Horses Back Shapes

Horses Back Shapes

Citori Saddles would like to thank their clients and their horses for the photos we have been allowed to share, this will  help you gain a better understanding of the different types of  back shapes.

Some of these Horses will become case studies, their notes and updated photos will be added.

Left or Right Handed Horses

Horses are either born left or right handed just as we humans are.

For a Horse to be Right Handed means that are stronger, wider on the right side of their body.

As they have four legs and not two as we humans do; a right handed horses usually finds the left rein easily to work; bend and flex through the rib cage (contract the left side to bend and flex into the right side)

Just reverse the above for the Left Handed Horse.

An Interesting Observation of mine over the past 18 years: There are more right handed horses (90%) than there are left handed horses (10%)



  1.  Showing  a Pressure Lump
  2. Showing White Spots/Roaning on Top of the Wither
  3. Showing An Asymmetrical Right Hand Horse
  4. Rump High, Down Hill Back Shape Into A Short Wither
  5. The Natural Growth Changes Of A Filly’s Top Line




1. BACK SHAPE: Showing A Pressure Lump

Gelding – Breed:  Clyd/Quarter/X – Age: 8 Years

This Gelding has a good strong back shape; with plenty of width at the base of his wither when compared to his actual smaller gullet size. He is a right handed horse.



The photo shows a pressure lump; on top and to the side of his spine approximately at the base of his wither.  When his saddle fit was checked it was found to have plenty of width throughout the channel with a gullet that was a little too wide.  The lump appeared after riding 20 minutes. A thick pad was used on top of a saddle blanket to reduce the width of the gullet. This correct the gullet width but made the saddle too tight and narrow at the base of the wither. When the thick pad was removed and replaced with a 3 Fold Hand Towel the lump went away.


2. BACK SHAPE:  Showing White Spots/Roaning  On Top Of The Wither

Gelding – Bred: TB –  Age 9 Years

TB with Roaning ontop of withers1

The photo show a typical back shape for the smaller Park Hack TB; X Racehorse.  If you look closely you will see he is a right hand horse (slightly wider on the right side) He has some  muscle wastage either side of his wither and has a cover rub on top of his wither along with white spots/roaning.  The horse had been ridden in a saddle with a gullet that was far to wide for a few weeks. This resulted in the channel of the saddle sitting directly on top of the horse’s wither.  The rider had very little pommel in front when riding as the saddle  rocked over the base of the wither  like a see saw. The roaning occurred due to the extreme pressure that almost resulted in saddle sores.


 3. BACK SHAPE: Showing An Asymmetrical Right Hand Horse

Gelding – Bred: Appaloosa  – Age: ?

An older gelding that has a short strong back along with problems of an over developed right side.

Right Handed Appaloosa Horse1

The Photo shows the right side B & D are much wider than the left side A & C.  The rider sits to the right with a dropped shoulder; the right stirrup is longer than the left and the rider has to constantly do a bottom shuffle over to the left to rebalance. The horse finds working on the right rein correct canter leg on the right very difficult and offers many forms of evasion and is unable to travel straight.


4. BACK SHAPE:  Rump High, Down Hill Back Shape Into A Short Wither

Mare: Clyd/X  Age: 7 Years

clyd x mare rump height short wither-01

This mare is rump high A; That is much higher than her wither B.  She has a long back with a very short wither D. Her top line C runs downhill into her short withers D.

The Rider felt as though she was riding downhill, unsecure in the saddle as her upper body constantly tipped forward with an ineffective lower legs that moved around. The Mare  had problem trying to round up and work on the bit and bucked all the time in canter.


5. Back Shape: Showing  The Natural Growth Changes Of A Filly’s Top Line.

Name:  Classic Solitaire

Breed: TB/WB/STB

Solitaire 18 8 14-02


4 Days Old

Apart from loving life her top line is rump high; not a lot of definition in her top line back shape yet

Solitaire 4 days old

1 Year Old

Show an almost level back shape that has changed considerably over the past year that shows a more developed top line, wither and rump.


11 dec fillies

Age: 18 Months

Weight:  345/355kgs

Height: Almost 15hh

The photo shows the typical Back Shape of the growing filly been Rump High during her Growth Spurt.

Solitaire 18 8 14 bum high-01


It’s interesting to see her profile tracings; show a right handed horse.

If look very carefully you will see she is slightly wider on the right side.

She has a Perfectly Natural Back Shape.

I will update her profile in 6 months’ time.