Topline? Show me!
 
 

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Topline? Show me!

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  • Horse with good topline
  • Horse top line development

 
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    03-14-2013, 01:20 AM
  #1
Foal
Topline? Show me!

New horse-owner here, still learning the ropes. I was doing groundwork with my horse yesterday, under the supervision of the owner of the riding school where he's agisted. The school-owner remarked that a particular exercise would be good for my horse because it would help develop his topline.

Okay. So being the ignoramus I am, I asked her what that means for the horse. She told me that the topline muscles are the ones that are good to build up for... um, reasons. Something like... those are the muscles he needs to have strong when he's being ridden? I think it was something like that. (Sorry, I'm really very new at this!)

In any case, I see folk here on the forum talking about horses' toplines all the time - this horse has a great one, that one's not so good. I gather it's something that's quite visible when the horse has a well developed topline... right? I gather it would be a good thing to know how to recognise and see, in my horse and others. So I'm asking you fine folk, who have waaay more experience in these matters than me (not hard!) to SHOW me! It'd be awesome if folk could post some pics of horses with great toplines (and some with less-good ones for comparison), and explain to me what I'm seeing there and how to recognise it myself.

Bring on those toplines, good and bad, and Edumacate me!
     
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    03-14-2013, 01:48 AM
  #2
Weanling
Ok.... building topline is good as it build the muscles of the back to allow the horse to eventually collect and carry itself and its rider properly. As horses are not designed to have a weight on their back, if they do not engage certain muscles it can cause all sorts of problems. These are not suck a biggie if your horse is dragged out the paddock once a month for a ride, but if it is in regular work it is something that you do want to build.

Here is my horse GK when I first got him.
gkskinny.jpg
His withers are quite prominant, and across his spine (the longissimus muscle) is quite small and not really developed. He also has a bit of a hunters bump over his sacroilliac joint (the highest part of his hindquarters)

Fast forward 18 months, here is GK now
gkfatter.jpg
His withers are not so prominent, his back muscles have grown and "plumped out", and his bum has rounded more. He does still need more topline, but there is a noticeable difference.... especially when riding bareback it is A LOT more comfortable now

These two have good topline
bug.jpg
dodo.jpg

Here is my horse Bo, on the day I got him after 3 years in a paddock looking like a pregnant broodie... :)
He has no topline.
bobo.jpg
     
    03-14-2013, 02:07 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaeNae87    
Ok.... building topline is good as it build the muscles of the back to allow the horse to eventually collect and carry itself and its rider properly. As horses are not designed to have a weight on their back, if they do not engage certain muscles it can cause all sorts of problems. These are not suck a biggie if your horse is dragged out the paddock once a month for a ride, but if it is in regular work it is something that you do want to build.
Thanks! That's exactly the sort of explanation I was hoping for.

Quote:
Here is my horse GK when I first got him.
Attachment 132899
His withers are quite prominant, and across his spine (the longissimus muscle) is quite small and not really developed. He also has a bit of a hunters bump over his sacroilliac joint (the highest part of his hindquarters)
"Hunters bump"? What is that, and what does it signify?

Quote:
Fast forward 18 months, here is GK now
Attachment 132903
His withers are not so prominent, his back muscles have grown and "plumped out", and his bum has rounded more. He does still need more topline, but there is a noticeable difference.... especially when riding bareback it is A LOT more comfortable now
It's not just his back muscles that show a noticeable difference. Um, you washed him? (Seriously, I understand that horses can change colour as they mature, but I assumed it took longer than 18 months!)

Quote:
These two have good topline
Attachment 132904
Attachment 132905

Here is my horse Bo, on the day I got him after 3 years in a paddock looking like a pregnant broodie... :)
He has no topline.
Attachment 132906
Those pics are very clear, thanks! So based on those, when one is talking about topline, one's referring to the state of development of... the erector spinae muscles (and maybe latissimus dorsi and trapezius)? Is that right? Does it just refer to the musculature of the back, or are the powerful muscles running along the tops of the necks of those "good example" horses also included under "topline"?
     
    03-14-2013, 02:30 AM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormCloud    
Thanks! That's exactly the sort of explanation I was hoping for.

"Hunters bump"? What is that, and what does it signify? Hunter's bump in the horse is a term used to describe a condition in which the tuber sacrale of the pelvis, located at the highest point of the horse's rump, are abnormally prominent. Most people think of this condition as being a breed-specific conformation issue. It is often found in the "hunter/jumper" breeds like Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods. Some people even think this is actually a good thing and was an indication that a horse would be a good jumper because it is so prevalent in that discipline! Most often, however, it is either a function of how the horse is used; I.e. Its job and how it uses it's body, or due to an old injury. So in a horse lacking topline, the tuber sacrale are prominante. A hunters bump can also be caused by injury. For example, if a horse with well muscled hind quarters and good topline had one, you would suspect an injury.
Here is my horse, Bo's.
donkey.jpg


It's not just his back muscles that show a noticeable difference. Um, you washed him? (Seriously, I understand that horses can change colour as they mature, but I assumed it took longer than 18 months!)
Lol, GK had just had a wash in the top picture, so his coat looks a bit darker. He is actually pretty dirty in the second one, in saying that he has also lightened up a bit - the dark points on his legs especially. He is 14 in the second picture and about 12 1/2 in the first.

Those pics are very clear, thanks! So based on those, when one is talking about topline, one's referring to the state of development of... the erector spinae muscles (and maybe latissimus dorsi and trapezius)? Is that right? Does it just refer to the musculature of the back, or are the powerful muscles running along the tops of the necks of those "good example" horses also included under "topline"?
It would be Latissimus Dorsi, Thoracic part of the Rhomboid, Illiocostals, Longissimus, Gluteals, Splenius and to some extent the cervical part of Serratus Ventralis.
topline.jpg
     
    03-14-2013, 05:07 PM
  #5
Yearling
Heres Miss anne. First 2, no top line. The rest are while we've been building up her weight and muscle.
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