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These six steps can help transform your horse’s topline from underdeveloped to well-toned.
Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Apr 23, 201
Six ways to transform your horse’s topline from underdeveloped to well-toned
Bettina had a good topline. Her neck and back musculature was even, with no fat lumps. Her neck transitioned smoothly into her shoulders, with no abrupt or angular gaps alongside her withers. Her spine was surrounded by a nice continuum of toned muscles along its length down into the croup.
Then, life happened. I bred my 1,500-pound, 17-hand Warmblood mare, and she had a foal. Then another. Then I loaned her out to a couple of young riders who started her back under saddle doing dressage, jumping, and cross-country. And little by little the problems started. While she took home ribbons at shows, she became grumpy, pinning her ears when she saw riders approaching her stall, snapping while getting girthed up. Eventually she showed subtle signs of lameness, leading to her retirement.
Bettina arrived home fit, strong, lame, and with a prominent ridge spanning from withers to rump. Her vertebral column peaked above everything around it. The top of her croup protruded, and she had gaps beside her withers. At 13 years old Bettina wasn’t starved, wasn’t neglected, and wasn’t unfit. But she, like many other working horses, had a severely undeveloped topline. Her history of foaling, poor saddle fit, possibly inappropriate nutrition, and lameness all contributed.
With proper attention to her needs and a lot of patience, though, I’m seeing Bettina’s lovely look start to come back again. These six steps can help others in the same boat achieve a topline transformation...
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