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This is a discussion on Swayback?? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Swayback horse horse forum
  • Is a little swayback bad?

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  • 2 Post By aliewallace
  • 1 Post By loosie

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    02-12-2013, 07:06 PM

Hello all, this is my horse Jackie boy. We recently rescued him from the ASPCA. He was in very bad condition when the ASPCA got him..almost starved to death. They started to put weight on him, then we adopted him and we are still continuing on his weight..He is not quite back to where he should be yet. FYI this is technically my first horse I have ever owned. From the start I thought his back looked a little funny, so I looked it up on google and found something called swayback. We haven't rode him much, and when we do he really only makes it for about 30 mins. Also his age is somewhere from 20-25yrs. I am a little concerned, he has become my very best friend..and I wanna do anything I can to make him more comfortable. So what is y'alls opinions? Is it just his age..or does he potentially have swayback? P.S. He doesn't look that great in the photo's..I took them right after a rainstorm. :/
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    02-12-2013, 07:11 PM
I have seen way worse sway back then that. I have a horse right now who I am building the back up by riding with her head 'long and low' for example lift your head up really high and your back hollows. But lower your head and it arches. My horse held her head high all the time and her back became hollow so with her head long and low we are building these muscles and her back isnt looking as bad. Also up hill work helps as they have to work those muscles. I have only been doing 30 minutes with my horse a day for 2 weeks and there is a big improvement in her back.
    02-12-2013, 07:13 PM
He looks to have a little, but most of his back problems are due to age. He does need a lot more weight like you said. He also needs to build some muscles around his top line. That will help him with the little sway back that he does has. It will keep his top line stronger so his back wont keep falling downward.
    02-12-2013, 07:14 PM
He isn't really sway backed, he is long through the back and saggy. With the good groceries and some regular easy exercise, it will hardly be noticeable shortly.
    02-12-2013, 07:16 PM
First, howdy and welcome to the forum .

Congrats on the new guy, he looks like a real sweetie and you've done a wonderful job getting him back up to healthy. I don't see a sway back at all. What I'm seeing is a horse that is lacking in condition and muscling. Due to his previous neglect, that's to be expected, especially at his age. Couple that with a downhill build and some prominent withers, it can give the appearance of a sway back.
    02-12-2013, 07:17 PM
Yeah, he's not so bad. He's probaby just old. It doesn't hurt them to have a swayed back, but it's a bit harder to be certain of the saddle fit. I bet he's a real sweetheart.
    02-12-2013, 07:25 PM
Thanks for your help everyone! It means the world! I was so worried about him! He is my sweetie boy! He's a big talker too, it makes me laugh! I can tell he has never had a best friend before, it breaks my heart a little bit when I think about it..but I am sooo happy he is mine now! I will defiantly work on his muscles, and try some of the exercises y'all suggested! Thanks again! P.S. Thanks for the warm welcome smrobs!! :)
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    03-25-2013, 04:21 PM
I know this thread is a bit old, but as someone else said, saddle fit with this guy will be critical, for his comfort and yours. You do not want to feel like you are sitting in a hammock. I would find the very best saddle fitter around and see if you cannot get a good saddle and pad system worked out for him. As my Arab aged, I used a keyhole shaped cutout to elevate the saddle in the back and keep it from dipping into his back. It was something my friend and I rigged up, but it was also before saddle fitting was really in vogue like it is now.

I would love to see a lightweight, synthetic maybe, english type saddle on this guy with more support under the seat area to give it and you proper position. IME, it is easier to fit english style saddles to a swaybacked horse. With a western saddle, I always had the problem of "bridging" over the sway, putting a lot of pressure on either end rather than even pressure along the whole saddle length. It is also hard to pad support for specific areas under a western saddle. Don't get me wrong, I ride western right now, but I do not currently have a swaybacked horse.

BTW, from the limits of that pic, that horse otherwise has pretty nice conformation and appears to be well bred in general. Once he sheds out, muscles up, and gets some more groceries, you will have a really nice looking horse. If he does not shed out well this spring, it could be a sign of Equine Cushing disease, very common in older horses. Have him body clipped, and have a chat with your vet about options for treatment.
Just some food for thought.
    03-25-2013, 11:38 PM
My mare has no problem with me riding her. I have a Wintec western saddle that has a flex tree and a round skirt. I have to fold a saddle blanket a few times and add that to the middle to prevent bridging. It works pretty well. Bareback is great because she has the perfect seat to sit.

    03-26-2013, 06:47 AM
Looks like he has a weakish, longish back for his size, looks like he has decent withers, making the dip more prominent, but I wouldn't call it swayed at all.

I'd work on getting him a little fitter before fitting a saddle to him or riding much. You said he only goes for about 30 mins, not sure if I took that the way it was meant, but sounded like he can't cope with more?? If that's the case, I'd first rule out/treat pain, then if you establish it's only fitness, start with 10 mins for a couple of sessions a day & build gradually from there.

Oh & while only having that little pic to go on, him dirty & in his winter woolies, makes it unclear, it doesn't look like he's lacking much weight, just mostly needs to gain muscle.
Oldhorselady likes this.

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