I have a 7yr APHA mare that coliced 2 years ago, it was impaction from the alfalfa we had been purchasing. We had her flushed, on medication, and she came back from it without a problem. Although within that year I started noticing her back (spine) was beginning to protrude, I thought it was because of all the time she had off working from the colic incident...so I began working her in the roundpen and lightly riding every couple of days.
It just seemed to get worse and worse, so I started doing some research and found that the most plausible explanation is "roach back" which is supposedly more common than most. Now, from the pictures I saw she would be considered "bony backed" where her vertebrae are close to the skin due to lack of back and hind quarter muscle, caused from a lack of using those correctly when ridden and working. Here is an article I found on it: Understanding And Curing A Roach Backed Horse
"In some cases of roach back, a steed’s back may appear bony, maybe even spiky. This is due to the horse not using his back and hindquarters like she normally should and as a consequence very little muscle has developed there. This means the deformed vertebrae is close to the skin, making the back look bony. To deal with this issue and get your roach back horse ready for at least horse riding sprees, you need to bolster muscle development in those bony regions. How? Try using backing.
Backing would force your mare to use her hindquarters and her back, and that in turn would prompt muscle development in the right places. When done right, eventually your mare would develop just the right amount of back muscle that would cover the bony appearance. Extend the use of backing to develop lateral muscles by backing in circles in a round pen."
My biggest concern, is that she NEVER had this problem before. She was trained correctly and has always moved wonderfully with both front and hind end. I thought for awhile perhaps she threw her back out when rolling during her colic, but the vet said that was very unlikely. He said that she needs plenty of exercise, to gain weight, and work on building those muscles up. But it has been over a year and she is still suffering from the same problem. I have had the farrier work on her hind hooves to see if her slight cow hock might have had anything to do with it and so far that has not helped much either.
With summer coming up, I want nothing more than to see my baby get better, no matter how long it takes and whether or not I get to ride. If you have read all of this, God Bless you and your patience
I was hoping to see if anyone else has had any experiences with this condition, and or if anyone has advice OTHER than just spending 3 months backing her in circles, there has got to be something else I can do to help her progress and build that muscle? Any advice and or personal stories would be of wonderful help and much appreciated!
P.S. I am sorry I currently do not have any better pictures uploaded, but you can see right behind the pad where her back is bony, this is the latter half of it, I would say there are about 8 vertebrae total that protrude like this.