Items

Forums
 
Horse Backs Are Not Fit For Riding
 By Winniefield Park   •   21st Nov 2015   •   1,908 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
Letís Hear it For the Girls
24th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
It can seem like stallions get all the glory, but letís not forget those top earning mares with loads of talent. Hereís a look at the four top PonyBox earning mares. ...
Why Don't We Ride Zebras
23rd Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Why didnít the knights yore and cowboys ride zebras? And why do we ride horses? This infographic video traces horse domestication and how horses were both influenced by technology and culture, and how they contributed to it. Zebra ...
Horse Rescues Help Heal Frontline Workers
21st Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Frontline workers havenít had much of a break during this pandemic, and now with an apparent second wave underway, theyíre working harder than ever. A few horse rescues are trying to bring some stress relief to these essential hea ...
Is Riding Bitless Less Humane Than Riding With Bits
19th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Much is made about riding about a bit, and many people that feel that going bitless is more humane. Australian trainer Warwick Schiller discusses why that may not be true, and that some Ďbitlessí bridles may be even more severe th ...
Top Ten PonyBox Earners
17th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
BMC Smokey Bear is a 16.3 hand Thoroughbred bearing the BMC TB brand. At the age of 16, Blood Moon Creations earned 9,714,000 PB with this stallion. 19th generation Smokey The Bear is by the stallion BMC Beanie Bear, whose pedigre ...
GoPro Tour of Show Jumping Arena Jump Types
16th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Every jump in a stadium jumping ring has a name, as do cross country jumps. Some of the jumps are specific to training. With the help of GoPro footage, Equine Helper points out what they look like, explains why they are named, and ...
Tiny Orphan Foal Rejected by Mother
13th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Rejected by her mother, the veterinarian wasnít optimistic about this tiny equineís chances for survival. But after careful nursing, rearranging the furniture and just taking things day by day, this little one didnít just survive ...
SNL Horse Farm Skit Video
12th Jan 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
When your dad decides to sell the family farm, what do you do with your horse, your very best friend? They say if you love something, set it free. And thatís what Timothťe Chalamet did in the SNL skit, The Farm. Happy ending ensue ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2021   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
194 Members Online 269,930 Registered Members 2,834 News Articles 12,076,692 Unique News Article Views 289,119,583 Website Views