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Discuss Short VS long backed horses? at the Horse Chat forum - Horse Forums.

Which would you purchase all else being equal about the horse and why? Which breeds ...
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    Smile Short VS long backed horses?

    Which would you purchase all else being equal about the horse and why?

    Which breeds are most likely to have a short or long back?

    (I'm just learning more about conformation and wanted input)

    What are the pros and cons of each?

    Can you post some photos of horses who have a long back and horses who have a short back?
    ♥ Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away. We have roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

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    Senior Member+ roxyroller91's Avatar
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    well, Player has a short back, i had the option of a short vs long back horse, i toook Player, or course somethings were different to but i like the short back. its is nice.

    incase you need a player fix


    Domestic Shorthair ~Misty~
    Shih Tzu/Lhasa apso ~Abbie~
    Appendix Quarter Horse ~Dodger~
    West Highland Terrier ~Eva~
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    Smile

    Which would I prefer?
    It would naturally depend on the individual horse and what I intended to do with it.

    The following might answer your question:
    The length of the back may affect smoothness of gait, ability to collect and move with agility, limits how much weight the horse can carry, and can impact if a horse might be capble of being laterally gaited. The height of the withers also varies and affects freedom of shoulder movement, length of stride, and is a major area of concern in proper saddle fitting.
    Long back

    With the back measured from peak of withers to peak of croup, exceeds 1/3 of horse’s overall body length. Usually associated with long, weak loins.

    Especially seen in gaited horses, Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds, and some Warmbloods.

    The horse's ability to engage back depends on its ability to elevate the back and loins, requiring strong back and abdominal muscles. A long back is flexible, but harder for horse to stiffen and straighten spine to develop speed or coil loins to collect and engage the hindquarters to thrust rear limbs forward. This then affects upper level dressage, cutting, reining, barrel racing, and polo: sports that require rapid engagement of the hindquarters. Reduced flexion forces the horse to jump flatter with less bascule.

    It is difficult to develop a long back's muscle strength, so a horse is more likely to fatigue under the rider and to sway over time. The abdominal have more difficulty in compensating, so they are also less likely to develop. Loins and hindquarters may swing more than normal, increasing the occurrence of sore muscles which leads to a stiff, rigid ride. Cross-firing or speedy cutting likely at high-speeds from a horse with a long back.

    Movement of the back is flatter and quieter, making a more comfortable ride and is easier for horse to change leads.

    Short back

    The horse's back measures less than 1/3 of overall length of horse from peak of withers to peak of croup

    Can be seen in any breed, especially in American Quarter Horses, Arabians, and some Warmbloods

    The back may lack flexibility and become stiff and rigid. If vertebral spines of back are excessively small, the horse may have difficulty bending and later develop spinal arthritis. This adversely affects dressage and jumping performance. If still in back and torso, the stride will become stiff and inelastic. The horse may overreach, forge, or scalp itself if the hind legs do not move straight.

    The horse may be handy and agile, able to change direction with ease. Good for polo, roping, cutting, reining. If the horse has good muscling, it is able to support weight of rider with rare occurrence of back pain.

    Conformation bst used in agility sports
    A horse's back is considered long if the length from the peak of the withers to the point of the hip exceeds 1/3 of the horse's overall body length (from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, excluding head and neck). Long backs are more often seen in "gaited" horses, such as Saddlebreds or Tennessee Walkers. They are sometimes, but not always, associated with long, weak loins. The advantage to a long back is that it is flexible, making the movement of the back flatter, quieter, and makes a smoother ride. Even horses that are not gaited often have a smoother trot and long strides, making them comfortable to ride. On the other hand, it makes it harder for the horse to lift or "round" the back to develop speed or engage the hindquarters for high levels of collection. It takes longer to develop the muscles in a long back, and they are more prone to muscular strain and swayback as they age.
    A horse's back is considered short if the length from the peak of the withers to the point of the hip is less than 1/3 of the horse's overall body length from point of shoulder to point of buttock. Short backs can be seen in any breed, but are particularly common in American Quarter Horses, Arabians, and Morgans. The advantage to a short back is that the horse is quick, agile and strong, able to change direction with ease. A horse with this conformation is less likely to have back pain associated with the weight of the rider, especially if well-muscled. A short back is usually associated with being "short coupled," that is, short in the loin, making a horse of this conformation ideal for such agility sports as polo, roping, cutting, and reining. However, a short back is usually less flexible. This can lead to spinal arthritis if the horse has difficulty bending.
    There are two primary flaws in back conformation, a "too-straight" or "roach" back and its opposite, a low or "sway back."
    "It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." ~Dumbledore

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandra-A1 View Post
    Which would I prefer?
    It would naturally depend on the individual horse and what I intended to do with it.

    The following might answer your question:
    in that last quote they do, player has a sway back, at onyl 8 years old my poor boy.


    you can see it quite clearly in those pictures.
    Domestic Shorthair ~Misty~
    Shih Tzu/Lhasa apso ~Abbie~
    Appendix Quarter Horse ~Dodger~
    West Highland Terrier ~Eva~
    Arabian/Quarter horse filly ~Bella~

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    There is a lot more to this than just the length of the back... there is the slope of the shoulder, pastern angels, etc. For every horse that is a breed type there will be ONE of that bred that is not that way... so to say that one breed is more prone to be long or short... I think depends on the actual horses involved.

    What you want to do with the horse will also effect if it is a good or bad thing. Length of the back is not necessarily genetic... so it to me is not much of a factor if it does not breed true.

    One of my best breeding mares is long backed... Her offspring are chunks. They have ALL been colts... None of her colts are long backed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Circle C View Post
    If you can't take ALL the replies...good bad or neutral, then dont post or you will end up ****** off.

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    I myself have two short backed horses and wanted to add that sometimes it can make tack fitting a bigger issue as the skirts of western saddles will hit them in the hips or shoulders...

    Here are two photos showing Tiffany and Azar (morgan and paso fino)





    Here are the same two horses wearing the same arabian type saddle (it is my husbands saddle) you can see how it fits them - (short, wide back)





    Thanks for the input on your experiences.

    I intend to begin with Dressage with Tiffany and progress to jumpers after we have an established training base together.
    ♥ Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away. We have roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavenlyJumper View Post
    I myself have two short backed horses and wanted to add that sometimes it can make tack fitting a bigger issue as the skirts of western saddles will hit them in the hips or shoulders...

    Here are two photos showing Tiffany and Azar (morgan and paso fino)





    Here are the same two horses wearing the same arabian type saddle (it is my husbands saddle) you can see how it fits them - (short, wide back)





    Thanks for the input on your experiences.

    I intend to begin with Dressage with Tiffany and progress to jumpers after we have an established training base together.
    god, they are beautiful!! . i am so lucky i found a cheap, good quality saddle that fits Player, short backs are a pain sometimes. tack can definatly be an issue
    Domestic Shorthair ~Misty~
    Shih Tzu/Lhasa apso ~Abbie~
    Appendix Quarter Horse ~Dodger~
    West Highland Terrier ~Eva~
    Arabian/Quarter horse filly ~Bella~

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    long backs are often weaker than shorter backs, but a back that is too short can be difficult to fit a saddle too.
    Thoroughbreds are known to have long backs and your quarter horses and ponies are often shorter in their backs. Too me short or long doesn't matter as long as the horse doesn't have any back problems and doesn't appear sore after holding weight. I do try and steer clear of a horse with an extra long back though.

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    Curlies tend to have short backs.

    Long backs tend to be weaker that short backs, but obviously you don't want a really short back either. That's about all I know. I really need to work on my knowledge of conformation, ha ha.

    For sale: Dominus bridle, Beval open-fronts, Centaur climate control quilts and grey w/black+white piping polo wraps
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    I dunno. I always think stormy has a short back:




    thankfull he has never over reached etc. I'd rather have a short backed horse myself.

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