Toplines: Spotting Pain, Dysfunction, and Myths that Need to Be Busted with Ansley Bevan

Toplines: Spotting Pain, Dysfunction, and Myths that Need to Be Busted with Ansley Bevan

Muscle tension and underdevelopment are a precursor to injury, making topline development crucial to keeping horses healthy and sound. Elasticity through the back allows horses to move freely, support riders, and meet our performance expectations. So why do so many performance horses have underdeveloped muscles and signs of discomfort?

Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge, overlooking pain symptoms, and the absence of species-appropriate care keeps many horses in constant tension–but we can change that.

In this conversation, Caroline is joined by licensed equine bodyworker and educator Ansley Bevan, who shares her knowledge of equine biomechanics and identifying pain to sustain a healthy topline. They cover a wide range of topics and solutions, including:

  • Assessing your horse’s topline by observing them in motion and palpating their muscles.
  • Signs of pain you may have missed.
  • Why poor saddle fit can cause atrophy and compensatory movement.
  • Whether nutrition has a role in topline management.
  • What is species-specific care, and why it’s critical for supporting the horse's natural movement and digestive system.
  • How to rehabilitate the topline with saddle fit, groundwork, and movement.

If you love this podcast and want more visual demonstration, Ansley’s course on assessing and rehabilitating the topline will be available on on March 5, 2024.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Equestrian Masterclass, leading digital education for equestrians. Go to for $50 off an annual membership. 

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