When you massage the shoulders of a horse, a total of five lines are most workable in the shoulder area: deltoid, super spinatis, infera spinatis and triceps, comprising the primary shoulder muscles.
Improperly-placed saddles, herd work and jumping are all activities associated with potential shoulder stress inducers. Some things to look for when assessing if your horse has a shoulder that needs shoulder massage are lead changes and difficulty engaging into a lead.
The importance of the shoulder area — scapula and associated muscles — cannot be underscored. Because the angle of a horse’s shoulder is directly correlated to its mobility and jumping, ensuring that the muscle fibers are not overly stressed is critical.
Equine conformation tells us that the shoulder, scapula and related muscles go from the withers to the front-chest joint of the horse. Using a combination of the six methods of shiatsu horse techniques in that area can be effective.
“Once I find the line, I do rotation/sedation/cross-fiber/percussion and kneading in the shoulder,” Whiting explains. Cross-fiber technique is especially important in the shoulder area for breaking up adhesions.
Shoulder massage aids in ease of movement, shoulder stamina, increased circulation and overall shoulder muscle suppleness.
“It’s always a tight muscle that gets injured — the muscle is already set up from stress,” Whiting says.