Lameness is not always what it appears. Sometimes coming up short on a leg is a true lameness issue. This is very hard to detect and can often be thought of as purely stiffness. In some of these cases, it is the back that is giving the horse problems. To determine this, first run your hand down the back on both sides – feel for differences in vertebrae, heat or tenderness in the back. If the horse gives you a reaction big or small to an area that you touch, make note of it and try touching it again to see if it is truly an area where there is some pain. Then, use thumb gliding with the flat of your thumb running down next to the horse’s spine. If the horse drops down in an area, then you are most likely dealing with muscle trauma in that area. At this point a few massage techniques can be used such as compressions, effleurage and V-spread.
If the back does not come up as an issue, yet the coming up short continues, it could be a strained, pulled or torn abdominal muscle. Again look for heat, swelling and tenderness as you gently glide over the abdominal obliques. Several people have asked if my DVD would help with horses and yes, it would because it would teach the techniques you can use on the horses to massage them.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.