Young Horse has Swayback?

Horse management, health, feeding and grooming.
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Angus Cattle Girl
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Young Horse has Swayback?

Postby Angus Cattle Girl » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:23 pm

My 8 year old Quarter Horse mare has swayback! :o Could it be the breed? Her dam was a Morgan horse and her sire was a Quarter Horse. What could the deal be? :?:
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Re: Young Horse has Swayback?

Postby Alan » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:17 pm

Angus Cattle Girl wrote:My 8 year old Quarter Horse mare has swayback! :o Could it be the breed? Her dam was a Morgan horse and her sire was a Quarter Horse. What could the deal be? :?:


May just be in need of a little conditioning. If she hasn't been wormed lately, do it. Does she have a bit of a hay belly? If so control her feed give her a bit of alfalfa with her hay and grain.

Then start working her, lounge her or round pen her. When she gets into shape a little you can do an excercise to build her back muscles. First get a couple of elastic straps to tie from her saddle to her halter or bit (I prefer halter since I never ride doing this). So saddle her up take her to the round pen or lounge area. If you have never done this on her before tie the elastic on the saddle then to the halter with alot of slack in it, If she is not use to it and it's too tight she may freak and flip over. Once she gets use to it use tie the elastic tight enough that her nose to her forehead is straight up and down with a small amount of give. Then round pen her or lounge her. This will force her to round up her back and work her back muscles. The big BUT, remember it's like you (or me) deciding to run 10 miles bent over, it could hurt really bad after a short time, so start with short work periods and increase time very slowly. Also I don't like to use baling twine because it has no give, the restraint should have some give to it. If you decide to do this remember to let her get use to the restraint before you tighten it down so she won't hurt herself.

Alan
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Postby CattleAnnie » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:24 pm

She may also just have a long spine.

It's not unusual to see swaybacks in horse with that type of build, especially if they've been started under saddle very young; carried heavy loads (ie. packhorses), are overweight; or broodmares.


Take care.
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Postby tapeworm » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:36 pm

CattleAnnie wrote:She may also just have a long spine.

It's not unusual to see swaybacks in horse with that type of build, especially if they've been started under saddle very young; carried heavy loads (ie. packhorses), are overweight; or broodmares.


Take care.
I guess they still use a lot of packhorses up there cattleannie?? I know folks up ther used to have to pack salt..pack in horseback up in the high country...a hard life but a hard life to beat

cattleannie..I always like to read your postings..you take care to
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Postby CattleAnnie » Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:47 am

Tape,

Packhorses aren't all that common on the ranches up here anymore with the advent of quads. I think it's the convience of load, hop on and press start as opposed to having to catch, pack, saddle, ride the saddlehorse and lead a packhorse.

There are still a few places that use them to pack salt (we've had to use a packhorse on occasion when the river is too high to cross with a pickup & the saltshacks are getting empty).

Outfitters that guide hunters use the majority of packhorses up here to pack supplies, game animal meat and racks into and out of areas otherwise unaccessable by vehicle, boat, or plane.

Honey's lucky enough to have gone guiding for a couple of outfitters up in the mountains for the last two fall seasons...colour me green with envy (I get to stay home and get the hay off the fields and ride shotgun on the Apple Dumpling Gang - hey, they're a wild bunch at times so I guess that could be called an adventure). ;-)

Generally we use a packhorse if we're going for a camping trip. I know a real toughie would probably curl up under their saddle blanket after a fulfilling meal of hardtack, but I appreciate my bedroll and some good grub.

Why is it people can always eat twice their weight in food when they're out camping?


Take care.

ps.
Thanks for the compliment on posts... you must have a well developed sense of ha-ha! :D
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Postby Miss Daisy » Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:04 pm

I have a 7 year old paint gelding that is sway-backed. I spoke with a vet and many friends and like mentioned before, exercise helps a lot. Also, there are certain points on a horse when touched/pushed/rubbed the right way will make a horse flex his back muscle. If you stand behind your horse, feel for the softer spot up top behind the flank area. Press with all of your fingers. Another trick is to rub the belly near where you would find the navel. If performed correctly and the horse flexes his back, repeat a couple times each day and it will begin to improve posture.
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Postby gabz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:20 pm

Alan's method is one way to help develop her back muscles and top line ... but unless you have seen it done, it might be a little dangerous for both you and the horse. You will want a simple snaffle bit, and the elastic or rope to have a slight droop to it the first few times. As she gets used to having her head tied in this manner, you can begin to tighten up the side-reins (elastic /rope). Each day when you start this, start her with droopy side-reins and then tighten small amounts as you progress through 10 minutes of lunging each way, if you decide to do that type of thing.

Some other things are to work with the mare from the ground, with a good fitting halter and lead rope, and a riding crop or dressage length whip (or a thin tree branch), walk your horse forward a few steps and then back her up a few steps. go forward and back. The crop is to tap her in the chest while you stay by her head, to make her back up. Keep a somewhat droopy, loose lead so that she can put her head down to back up.

If you have a slight hill or slope, have her back up the hill after several days of backing on level ground.

having her trot over slightly raised logs (do this on a lunge line - not riding) will help her build her back. And the exercises Miss Daisy suggested. You can also use a towel if you have someone to stand on the other side of the horse. YOu each grab one end of the towel that is under her belly, and pull up to make her raise her back, hold for 2 or 3 seconds and release.

be sure to pad her back to make it level when you saddle her up. : )
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Postby BTRANCH » Sun Jun 04, 2006 12:24 pm

I have an 11 yr Qtr gelding that is so sway back it is almost embarrassing, but he has the heart of a champion and is as gentle as a lamb. He is real long and an old roping horse. Probably started too early. My vet and farrier all agree he is ok to ride as long as he is double padded. I felt so sorry for him, I went on a diet and have lost 16 lbs! I want to make it as easy on him as I can! No one mentioned the exercises, though. thanks for the info. I will try the towel thing right away.
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Postby SilverCharm » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:12 pm

I found this article. It talks about swayback in young horses.
http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/h ... index.html
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Postby Miss Daisy » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:09 am

BTRANCH wrote: I felt so sorry for him, I went on a diet and have lost 16 lbs!


Now thats dedicated! ;-)
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Postby Linda » Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:00 am

Then start working her, lounge her or round pen her. When she gets into shape a little you can do an excercise to build her back muscles. First get a couple of elastic straps to tie from her saddle to her halter or bit (I prefer halter since I never ride doing this). So saddle her up take her to the round pen or lounge area. If you have never done this on her before tie the elastic on the saddle then to the halter with alot of slack in it, If she is not use to it and it's too tight she may freak and flip over. Once she gets use to it use tie the elastic tight enough that her nose to her forehead is straight up and down with a small amount of give. Then round pen her or lounge her. This will force her to round up her back and work her back muscles. The big BUT, remember it's like you (or me) deciding to run 10 miles bent over, it could hurt really bad after a short time, so start with short work periods and increase time very slowly. Also I don't like to use baling twine because it has no give, the restraint should have some give to it. If you decide to do this remember to let her get use to the restraint before you tighten it down so she won't hurt herself.


Good description, Alan. Something we did instead of saddling the horse, is to use a cinch over the top of the horse's back, just behind the withers, and a latigo just snugged under the belly. Tie your elastic or leather straps from the halter to the cinch rings. This prevents the chance of a saddle being ruined if a horse pitches a fit. That hasn't happened to us, but the thought of losing a saddle made us cringe.
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Postby MrGale » Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:33 am

how old was it when broke to saddle? equines have cartillage growth plates at both ends of the spine that can break and sag if they are ridden too early. My mammoth donkey's aren't going to see a saddle till they are 4 years old....long reining and training before that yes, but no real weight or strain on the spine till the growth plates are ready for it. seen too many race horses in dogfood cans cause they are broke to saddle too early. :)
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Postby IHeartCows » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:42 am

To the OP, you said your horse was 1/2 Morgan... well Morgans carry inherited lordodsis (swayback).

Horses with this defect may be swaybacked at even a year or two old. (This is not, by the way, the sway back that an> older Morgan or horse of any breed may get due to being overweight, or aged or from having foals.)
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Postby peg4x4 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:12 am

rescue group here has colt,born from rescue mare on the place(bred before they got her) He has a really bad swayback ,looks like a u...
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sway backs

Postby 3horsemom » Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:46 pm

I was looking into info about swayback horses and found this forum. I have found the info posted about this topic helpful. I recently was given a 4 yo Registered Chincoteague tobiano paint pony. Her owner had to move her fast due to a domestic violence situation and I happen to be in the right place at the right time. She is very sweet and calm with a good personality and seems willing however she has poor confirmation and a distinct sway-back. I have ridden her (double padded) and she shows no sign of discomfort. The previous owner said she had been vet checked and they said it's not an issue. I just plan on using her for light trail riding (for the kids) once she has more time under saddle and I know I can trust her. Thanks for all the excercise tips.
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