Get to Know the Gluteals!

Last week we spoke about how the hindlimbs are the powerhouse of our pet and should be providing all the forward movement.  We took a look at our first set of hindlimb muscles the hamstrings and this week we’re going to take a look at our second set the gluteals!


The gluteals are an interesting muscle group as they are quite different in their placement in the dog and the horse.  


In the horse, the gluteals are what give you the almost rounded back end.  However, you have to be careful here that it is the gluteal muscles and not oedema or fat causing the rounded appearance.  Oedema over the gluteal muscles is very common in horse's who have been out of work or those who are heavy on the forehand and are not pushing through from behind.  If you are worried your horse might be overweight please check out our “Is my pet overweight” blog post for more information on assessing your horse's condition.  


But for now back to the gluteal muscles! Where are they and what do they do?


In the horse:

Superficial gluteal- From the Tuber coxae and gluteal fascia to the 3rd trochanter of the femur and fascia lata


Middle gluteal- From the longissimus lomborum, ilium, sacrum, sacroiliac and sacrosciatic ligaments to the greater trochanter of the femur


Both of the gluteals abduct the leg bringing it away from the body but the superficial gluteal flexes the hip and protracts the limb bringing it forward whereas the middle gluteal extends the hip.  


Due to this the exercises used to target the horse's gluteal muscles must focus on bringing the limb to the side (lateral work) and flexing and extending the hip (hills and poles).  Need more help with designing an exercise plan for your horse? Join our webinar and learn how to create a plan for any horse!

In the dog:

Superficial gluteal-From the gluteal fascia, lateral sacrum, 1st caudal vertebra and the sacrotuberous ligament to the gluteal tuberosity of the femur


Middle gluteal- From the gluteal fascia and wing of ilium to the trochanter major on the femur


Deep gluteal- From the gluteal surface of the ilium to the cranial trochanter major


Both the superficial and middle gluteals in the dog extend the hip and draw the limb backwards, however the middle gluteal acting with the deep gluteal also abduct the limb away from the body.  Due to this, exercises to strengthen the gluteals in the dog should primarily focus on retracting the hindlimbs (poles and hill work).  Need more help designing a plan for your dog? Check out our recent webinar all about it!

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