Roach back: Can it be fixed? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-14-2011, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Roach back: Can it be fixed?

Hello, all. My Vanna came home today and it seems her biggest fault is a very minor roach back. I haven't decided if her back is actually 'roachy', or if she's just really lacking a top-line. Here is a not so great photo of her, but it shows what I think is a slight roach back:

Do you think something like this could be fixed by chiro and regular exercise? I didn't notice until the seller pointed it out to me, and it's not severe at all. She's not going to be a show horse by any stretch of the imagination, but could be asked to pop over low jumps on the trail. Mostly, she'll be a trail and light riding horse. Would this conformation fault pose significant problems for her for use as a riding horse? She'll be outfitted in an English saddle sometimes, but bareback primarily.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-14-2011, 11:09 PM
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It will not change as it is the spines that stick up from the vertebrae. Getting the horse fatter and in better flesh will make it less noticeable, but the bone structure is what it is.

I have seen them MUCH worse. Some are so prominent even when the horse is fat that the only way you could ride them was with a heavy felt pad that had a hole cut in it so that the area where the 'hump' is does not have the weight of the rider pushing down on that spot. That might be something you have to do, but I doubt it. I would just do that if the horse gets a sore back.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-14-2011, 11:13 PM
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Is she a standardbred?
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-14-2011, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know, Cherie. It doesn't seem to cause any pain for her when I push on it and poke around and I'm anxious to see how it looks once she's toned up and properly fit.

Horseychick - Yes, she is a purebred Standardbred. Her sire is Life Sign and his sire is Abercrombie. Her grandsire on her dam's side is Niatross.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 11:35 AM
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My TB has a slight roach back very very similar to your horse's back. Her dressage saddle doesn't come back far enough to interfere with her back so if you ride english you probably won't have a problem (unless you use a much larger saddle size, I ride in a 16.5). She also loves to jump and does so failry well, she is still learning not to rush and to jump correctly, so the highest she has been jumped(I don't jump her but other girls at my barn do) is 2'6 with absolutely no problems. Now just because my horse doesn't have any problems doesn't necessarily mean yours won't but unless your saddle is pressing on her spine in that spot she should be able to preform like any other horse.

ETA: She's a good looking horse, good luck with her!

ETA again lol: It will get less noticeable when she develops more of a top line,but she will always have it. With proper exercise my mare's roach back has become less noticeable but it is and always will be there.

Last edited by Rachel1786; 10-15-2011 at 11:39 AM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 11:43 AM
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My friends TB mare looks like that when she is lacking muscle in her top line. Its there when she is not being worked regularly in a rounded mannor. While lots of collected work consistently she looses it.

Want to know the story? From The Start? It is a work in progress.
The $25 horse I didn't want.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Rachel, I ride English too (when I use a saddle). I fit a 17", so not that much bigger. Mostly, I ride bareback.

Horsesdontlie, that's great to know. I'm hoping it's the same for my girl. She's pretty out of shape, so there's a possibility.

It seems that a lot of Standardbreds have this same shape to their back, in varying degrees. I've never noticed it before, but probably because I wasn't looking for it. It's not as apparent in a racing fit horse, but when I look at images of broodmares, I can definitely see it in a lot of them. It also seems much more common in pacers, so I'm wondering if the particular shape of their back lends itself to the gait? Like I said, I never noticed it in all the years I worked at the track, but now that I'm actually looking at it in my horse and trying to do some research, I'm seeing it in a lot of Standardbreds.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 01:09 PM
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I would recommend using a chiropractor. He/she will be able to give you a good answer to your original question, as well as give you some tips to keep her comfortable enough to ride.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 01:27 PM
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There is a dip to the horse's back so that eliminates roach back. It's just her conformation and nothing to worry about. No chiro, no fancy padding is needed. You need to think about what muscles are engaged when they are really striding out at either trot or pace. Saddle work will bring other muscles more in to play.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-15-2011, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone! I'm planning to have a chiro/massage therapist out to see and work on her within the next couple weeks too, just to make sure she's feeling good and pain free. The way I figure it, even if she doesn't need it, I'm sure a massage would feel wonderful to her.

Here's a better conformation picture I took tonight. It's still not the best, but it's better than the other one. I know she's out of shape and pretty round - she's been a broodmare for the past 11 years and she's an easy keeper. She's UTD on worming. She's lacking a lot of muscle tone in her neck and back.

ETA - she's apparently also very relaxed - I just noticed the half-closed eyes and droopy bottom lip.

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