Fact4 the day: Ribcage and flanks
Wide Chest and Barrel/Rib Cage
Rounded ribs increase the dimensions of the chest, creating rounded, cylindrical or barrel shape to the rib cage. Length of the ribs tends to be short.
Seen in any breed, especially American Quarter Horses, and some Warmbloods
Provides ample room for the expansion of the lungs.
Too much roundness increases the size of the barrel, may restrict upper arm movement, the length of stride, and thus speed. Round ribs with a short rib length further restrict the shoulder.
Pushes the rider’s legs further to the side of the body, and can be uncomfortable, especially in sports that require long hours in saddle or that require sensitive leg aids (dressage, cutting, reining).
Pear-Shaped Ribcage/Widens Toward Flank
The horse is narrow at and behind the girth at midchest, then widens toward the flank
Common, especially in Arabians, Saddlebreds, and Gaited horses
Makes it difficult to hold the saddle in place without a breastplate or crupper, especially on uneven terrain, jumping, or low crouch work with quick changes of direction (cutting). When saddle continually shifts, the rider’s balance is affected, and the horse and rider must make constant adjustments. Saddle slippage has the potential to create friction and rubs on back or cause sore back muscles.
Horse is best used in sports on level terrain and for non-jumping activities
Ribs angle backward with sufficient length, breadth, and spacing with arched rib cage and deep chest from front to back. Largest part of the barrel is just behind the girth area. Last rib is sprung outward and inclined to the rear, with the other ribs similar in length, roundness, and rearward direction.
Desirable for any sport.
Promotes strong air intake, improving performance and muscular efficiency
Ample area of attachment of shoulder, leg and neck muscles, enabling a large range of motion for muscular contraction and speed of stride.
The rider’s weight is easily balanced and stabilized since the saddle stays steady and the rider can maintain close contact on horse’s side with leg.
There is sufficient room for developing strong loin muscles while still having short loin distance between last rib and point of hip (close coupling).
Poor spring of the ribs due to flatness and vertical alignment of the ribs. Ribs are adequate in length.
Common, especially in Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walkers, and Gaited horses
There is less room for the lungs to expand, limiting the efficiency of muscular metabolism with prolonged, arduous exercise
If there is a short depth in the chest, the horse will have a limited lung capacity which is likely to limit the horse's ability for speed work
Horse generally has lateral flexibility.
Narrowness makes it difficult for the rider to apply aids since the legs often hangs down without fully closing on the horse. More effort needed to stay on horse’s back because of limited leg contact and the saddle tends to shift.
Horse has a harder time carrying the rider’s weight because of reduced base of support by narrow back muscles.
Waist beneath the flanks is angular, narrow, and tucked up with a limited development of abdominal muscles. Often associated with short rear ribs, or undernourished horses.
Seen in any breed
Often a result of how horse is trained and ridden. If a horse doesn’t use its back to engage, they never develop their abdominal muscles. Appears to be like a lean runner (greyhoundish), with stringy muscles on topline and gaskin.
Lack of abdominal development reduces overall strength of movement. Stamina is reduced, and the back is predisposed to injury. The horse is incapable of fluid, elastic stride, but is probably capable of ground-cover despite correct body carriage.
Speed and jumping sports should be avoided until the muscles are developed.
Good Depth of Back
The depth of the back is the vertical distance from lowest point of back to bottom of abdomen. Point in front of sheath or udder should be parallel to the ground and comparable in depth to front portion of chest just behind the elbow at the girth.
Seen in any breed, especially Warmbloods, Quarter Horses, and Morgans.
Good depth indicates strong abdominal muscles, which are important for strength and speed. Critical to dressage, jumping, and racing. Strong abdominals go with a strong back, which is suitable for carrying a rider’s weight and engaging the haunches.
Should not be confused with an obese horse in “show” condition, as fat just conceals wasp-waistedness.
Thought 4the day: Have you ever noticed that not everything you do goes to plan? It could be your in a rush and you need to get your friend in from the field and tuck them up for the night yet suddenly they don't want to be caught! it could be your limited to time going out for a hack so they muck about and you have to spend time calming and relaxing them and correcting them. It could be that You ...go out in the am to turn them out before work yet nothing seems to be going right!. There is one thing that is the common factor...limited time causes to rush! Horses hate being rushed. You get the odd one that doesn't care then you get the sensitive ones that can't cope with it! Never seem like your in a rush just act as you would if you weren't and you'll find life will get alot easier! If ou are calm and relaxed things get done quicker :o)
Quote4 the day: "Always close the door to the high-tech world firmly behind you and walk through a corridor of relaxation and collection, before you enter the space that is occupied by creatures who are closer to nature than many people of this day and age." ~ Dorothee Baumann-Pellny