When there is a problem with back pain in your horse, the gluteus accessorius should be checked. This muscle works with the gluteus muscle in moving the hip and thigh. The stress point will be a knot felt near the pelvic crest. The horse will have a reaction when pressure is put on this stress point. Usually the rider will have noticed a shortened stride or discomfort in the hip and back. Since this is a stress point that seems to occur regularly during the competition season, it is one I always work on during a bodywork session, whether symptoms have developed or not.
If your horse is scuffing behind, or stepping short, there is a spot that, if in spasm, responds beautifully to stress point therapy. If there is no injury, the horse can return to work immediately, and will be very happy to move freely forward.
If tight, the biceps femoris affects the action of the stifle, hock, and hip. This is a huge muscle that originates by the sacroiliac and travels all the way down the leg to the femur and patella. Always have this muscle checked after a competition. I will talk about the belly of this large muscle in another post, as it is another crucial area of hind end locomotion.
If your horse is taking shorter strides, or looks slightly lame at the extended trot, or is jumping flat with a leg hanging, the first place I check is the triceps muscle. If I find a knot there, usually I can release it with a couple of sessions of stress point therapy.
If the knot is on the lower end of the muscle, you will often see all of the above symptoms, plus a reluctance to pick up the canter on that side. The lower the spasm, the more sessions it will take to release, in my experience. I have worked on quite a few horses with low triceps issues, and in every case, the magic number seemed to be 5. By the fourth treatment, there was marked improvement, and by the fifth treatment, there was total resolution. While I do regular bodywork on those horses, that particular problem has not returned in any of them in the last few years.
If possible, walking up hills is great exercise following a bodywork session for the triceps.