how do you build muscle on a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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how do you build muscle on a horse?


I have just started leasing a 16hh ex race horse. He has kissing spine and I can only ride him at a walk and trot but if I can build enough muscle on him I might be allowed to canter. I have heard you can walk up hills but we're he is goning to be kept doesn't have any hills really. I also want to build muscle on him so he would be more confortable with me sitting on his back riding him. Does anyone know any exercises? any ideas will do.

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post #2 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 01:57 AM
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he has kissing spine but is ok with you on , at a trot? why is canter not ok? just curious.

backing up , stepping over poles, starting and stopping are all things that build muscle with minimal physical stress.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 03:44 AM
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To build muscle you need to have him on a healthy diet with amino acids and ride him back to front so he's lifting and using his back and shoulders to create a nice topline. From the ground you can run your finger front to back down the center of his barrel to get him to lift that back muscle.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 09:46 AM
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A saddle with excellent fit FOR THE HORSE is a must.
Since most horses experience pain/discomfort and the issue between T15 and T18...that is right where the saddle sits and so does your butt.

How old is this horse???
Is he sway-backed or have a marked dropped spine???

I also wonder why the trot work is allowed, yet canter work not... any weight on his back can cause discomfort.
I know trot work helps to develop the muscling needed if the horse is ridden correctly and you post lightly where canter is more of a "sitting" positioning of the body.
Have you inquired about riding 2-point for the canter and staying off that back?
It may not help though till you can get the horse to increase and develop their under-belly abdominal muscles they need....
Thoroughbreds are predisposed to this according to many articles written..not just this horse it seems.

Sadly, unless you are happy only walking and trotting you may need to find another mount to lease able to canter. There are no guarantees even with better muscling he will be able to do more than he is.

Good luck.

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 11:48 AM
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Where is the kissing spines, what is the degree, has he had an xray?
Kissing spines is found in majority of working horses. I believe I was told by one Vet that a good 90%+ of working horses will have a degree of kissing spines. However it could be quite mild, or it could be career ending. Kissing spines can be the primary cause for back pain, hypersensitivity, discomfort (which can be expressed through bucking/rearing/etc.. when ridden), right up to head tossing and being 'cold backed'.
Prevention is obviously better than the cure, but you can help manage the situation in a few ways. First of all, long and low is awesome - you want to build GOOD core and back strength. If you have a horse that holds their head up quite high, for example, the spinal processes will be more compressed together which will result in more 'kissing' (bones touching), which can cause more pain. Think about this with feed as well - don't tie a haynet up too high causing him to reach upwards, keep things knee height or lower. Having the core and back strength there not only improves fitness and training, but also allows the horse to be able to hold himself correctly and cause less stress to the back and have good posture (very important).
You can do a range of exercises with him, but unless you know a) how bad the kissing spines are, and b) what the vets advice is, it's a bit tricky. Depending on how un/fit the horse is, I would start with long lining (minimal circles), or riding in straight lines long and low building up this strength before really riding him. Body work (Massage/bowen) will be great as well.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-10-2015, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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I have been long lining him and backing him up so far. I've tried the belly lift one but he didn't respond to it? The owner has a puffy saddle pad and a really light weight saddle for him. Also his owner has cut down his feed since he is a little overweight.

This is some of info about Jack ( the horse ) maybe this will possibly help and give some ideas to lift weight of his back?

He is 16 Hh
He is 13 years old
His kissing spine is behind where the saddle fits
He is sinchy

To lift weight of his back I have to use the mounting block as well
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