The Equine Spine

Post-mortem CT image of an equine spine.

Depicted in blue, the perivertebral (deep core) stabilising musculature: m. multifidus (dorsal extensor), m. longus colli (ventral flexor in the cervical and cranial thoracic spine) and the sublumbar m. psoas minor and m. psoas major, blending with m.iliacus to form the iliopsoas group in the lumbopelvic region.

Interestingly, aside from stability provided by the ribs, there is no subvertebral support in the central/caudal thoracic spine. This is the very region where the rider is seated! Not surprising, this area is prone to spinal lesions.

Core strength training of the superficial and deep supporting muscle groups is essential for every horse, to promote optimal dynamic stability and prevent spinal dysfunction.