A roach back is not just an unsightly physical deformation especially on a horse, it’s also a serious condition that may not be completely remedied despite earnest efforts. For an equestrian who trains horses for horse riding and sport, a roach back needs to be fixed. Horses with such backs aren’t exactly ideal candidates for any activity involving a rider. But what do you do when confronted with a mare with a roach back?
Understand the Condition
The physical nonconformity is a result of the afflicted horse not using her back properly. Developmental challenges that the mare hasn’t overcome made her back form improperly, and consequently she is unable to use it properly. It’s important for an equestrian bent on trying to fix a roach back horse to understand why the roach back came to be, as a steed’s reaction to treatments—especially body work—would be telling signs of where the pain or soreness is and that would in turn tell the equestrian where to focus and work on. And a mare suffering from a roach back will have no choice but to react to body work that is changing how afflicted areas are formed and thus forcing her to relearn how to use them.
A horse that’s not using her hind quarters and back properly would inevitably out strain on parts of her body taking the extra load—usually her hind legs, especially from the stifles down. As such, she would need some treatment to alleviate pain or soreness of these parts.
Bony Horse Backs
In some cases of roach back, a steed’s back may appear bony, maybe even spiky. This is due to the horse not using his back and hindquarters like she normally should and as a consequence very little muscle has developed there. This means the deformed vertebrae is close to the skin, making the back look bony. To deal with this issue and get your roach back horse ready for at least horse riding sprees, you need to bolster muscle development in those bony regions. How? Try using backing.
Backing would force your mare to use her hindquarters and her back, and that in turn would prompt muscle development in the right places. When done right, eventually your mare would develop just the right amount of back muscle that would cover the bony appearance. Extend the use of backing to develop lateral muscles by backing in circles in a round pen.
A horse who’s gotten used to a roach back all her life will need special help just to be rid of years of trauma caused by the condition. Even before you can start backing or body work, you as the equestrian first need to take care of any adverse reactions that would hinder the progression of the treatment applied to your mare. A great herb-based drug that helps calm horses and any reactions they may have is Eleviv. You can even take the drug with you in your equestrian kit on shows or during exercises to use on other horses with similar adverse reactions to anything.