Items

Forums
 
Horse Backs Are Not Fit For Riding
 By Winniefield Park   •   21st Nov 2015   •   1,885 views   •   0 comments
Horse Backs Are Not Fit For Riding

In our quest to be Ďnaturalí horse owners, we sometimes forget one thing. The very thing we get a horse for isnít natural. In fact, sitting on your horseís back isnít even very good for it. A horseís back isnít made to carry a load. If you were to choose an animal more suitable for carrying something on its back, a buffalo, camel or even a bear might be the better choice. All have stronger backs than horses because rather than a downward curve in the spine, these animalís spines curve upward like an arch. And their backs are much shorter, which adds to the strength. Somehow though, the cachet of a leisurely hack down a country lane on a camel just isnít the same as the thought of riding a horse. And, getting a buffalo off the forehand in the dressage ring might be almost impossible, although no one will notice once the bears stroll in.

A horseís spine extends from just in front of the withers, to the end of the tail. The part we sit on and that we call the back is comprised of the thoracic vertebrae and where the back of the saddle rests and underneath what we call the horseís loins, are the lumbar vertebrae. There are 17 to 19 thoracic vertebrae, with five hidden under the area we call the withers. The first three are hidden under the large shoulder bone or scapula. Each vertebra has a corresponding rib, and each has fin-like projections to the top and sides. These are called spinous processes. The tall top fins are dorsal processes and the much shorter ones that jut sideways are called transverse processes. If you feel into the muscle behind the withers, you can feel the protrusion of these spinal processes. In the area where you sit, these fins are several inches high, and we sit much higher off of the horseís actual spine than we first realize.

Related Article: Kissing Spine - Could This be Troubling Your Horse [Video]
Related Article: Understanding Your Horse's Back
Related Article: Taking Care of Your Horses Back

The spinal cord runs through the bottom of the spine, and this is like a tunnel for all of the nerve pathways that control things like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and the messages from the brain when the horse wishes to move a body part. Also inside the bony tunnel of the spine are arteries and veins transporting blood to and from the extremities. Padding all of these delicate and important structures are layers of fluid and membrane.

Overlying all of the bones of the spine are several long muscles. All of the muscles that hold up the horseís back attach to the large shoulder bone, or scapula. The longest and strongest muscle in the horseís back, and the one the rider sits directly on is the Longissimus dorsi. This muscle extends the full length of the horseís back. This is the muscle the horse uses for controlling up and down and sideways movement. There are actually layers of muscle along the horseís back, although when you feel the structure beneath the skin, it feels like one continuous layer.

Ligaments help hold the spine together along with the muscles. The Supraspinous ligament runs the entire length of the spine, from ears to tail. This strong sinewy structure helps to hold up the thoracic and lumbar areas.

The actual conformation of horsesí backs varies greatly. The outline, as we see it from the outside is called the topline, and some toplines are more desirable than others. Ideally, a topline is shorter than the underside of the horse. Short backs are stronger than longer backs, although they may be less flexible. Some horses can be born with sway backs or lordosis, although itís far more common for backs to drop as a horse ages. Saddle fit, fitness and riding skill can also affect the topline of a horse. Good riding and saddle fit can improve a horseís topline.

Roach backs arenít common and they are a conformation flaw. A horse with a roach back lacks the downward curve and is more like the buffalo back, and it will be stiff with stilted gaits. Roach backs are very hard to fit a saddle to.

With all of this going on, itís easy to see how horses develop back pain when ridden. Riding skill and saddle fit can affect the back, and pressure, whether uneven, or concentrated is the enemy of a healthy back. So, itís important to understand that we ask horseís backs to do a job they are not made to, and do all we can to prevent back problems.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Saddle Fit,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
Saddle Up Series - Understanding Your Horse's Back - Part One
23rd Jun 2013   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
When it comes to selecting a saddle, any knowledgeable horse person will tell you that this is a task not to be taken lightly. The fit of a saddle can make or break a horseís performance, and a poorly fitting one can cause severe ...
Saddle Fit a Cause to a Problem Horse
7th Jul 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Iíve seen horses go from being Ďspuní to well behaved after someone took the time to fit the saddle properly. Saddles that pinch, rub or cause pressure points can cause a horse to either act out, or shut down, depending on their t ...
Horse Backs Are Not Fit For Riding
21st Nov 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
In our quest to be Ďnaturalí horse owners, we sometimes forget one thing. The very thing we get a horse for isnít natural. In fact, sitting on your horseís back isnít even very good for it. A horseís back isnít made to carry a loa ...
Signs Your Saddle Might Not Fit
24th Jan 2016   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
There are a few ways your horse will tell you its saddle doesnít fit. It may object to being saddled. When you mount, your horse may refuse to stand still. It may become nappy, or become more forward moving than usual. Its behavio ...
Horse Saddle Slip - Stabilize Your Saddle
18th Apr 2017   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
One of the most common problems pony riders have is that the saddle slides forward. Some ponies are almost teardrop shaped, with large round barrels and narrow fronts. It doesnít help that itís almost impossible to keep them slend ...
Sizing English and Western Saddles
23rd Apr 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Whether you ride English or western, it can be tricky to find a saddle that fits both you and your horse. Saddle fit is essential for a happy horse. Imagine having to hike for a few hours in shoes that are too small, or think abou ...
Save Your Seat
13th Apr 2017   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Lots of riders have problems with rubbing and chafing from the saddle. There are a few simple ways to prevent this. If youíre just learning to ride, you might just need some time to Ďtoughen upí. But sometimes, you need to make so ...
Saddle Fit Nightmares
7th Oct 2018   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
We know that you should ride your horse in a saddle that fits it properly. An ill-fitting saddle can cause all sorts of physical and behavioural problems. But some horses are more difficult to fit than others. ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
2020 Breyer Holiday Horse Gift Idea
30th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
The Christmas season has begun and you might have a few little (or not so little) horse lovers on your gift list. Of course, Breyer has lots of new models for Christmas including Unicorn Stable Surprise sets, the annual Holiday Ho ...
Thoroughbreds and Frieisians Dominate PonyBox Rankings
29th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Forced Return carries the PYTHON4 brand, was bred and is owned by PythonPonyPalaces COMP and reached the #1 spot on November 11. With 13 active and 3 passive DNA mods including Pegasus, Kangaroo and Super Horse Lineage, Forced Ret ...
What is an Equine Chiropractor Treatment
28th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Chiropractors donít just work on people with sore backs. They can work on horses too, and sometimes they will work on both horse and rider. What is an equine chiropractor? What do they do? Take a look at how a chiropractor works o ...
Archery on Horseback
27th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
If youíre looking for activities that are safe to do during the pandemic, horseback riding is a good choice. After all, staying 6 feet apart is practically built into the sport. If you are already a rider, there are lots of differ ...
BLM Highlights The First Cowboys
24th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Black lives matter. And, so does their history. The Caucasion ten-gallon-hatted cowboy may be legend, but it might not be accurate. Skilled African Americans worked cattle, pioneered rodeo sports, ran famous cattle drives, and wer ...
RavenSide Stud Breeds Record Breaker No More Pain
22nd Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Two horses have jumped over 103", and a new highest jump record has been set beating out the third whose best jump was 102.75". These top three record breaking horses are bred and owned by the same stable and all three are Thorou ...
Horse Rescued from Well
21st Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
A farmer helped his Amish neighbor's horses escape a frightening accident after they fell while backfilling a dry well. The Working With Horses YouTube channel covers many different aspects of working the land with real horsepower ...
Top PonyBox Karma Barns
15th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Weíve looked at stables with the highest rank, the most winnings and greatest total earnings, but some stables, many very successful in these things, are also leaders in good will. Karma points are earned or lost when members inte ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
198 Members Online 269,529 Registered Members 2,806 News Articles 11,936,174 Unique News Article Views 285,222,053 Website Views