Tetanic Contractions Part 2
What impact does the rider impose upon the neck of the horse? Excessive pressures applied to the bit, excessive pressure applied to the bit and bridle when pulling the reins rearward are the direct and proximate cause of tetanic contractions throughout the muscle system of the horse.
The saddle will thus no longer act as an impediment upon the back muscle structure of the horse, if it is correctly designed and fitted. The thoracic trapezius muscles extend forward over the withers and the saddle should not now have any impact forces upon these muscles.
The shoulder muscles are independent of the back ‘suspension bridge’ structure; however the shoulders connect to the withers through the deltoid, and the thoracic trapezius muscles. The shoulder muscles are not independent of the neck muscles. The omotransverse, the supraspinous & infraspinous, subclavius muscles, cutaneous muscles of shoulder, and cervical part of trapezius muscle are all directly affected by the riders’ pressures being applied to the face and mouth of the horse.
Over bent and behind the vertical, as well as rolkur directly apply excessive external compression forces upon muscles, nerves and glands directly behind and under the jaws. The tranverse cervical nerves, linguo facial veins, cranial nerve VII, cleidomastoid part of the brachiocephalic muscles, the sternothyroid muscles, depressor muscles of pinna [parotidoauricular], parotid salivary glands, the sternomandibular, cricothyroid, pharyngeal, occipitomandibular, occipitohyoid, thyropharyngeal, cricopharyngeal muscles, sternohyoid & sternothyroid muscles, hyopharyngeal, longus capitis & longus colli muscles are directly affected by the riders’ pressures being applied to the face and mouth of the horse.
In an article addressing founder and RER, found on Equine Alternative Health Supply website, written June 2002, Dr. Melyni Worth states the following: "Within the muscle cell Mg and Ca have antagonistic functions. The Ca ion is released during muscle contraction and binds to the actin-myosin complex ‘locking’ it in the shortened or contracted state. When relaxation of the muscle is required Mg ions are released and ‘knock’ the Ca from the binding site allowing the actin-myosin complex to relax the back to the inactive or non-contracted state. Hence low muscle levels of Mg are associated with tetanic muscle states e.g. Muscle spasms or muscle that cannot relax or return to normal state."
Spending hours searching the Internet has revealed that studies have been done reflecting scientific interest in parasitic and disease induced tetanic contractions. What apparently are missing from any scientific study of tetanic contractions are the external causes placed upon the horse by the rider, by the choice of equipment used, and by the schooling/riding methods implemented.
The question must then be raised; how can any individual recognize the physical inducement of tetanic contraction injuries upon the muscle structure of the horse? If there is not information being communicated within the equine industry about externally induced tetanic contractions and the effects upon the horse, how is an individual to acquire such knowledge?
The national and international governing bodies of equine sporting events place the health and welfare of the horse as the primary mission. One must ask; how can this be fully accomplished when the responsible individuals of these organizations do not even know of the injury referred to as externally induced tetanic contraction and the effects upon the horse? If polled, less than 5% of licensed judges and steward would know what an externally induced tetanic contraction injury is. If polled, less than 5% of owners, riders, trainers and clinicians would know what an externally induced tetanic contraction injury is.
A horse is lame when it cannot move with free, loose, supple muscles because certain regions of the muscle structure are in tetanic contraction. Tetanic contraction prevents a horse from moving with its natural gaits and lengths of stride, from moving with a soft and supple back, and from moving with a supple and fully engaged hindquarter.
If the owners, riders, trainers, judges and stewards that are in the equine competitive arenas were palpated in the like manner of the horse [myotherapy palpation] they would quickly realize that they are unknowingly and unwittingly imposing injuries to the muscle structure of the horses.
Externally induced tetanic contraction injuries are usually recognizable even when the injury is new and/or minor. Externally induced tetanic contraction injuries are easily repaired and the process is usually permanent unless the horse re-injures itself in some manner. Currently there are numerous schools, companies, and individuals marketing equine massage, equine ‘myotherapy’, laser therapy, aqua therapy, heat therapy and of course nutritional therapy as solutions for horses displaying abnormal gaits and abnormal behaviors when being ridden. Each of these modalities has some benefits to externally induced tetanic contraction injuries, however, factors such as repetitiveness of session requirement costs, and nutritional supplement costs should be seriously looked at. [myo means muscle]
Marketed equine massage and myotherapy techniques are not completely effective has the principles applied are human in nature and actually do not correctly/completely induce repair within the deep muscles nor along the contracted section of muscle. Research on the Internet has shown that equine massage therapists manipulate the muscles, while equine myotherapists use trigger point modality in conjunction with massage. These therapies do work and are beneficial, just not completely effective.