High withers and backbone - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-12-2012, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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High withers and backbone

I have a off the track TB and he is very thin. I'm a new horse owner so very green about anything horsey. I need to buy a saddle for him but to me he seems to have a high withers and backbone (I think what they call a roach back). I am working on getting some weight on him and building him up with exercise. In the mean time any advice on buying a saddle would be greatly appreciated. Info like do I need FQHB or Semi QHB. Shims in addition to my thick saddle pad? I'm pretty good size so I don't want to cause him any discomfort when I do start riding. I'm including a picture to show the thin high withers and back.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-13-2012, 01:29 PM
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I don't see any photos but typically my opinion is you'd want to look at the semi bars for a high-withered horse. Depending how the saddle you buy fits, you might need to get a build up pad underneath.
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-13-2012, 07:33 PM
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How high are his withers? You might want to try to do a wither tracing so you can find a saddle that best fits him and his needs.

Last edited by Mike_Admin; 08-14-2012 at 07:03 AM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-13-2012, 08:04 PM
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I wouldn't get a saddle until the horse has filled out. Anything you get now, may not fit him once he is up to par weight wise. I don't know anything about treeless saddles, but they may be a good choice for now... Not sure though.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-13-2012, 08:09 PM
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If hes that thin to where his backbone is protruding, i wouldnt even consider riding him until he has filled out.

Getting a saddle that fits now, will absolutely 100% not fit properly when he is at a good weight. No use in wasting your money on something that wont work in 6 months to a year.

Let him relax and take time to be a horse. Get his health back and then work on the saddle when hes fully ready.
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-13-2012, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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I tried to post a pic with this thread but could not get it to work but you can see his pic under my name. The horse I am talking about is George. Thanks everyone for the great responses. I do think I'm going to wait a while before purchasing a saddle for myself. I am letting my daughter ride George every now and then but she is so light weight that I don't think he even knows she's there, and we got her a real good saddle pad to go with her little saddle.

Last edited by Mike_Admin; 08-14-2012 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Removed PHP bbcode
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-14-2012, 12:14 AM
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I can't offer info on the saddle aspect, but use "img" for the picture instead of the php that you used and it should work.(:
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-14-2012, 12:45 AM
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Here you go, OP, I copied them from your barn

Personally, I would want to give him more time on good food to see if he fills out some more before riding him. Does the feed he's getting have plenty of protein in it? A good ration of protein (around 15-18%) will help him to build muscle along with putting on some weight in the form of fat. Do you have another horse that you could pony him with? I suspect he would do better with a bit of exercise like walking up/down long hills. If you don't have another horse, you could always lead/ground drive him.

The most important thing right now, though, is getting his weight up where it should be. The fitness and riding can come later. If he was mine, I would put about as much good quality alfalfa hay he could eat in front of him and just let him eat...and eat...and eat. If he's not on anything other than grass hay or pasture, he'll need something more. Generally speaking, neither of those has enough nutrients to build muscle in an undernourished horse.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-14-2012, 01:08 AM
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This is gonna sound crazy but I have a good friend with an Ottb and she had the exact same type of whithers on her TB. She wouldn't fit quarter and semi quarter bars. She finally tried a walking horse saddle on her TB and it fit perfect. BTW some horses really need to be ridden to muscle up their backs. I have a mare that gets ridgey if she's not ridden regularly.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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I agree with what others are saying about putting weight on him before an adult rides him with a saddle. Does your daughter's child-size saddle seem to fit this horse OK? You can always put a bareback pad on him too...

When he's put on some weight and you're ready to look at saddles, I'm guessing semi QH bars would work for him. You can check with the easy saddle templates here:


My Appendix QH gelding is very TBish and has high withers like your guy does. I have a SQHB Fabtron Lady Trail western saddle that I use with him when I feel like riding westen, and with the addition of the pad below it fits him great. I would recommend it or something similar to get the saddle up off his withers so the swell isn't resting on his backbone.

Classic Equine BioFit Correction Saddle Pad - Horse.com

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