Thoroughbred with a low back, I need training exercises for good top line! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-01-2012, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thoroughbred with a low back, I need training exercises for good top line!

Hey everyone, I have a 3 yr old thoroughbred with a low back and a fair top line. I've been lounging her with a surcingle and side reins. With hill work and some grounds poles. I've also been doing back lifts with her. Is there any other exercises I should do with her to get her back up? The reason I am so avid about getting her back up is because I can't find a saddle that fits her anywhere because her back is so weird. Do you guys think a treeless saddle would be good for her?
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-01-2012, 02:49 PM
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Is she building any muscle yet? Or do you feel like it's just wasted work. Long (extended) trotting with head down and back lifted helps a lot. Not sure about a treeless saddle. I've never used one before, sorry :)
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-01-2012, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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The work is helping her back. It has come up about an 1 and a half in about 2 months or so. I was just curious to see if anyone knew any other exercises as im not trying to bore my horse to death with the same thin over and over.
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-01-2012, 04:04 PM
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Do you know how to double lunge or long line?
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-01-2012, 09:04 PM
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If the horse's back swayed, or just lacking topline? If you have a typical TB with a high wither and weak back, you will find it fairly difficult to get a saddle that fits. I have found Kieffer's to be a good choice, as they offer a cut back pommel.

As far as building up topline, the horse is only 3 so there is only so much you can do. Muscle will build as he gets stronger and fitter - with correct, consisten work. So under saddle, make sure he is going forward and using his back, not travelling in an inverted frame, but not with his head jammed down by jiggling your reins either (thats a good way to create undermuscle in the neck!).
Hill work will certainly help - but again, make sure he is going forward and swinging his back. Dragging himself up on his front legs won't do anything.
You can try lunging over small ground poles or cavaletti - Set them up on a 20m circle, you can start with a ground pole on each 1/4 of the circle, and build to 3 poles in one section and a cavaletti on the other side... and eventually a cavaletti on each 1/4 circle. Lunging over cavaletti is great for encouraging the horse to pick its legs up and forward, which stretching the topline.

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post #6 of 23 Old 07-02-2012, 12:13 AM
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So random, I just saw something yesterday about this same topic...off to hopefully find it for you.
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-02-2012, 12:37 AM
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Stretches (and muscle building) for your horse

You're welcome

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-02-2012, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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I do know how to long line but Im not a total fan, and don't think it would be a good match for her as she is not impulsive. And I think it will be really hard to get her goin from behind. But it is worth a try.
She is not swayed back she just doesn't have a strong top line. Thank you for your good advice. I think I will definitely try more ground poles and cavalettis.
Thanks for the links they were very helpful.

Any opinions on treeless saddles?
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-02-2012, 03:26 PM
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From what I have heard about treeless saddles, they really don't do much good. Nothing with replace a good fitting saddle. Saddles with trees, might make pressure points behind the withers, or over the loin. But an ill fitting treeless saddle will make pressure points all over. That's only what I've heard, I have never used one and have no experience so I could always be wrong. You really should try long lining her. If she will lunge, she can long line. I taught my 2 year old how, and she isnt a very forward moving horse either. You can jiggle the long lines up against her but, or have a whip in hand just to tap her so that she gets your message. This really will do wonders for a young horse. I would strongly recommend trying it, before writing it off as something that wont work. Hope this helps in some way!!
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post #10 of 23 Old 07-02-2012, 03:34 PM
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I've had good luck with Barefoot treeless saddles on several horses. They fit both my sway-backed older gelding, as well as the fat pony (think round as a barrel & no withers). You can even get a special pommel insert for high-withered horses (might be relevant since you have a Thoroughbred?). Not to sound like an ad for Barefoot here, but like I said they work for me.

One thing you might want to keep in mind though is that not everyone is as comfortable in a treeless saddle as in a regular saddle. They do have a tendency to slide if you're not perfectly centered in your seat. Especially on a young horse that might have some *wheee* moments it can get a little interesting. But overall I'd say give it a try.
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