Swayback and retirement...

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Swayback and retirement...

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    09-17-2009, 01:56 AM
Super Moderator
Swayback and retirement...

Is there anything I can do about helping Lacey not be swaybacked?
She has a very mild one right now and I really really don't want it to get worse. Are there any exercises I can do? I think I remember reading somewhere that working in a long and low type frame or something can help, should I get some side reins to help Lacey with that when I lunge her? She's great at the walk, really working through herself, but at the trot her head always comes up and I'd bet she hollows out her back too (she stills tracks up) which probably does not help this issue at all.
Should I be padding her saddle pads differently?

Also: how do you decide when it's time to retire a horse from cantering or work in general?
Some days I totally feel like Lacey wants to work as hard as I'll let her while other days she's just so unenthusiastic about doing anything that I just wonder if it's fair for me to continue riding her twice/three times a week. I want to do the best for her and not what would be the best for me, unless our bests are the same...

ETA: I've been riding her in a western saddle for the summer and I was wondering if that was the best choice for the swaybacked issue. I'd kinda think it was since my weight (all 150lbs of me, lol) is distributed more evenly than it would be in an english saddle... Thoughts?
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    09-17-2009, 07:58 AM
I've heard that horses that work live longer and I believe in it (of course I'm not talking about horses with health issues here). If Lacey is still going strong I don't see any problem riding her (she's just 24 ). My young horses some days behave like they are 30 years old and don't want to ride. Lol!

P.S. I hope you have a lighter saddle, not one of those 60 lbs monsters! :)
    09-17-2009, 12:19 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
I've heard that horses that work live longer and I believe in it (of course I'm not talking about horses with health issues here). If Lacey is still going strong I don't see any problem riding her (she's just 24 ). My young horses some days behave like they are 30 years old and don't want to ride. Lol!

P.S. I hope you have a lighter saddle, not one of those 60 lbs monsters! :)
I've noticed that too. I just don't want to "make" her get old because I'm working her too hard, yknow? It's mostly because of this swayback thing and because nowadays when I lunge her I really have to drive her to keep up a canter for more than half the circle while she used to want to canter until I told her to stop. Maybe it's just a fitness thing but it makes me feel bad because she used to be so "go go go" (but she was also come off of her 200-300 lbs overweight for 3-4 years sugar high...).
Haha yeah she's only 24, I just want her to live and be energetic forever.

Yeah, the saddle I use on her is a synthetic one so I'd bet it's only 15-20 pounds at the most. It's very light, but not as light as a english one! =P
    09-17-2009, 11:30 PM
My opinion is that sway back and old age really don't have much in common unless it includes inactivity. Sway back is an actual issue with the spine and ligaments/muscles, and from her picture on your signature she isn't too extreamly sway back. As long as she stays active and not overweight she will probably not get any worse. Staying active (riding, and even just a regular schedule of ground work) will keep her muscles toned enough to keep her back from getting any worse, and keeping her at a healthy weight will keep gravity from pulling on her spine. I wouldn't worry about riding her unless she shows signs of pain, if she doesn't want to canter then don't force her but don't hold her back either she's a horse and needs the exercise she'll know when to quit. (I'm speaking from a human massage therapists point of view, so please just take it as an opinion I could be way off from a vet's opinion).
    09-18-2009, 09:26 PM
Zucchini has a horrid sway back. . :P I'd need to get a pic, but it is VERY bad. He was from an auction, and someone totally ruined his back before he came to us. . >.< But he's very happy to work and isn't in pain. . (: Don't know too much about retirement, other than we have a 30+ year old who still takes off with people. Hehe.
    09-19-2009, 12:46 AM
Green Broke
Work with a Dressage instructor on collection and getting her to properly use her hind end and back. Make sure her saddle fits 100%, make sure it's placed properly (behind the shoulder blades), and use a good, shock absorbing saddle pad (like a Skito pad or ThinLine Contour pad). You want her to use her back and be comfortable enough to do it often and well.

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