dorsi connects the neck, upper and lower back vertebrae .

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

  • Pronounced soreness in withers area
  • Reacts when the girth is tightened
  • Resists downward movement of the head, carries head high
  • The horse will resist turning head and neck to the opposite side
  • The horse resists moving sideways

Where is the spinalis dorsi muscles located?

The spinalis dorsi is a deep layer muscle. It attaches the lumbar (low back), thoracic (upper back) and cervical (neck) vertebrae.

What movements are attributed to the spinalis dorsi muscle?

  • Raises the neck (elevation)
  • Bends the neck to the side (lateral flexion)
  • It helps to stabilize the vertebrae.

Activities that cause spinalis dorsi muscle pain and symptoms in the horse:

  • A rider who constantly pulls or balances on the reins (lesson horse, rental horse)
  • A horse whose discipline requires collection and flexion of the head/neck (dressage, race horses)
  • Horses who pull against the bit (jumpers, eventers, race horses)
  • Sudden change in direction, sudden starts and stops (race horse, polo horse, reining horse, cutting horse, work cow horse, barrel horse, gymkhana horse)
  • Carriage horses that carry their heads high. Pressure from the collar will also cause pain and symptoms.
  • Pulling back when tied.

How Can Equine Massage Therapy Help With Spinalis Dorsi Symptoms?

Massage therapy can help with spinalis dorsi muscle pain and symptoms by releasing a stress point located close to the withers. The muscle is then worked to relieve additional tension. Gentle stretching of the head, neck and back muscles will encourage the spinalis dorsi 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 Spinalis Dorsi of the Horse:

Origin: Spinous processes of lumbar and last 6 thoracic vertebrae
Insertion:  Spinous processes of the first 6-7 thoracic and the last 5 cervical vertebrae
Action:  stabilizes back and neck, elevates neck, laterally bends neck
Innervation:  Dorsal branch of spinal nerve