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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, last week I brought home a mare with sway back. I understand the condition and what causes it, although no one in my area seems to. I know I have to get a special saddle pad for my girl, which I don't mind. But I want to hear about your experiences with horses with sway back. Tell me how the riding was, how it over all effected their health. Anything about sway back really. I need to talk to others whose horses have the same condition! Thanks.
Also pictures are welcome.
 

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I owned an old girl (you can view her pictures here - her name is Princess) had a really swayed back. Her trot was a little rough, but her canter/gallop was freaking amazing. Just like any straight backed horse, they have their own feel. Age just sometimes gets to a horse's back when ridden a lot, or are bred, or other nonsense. But you already know that. :p

It never really affected her except during her low-weight times when she couldn't eat well. Her cushings didn't help either. So, make sure your girl stays fairly decent in weight, otherwise her anus will sink in and she'll poop all over herself and that can cause problems - not just with cleaning, but as you know, they can't wipe so the bacteria will be a health hazard.

Hope that helps to an extent.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for sharing stoddard. She was beautiful! What type of pad did you use for her?
My new mare (foxy) was getting two pound of grain the summer, which I felt was a lot. But I guess they didn't want her to lose the weight. I didn't know about the weight loss concerns with sway back. Thank you!
 

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Thank you for sharing stoddard. She was beautiful! What type of pad did you use for her?
My new mare (foxy) was getting two pound of grain the summer, which I felt was a lot. But I guess they didn't want her to lose the weight. I didn't know about the weight loss concerns with sway back. Thank you!
I don't remember the brand, but I didn't use anything thick. I tried once and she actually acted up a lot more. Each horse is different though, and if I had found this tack store when I owned her, I'd of bought her this memory foam pad to make it easier on her withers. A little extra advice - use a breast collar to help keep your saddle from sliding down her back. It'll happen ten times easier on a sloped back horse than it will any other horse out there.

Also, thank you. I loved her with all my heart and I saw her as being the prettiest horse alive. :) (what owner doesn't do that?)
 

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I personally wouldn't bother with a saddle. It is harder for a horse to gain correct muscle while only worked in a saddle (the compression plus the fact that a lot of horses tense up while working, which retards muscle growth). I'd get a nice bareback pad and use that to ride in. Are you planning on showing her? If not, why bother spending a ton of money on a special saddle that may or may not fit anyway? Bareback is usually more comfortable for the horse anyway. You can do whatever you want bareback. It isn't any less 'safe' than with a saddle. (I tend to fall off more with a saddle anyway. :D ).
Do realize that the older she gets, the more likely it is to start sinking even further. Once those muscles get weaker, her back will go down. This can lead to arthritis and pain. I'd be sure to have her on MSM (super cheap, like $6 a month. Make sure you get 10,000mg per dose. It works awesome on most horses, reducing inflammation before it becomes a problem). A good joint supplement wouldn't hurt, if you can afford it, too.
Try and do exercises that increase muscle strength in the back. Trotting over raised poles while free lungeing is a great way to encourage her to lift her back. The emphasis is on prancing slowly through the poles, not racing through them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She is already on a joint supplement. I mainly am using her for trails. There are a few just for fun shows around here that I may take her to. One of my super old saddles fire really well, I just need a sway back pad.
The only reason I really want to use a saddle, is because she is very fast and I am still learning her. I'm sure after a few months I would feel more confident without a saddle.
 

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I personally wouldn't bother with a saddle. It is harder for a horse to gain correct muscle while only worked in a saddle (the compression plus the fact that a lot of horses tense up while working, which retards muscle growth). I'd get a nice bareback pad and use that to ride in. Are you planning on showing her? If not, why bother spending a ton of money on a special saddle that may or may not fit anyway? Bareback is usually more comfortable for the horse anyway. You can do whatever you want bareback. It isn't any less 'safe' than with a saddle. (I tend to fall off more with a saddle anyway. :D ).
Do realize that the older she gets, the more likely it is to start sinking even further. Once those muscles get weaker, her back will go down. This can lead to arthritis and pain. I'd be sure to have her on MSM (super cheap, like $6 a month. Make sure you get 10,000mg per dose. It works awesome on most horses, reducing inflammation before it becomes a problem). A good joint supplement wouldn't hurt, if you can afford it, too.
Try and do exercises that increase muscle strength in the back. Trotting over raised poles while free lungeing is a great way to encourage her to lift her back. The emphasis is on prancing slowly through the poles, not racing through them.
A trail horse doesn't necessarily need all this special treatment, and the older this mare gets, the slower you'll wanna take things. You don't have to use a bareback pad (actually, that wouldn't have helped with my girl), just make sure you have a light saddle. Mine is leather and very light, although a quick find on lightweight saddles for trail would be synthetic saddles. :D

Making her trot poles to encourage back lifting is a good idea, however.
 

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We used a saddle pad on our swayback gelding. It is built specifically to bridge the space between the withers and the hindquarters.. Worked great, he went on long trailrides with no issues.
Pad was by Reinsman, called a "swayback pad".
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've seen the reinsman pads and they have good reviews. Would you recommend them?
 

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Most definately... Worked so well for our old gelding. Saddle never slipped, and with the "bridge" to fill in the back on this old guy, my husband even rode him for hunts and packed with him.
The real Reinsman has a Tacky Too backing so saddle pad breathes but doesn't slide or heat up horses back.
 
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