Thankfully the content of this article has nothing to do with a ring... It does, however, have to do with the major muscles in the hindquarters of the horse that are used during a collected movement.
When a horse engages their hind end; either for collected work under saddle, in harness, or playing in the pasture, they are supporting more of their weight on a large gluteal (Medial Gluteal) muscle. This monumental muscle is connected to several other muscle groups in the body reaching from the poll to the hip. When the muscles in the hindquarters become over worked or stressed, we are going to find restrictive movement through the hip, the neck and the back.
By slowly increasing the amount of collected work we ask our horse to do, we can slowly (and correctly) increase the strength in this muscle and affected muscle groups, minimizing injury and building the athletic abilities of our horse correctly.
Along with a slow increase of workload, there are a few massage techniques we can do to increase circulation and relive tension in the hindquarters. By slightly cupping your hand, you can use the pads of your first, middle, and ring finger to apply circles (about the shape of an orange) in a clockwise motion, gradually increasing pressure with each turn until feel the muscles surrounding your hand relax. Another helpful method to ease tension in muscle fibers is to use the outside edge of your hand and lightly percuss the topline of your horses hindquarters from hip to tail, taking care to avoid the hip bone and areas in front of the hip where the kidneys are.
By keeping muscles relaxed, vessels are less constricted and better able to carry oxygen rich blood that is essential for growth and recovery. So next time you find your equine hard at collected work, try these healing methods to get the most out of your workouts!