New Muscle Monday #3 – Middle Gluteal

Happy dreary Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a good weekend, despite the gloomier weather around here lately. Up next for New Muscle Monday is a very important driving muscle of the hind!

NAME: Middle Gluteal

ACTION: Retract the limb and extend the hip.

The Middle Gluteal is a major retractor muscle of the hind end and commonly mistaken as one of the three hamstrings (which are the semitendonous, semimembranous, and biceps femoris).

AFFECTED BY: This massive muscle has a lot of jobs, including being the force behind a backwards kick, forwarding momentum over the hind legs, and also for rearing. Issues in this muscle may keep a horse from extending his hind leg(s) fully, just as if you had tennis elbow and couldn’t use your arm normally.
The middle gluteal is also a muscle that should be examined (among other things) when a horse is showing a ‘hunter’s bump’ (when the sacrotuberous ligament becomes raised and creates a noticeable ‘bump’). See here for an example.

OTHER INFO: For the keeners of anatomy out there, this muscle originates from the gluteal fascia and inserts at the greater trochanter of the femur.
The middle gluteal muscle is linked with the Pericaridum meridian (which also goes by the names Heart Constrictor or Circulation/Sex Meridians) and an imbalance of this meridian can negatively affect it. Some signs of an imbalanced pericardium meridian include: respiratory and heart conditions, anxiety, and problems involving the forelegs and forefeet.


Most horses love the middle gluteal area to be masssaged/worked on. I often find this muscle to be extra tight in horses in disciplines such as jumping and dressage, where the horses rely on it moreso than say a pleasure horse would. It is not a superficial muscle, so when massaging it you are also working on the superficial gluteal and the fascia layers.

Any questions or comments are always welcome 🙂 Til next week!