The previous page showed the shape of the horse's back across the top,
looking down onto the back; more or less looking at the "width".
Of course, the horse's back is three-dimensional, even multi-dimensional!
Not every saddle will fit every horse due to this fact. Also, there may,
potentially, be NO saddle that
fits a particular horse if his back is differently shaped in all dimensions.
If we look at the horse's back from the side, we can look at the shape of the
topline, and also the depth. At this point, we're looking at the topline.
There are a multitude of differing toplines.
The following three images show three basic toplines, ranging from sway back
to straight backed (last picture).
One more thing to think about: the pictures above show "static" backs... we also
have to be
concerned with the dynamic back. What shape does the horse's back take with a rider?
Depending on the horse, the back may remain relatively the same (which may be
to stiffness, but may be due to tighter / stronger ligaments, tendons, muscles); or it
may sink down considerably (due to laxness of the ligaments, tendons, muscles; or
In the pictures below, the horse in the first picture has a straight stiff back,
with a rider. The horse in the second picture has a lax, loose back that sinks
with the rider's