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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My horse has a bony back, but she doesn't seem underweight. Does she just have a weak topline o is that just how she is built. She is also shark withered, if that changes anything. You can't see it as well in pictures, but in person her back looks bony and you can see her spine.
 

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She doesn't look underfed. Is her saddle fitting well? What sort of riding do you do with her?


I think her bony look is probably just genetic, but if the saddle is too tight, it could be inhibiting the development of the muscles that are just behind the shoulder.
 

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Yeah she's certainly not underweight. She has a rather angular looking croup - the tuber sacrale region sticking up - or hips dropping away. This may be why her back is weak, and a good chiropractic vet or other bodyworker might be able to improve or fix that.

As for her wither, its not that clear but it has the look of atrophy to me, rather than her just having a big wither (or is that what's meant by shark fin wither?) There's a pocket, a dip out of where the top of her shoulder blade muscle should be. This is commonly due to too tight or too forward saddle.
 

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I agree. She's not thin, but she's not using her topline properly. Often this is due to saddle fit and to not carrying herself correctly. I'd also have her checked by a good chiropractor to be sure there's not something going on with her back that's causing her not to want to round up and develop those muscles. I also agree her withers look atrophied-- again, usually caused by a saddle that is restricting those muscles and damaging them.

Nutrition is sometimes another cause. Adding a ration balancer and/or making sure she's getting the nutrients she needs can really help. A vitamin E deficiency when a horse isn't getting access to lots of lush pasture, or missing amino acids can cause this appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She is a barrel racer. Her saddle doesn't seem too tight, if anything its a little wide because of her high withers. Could that also be why?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am working towards getting a saddle that works better for her, but until then i was thinking of just buying shims and seeing if those would help. I just bought her, so im still riding her in the saddle she was ridden in by her previous owners.
 

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Wide saddle wont compensate for the shark fin. Need a cut back. If you just went to a widd saddle I would say saddle fit is part of the issue.
 

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I agree. She's not thin, but she's not using her topline properly. Often this is due to saddle fit and to not carrying herself correctly. I'd also have her checked by a good chiropractor to be sure there's not something going on with her back
I'm no expert on bodywork myself, but I'd say her croup/hip/pelvis angle makes it obvious there's 'something going on', that's not just a matter of saddle fit or 'not using herself'.
 
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