Training a horse's back

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Training a horse's back

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  • How to strengthen horse's back
  • Use of a chambon for atrophy of horse's back muscles

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    01-05-2011, 02:32 PM
Training a horse's back


I'm an equine osteopath, and I need to teach a client to train a horse's back unilateraly.

Due to a lesion on some lumbar vertabrae, it has a lot more muscle on his right side than on the left one, which leads to a recurring lesion.

Does anyone know any exercises we can perform, so that we focus it's muscle effort mainly on the hinder left side of it's back?

Thank you


PS - Forgive me if I didn't make it clear enough, and please let me know about it, because I'm not from english origin, I may have made my question a little bit confusing, or typed it with some errors.
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    01-05-2011, 09:45 PM
Interesting question. I'm not really sure how you would target just one side of a horse's back. I would add a lot of vitamin E to the horse's diet for starters to aid the tissue healing and lots of localized massage to keep the blood flowing through that area.

As for exercises, maybe lateral work that results in the horse being flexed or bent in it's weak direction. For example, for a weak left side, clockwise circles, shoulder-in and haunches in while tracking right and leg yields to the left. That's all I can think of.
    01-05-2011, 10:11 PM
Well, they're applying 5-10 minute massages twice a day on the affected area, so that part is taken care of.

I also recommended <1h walks on the fields, moderate speed walking, slow trotting when going downhill (mild inclinations only).

I talked to a vet today, and to an experienced rider. They both agreed that unilateral training can be a tricky solution, since it can cause an over-development of previously simetrical muscles on other parts of the body.

They suggested the cautious use of a "chambon" (i suppose the term is the same there), and a lot of work with the neck lowered.

The vet also sugested electric stimulation of the underdeveloped muscles (very expensive but effective).

I like the idea of some lateral work. And combining it with small doses of the chambon might actually speed up the healing process.

Thank you, and if anyone else thinks of some other exercises, please let me know.
    01-05-2011, 10:22 PM
Yes, you can easily overdo one sided work. I'm assuming the muscles in question are in atrophy now and will at some point wake up. When you do start to see change, just go back to working the complete horse. I would think overtime it will all even out.

My horse used to be very weak on his right lead. I used the exercises I mentioned above to strengthen is left hind leg. Now he's very balanced in both directions. I know it works for legs. Just not sure about backs.
    01-06-2011, 07:37 PM
Well, the training schedule is ready to go, It'll start on saturday... Took some of your ideas, and mixed it with experience, and now I'll pray!

I'll try and take some pictures to post, to make a before and after kind of thing.

We may have made a breakthrough... in my life at least :P

Thanks a lot

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