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Weakness vs Dysfunction

Do We Need to Build Topline?

If I had a dollar for every time I'm asked a question or read a post about how to build topline, I'd be way less horse-broke.

Horses lose topline for one of two reasons: nutrient deficiency or dysfunction.


Nutrient deficiencies are common. If the horse can't build muscle, muscle will waste. If the horse had inflammation, he can't absorb nutrients properly. I suppose that falls under the category of dysfunction.

When the Body Works it Looks Great

If the horse's body is unable to move correctly, muscle structure will adapt. In other words, if there's pain or restriction from Imbalance or movement is intentionally, and unhealthily, altered by choices made during riding, handling, and general life, the body will reflect that.

Here's the Proof

The photos are of a horse I was invited out to see to consult on behavioral issues and nutrition. I did a complete Wellness Evaluation and found several areas of imbalance and


His fabulous owner and I discussed a reasonable progressive plan for restoring comfort, balance, and function. NEVER did we discuss exercises to build his topline.

I just got an update that he's happier, moving better than ever, and the behavior issues are resolving on their own.

I think the most dramatic change in the photos is the prominence of the scapula, shoulder blade. Never try to "build a topline" on a horse like this. That will only damage him further. Instead, give the horse what it needs. By restoring comfort and function, you give the body a chance to heal itself.

Please share. Let's make the world a better place for the horses we love.


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