Not sure what to do
   

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Not sure what to do

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  • How to build topline on horses with muscle degeneration
  • Wither atrophy horse forum

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    09-29-2012, 11:27 AM
  #1
Yearling
Not sure what to do

My guy has verry high withers, and a horrible topline.
He's a peruvian paso. He's 15.
He always carries his head high.
Even when I first got him and he was super fat, his backbone and withers stuck out.

His withers are so high and he's so narrow, no matter what saddle I've ever tried on him it sinks strait down on his withers, and doesn't even touch the rest of his back. Bareback is pretty painful
I think his body is barely wider than his head. Haha.

He has a super cresty neck, I think he was extremely obese at one point in his life (before I got him)

I don't even know if it's possible to get a saddle that'll fit him.

Building his topline up would help I'm sure, but any tips on that?
He's on fresh, pretty green coastal hay 24/7 and 2 pounds of 12% feed right now. & dirty cause its raining.

Pics:
Haven't got a clue what that is on the ground by him, my sisters dogs like to bring him presents.



     
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    09-29-2012, 11:35 AM
  #2
Trained
Wow. I'm glad you posted the pics from above. I would never have thought his back is that narrow from the side view.

I don't know that you will find any saddle to fit that except a bareback saddle. And if you do, then when you have a topline on him, the saddle won't fit anymore.

He definitely needs muscle. Do you know how to lunge? There are people here that have used lungeing to help build up top line. If you can get that started before you buy a saddle that would be good, I think. Hopefully some of these lungeing experts will post on here. I would not be trying very hard to build up that topline by riding at this point. Ouch -- for you and for him.
     
    09-29-2012, 11:40 AM
  #3
Yearling
I can lunge, I'm always open for tips on it though.
     
    09-29-2012, 01:03 PM
  #4
Yearling
.... Is there any place that could make a saddle, specially to fit him ?
     
    09-29-2012, 01:26 PM
  #5
Weanling
I don't have any experience with fitting a horse like this and I only know english saddles, but would it be possible to get a narrow saddle and a half pad (so you can adjust the fit a bit more and/or make the saddle a bit narrower in the beginning)? I know thoroughbreds who have toplines reminescent of your horse's and huge withers with no muscle around them just because they have been ridden in saddles that pinch and cause muscle atrophy. If they make saddles narrow enough and with wither clearance enough for them (never mind that those horses would be in a lot less pain if they weren't in narrow saddles) then there must be something out there for this guy.

Personally, I would get one of those lunging set things with the surcingle that are designed to make the horse carry himself in a way to build topline. I've never used one, but it sounds like just the thing for this situation. I'd use with him every other day for a few months until those pockets on either side of his spine start to fill in with muscle, and only then go about looking for a correctly fitting saddle. Add a pad with shims to help fill in the empty space a bit more and encourage him to get under himself and engage his hind end while riding to build more muscle, and later get rid of the shims. It would be a long, long process, but necessary perhaps if you want him to build a strong back. As he is right now he must be pretty uncomfortable to ride.

One other thing, I wouldn't recommend a bareback saddle/treeless saddle for this horse. A bareback saddle has no tree and is essentially a bunch of padding with support for the rider. The way they keep a bareback saddle from putting any weight on a horse's spine is by using a thick pad with a channel along the top and there is no way you'd be able to find one thick enough to keep your weight off of his spine. I'll bet it was for horses with withers like his that trees were invented in the first place.

Good luck! He's a lucky horse to have someone who is willing to do something to help him with his topline instead of riding him in an ill fitting saddle like nothing was wrong. I'll bet that he was once ridden in a saddle that really didn't fit, or maybe with a very heavy person, when he was young. That could have caused permanent damage to his back that you have to work around to keep him comfortable.
     
    09-29-2012, 01:46 PM
  #6
Yearling
Thanks!
I've been through sooo many saddles.
Semi qh is too wide, even.
And I had one that had good clearance, stayed off the spine but was too wide every where else, so it was all awkward.

Hopefully I can get him fixed up.
When I do ride I used a thick neoprene (it's squishy!) And he acts like he has no pain with it but either way, he needs a fitting saddle.
     
    09-29-2012, 03:33 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
.

You could try a built up saddle pad like this one WESTERN SADDLE PAD SQUARE CUT BUILT UP-Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supply

How old is this Horse?

You can have a saddle made, but then when you get some muscle on him, the special saddle would not fit and be very hard to sell.

Try the pad with a semi-qh Tree Saddle, an A-Fork style saddle has about an 1" higher wither clearance than standard Trail Saddle, but can be hard to find in Semi-qh Trees.


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    09-29-2012, 03:39 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernTrailsGA    
.

You could try a built up saddle pad like this one WESTERN SADDLE PAD SQUARE CUT BUILT UP-Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supply

How old is this Horse?

You can have a saddle made, but then when you get some muscle on him, the special saddle would not fit and be very hard to sell.

Try the pad with a semi-qh Tree Saddle, an A-Fork style saddle has about an 1" higher wither clearance than standard Trail Saddle, but can be hard to find in Semi-qh Trees.


.
15
The pad sounds like a great idea!
     
    09-29-2012, 06:08 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Would some higher protein feed help? Like alfalfa? The poor guy has no topline at all and certainly isn't overweight.
     
    09-29-2012, 06:51 PM
  #10
Trained
WalnutP - good point about the bareback saddle and treeless saddle that would put most of the weight on the spine. Makes sense.

I'm watching this thread to see if anyone has any more ideas about building his topline without riding.
     

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