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Building up muscle in the hindquarters

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  G & S 2 years ago.

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  • jess_n_jazz Original Poster
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 15

    My gelding and I do primarily barrel racing, he’s 18 years old and I’ve started noticing lately that he’s been a little tight/sore on his left side, especially in the shoulder area. I’m giving him a couple weeks off from barrels to get “back to basics” I guess we can say haha and focus more on flat work. He’s an appendix and is mostly all muscle during our rodeo season, he knows how to work off his a** end but relies heavier on his front end especially with stops which is the main reason why he’s been a little tight lately on that left side. I have been doing some stretches with him a few days a week along with menthol rubs, but am looking for some suggestions on what we can work on in the ring to build up some more muscle in his a**. I plan on doing some basic dressage workouts with draw reins to get him into a nice frame, hill work, roll backs and circles. does anyone have any other suggestions? thanks so much :)

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    How often do you run barrels? If he is really good at it, do you need to practice or are you referring to competitions? It might be that he is tight because it is just too much, and he needs the more relaxed routine you have mentioned for general every day activity. Relaxed in the sense that he is not going to be working such a strenuous and tight routine – obviously you aren’t just going for a stroll in the park! Have you mentioned this to your vet? Is it possible that he has a strained muscle or something?

    It is never the horse's fault

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    Draw reins might be counter-productive, since they tend to strengthen the muscles to resist, instead of increasing the engagement of the hind quarter. I think you will find that using draw reins to attempt to produce or encourage a correct “dressage frame” could earn you some long posts of correct “dressage frames” from dressage purists. The basic dressage concept is that the energy & forward impulsion has to come from the rear end, pass through the horses body, back to front, and return to the riders hands through the reins, with the hands opening slightly or closing to control that energy generated by the hind legs.

    jess_n_jazz Original Poster
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 15

    G & S- funny that you mention draw reins, we actually did a lesson in them last night. my gelding did FANTASTIC and I can tell it really helped. we only did walking and trotting since it’s been about 10 years since I’ve used draw reins but it truly made a difference :) thanks for the advice!

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    Just be very careful with draw reins because they can easily produce the opposite effect from what one is trying to obtain. For them to work correctly and strengthen the back end, the horse has to be stretching to the bit starting at the back legs. What typically happens with draw reins is that the rider achieves an appearance of the horse being “on the bit” or “stretching to the bit”, but instead of strengthening the muscles on the underside of the neck (which are the stretching to the bit muscles and the ones that need to be strengthened) it is the muscles along the top of the neck, the muscles to resist, that end up being strengthened.

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