Why is my horse cold backed?

by horselover2


Some people ignore a horse that’s cold-backed or sore since the horse seems to work out of it after he warms up.  A horse that’s frequently sore needs to be taken care of, just like any other injury or behavior.  The following tips can help identify why your horse is unhappy and in pain.



Many people get the least expensive farrier or use the farrier everyone else in the barn is using. Your farrier is as important as your saddle fit. Even a minor mistake trimming the hind feet can cause a horse to be cold backed, sore, or lame. If you are unsure of your farrier’s work, get a second opinion from another farrier or your veterinarian.


Fitness level & Workout

Just like a person, a horse will get sore if his workout is increased too quickly.  Remember to add work gradually, no more than 10% increase a week.  Also, remember to do plenty of foundation work for more complex maneuvers; do ground poles with your horse before jumping, and lateral work before spins.


Saddle fit

Have a professional saddle fitter check your saddle to see how it fits you and your horse. A saddle needs to fit both the horse and rider to be comfortable and effective.  A horse’s back changes during his life and the saddle needs to be readjusted for these changes.  A horse that uses a poorly fitting saddle for even a short time will often continue to react to a saddle, even after the saddle has been adjusted.


Hind end lameness

If the farrier is doing a correct job then have a veterinarian look at the horse and do a lameness evaluation. There are many reasons a horse can have a sore back.


Is it the right job?

An older horse may not have the same scope he used to when he was younger, so he can’t compete in Grand Prix’s anymore. The same horse however, may be able to jump 3’0” or 3’6” with the correct workouts, supplements and care.  Sometimes we have to realize a horse is just not physically able to do the job the rider would like him to.