Superficial fascia is a layer of connective tissue that lies just beneath the skin on a horse. It is composed of a network of fibrous tissue, adipose (fat) cells, and blood vessels, and it serves to connect the skin to the underlying muscles and other structures.
The superficial fascia is particularly important because it helps to provide insulation and protection from the elements, as well as supporting the skin and maintaining its elasticity. It also plays a role in facilitating movement, by allowing the skin to slide smoothly over the underlying muscles and bones.
The superficial fascia is located throughout the horse’s body, but it is thickest in certain areas, such as the neck, shoulders, and rump. In these areas, the superficial fascia can form thick, fibrous bands known as “fascial lines” or “myofascial chains”, which are important for transmitting mechanical forces and supporting the horse’s body during movement.
For equine bodywork and manual therapies, the superficial fascia is an important area to focus on because it can become tense, tight and restricted, leading to pain and discomfort for the horse. Techniques such as myofascial release, massage, and stretching can help to release tension and improve the function of the superficial fascia, leading to improved movement and overall well-being for the horse.