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Cantering Cait

Roached Back Horse

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Okay guys. Little Dilemma..

I have a chance to buy a beautiful Hanoverian gelding. Beautiful on the flat and is jumping small courses, potential to go higher. What I'm unsure about is that he has a slight roached back. You can't tell at all when he has a saddle on, doesn't show any signs of soreness or discomfort. Its just when his saddle off a small part of his back looks bony. I've been doing a lot of reading online and many websites claim roached backs make for strong backs and can be muscled up and become stronger with the right exercises, unless they are severe then they can cause for a cold back. His does not seem severe to me after looking up hundreds of other roached back pictures. I'm just stuck on what to do. Also, I event. Planning on taking the horse I buy just to about novice level (2'11). He'd be ridden about 4 times a week. We'd probably compete in 1 to 2 events a month, and we'd be working with a trainer. He's an amazing horse for the price. Just share what you'd do in this situation. Thanks! :smileywavey:

ETA: I can PM a couple pictures. He will also only be my show horse until after college for about 3 or 4 years, then be used for casual riding and trails and maybe small local shows.

Edited by Cantering Cait

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to be honest, I'd never heard of a roached-back horse before now.... But it sounds to me like he would be a great horse for what you want/need.

Good luck!

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Can someone translate this into an actual veterinary issue, since the only reading on the subject doesn't describe the exact physical nature of the problem- only it's side effects?

Is it mild kissing spine? Sway back? Is it a deformity of the spinous process? A mild to moderate lack of muscle development from a young age? Just a serious lack of muscle tone? Is it injury based or a developmental problem?

I also find it really hard to trust ANY source that claims the best way to develop muscles in the back and hindquarters is to back the horse in circles around a round pen.

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roach backed horses are essentially the opposite of a sway back. Picture a hump-backed horse...only not like a camel. The arch in the back can be very hard to see, and tends to be more toward the lumbar/sacral than the thoracic/lumbar area of the spine. I've seen a fair number of appaloosa's with a roach back (or maybe I notice it more with them because I look for any reason to not like an appy...lol)

A few disadvantages of a roach back (depending on how severe, of course) are: difficult saddle fitting which could lead to sores at the back of the saddle, difficulty or inability with engaging the hind end and properly lifting through the back, shorter steps in the hind legs/less "through stepping".

The breadth and strength of the loin muscles is less developed in a roached back horse. Since the vertebrae are already fixed in a curved position, the attached muscles can't contract properly to round and elevate the back. It's hard to elevate the muscles of the loins, so the horse has trouble engaging the haunches

Obviously a PPE would be the best way to go, at the very least get a trusted vets opinion on this particular horse even before you consider doing a full PPE

Edited by Serah Rose

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^Ditto... basically the horse has a hump in it's back.

I would personally pass on a horse with this conformational flaw, but that is just me.

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I'd clarify it as a deformation in the spine. The websites I have looked at claim it is from un-proper use of the horses back while they were growing. I'd estimate that about 6 inches of his back sticks out and looks bony. I'm going to get pictures of it on Monday and show it to the vet for his opinion and see if he thinks I should pursue getting a full Vet check on him. The only way I'll be buying him is if the vet passes him for what I plan on doing.

I also dont think backing a horse around a round pen is exactly the correct way to strengthen their backs. Lol.

I'll be looking into chiro's for him if the vet deems him as fine, and a saddle fitter.

I'll probably ad pictures of his back on here too, so that you guys can see what it looks like, I wasn't aware so many people hadn't heard of it. I have only heard of it a couple times, but now that I know of it I went out to the barn today looking at all the horses deciding if I thought some of them had mild cases of it. Oh boy :rolleye0014:

I'll give you an update and hopefully pictures monday!

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