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Back length in 2 year olds?

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  • Back length in 2 year olds?

    Starting to get a bit nervous. My 2 year old Oldenburg x TB has a freakishly short back. I've been ignoring it thinking it would lengthen up (and I've been focusing on the short neck, over at the knee, no butt, etc as the growth stage hits...as bigger worries)...but she's 2 now and still quite short.

    As a weanling


    Two year old (turned two in April)

    Better shot of her back standing on a incline

    I am a very large/tall rider and use an 18 1/2" saddle...primarily in the Hunters with a bit of Jumpers....I'm worried I won't have enough back!!! So when do I give up and start making plans to sell her to a teen with a 16" saddle?

    She's by Banderas and out of my TB mare, whose "somewhat" long backed

    Biggest worry...when the fitter working on your other horses comments on how short backed she is and how she'll be a "challenge" when she's riding age...

  • #2
    I don't see a "freakishly short" back Her back is going to lengthen for a couple more years yet. I'd say the yearling picture probably shows her adult proportions the best - good proportions. Have you sat your saddle in her back just to see how it looks up there now? Do that, and find her last rib, then see how the rear panel sits in relation to it. Then know her back will lengthen some more.

    There ARE options for a larger saddle on a shorter back, and it involves upswept panels. But in the end it will come down to how much room you need to make to not sit beyond that last rib, and you're not going to know that for a while.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • Original Poster

      I'll have to do it. My newest saddle just arrived and I've not put it on her (custom black country ricochet...).

      This was with my crosby, there wasn't a whole lot of extra space and it had rode up onto her shoulders PLUS is a smaller saddle...*sigh*

      If I have to go saddle shopping for her I think I'll cry...this BC was the 12th saddle in 3 years for my other TB.


      • #4
        How old was she in the Crosby? I'm guessing this past Winter? What size saddle? I'd have expected that to ride up - butt-high and no withers

        Is your BC for her dam? If so, the odds are at least better than average that will fit the filly. The Ricochet has somewhat upswept panels, so that's a good start.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • Original Poster

          No, for Kissey (my 6 year old TB). Her dam was actually a fairly easy fit and was happy as a clam in a Collegiate Diploma.

          That was taken at 21 months, it's supposedly an 18" saddle but rides smaller (possibly from the straight flap). She was a bit butt high and chubby....

          I'm just a bit worried about how short backed she is now...which to be fair I DID look for a stallion to strengthen/shorten the mares back!


          • #6
            If that's an 18", then given her age I wouldn't be panicking just yet Gizmo recently went through some phase where I wondered where his back went But now it actually looks long to me LOL
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • Original Poster

              I'll have to let her model my new saddle (and naughty poneh better not decide to do something stupid and break it!!!) and see what it looks like on her.

              so they will grow a bit more? Which is my biggest concern. She's also really immature for her age so hopefully has quite a bit more growing left to do overall.


              • #8
                2 year olds are so hard to judge - I wouldn't panic yet. I do see a shorter backed horse, but not freakishly short! I've dealt w/ some really short backed horses, and yours is just slightly shorter then normal.

                Unfortunately, my experience has been more 2 year olds that looked long at this age - so that isn't reassuring - but again, 2 year olds just go through a lot of funky - I'd wait until she's solidly 3 (maybe 3.5) before really looking at saddle fit.

                The good news - you aren't trying to put a dressage saddle on her - jumper saddles already have shorter panels - so you do have that working for you


                • #9
                  I don't see freakishly short, and her coupling is nice. I rather like her, probably because my very favorite mare has a short back. I would be more concerned about a long back.
                  Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                  • #10
                    All I can add is that when I put my mare into in-hand classes as a youngster, one of the judges came up to me and said, "Oh, thank goodness to finally see a short-backed filly." She was Reserve Champion.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • #11
                      I don't think her back would look as short if she didn't have a hay/grass belly. (And I'm glad you're not trying to work that off - she'll work plenty in the future without getting overworked when too young for it!)

                      That saddle didn't look like it's likely too short for her - you have to tell by the ribs not just hips or something, and she looks super short coupled, not overly short backed. I prefer short coupled, even though as a dressage rider it makes it harder to get the back mobile at times. You know her back won't get *shorter* than it is now, so if you see that your saddle is just on either side of acceptable now you're probably going to be just fine in the future.
                      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                      • #12
                        I don't think her back is freakishly short either. I think if it were much longer, it would be out of proportion with her neck. I do have a friend who's horse has an incredibly short back (mare is a hony) but it is exacerbated by her huge wither. It makes saddle fitting more difficult, but not impossible.

                        Similar to MysticOakRanch, I felt my filly had too long of a back at 2, (and her nice neck had basically disappeared) but she is looking good at 3. I think 3-4 months old was the best time I got a view of what she was going to look like at 3 years old.

                        At two I had to just stop looking at her critically or I was going to go nuts.

                        And yes, the Crosby looks a bit big (wide). Keep in mind the back will grow in width as well as the horse grows...and that can continue for a few years and also as you build muscle under saddle. It would be practically impossible to figure out what saddle will work for the long term on a two year old, imho. I would just start saving for a used saddle you can use next year (or whenever you start her) and then plan on trading that in a few times.

                        How tall is she?
                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks all...

                          NETG-she's out on pasture 24/7 plus has a nice timothy/orchard round bale...grass belly is just about unavoidable *sigh* was just commenting to a boarder that I'd split a sand purge with her, that does seem to help somewhat very briefly, lol. (It has heavy duty pre/pro biotics). That saddle wasn't horribly short, however my other saddle is MUCH longer. That and that saddle was borderline too narrow for her at 21 months so I strongly suspect will be too narrow at breaking time.

                          TTP-Her neck is another "is it going to grow" for me LOL. However...whenever I think OMG could she get any uglier, I just remember her yearling pictures....

                          I'm a proponent of waiting until 3 at least for light riding. However this girl can be a bit...willful, and can buck better then she can jump, so I'm a bit nervous about waiting until she's athletic enough to dump me. My sorta tentative plan if she's mature enough is to put some light rides on her in the fall (as a late 2 year old), or rather, my bean stalk sister that can sit anything you throw at her will, do like 10 rides or so, then kick her back out. In the spring/summer, depending on how she's looking, send her to a local western trainer (whose also been my farrier for almost 10 years) to get 90 days and some practical experience, aka trail riding, pushing some cows, standing tied to a fence for a few hours....that type of deal.

                          For now I'm just doing basic handling really...she's been in the round pen a few times, lunged once in the big ring, and I'm planning on starting long lining when I get a free weekend.

                          size wise she's about 15.0 (just had a growth spurt so I should re-stick). Her dam was 16.0, sire 16.2. She also seems to have her sires jump... (still from a cell phone video of her playing in the ring a few weeks back)


                          • #14
                            My mare has a longer back so I bred her to shorten it a bit. The foal looked like a train at 5 months. Then at a year he looked reasonable. At 3, I swear I had concerns about his short back and where he got it from. He didn't look like anybody in his family. Now at about 4 his back returned and he looks normal.
                            I think some of it is an optical issue and proportions. Seriously, at times he looked ridiculously long and others unexplainably short. At 2, there is a ton of growing to be done.


                            • #15
                              Hahaha... think how easy horse shopping would be if they all looked like miniature versions of their adult selves at every age. Find a good picture from when she was three weeks old. Stare at that until she turns 4 years.


                              • #16
                                At two years old, she's still growing ALL OVER. So I would stop panicking and not give it another thought for another couple of years. You're so far away from the finished product that there's just no reason to throw in the towel at this point.
                                Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
                                Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


                                • #17
                                  I think you are being wayyyyy to hard on her. Honestly I think back and neck length are set much earlier than two years old but this youngster if far from ugly and is not disproportionate. I can think of many things worse than a short back....

                                  FWIW I can somewhat see the back of the dam in the first pic and it looks short as well.

                                  "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                                  • #18
                                    I wouldn't worry about your horse. She is not out of proportion as bad as I've seen in other young horses. Some look so bad I couldn't even look! She look gr8 as she could be for that awkward stage. I wouldn't worry about her back as it looks fine to me especially her age. Just relax and enjoy your sweetie girl.


                                    • #19
                                      Very good point about the loin - I automatically look at back and loin separately but don't always think to mention that the loin can make the back look longer or shorter than it really is. The back is not withers to the whirls of the flank, it ends before than, with the loin in between. I agree that a short-coupled strong loin connection is the biggest factor in a healthy back, even if the back it self is long.
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Well I got some pictures this weekend of her! She's right at 26 months at this point and I think is going through a growth spurt (she's a smidge thin).

                                        In my 18 1/2" Black country CC saddle

                                        And a informal confo shot...I was playing around with some inhand stuff in the ring and had squared her up and was letting her hang out watching the big horses work. Unfortunately she's had issues with her front legs, particularly over at the knee, off and on growing and I'm wondering if that is here to stay as well *sigh*

                                        *mumbles* neverbreedingagain

                                        This is my 6 year old in the same saddle for comparison.