How to even out muscling... - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-24-2008, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Greenville, NC
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How to even out muscling...

I have already posted in another section that my horse is very uneven in the size of his shoulder muscles making saddle fitting an issue. While searching for a saddle, I am going to try to even out that musculature.

I am very conscientious about working him evenly on both sides, so I really doubt that I am the cause of the unevenness. When he is turned out, if he does not have enough grass to munch on, he will circle, to the point where he digs a trench (his last trench was at least five inches deeper than the surrounding ground!). The barn manager tries to keep him in an area with enough grass, but this is not always possible...in those cases he does gets plenty of hay. Anyways, his circles are always to the right, never to the left.

Now for his unevenness...it is his right shoulder that is more pronounced. When the vet came out last week for vaccinations and accupuncture, I asked her if a horse circled more to the right than the left, which side would she expect the larger muscle to be on. Her answer was the left or outside muscle. I asked the same of my instructor and farrier and they guessed left too. But it is his right side that is larger!!!

SO I am confused. Is it possible that his unevenness is caused by the circles he does...or should the left side be larger as a result? And he is uneven for another reason. I worry that if this is the case will doing more work in the left direction help or hurt the situation?
Can anyone confirm which muscle should be larger as a result of circling right?
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-24-2008, 04:15 PM
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I'm not sure which set of muscles are worked on which rein, but if he's stronger on one side (and this'll be the side he works easier on, so maybe you can use that to confirm how you need to work) then you need to work him longer on the other rein to build up the muscles on that side too and even it out.

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-24-2008, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Claire, so you are saying to find whichever direction he is working easier and do the opposite? That may be the direction to go in to build up the left side? I will probably need to have someone more experienced to watch and help me find that side if that is the case...I am still in the early learning stages and although sometimes I can feel things like tenseness or ease of movement there are still many times that I can't.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-24-2008, 06:00 PM
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I'm no expert, I'm basing this on a discussion I had with my instructor this week. She was getting me to feel which side the horse moved more easily on throughout the gaits, and explained that the side they want to move on and the side they move best on is almost always the side on which they have the stronger muscles - which makes sense. It's easier for them to work when they have the appropriate muscling and fitness. Therefore you have to work them a bit more on the other side to build them up there as well. She said that a half-hour lesson wouldn't make much of a difference, but that it's good to be able to feel this sort of thing and work on the more difficult rein to even the horse up. I couldn't really feel much of a difference on that horse, though in canter he was marginally lighter on one rein than the other.

I'd get one of the more experienced guys here to give a second opinion, though. I can only repeat what my instructor said to me.

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-24-2008, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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It certainly makes sense! I will have my instructor help me to find the side that moves best this week in my lesson. I am curious to see if it is in fact the side with more muscling on him. I have been really surprised that my vet, farrier, and riding instructor are stumped too on the answers to these questions!

Like you, I am hoping that others will chime in with their thoughts!

My farrier did suggest today that I canter him in the round pen to see if he picks up the correct leads in both directions....I did, and he did....so that didn't help!
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-25-2008, 01:21 AM
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Just throwing this out there......but purhaps this is caused by a comformation fault?

Some not so well formed or whatever part of him is making him use himself incorrectly....and just build up the muscle the way he has, to compensate for this slightly inccorect body posture. Im not sure what.....but maby get a chiro out to have a look at how his muscles and things are going, they might be able to advise you on some exercises for particular muscles.

Technically I think the horse should be worked evenly on each side and eveness will come in time..... but that's just my opinion.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-25-2008, 10:45 AM
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I would start with having a vet look at him and rule out any lameness behind. A horse will compensate on the front if they are lame behind, so that could be a cause of why one shoulder is larger, for example a horse can be lame on their back right, but show the lameness on their front left and then compensate with the front right to take pressure off the left front where they are compensating. Just a thought, I would rule out lameness first before deciding on the correct work program. I would start with the rear end for the lameness as well, especially if he "weaves" or paces in the pasture, his back leg may have issues. I would start there, and then depending on what the vet says I would then put a program together.

Let me know what the vet says, and I can give you some ideas of a good work program. I actually do re-hab and re-conditioning for a living.....how ironic.
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