How to correct a sway-back? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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How to correct a sway-back?

Wasn't sure where to put this, so I'll just put it in the random discusion section.

My new mare is a buckskin AQHA registered mare. She used to be a reining and cutting horse back in the day. She is 20 years old, which is kinda old, but not too bad. She has a mild sway-back (see pictures). It doesn't cause her discomfort while riding or anything, and I have read that it can be caused by weak muscles in the back. Is there anything I can do to help hers? Thanks in advance!




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post #2 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 04:18 PM
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You can start doing exercises to build up the muscle in her back, but it's more of a spinal issue from what I understand. But building the muscle will certainly make her more comfortable under saddle. I would get a chiro to look at her too.

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post #3 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 04:25 PM
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lots of topline building work. Have the horse round up and push forward from behind, rather then pulling from the front end. I don't know what type of riding your planning on using her for but lots of dressagy type exercises would help. Also, try alot of "long and low" like, have her stretch her neck long and low to the ground at the walk trot and canter. Stretching is very important especially with an older horse. You need her back muscles strengthed, however because of her age, getting a swayed back is bound to happen.
Alot of times you can fix it with topline excerise and muscle building, but sometimes its just due to age or genetics.
On an off note, I always recommend to people to put older horses on a joint supplment with HA, it helps keep them confortable longer
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestions! I will try some of that with her. Oh, and she is on a joint supplement per recommendations from her previous owner. :)
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 06:05 PM
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She's adorable! I must know more about her! What's her name? What are you going to use her for? Maybe you made a thread for her and I missed it? Haha
Older mares are the best, just sayin. =P

And I totally just realized that I didn't say anything at all to help you out with your question. Haha I've read that hill work can help a sway back... I know Lacey's back looks WAY more swayed than it actually is in the late winter time when she's lost a bunch of her summer muscle and then in the summer, once we start getting into more intense work and she loses her wooly-bear winter coat -voila!- it doesn't look nearly as swayed as it did. This winter I've tried keeping Lacey in more intense work (w/t/c at least 4 times a week instead of 2 like last year) all winter and it's actually helped quite a bit, imo. Maybe it'll turn out to be the same for your new girl. I hope! =D

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Last edited by Wallaby; 02-28-2010 at 06:13 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Wallaby - lol. I will message you on Facebook. I have more pictures on there. And yes, old woman ponys are THE best. Haha. Thanks for the tips as well! Her owner said I can trailer her in to use their indoor anytime so that means loads of winter riding. :)
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-01-2010, 11:34 AM
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I agree with all the above, lots of work on getting her to bring her back up. Try the tummy tickle exercise, put your fingers under their belly and gently push up, they will react by lifting their back. Do this about five times a day. Also backing them up slight inclines will help as well as getting them to reach between their legs for treats.

I too have a sway backed horse, and he is the best horse I have ever had. Congrats on your new girl!

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post #8 of 11 Old 03-01-2010, 11:35 AM
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Oh, and you also may want to invest in a sway back pad if you haven't all ready, fitting a saddle correctly to that type of back can be a challenge at best without the help of some type of corrective padding.

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post #9 of 11 Old 03-01-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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QHDragon - Thank you for the suggestion! Do you have a link to a pad like that?? She has a nice thick pad cut out at the withers as well as a well-fitting saddle, but since it has been with her since she was 14 (through many owners) I am sure now that her back has begun to sway it does not fit as well as it used to!

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post #10 of 11 Old 03-01-2010, 03:15 PM
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When my 13 year old horse came to the barn very underweight he had a scooped out back. My instructor told me a lot of under saddle work would eventually build up that muscle. But its not a fast process. It has taken me a bit over a year to build up that muscle to a normal point. But if it is a spinal case, I really don't know what to do. Possibly a cushion under the saddle when you are riding, like riser pad type?

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