Question: My question is, my horse has a goose rump but someone called it a hunter bump. It’s very pointy and my horse is sore if I touch it there. Can you work on it and take it down? If so, how?
Answer from Guliz Unlu, Equine Energy Body Worker: Hi Cayley – The lumbar span is the weakest area of the horses back, unlike the spine above or below, which has ribs and pelvis attached, the lumbar span has no other supporting bones. This is an area where much of the riders weight is carried…
In terms of conformation, when the lumbo-sacral joint is forward, and the croup lengthened, the lumbar span is shorter and the stress is minimized (Image A).
When you get a horse with a hunters bump (Image B), it is possible that there has been trauma, swelling and/ or scar tissue to sacroiliac joint. I have also seen foals born with it, much of what can be done is based on the cause.
I would suggest having a chiropractor take a look – with the combined treatment of body work on a consistent basis, there is a chance for healing.
I would also recommend strength and flexibility exercises such as hill work – at a walk and or raised poles to walk over – take it slow, and consistent. Backing a horse up also strengthens the lumbar and haunches – first a few stride – then eventually work into a circle – both ways.
As your horse gets better through these exercises and body work, it will change how the spine and haunches are formed, in turn having to re-learn how to use various muscles, so be patient…
When your horse is stiff and or in pain in the lumbar vertebrae or loins, they are most likely not using their back muscles and hind quarters properly, what likely happens is that they propel all their weight from the stifle and hocks….resulting in some very sore, weak joints and strained ligaments.
Guliz Unlu is a world reknown Equine Energy Body Worker, and a guest author on this blog. She makes her home in Vancouver BC, but travels abroad for over half the year working on some of the world’s wealthiest horse clients. Her travels include Turkey, Egypt, Mexico, Peru and Dubai.
Would one begin the hill work and circle work in hand then working into astride?
Starting on the ground is best, as the horse on the ground is the horse you ride. Working on the ground gives you a fighting chance of correcting problems with less stress on the horse (as in having to use heavy hands or legs while riding). When the horse accepts and begins to like his new work, the saddle work is an easier transition.
Hi Meg. Yes, I would always get the horse accustomed to this work in hand first, as it is much easier to ask the horse on the ground than it is to “herd” him from the saddle. You also obtain a different bond on the ground: much stronger and accurate, as the horse can see your body language as opposed to just feeling pressure (as long as you are consistent). This encourages the horse to act on his own responsibility, and therefore teaches confidence. I know, after years of doing this work, that I can move a horse along 3-4 times faster by using ground work that trying to get the same result under saddle.