Swayback in Horses; Causes and Remedy

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If you are a horse enthusiast or hostler, you’re likely familiar with the term “swayback.” If so, what does it mean exactly? And is there anything that can be done to help remedy this condition in horses? 

“Swayback” is an anatomical misalignment of the spine where a dip develops at the juncture between the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. This condition affects more than just how your horse appears; it also has implications for performance and longevity. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore what causes swayback in horses and how to best remediate it. We’ll discuss different types of treatments that may help lessen discomfort if any symptoms present themselves as well as ways to support your horse while they heal.

How do you treat a horse with a swayback?

It’s important to take special care of a horse with a swayback to keep them as healthy and comfortable as possible. A good place to start is by providing the animal with an appropriately-fitted saddle that best suits its physical shape. 

Additionally, you should make sure the horse is kept active by riding or exercising it regularly. However, always be sure not to overwork a horse with a swayback, as this can lead to further strain on the animal’s weakened spine. 

You may also need to pay close attention when feeding a horse with this condition; opt for nutrient-purified forage as too much protein and fat can cause increased exacerbation of symptoms on account of the awkward stance caused by a swayback. 

By adequately caring for your four-legged friend, you can help them feel they’re very best!

Can you correct sway back in horses?

Horses can sometimes be afflicted with a common condition called sway back, and it’s important to address this issue to ensure the horse’s health and well-being. It is possible to correct sway back in horses, though it may seem difficult. 

Depending on the severity of the condition, it will take time, consistency, patience, and the right kind of therapeutic or corrective riding equipment! Depending on the individual case, your veterinarian may also be able to recommend exercises or stretches your horse can do during warm-up and cool-down routines. 

As such, every equestrian needs to take action when it comes to caring for their horse’s health – if you notice a change in your horse’s posture or behavior that could mean they have swayed back, don’t hesitate to seek professional help sooner rather than later.

What causes a horse to get swayback?

A horse’s condition known as swayback is caused by the weakening of the abdominal muscles – often referred to as “tummy rein” – due to physical over-exertion or age. 

Constant hard work and extended pushing of a horse beyond its limits can cause severe exhaustion, and this strain can lead to a loss of muscle strength along the back where it meets the abdomen, resulting in swayback.

Additionally, just like humans, as horses get older their muscles naturally start to become weaker and less capable of carrying the same amount of weight and undergoing the type of workload that their younger selves could do easily. 

Unfortunately for some horses, swayback occurs at a young age due to improper medical management or lack of muscle support during physical activities which only serve to add stress on an already weak structure.

How do you fix a sway back fast?

If you want to fix a sway back quickly, it’s important to recognize that there are both preventive and curative measures you can take. 

Strengthening your core and glute muscles with exercises such as planks, squats, lunges, and bridges can help keep your spine properly supported and reduce the risk of developing a way back in the first place. 

Additionally, massaging tension points on your lower back with a foam roller or lacrosse ball can help alleviate existing issues before they become serious. The most important thing is to be conscious of the body position you maintain when sitting or standing so that you don’t artificially encourage the adoption of a sway-back posture. 

With proper care and precautionary habits, you should be able to keep your spine free from pain!

How long does it take to get rid of swayback?

Treating swayback usually depends on the individual and their particular body, but on average it takes between six weeks to three months to experience a noticeable improvement in the symptoms. 

While physical therapy and exercise are often recommended for cases of swayback, many people have found that changing their lifestyle habits can also lead to tremendous improvements in their condition. 

This includes making changes such as proper body posture when sitting, standing, and lying down – as well as maintaining a healthy diet and reducing stress. In any case, if you’re suffering from pain or discomfort due to swayback, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific situation.

Can a swayback horse be ridden?

Riding a swayback horse requires more patience and skill than riding a horse with an even back. Although some horses with mild swaybacks can comfortably carry a rider, the extra arch of their backs requires additional care to ensure that both horse and rider are safe while they move together. 

Before attempting to ride a swayback horse it is essential to work with a knowledgeable trainer or instructor, as this will help you determine whether the horse is physically capable of bearing the weight of a rider and if so develop specific strategies for navigating potential difficulties posed by the change in movement. 

When ridden correctly and with care, swayback horses have been known to be gentle giants that bring joy to their riders for years to come.

What exercises help a sway back horse?

Exercises for a horse with a sway back can help strengthen and balance the horse’s musculature, as well as improve his posture. Groundwork including long-lining can help create awareness and connection between the horse and rider, aiding the horse in understanding its body better. 

Lunging exercises such as small circles and serpentines can promote suppleness, strength, and coordination in both hindquarters and shoulders. Hill work is also beneficial to providing muscular strengthening for both front-end and hind-end support for the horse, while also teaching them to accept contact from a rider on their back or be ridden alongside another horse. 

To safely perform any exercise with a sway-back horse he must be properly warmed up before attempting any activities which lead to the saddle, making sure their engagement comes from within before attempting challenging movements.

What age do horses get swayback?

Horses can develop swayback relatively early on in life; they are typically first affected at around sixteen to eighteen years of age. Swayback is a genetic problem involving the weakening and disruption of the spine, leading to the ‘swaying’ of the back that gives it its name. 

It can affect riding horses but doesn’t necessarily have to make them any less usable for partaking in activities, as it isn’t necessarily dangerous. That being said, it can be uncomfortable for a horse since muscles aren’t evenly balanced and may get over-stressed due to weakened spinal muscles losing integrity and control. 

Ultimately, good care and saddle-fitting can often compensate for swayback’s development and help keep your beloved equine friend comfortable.

How do you strengthen a swayback horse?

Strengthening a swayback horse takes a lot of hard work but is well worth the effort. If you have the time, patience, and know-how, there are several methods to help your horse develop his body to reduce the severity of the swayback. 

Establishing an exercise routine that is tailored to your horse’s needs and abilities can help develop core strength and stability. Adding low-impact activities such as stretching and using a  physioball can also help him gain all-over muscle tone. 

Supplementing their diet with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and essential fatty acids and making sure they get enough protein can also support smoother movement by promoting optimal joint function. 

Above all else, it’s important to take your time with any strengthening regimen so you don’t push too far too fast and ensure that you are being careful to protect against further injury or aggravation. With loving care and dedication, your horse can benefit from improved fitness and range of motion while improving their quality of life at the same time!

It’s a Wrap

Understanding and being able to identify the signs of swayback can help horse owners take action at an early stage. Treating a swayback condition requires a balanced approach to diet, exercise, medication, and good overall care. 

By doing regular check-ins with your veterinarian, you can ensure your horse gets the best treatment that is most suitable for them. Taking preventative measures is key in ensuring a swayback condition doesn’t get too severe and reduce your horse’s quality of life. 

Each situation is unique and should be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best outcome for both horse and owner alike. 

Remember that a swayback condition is manageable if addressed as soon as possible, so don’t ignore the issue if you think it may be present in your horse! Always consult with a qualified professional to give your horse its best chance for recovery.


Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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