Now that the show season is getting started, all of us need to be on high alert for a syndrome that can occur when horses go back to work: Exertional Rhabdomyolisis, or tying up. There are complex causes for tying up: nutrition, stress, chemical imbalance, overwork, etc. I will not address those issues apart from mentioning that a deficiency in selenium, Vitamin C, salt, and Vitamin E have been known to bring about an attack of the syndrome.
However,there are two stress points associated with tying up that I can work on offering relief from the extreme pain and immobility in about 5 minutes. The stress point affecting the hind legs is connected to the external oblique muscle, and the stress point affecting the front legs is connected to the posterior pectoral. When tying up, these muscles (and there can be others) contract and do not release. Using Stress Point Therapy and Myofascial release to bring back circulation will relieve pain, restore movement, and avoid permanent damage to the muscles.
Sometimes I watch my clients in a dressage test and see restricted movement in only one lateral movement. For instance, if the half pass going to the right looks good, but then half pass going to the left is poor, I am given a clue as to where to feel in the next body work session: there is likely a knot in the right external oblique attachment. The external oblique attaches to the hip bone (or tuber coxae) and part of its’ job is to flex the trunk laterally. This a stress point that I find and treat often in dressage and event horses.
Another important note!: When a horse has tied up and is unable to move the hind legs, he can often be given great relief by releasing the external oblique stress point.