I know many people say that topline helps a horse when it is ridden because a horse's back wasn't made to carry the weight of a rider. But I have a buckskin that I am mainly just going to play around on and trail ride, occasionally do a rodeo for fun with my friends, compete in some SCA events, etc. I do not intend on showing him, as I also have 2 show horses already. Also, I am unfortunately having to undergo back surgery in July, and there wont really be anyone to train him and keep him in top muscular condition. I am debating whether or not to try and build up his topline before my surgery? I just don't want to hurt him, but my idea of riding as much as I could before July didnt really consist of hours of trot and collection work. I started working on it a couple days ago, he is very smart and he is understanding it quickly, but he HATES it. He lowers his head when I ask for carriage though, pops his head up occasional, but he puts it back down when I tell him to. He has a higher head carriage then most quarter horses, high withers too. He is extremely muscular in his shoulders and neck and butt. His topline, is OK... everyone says it could be built up a little more. Do you guys think he needs more topline? He is overall very healthy, nice healthy coat/fur, sound feet, no grass belly. To sum it up, my question is: Will it hurt him if I ride him, probably 4-5 days a week, if I never fully develop his topline? Does he even need more topline?