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Hello! My senior (19) QH mare is starting to get swayback. She was on hiatus for the summer because I've been working primarily with my Arabian for a few tournaments, but she has been trail ridden on a fairly regular basis. She's lived a very stress-free, easy trail life, so this isn't from a life of hard riding. I know that it is a sign of age, but I'm hoping to correct it as much as possible.

What have you found that will help reduce swayback?
 

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The first thing an equine chiropractor would say, would be to do belly lifts.

Some horses are easy to do, others are not.

This Joyce Harman, a holistic veterinarian.

Here’s her website:)
https://harmanyequine.com/
 
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What I've always been told for swayback is hills, hills, and more hills. It can just be walking. You likely won't be able to raise her back up to a noticeable degree but it can help strengthen her topline so that it doesn't continue to dip so fast.

In my opinion, her back doesn't look bad but I don't know what she looked like before.
 

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Lots of groundpoles. That's what helped with my Moonshine's back.
 

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I agree on the belly lifts but if it is not enough you could get a swayback pad. We have an older mare that is just slightly swaybacked. I purchased a sway back pad for her and she seems much happier and moves out well with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is the first I have heard of belly lifts! Thank you for that link. I have heard the "hills, hills, hills" mantra but we have pretty hilly pastures and trails, so I was wondering if we could be doing more. I'll see if I can get her to do ground poles without falling over. (She's the clumsiest horse I've ever seen ... every day is her first day with feet.)

And I am glad someone else thinks her back isn't too bad. I haven't been too worried about it until it was pointed out by the vet so I figured I was just wrong and needed to do some extra work.
 

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I'd first get a chiropractic vet come check her out, to ensure all is in order, then fittening work, including belly lifts & hill work. *But saddle fit/riding her when unfit may be the root cause. Additionally, fitting a saddle to her current back shape, unless very careful & well padded may cause her to be unable to improve - pressure on already atrophied muscles etc. So I'd be doing lots with her in hand & some bareback riding before much if any saddled work - then you can ensure you fit a saddle to a healthier back shape.
 
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