Horses Back Anatomy
Where you place the saddle is on layers of living tissue, attached to spinal processes and muscles surrounded by fascia, each cell is nourished through circulation and innervated with electrical impulses from nerves within the spinal column.
The collection of these can all be damaged by pressure which is extremely important to consider when it comes down to saddle fit, design and pressure distribution.
Pressure pushes circulation out of living tissue which can damage, bruise and kill cells as there is no longer a supply of oxygen and nutrients. If the area is damaged continuously then the area is replaced by scar tissue.
When nerves are damaged it may cause atrophy (muscles waste away), the horse will lose its healthy top line and develop hollows behind the scapular near the withers giving a hollow look.
The horses back consists of layers upon layers of muscles attached to the spinal processes which originate deep below in the horses body rising up through each spinal vertebrae. We can feel and see the spine but this is only the top of the spinal processes.
The long back muscles work together with the skeletal structure to create movement in the back and other parts of the horse away from the spine. The muscles feel so soft that you would never imagine that they are layers upon layers of muscles which continue from the pelvis to the neck, under and over the scapula which are contracting and relaxing with every movement.
The back is strengthened from ligaments running along the top of the spinal processes similar to straps that help with storing and releasing energy to assist the musculature.
Written by Sam Jamieson © 2015