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12 Days of Christmas - Day 9: The key to stability in the horse.

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

The pelvis and sacroiliac area is often a topic of conversation amongst horse owner, riders, trainers and therapists. Having an understanding of this area can really help you to train your horse smarter.

To help demystify this complex area you need to get your hands on the multimedia book Sacroiliac Ligaments and the Iliospoas Muscle Group. This looks in detail at the deep structures of the Iliopsoas muscle group, the sacroiliac ligaments, the sacroiliac joint and lumbosacral junction.

The Sacroiliac joint is deep within the body beneath the pelvis and very little movement. It’s main function is stability and it also plays a large part in supporting the weight of the horse’s trunk and abdomen as well as absorbing shock when he's moving. Deep within this joint are the sacroiliac ligaments and the Iliopsoas muscles - their job is to stabilise the sacroiliac Joint.

gillian higgins horses inside out cover photograph book sacroiliac ligaments iliopsoas muscle group

The book on it's own is a brilliant resource and it will help you understand more about the anatomy and biomechanics of this complex region. Clever use of detailed labelled models and images of real bones provide so much information.

However, as you would expect with anything from Gillian Higgins and Horses Inside Out - there's more. When you buy the book you also gain access to four videos and when you combine the two and this subject is cleverly brought to life and Gillian makes it easy to understand.

By the end of the video course and reading the book you will have a greater understanding of this region and the tools you need to get the best from your horse, support him in rehabilitation or to strengthen the area to avoid the risk of injury.

The Pelvis and Iliopsoas Muscle Group

This iliopsoas muscle group lie deep within each side of the body underneath your horse's pelvis. They are very important when it comes to hip and lumbosacral junction movement and stability.

The group is made up of three muscles:

  1. Psoas major

  2. Psoas minor

  3. Iliacus

They attach onto the ventral, (underside) of the lumbar spine and pelvis as well as the top of the thigh bone at the minor trochanter of the femur. These muscles can only be palpated through rectal examination by a veterinary surgeon.

What does the Iliopsoas do?

The iliopsoas group plays a pivotal role in stabilising the thoracolumbar junction, the lumbar vertebrae, the lumbosacral junction, the sacroiliac and the hip joints. It's one of the main contributors to hip and lumbar sacral flexion. These muscles also help to create flexion and rotation in the hip, initiate protraction of the hindlimb and contribute to bringing the leg further underneath the body.

Why is learning about the iliopsoas muscle group important?

Understanding the form, function and location of the iliopsoas muscle group explains why it's important to train your horse for a stronger and more stable pelvis in the hindquarter region. Strength and stability is particularly important in movements that require your horse to ‘sit’ and carry more weight behind. For example; during collection movements in dressage, when making tight turns particularly at speed, in show jumping and barrel racing.

Learn more about it here:

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