horse born swaybacked? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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horse born swaybacked?

I'm on the hunt for an eventing prospect, & I've come across a 5yr old Holsteiner gelding who looks absolutely lovely undersaddle, but was apparently born with a swayback. As far as I know, this was not the result of any sort of injury, he actually was born with it. I've been reading a few articles online about swaybacked horses, & what I'm reading is that a horse born with lordosis can have a perfectly normal riding career, as long as they are properly fitted for a saddle.
My question - does anyone have experience with horses that were born this way? I don't want to get myself invested in this gelding at all if he won't be able to do the job that I need him for, but I also don't want to write him off for something that could simply be just a cosmetic issue.
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post #2 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 01:24 AM
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I don't know, but what I can tell you is that because I don't know, I would not buy this horse from you if you were to resell it.

Resale value means quite a bit to me, and so I would not choose a horse with a known issue that would maybe put others off. As this horse is an event 'prospect' I would suggest that you walk.

It's a buyers market right now, if I were you, I would keep looking.
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post #3 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 02:47 AM
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I agree with AlexS. I ALWAYS look at the re-sale value of a horse and I think it would hurt his re-sale value. The older he gets, the worse it could get. You plan to keep the horse forever, but life does happen.

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post #4 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 07:57 AM
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I would not buy this horse. Even if it could compete, it carries a huge conformation fault. I would not put the kind of time, money and training you want to spend into any horse with any huge conformation fault.

It would just not be a wise thing to do in my opinion.
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post #5 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 09:51 AM
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If the sway back is very mild and that was the only thing wrong with it, I'd probably consider it. But it probably won't be able to collect as well and getting a correct fit with a saddle would be harder, unless it's very mild. And there's a good chance the back will only get worse with age.
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post #6 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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okay, you guys are pretty much echoing all of the concerns that were going through my mind.
This is the horse, btw.


Last edited by Quixotic; 03-29-2011 at 12:33 PM.
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post #7 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 12:56 PM
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He certainly looks good otherwise. My aunt owned a Quarab gelding with the same problem (his was worse, though & he was only 5 as well). We ride him fine, but didn't do any competing. Vet said it wouldn't be a problem unless someone heavy was riding him & for long periods.
I would get a vet check done if you are seriously interested. See what they have to say. He does look fine under saddle, but I suppose it depends on what you wish to do with him. Heavy competition or just local stuff?

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post #8 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 01:50 PM
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I probably wouldn't buy him. Depending on what caused it, either a deformity or lordosis, it will eventually catch up to him and start causing problems. The risk of spinal arthritis will be much higher because his back won't function properly like a normal horse and lordosis is a degenerative disorder, so it will only get worse as time goes on. He's 5 now, that's very young, and that's likely why he hasn't had any issues yet. BUT, how will his back look/function when he's 10, 15? Will he even be rideable then? Especially under a heavy work load like he would have in eventing. IDK, to me, it doesn't seem prudent to invest in a horse with such a serious defect, especially considering you don't know how it will effect him in the future. He could be sound for another 20 years or he could be sound for only 2. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.

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post #9 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 01:52 PM
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Actually, all truly swaybacked horses are born that way. I read an article recently saying how horses that develop a sway later are not truly swaybacked. Interesting article.

Anyway, saddle fitting and long-term soundness are going to be your problems here. For the rigors of eventing, I would pass unless you try him out and he's truly phenomenal under saddle.
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post #10 of 41 Old 03-29-2011, 05:28 PM
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I've know someone who had gotten a VERY sway backed horse in the past that loved the horse so much she did all she could for it. Had a good chirporactor out that worked on him and shed her exercises she could do to help strengthen the back muscles to support the rest well. Turned that horse completely around. I wish I had the before and after pictures. With conformation faults like that I would not spend a dime on the horse-too many free horses now adays with GREAT conformation-I just got one last night. Good luck!
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