woman riding horse

Common Causes Of Back Pain In Horses

Back Pain Is Common In Horses

Back pain in horses is very common because it is the direct point of contact with the rider’s weight and movement weather this be a dressage horse or racehorse. The back takes all the impact and this can be affected by the saddle not fitting correctly either putting pressure on one side or front or back causing discomfort for the horse. image1

Often horses will tell you when the back pain becomes too much to continue with their work in their behaviour doing moves such as, bucking, rearing, stopping, napping, un willingness to not “use himself”,  lack of hind-end engagement being cold-backed, girthiness, refusing to collect, shying, biting or nipping, blanketing or brushing issues, white hairs in the saddle region, farrier complaints, saddle fit issues, difficulty with flying lead changes, twisting over fences, refusing or rushing fences; and stumbling or tripping.

Often you can determine the point of impact on the back where extra pressure is being caused by excess sweat patches or hair loss/sores or when palpating the back the horse will react by dipping, biting, kicking or spasm.

Also sore backs can occur in horses through many other things such as rolling, getting cast, twisting whilst jumping, falling over or even over compensating for a lameness.

Clinical signs of a sore back are shoulder asymmetry, in which one shoulder appears more developed than the other, muscle atrophy (wasting) over the topline resulting in prominent spinal processes and holding the tail to one side.