Someone said to me a few weeks ago that my mare had a short back. What does this mean exactly? (apart from the obvious lol) And is it good or bad? She is a 9 year old standardbred if that helps. She is used primarily for english pleasure riding and Pony Club. I might compete on her in the future but not sure right now.
This is probably the best side on pic I've got of her on this computer.
Short backed horses have a back (point of shoulder to point of hip) that is shorter than their neck. Short backed horses tend to be more agile and carry weight on their back better (think about all the weight your horse carries on an unsupported portion of it's anatomy). But he may not flex/bend along the back as well because their is just less length to bend and gaits may not be quite as smooth.
Agree with everything Ryle said, except I have found that short backed horses are much smoother. And easier to collect. Course, it all probably depends on the individual horse too.
To you motorhead's... it's a shorter drive shaft with more torque.LOL
The top line is the first thing I always look at, and I will walk away from a long backed horse no matter how perfect everything else is. ( Not that I will pick a poor short backed horse either.) It's just a strong personal preference for me.
If you ride Western,. You may need to purchase a saddle with a rounded skirt so that it doesn't interfere with the rear leg motion.
Smooth gaits have more to do with the angle of the shoulder and length of the humerus. Other aspects can contribute as well, such as the croup angle, or a roach back, or a short back. But from my reading, I've found the first two to be major factors: a horse with a short back can definitely create a smooth gait if other factors are good.
A short back does limit flexibility. Sometimes it can also contribute to forging or other types of interference, though its usually in relation to other conformation issues. However, these horses are also agile and able to carry weight well.
Anyway, looks like I'm just reiterating at this point:P