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long back horse

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  • long back horse

    So I am doing some exploratory horse shopping.....regardless of budget there are some horses out there with pretty poor conformation!
    However, there are also some with very good conformation except for that 'one' thing.
    What is the one thing you won't accept?

    Right now I am looking at a pretty nice all round type, steady (which is what reality says I need), close enough to go get, but he has a longish back. A long back just really stands out and looks bad to me but it occurred to me there is a bit long and then there is the really long.
    How long is too long?
    My reality is dressage, maybe some lower jumping and all types of working equitation, ranch obstacle, and plain old hacking.
    thank you.

  • #2
    for what it's worth, I did very low-level eventing and dressage a long time ago with my long-backed mare. I had her for 29 years, and she was never sick or sorry.
    Another killer of threads


    • #3
      Originally posted by colorfan View Post
      So I am doing some exploratory horse shopping.....regardless of budget
      What is the one thing you won't accept?
      My reality is dressage, maybe some lower jumping and all types of working equitation, ranch obstacle, and plain old hacking.
      I understand that you are concerned with long backs and conformation flaws... but when I shopped the one thing I could not accept was a bad attitude. I didn’t want a slug, nor a firecracker, not a sour puss or a loony. Settled for a greenie that you could canter, push a bit then bring back to a walk and drop the reins to the buckle. She also has good conformation and no papers... but great attitude and brains. I have not regretted a minute of the last three and a half years.


      • Original Poster

        Rerider, great point!


        • #5
          I’d take a long back over a lot of flaws. Straight shoulders and necks that come out low on the shoulder are deal breakers for me. I’m also pretty wary of post legged conformation behind. Just looks like a soundness issue waiting to happen. A long back is more muscle to build, but that’s no problem as long as you’re starting with a clean bill of health. How it ties into the loin/croup is more important.


          • #6
            My old very very good old horseman trainer preferred horses with a long back. The horse he found for me as a kid (who went on to carry me through my first big Grand Prixes) was a halter bred quarter horse with a back a mile long (16h and wore a size 84 blanket)....he looked like a dachsund turned into a horse. Now caveat being, of course, that this was for the jumper ring. But his comment was always that yes, you had to be very aware of the potential weakness and had to be very careful to develop muscle and strength and really focus on keeping the horse stepping under himself. But he felt that the longer back made the horse scopier and more flexible overall. Don't know how that would translate to the dressage ring, but we spent a lot more time doing dressage work than jumping, and my guy never struggled with any of it (beyond my constant struggles as a young rider, lol!).

            To rerider's point, my friend had a hot hot mare, and she struggled more because of the attitude than I ever did because of conformation. But with that being said, a long back on an otherwise well put together horse is fine, IMO, but it's the supporting conformation around that flaw that makes or breaks it.
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW


            • #7
              Originally posted by jonem004 View Post
              I’d take a long back over a lot of flaws. Straight shoulders and necks that come out low on the shoulder are deal breakers for me. I’m also pretty wary of post legged conformation behind. Just looks like a soundness issue waiting to happen. A long back is more muscle to build, but that’s no problem as long as you’re starting with a clean bill of health. How it ties into the loin/croup is more important.
              Ditto - A long back can still be a strong back. I'll take that over funky legs or a bad neck and downhill conformation any day.


              • #8
                Sometimes I dream of a horse with a long back because my horse has such a short back saddle fitting is a heck of a time! But for whatever reason, I am more drawn to short backed horses and prefer them. There isn't really any rational thought behind this on my part... It just keeps happening (TB, WB, P.R.E.)

                If his conformation was otherwise ok as well as his attitude, a long back wouldn't worry me so much. Is he already in work and doing what you want to do? That helps too if a horse is already working and holding up just fine in work. Then he's a bit more "proven" then one sitting in a field.


                • #9
                  I actually prefer a long back, the only caveat being that the horse needs a good engine or confirmation of the hind legs. A strong back and a good engine gives more power in the long run. Rectangular with a willing attitude. I think shorter backs are more uncomfortable.