Horse Withers, What to Know

If you have a horse, you need to know about the withers! A horse’s withers is a sensitive area that can be injured during training or riding. Knowing how to spot and avoid injuries in this area will make your time with your horse more enjoyable.

Horse withers are the bony protrusions at the top of a horse’s back. It is pronounced like “with-er” and is the area where the neck meets with the shoulders. Their shape determines how well your saddle sits on your horse and is important to find out before purchasing one.

There are three different types of withers that can be found in horses: low, medium, and high.

Low withers means that you should purchase a more narrow-designed saddle with less padding because it will not cover as much area of their back. High withers require wider saddles with more padding because they have broader areas for them to sit on.

If you are unsure about which horse wither strap to get for your horse then you should consider getting this set here. I found it very suitable to use with a number of different horses.

When do Horses Withers Grow

Horses have a unique body shape that can be hard to understand. Like many other animals, they grow and develop as they age and it is important to know when your horse’s withers grow so you can keep their stable set up safe for them.

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Horses’ withers start to grow at the age of 3. The growth continues until they reach their full height, which is usually around 10 years old.

To measure a horse’s height, stand on level ground with your head near the animal’s back and use a measuring device such as a yardstick or tape measure, starting from the top of its neck to its hooves. Measure up from where you are standing so that you can determine how tall it is without having to climb onto anything or touch it.



As horses grow, they will eventually have an area in their back that has grown to be taller than all other areas on their body. This part of the back is called a “wither” and it becomes obvious from when they were younger.

As time goes by, this bone becomes bigger because there are no longer any growing parts in front or behind it.

The growth plates at the top of the withers (the shoulder blades) completely close around age 18, which is why some horses’ withers never grow any higher even though they continue to be fed and exercised.

Why are my Horses Withers Sore

A horse’s withers are covered with a thick layer of muscle and skin, which can often become sore after physical activity such as jumping or running.

Withers soreness can be caused by a variety of issues, including injury, infection, osteoarthritis, and more. It’s important to get your horse checked out with an equine veterinarian if you suspect it may have withers soreness.

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These professionals will be able to diagnose the cause of your horse’s pain and provide treatment options that will help them feel better.

It is important for horse owners to understand the risks associated with having horses who suffer from this condition and take precautions accordingly in order to protect them.

Fractured Withers in Horses

The spine and neck of a horse are made up of many vertebrae that are stacked on top of one another like bricks in a wall. These pieces can become misaligned, causing pain and discomfort for the animal.

The most common cause of a fractured wither is the horse getting kicked in the back or falling and landing on its back. The second most common cause is an injury to the spine, such as slipping off a trailer.

Many horses will show signs such as not wanting to move or favoring one side over the other when ridden. However, if ignored this condition could lead to an injury that could be life-threatening because it becomes more difficult for them to stand or walk.

Horses with this condition should not be ridden until they are fully healed because it could lead to paralysis. A veterinarian may prescribe pain medication for your horse if needed. It is important that you do not attempt to treat fractures unless there is an obvious deformity or other signs that something else might be wrong.

Detecting Fractured Withers in Horses

Fractured withers can be difficult to detect, but there are some tell-tale signs that owners should look out for. First, check your horse’s posture when they walk or trot; horses with fractured withers will carry less weight on their front legs and may also exhibit poor stride length.

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Secondly, examine your horse’s spine by running your fingers down it; if you feel any bumps or indentations in the bone (known as osteophytes), then this might be indicative of a fracture in one of the vertebrae at the base of the spine which is pressing up against its spinal cord.

Lastly, look at their posture. Do they have an unusual gait? Does your horse seem sensitive when touched or handled? Is there swelling near their withers? Do they respond negatively when pressure is applied around the area?

If you answer yes to any of the last few questions, then it might be time to seek the help of an equine medical professional.

How to Measure Horse Withers for Saddle

The horse’s withers is a key measurement in determining the best saddle to use.

The two common ways to measure horse withers are with a measuring tape or an equestrian measuring stick. We recommend using the equestrian measuring stick because it ensures accuracy and consistency in measurement.

The alternative way is with a flexible measuring tape attached to a wall or fence post at about waist height. You then need to place it around the horse’s back right below their shoulder blades and take note of how many inches it measures up to (the higher number). Remember that this will be different if they are shod because shoes can raise their wither.