Did you ever see a horse that looks like its belly is pulling its spine toward the ground, causing its back to slope downward just behind its withers? If you aren’t sure what I mean, just look at some of the pictures of myself that I’ve posted here! The condition is commonly known as “sway back” but its scientific name applies more to yours truly…”LORDosis!”
Although the dip in my back may seem to be a cause for concern, it really doesn’t bother me or prevent me from living a normal and active life. My owner does make fun of me however; he says eventually, he will have to start strapping the saddle to my belly and riding me upside-down for the saddle to fit properly!
To understand what lordosis actually is, you have to take a look at how a horse’s spine is constructed. The normal rise and fall of a horse’s back is not the path of the spine itself. It is actually fin-like projections on the horse’s vertebrae which are longest at the withers, short in the saddle area, and long again near the hips. The spine itself is nearly horizontal, following a straight line from chest to tail head. The vertebrae are held in place by ligaments and other soft tissues, as well as tension from belly muscles. When horses get to be my age, the soft tissue begin to stretch out and belly muscles lose their tone, which causes the spine to sag a bit.
But, even though I don’t have the same physique I had when I was a young stud, my gal pal Hugme Christi still thinks I’m as handsome as can be…I’m going to ask her to be my Valentine! I’ll keep you updated on my plans for our romantic day!
One more thing, if you like the artwork above, check out my pal Mike Scovel’s website, http://cowcreekmerc.com/index.htm. He is an awesome artist and likes to paint pictures of western life and good-looking horses – like ME!
Artwork copyright by M. Scovel and used by permission.