Does Your Horse Have a Protruding Rib?

When a saddle is crooked, or has uneven stuffing, one of the thoracic vertebrae can develop a subluxation. (See post of February 1st for a definition.) This in turn can cause a rib to rotate. You will see the rib sticking out on one side, and the corresponding one on the other side will look sunken. Other events that cause this is a rider landing on the horse’s back a bit too hard, or if the horse is bent on the landing of a jump. A kick to the ribcage in pasture can also cause subluxation.

As a result of a rib dislocation, the horse will canter with haunches in or out, depending on which lead you are on. The horse will also have difficulty trotting on a circle.

There is an excellent myofascial release technique to correct this condition which usually takes about 5 minutes.

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2 thoughts on “Does Your Horse Have a Protruding Rib?

  1. Anna

    hi, do you have any pictures that show what a Protruding Rib looks like? I’m trying to find out more info about it and cant seem to find any. I have a mare and I may think she has a rib out, BUT I don’t know for sure as I don’t know what it would look like or anything. would like to read up on it a lil before I go spend the money for my vet and ect. just for it to be nothing! thank you

    1. Beverly Jacobs Post author

      Anna, What we call a rib subluxation can often start with one of the thoracic vertebrae being out. Then you will see one rib sticking out a little more, and the corresponding rib on the other side looking a little sunken in. Saddle fit is important to prevent this from happening. A rider sitting crookedly can also be the cause. A chiropractor or massage therapist specializing in myofascial release is probably your best bet if you think this is what is going on with your mare.


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