The Neck

Just because something is common, standard or widely accepted does not make it correct.

When looking at the equine athlete, we often see anomalies or physical abnormalities that are considered normal, with little regard or understanding of how severe the malformation or injury actually is.

For example, when we look at the neck of a horse it is common to see horses with a break along the cervical vertebrae, swelling of the nuchal ligament and incorrect musculature. These present as points or “corners” along the crest of the neck, proceeded or followed by flat sections. While extremely common, this is not correct and indication of injury and improper training.

When viewing the back, we often see a dip before the SI joint, as well as a lump, also known as Hunters Bump. Again, extremely common but also an indication of injury and improper training/riding and possibly tack fit.

As equine enthusiasts, regardless of your skill level or whether you compete, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with these issues and understand them as not just conformational issues as some like to believe, but as injuries. Injuries that could’ve been prevented, injuries that without treatment and correct riding/training, cannot heal. Injuries that will cause the equine athlete to deteriorate and break down well before his time.

As riders, trainers, farriers, fitters, hobbyists, judges, body workers, vets, etc – we cannot stand by and allow the systematic break down of the horse to continue. We cannot accept that these issues are just the norm and can’t be prevented or fixed. We owe it to our horses to be aware and take an active role in identifying and calling out practices that lead to these deformities, to stop supporting professionals whose horses end up like this, to stop giving business to companies whose equipment causes injury and pain.

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