thoughts on building up Dante’s back

Frisians were originally bred to be pull carriages, not work as riding horses. While this breed can be very showy with their high head carriage and dancer-like gaits, they often have a long back which makes it poor for weight bearing. Dante’s back is not as long as is typical, probably because of his Morgan heritage (he’s a cross).


I wanted to post other views of Dante’s back to show you that while many might look at his side profile photos and see a strong horse, what I see is a back that needs strengthening. This first photo shows the lack of muscle at the withers and the low length of the spine.



The hindquarters are also weak – not a lot of muscle and the hindquarter leg is rather straight. Can you spot the “hunters bump” or roached back? I see that he has weakness here when he doesn’t pick up well in the back while traveling, toe dragging, and stumbling.



Typically my plan to build up a back would be:

  • Long and low
  • Ground poles and caveletti
  • Transitions
  • Hill Work
  • Core Exercises
  • Chiropractor visit

The issues on the lunge with bucking and resistance have continued. I’m beginning to suspect PSSM/EPSM as perhaps causing a pain issue that is affecting the back, impulsion and the hindquarters. So I’ve decided to halt the lunging for now and continued with our walks, standing square, shifting weight back, learning clicker training for bringing down the head and trying to get health issues dealt with (more on that tomorrow).

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