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Equine Advice & Educational

Care Tips: Owning a Horse with Lordosis

Without knowing about the condition, Lordosis can be worrying for any horse owner, but with good care and affection, lordotic horses can live a full and happy life.

Here are a few pointers on the condition and how you can manage it with the right care.

caring for a horse with lordosis

What is Lordosis?

Equine lordosis, often called “swayback” is a spinal deviation that causes a visible dip in the topline contour and a seemingly sagging or pendulous tummy.

Whilst many cases are congenital (present from birth), lordosis it can also develop in pregnant mares or older horses as a result of excessive strain on the back, lack of exercise and a loss of muscle tone. Congenital lordosis has been associated underdevelopment of the upper thoracic vertebrae. Whilst research to date has been limited, there also seems to be a genetic link although this is not fully understood.

Congenital lordosis has been associated underdevelopment of the upper thoracic vertebrae. Whilst research to date has been limited, there seems to be a genetic link although this is not fully understood.

The severity of lordosis can change over time and onlookers who’ve never seen the condition before may mistake it for a more severe deformity or disability.

caring for horses with lordosis

How Does Lordosis Affect Horses?

Despite the raised eyebrows owners are often subjected to, many horses with lordosis maintain a happy and active life. Many can still be ridden and some even compete.

Tips for managing horses with Lordosis

If you suspect your horse has lordosis start by seeking veterinary advice to be sure he is not in any pain or discomfort.

One of the biggest management considerations for ridden horses is saddle fit. A poorly fitting saddle can exacerbate lordosis and cause unnecessary injury or muscle pain, so seek advice from a qualified saddle fitter.

caring for horses with lordosis

Unfortunately, there are no magic feeds or supplements that can cure lordosis but as with any other horse, providing a balanced supply of vitamins, minerals and quality protein helps to maintain optimum health and well-being. Horse feed balancers are the ideal option for those able to maintain weight on forage alone, providing a concentrated source of nutrients for a balanced diet, alongside a negligible level of additional calories. Depending on the balancer you choose, they may also contain added functional ingredients such as glucosamine and MSM to support joint health.

An appropriate exercise regime, both in hand and/or under saddle may help to support muscle development and strength so consider seeking advice from a qualified physiotherapist.

1 Comment

  • Reply Exploringdressagebiomechanics

    Very interesting!

    Jan 05 at Jan 05
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