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  1. #1
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    Default "Cold Backed" what does this mean to you?

    Have heard this a couple of times from trainers regarding horses for sale. Typically I have heard this in conjunction with a TB. Can you guys elaborate on this for me?



  2. #2
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    My definition: the horse needs to get warmed up before you hop on to ride.

    A friend had a gelding that you could saddle right up, but he needed to be lunged for a few minutes prior to riding or he could get crow hoppy if you asked for more than a walk right off.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  3. #3
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    I have a very cold backed horse. He will rocket you out of the saddle the 1st couple of minutes of a ride. Can be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing and this is why I never sold him.

    I reserve the term for horses that are tense during the beginning of a ride (he is both hot and freakish) but have no reason other than their own freakish mental stupidity (AKA-they are sound and not in pain) for acting like that.

    A friend however has a lame horse that when he is starting to have issues he behaves the same. She also calls him cold backed. So the term has a pretty loose meaning.

    But anytime you heard a horse being called cold back if you inquire the 1st question is "why?" and the 2nd question is "how is that dealt with?"

    Some can be great horses after they are warmed up on a line or other such ritual....others (like mine) have to get that 1 or 2 big bucks out no matter what.....others are just plain hurting so bad they act up.



  4. #4
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    my mare does not buck but she is VERY BALKY right after you get on. If I lunge her for 5 minutes she loosens right up, typically now I am doing this before I tack her up with just a halter so she can stretch her neck down, works wonders for her.

    Wondering if that also would fall under this category?



  5. #5
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    DH, dyed-in-the-wool cowboy, stated that when he was a young person, horses on the ranch were broke by snubbing them to a pole, getting on and then turned loose to "buck out." He said these horses just about always bucked when you first got on, and were referred to as "cold backed."

    Saw this in the movie Brokeback Mountain, as one of the characters got on a horse and the other warned something along the lines of "watch that one, she's cold backed," and the horse humped up a couple times and then leveled out.

    That's my definition of cold backed. Something that may or may not crowhop when you get on, which may or may not be improved with some lungeing. I've seen it used to refer to horses who are stiff and hollow at the beginning of a ride as well.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by outfoxem View Post
    my mare does not buck but she is VERY BALKY right after you get on. If I lunge her for 5 minutes she loosens right up, typically now I am doing this before I tack her up with just a halter so she can stretch her neck down, works wonders for her.

    Wondering if that also would fall under this category?
    Possibly. But she could just be "young and dumb" sorta thing depending on her age. Tons of horses act kinda stupid when they are younger but stop the nonsense after several years U/S.

    To me this term is reserved for a horse with no fix. I have owned this horse his entire life (15yrs now). Raised him from day one. He will never improve. Could have sold him several times...but unless someone gets it (and few do) he could really hurt someone. The horse just does not have "good vibes" for the causal rider that just wants to enjoy a nice ride. Ability...yes...he had the body and athlete package. Mentally...not so much...hot is A-OK by me cuz I do know how to use hot. But he was not in line the day they handed out common sense and brains. He by-passed that line and went straight to the reactive line...then shoved his way to the front of the line. I think he went back to the stupid line for seconds.

    I actually had a man I did consider selling him to once. He was looking for a horse that could work all day. But in the end it was not worth a few thousand risking someone getting hurt. Cuz he will yard dart yah those 1st 2 minutes U/S. And it is every single time...



  7. #7
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    Feb. 16, 2003
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    Those who might hop around, actually pitch a fit, if asked to move right out into faster gaits, work hard, immediately after being mounted, are cold-backed to me.

    Best idea I have used is to ALWAYS take the time to warm them up properly. You can actually hurt a horse, asking for work if they are not warmed up first. Sprains, aches, or worse, are pretty common issues with no warmup. Yet few folks do a good warmup with their horse, and horse suffers for it later.

    I don't know ANY kind of physical exercise program, physical work, that doesn't have warmups, stretches, encouraged before actually starting. Horses deserve the same consideration, in getting warmed up before asking them to work for us.

    So using our horses means they ALL get a good warmup, so they have NO EXCUSES for acting poorly, when put to work. This is at LEAST 20 minutes of walk and trot, both ways of the ring, or a mile walking, going down the road at a forward speed. Just asking and getting FORWARD. Heads up or down, nose on the ground is FINE, just stay on the rail. Horse doing some self stretching (if he isn't going to launch you) works out well, keep walking. They should be flexible, joints all moving smoothly, his back under the saddle is warmed up and flexing after that time . Someone hopping, humping their back after a good warmup, gets punished, such behaviour is NOT ACCEPTABLE.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 10, 2011
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    To me, it is a horse whose back muscles are such that the horse responds negatively while tacking up/ the first few minutes under saddle.

    I have a mare who is incredibly sensitive to having the saddle put on and initial girthing. If you tighten the girth slowly so she can acclimate, all is well. She doesn't buck or anything when you get on, but she does walk around with her head straightup until she warms up and loosens up.



  9. #9
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    I think it's something to do with skin being sensitive to the pressure from the girth/saddle- so a cold-backed horse often experiences extreme unpleasant sensations from first being saddled up, but works out of it.
    Many cold-backed horses respond very well to having the skin/back massaged vigorously before saddling; others just need to be be very slowly girthed up while walking around. If you get them "over it" before you mount up you lessen your chances of being launched, which is a good thing.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Taylor View Post
    I have a very cold backed horse. He will rocket you out of the saddle the 1st couple of minutes of a ride. Can be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing and this is why I never sold him.

    I reserve the term for horses that are tense during the beginning of a ride (he is both hot and freakish) but have no reason other than their own freakish mental stupidity (AKA-they are sound and not in pain) for acting like that.

    A friend however has a lame horse that when he is starting to have issues he behaves the same. She also calls him cold backed. So the term has a pretty loose meaning.

    But anytime you heard a horse being called cold back if you inquire the 1st question is "why?" and the 2nd question is "how is that dealt with?"

    Some can be great horses after they are warmed up on a line or other such ritual....others (like mine) have to get that 1 or 2 big bucks out no matter what.....others are just plain hurting so bad they act up.
    This just about sums up my experience with 3 cold backed horses and the last one would absolutely rocket you right out of the saddle without 30 minutes of lungeing. We had a complete exam with blood, chiro, accupuncture, massage and no one found anything wrong (all different vets). She went on to be Reserve champion AreaII BN eventing, Grand Ch.for our organization in Virginia and I was ranked 4th and 5th in the Nation for USEA with a gold and Silver medal. Also, I forgot qualified for the Nat chmp and Reg champ in her first few rides. This mare was never a sale horse anyway, but now she's a permanent fixture.

    I think if you did a biopsy after they died you might find something, but as a vet said to me "probably not" I'm not bragging, I just thought I would make it clear that with proper handling, they can give you a lot. This mare was never mean either, just tough and cold backed. Also, I bought her as an unbroke yearling and broke her myself, so there was no "crazy stuff" If they're worth it, just lunge them and learn to sit back.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



  11. #11
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    Mar. 15, 2012
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    A cold-backed horse is one that needs to be a) girthed slowly and b) walked around or worked a little before being mounted.

    I currently have a gelding who is mildly cold-backed, although he seems to actually be growing out of it. When he was first started under saddle, he would bow- both front legs straight out in front of him- to the ground if you just tacked him up and hopped on. Walk him around for a minute or two and he's good to go. He's much better now, but I always walk him out for a minute before I get on. Despite this quirk, he's an awesome horse to ride : )



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eventer55 View Post
    This just about sums up my experience with 3 cold backed horses and the last one would absolutely rocket you right out of the saddle without 30 minutes of lungeing. We had a complete exam with blood, chiro, accupuncture, massage and no one found anything wrong (all different vets). She went on to be Reserve champion AreaII BN eventing, Grand Ch.for our organization in Virginia and I was ranked 4th and 5th in the Nation for USEA with a gold and Silver medal. Also, I forgot qualified for the Nat chmp and Reg champ in her first few rides. This mare was never a sale horse anyway, but now she's a permanent fixture.

    I think if you did a biopsy after they died you might find something, but as a vet said to me "probably not" I'm not bragging, I just thought I would make it clear that with proper handling, they can give you a lot. This mare was never mean either, just tough and cold backed. Also, I bought her as an unbroke yearling and broke her myself, so there was no "crazy stuff" If they're worth it, just lunge them and learn to sit back.
    Yeh, I hear you. Mine will live here until the day he dies. And yes he can give you a lot....if you can get past the first couple of minutes.

    But I when he was younger I ponied him many hours on the trail until he was one cool customer in full tack. I had an audience watching when we got back...they were just as curious as I if this would work. Went to step up on him and he started to tense. I growled at him to knock off. Some man said watch this cuz she knows what she is doing (place bets now if she hits the ground or not was my translation). Horse stood calm then while I mounted but you have to issue a reminder most of the time. Reached down to adjust the stirrup perfect (cuz I did know what was coming). Asked him to step fw'ed ------> 2 big bucks and then he walked off ready to ride.

    Horses like yours and mine are what they are.... and if that bothers you walk away.



  13. #13
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    NW Louisiana
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    To me it really means that the horse likely has pain somewhere that he either warms up out of, or he learns to tolerate. Or around here, it means that we have a saddle that doesn't fit and we ride like a 250lb sack of potatoes but we will blame the horse being "cold-backed" for his misbehavior rather than showing we care about the animal and figuring out what hurts him.

    But I truly believe the vast majority of "cold backed" horses are hurting somewhere and either no one knows where, or no one has taken the time to think about the fact that the horse is trying to say something hurts.



  14. #14
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    Jan. 28, 2008
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    Warren County, NJ
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    My guess would be something hurts...there could be so many reasons and there could be so many things you can do to help.

    When I go to massage a horse like this; I will watch them move, gait analysis, I have rods I run over them, see how they carry themselves naturally in a field, how they move in a ring, with tack, with rider, etc....discuss history of horse, diet, possiblilty of ulcers? Lyme? Injuries?

    One place to start is maybe having him massage and adjusted..make sure your saddle fits correctly..a lot of times back issues originate some place else like in the Gluts...

    I would be happy to talk with you if you want, give me a call!
    Good Luck also
    Colleen
    908-304-4380
    Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakend. ~Anatole France~
    www.EquineKneadsLLC.com



  15. #15
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    My mare is girthy, but I would never consider her cold backed.

    I once rode a really nice champion ASB who spent the first 12-15 years of his life as a driving horse. He wound up being a really fun horse to ride, but you absolutely could not mount him from a standstill or even girth him fully before you were on him. Saddle got put on lightly with minimal girth contact. Then he walked while someone gave a leg up and finished tightening the girth. As long as he was moving, he was fine. Stop? You were in trouble.

    What is that? A lot of people called him cold backed, but I think it was more of a simple quirk. Sometimes just an individual thing vs pain.
    Caitlin
    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
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  16. #16
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    Imagine being relaxed comfortable and warm, and then having someone press ice cubes between your shoulder blades when you're not expecting it. Your back then goes into involuntary spasms and you reaction is to cave your back away from the cold and try to move away as fast as you can

    Alternately, start the process gradually with a nice massage, and add a touch of a cloth soaked in cool water. Gradually use cooler and cooler water as you continue to massage at the same time, and eventually get to the point where the ice cube applied to your back has no shock value at all because you are completely prepared for it.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post
    But I truly believe the vast majority of "cold backed" horses are hurting somewhere and either no one knows where, or no one has taken the time to think about the fact that the horse is trying to say something hurts.
    True...a lot of factors play into what people consider cold backed...the major ones being poor saddle fit and conformation. Being cold backed is usually a defense mechanism and can easily become ingrained behavior if the horse experiences pain each and every time they are saddled and a human climbs on their back.

    Some horses are just more sensitive than others and will react immediately to being uncomfortable. This is especially true with a green horse that is just learning the ropes. If the first thing they learn is that the saddle and a human on their back is painful, it can be a life-long lesson that is difficult to overcome.
    Fan of the Swedish Chef



  18. #18

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    All 'cold backed' horses I've looked at have have serious soreness/spasms in their backs-most of the time due to either bad saddle fit/placement or bad riding. This is the hardest thing to fix as a CESMT-as it also entails working on the MEMORY of th bad saddle fit or rider. I have helped several but it takes alot of time, and patience.
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
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  19. #19
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    I have one and she is not hurting, she is just truly cold backed.

    She is a four year old mare that is very sensitive in many other ways and I knew when she went ballistic when I put the surcingle on her loosely in her stall to start her that she was "extra sensitive". It took her months to just tolerate that and then with the saddle, same thing all over again. She would get super balky and then just explosive bucking and then eventually she would just go normally on the lunge after she "warmed out of it".

    I have had her gone over by two excellent equine vets ect...she is 100 percent. Her saddle is fitted by a master fitter who has worked in Holland at their prominent vet hospital doing research on fit for years and has fit more that one Olympic rider so I do trust that the saddle is not bothering her. You can poke and prod her anywhere on her back and she is totally fine.

    But even now a year after initially being started she still often gets humpy or bucks when you first start lunging her though usually on Monday's after having the weekend off. She piled me once pretty good but it is not mean, it is not scared , nothing of that nature...just tight or cold backed. Once I am able to ride her in a more forward canter then she lets go in her back, starts swinging and we are good to go!

    I do know of three other horses that have her sire that have the same issues. When Shannon Peters was up doing a clinic we were talking about this issue and she said that there are two at her stable, both by the sire of my filly, that were like this and one is David Blake's Lord Albert. I guess he was the only one that could develop this horse (it is now a GP horse) for this reason. Maybe it is something genetic?

    Prior to my filly I would have agreed that there is no such thing as cold backed, that the horse must be hurting somewhere. But I know now that that is not the case...that there really is such a thing as a cold backed (SOUND) horse!
    www.svhanoverians.com

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  20. #20
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    outfoxem in gray

    Have heard this a couple of times from trainers regarding horses for sale. Typically I have heard this in conjunction with a TB. Can you guys elaborate on this for me?

    To us unreformed cowboy types, "cold backed" means you better move him around some before you throw a leg across the saddle or, as sure as God made little green apples, you're gonna be holler'n, "Somebody catch my horse!"
    Tom Stovall, CJF
    No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.



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