You can transform your horse into a strong and willing athlete by helping him develop the proper muscles along his topline. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see horses with weak backs. Don’t let your horse struggle to perform with a short, hollow back. Get him ready for work by following these ten tips!
What does a weak topline look like?
First, you must be familiar with your horse’s topline and what it is. It consists of the top portion of your horse’s body- his neck, back, loin, and hindquarters. Those with weak toplines will have hollow necks, sunken withers, higher spines, and boney hips.
How can you build up the topline?
1. Your horse should be on a quality feed that is high in protein.
2. Keep him turned out as much as possible. He should be able to graze, run, and play outside.
3. Allow him to eat at ground level, rather than in raised hay nets.
4. Make sure you have a good fitting saddle.
5. Walk up hills with him, either under saddle or in-hand. Going down hills can also help!
6. When under saddle, do lots of transitions and encourage active, forward movement in and out of each one.
7. Try raising some ground poles. You can walk and trot your horse over them.
8. Do some body stretching with him, such as belly lifts.
9. Try lateral movements and bending exercises like turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, and leg yield.
10. Be consistent in his exercise schedule and develop a plan to meet both of your needs.
Follow these ten tips and your horse will have an amazing topline in no time!