Riding Well: A Saddle's Role in Kissing Spine Recovery
This is a picture of “Bella” under saddle, six weeks after her diagnosis of Kissing Spine. Her only "treatment" since then has been to be ridden in our saddle with Smart Ride Rx technology and wearing the Thera-Tree® for multiple hours daily.
The pictures of her back before and after "treatment" show a significant lessening in the hollowness of her back. This is the outward reflection of the radiographic changes we saw in a previous post.
Several comments in response to our posts have suggested that riding a horse in a manner that solicits the use of their backs should be considered as part of a treatment plan. I agree, at least in theory.
Having a horse move freely through its back is not only the best cure for this condition; it is also the best preventive and lies at the very heart of good riding.
As I suggested in our first post, horses hollow their backs in response to saddles that create pain. This is the principal cause of Kissing Spine. Trying to recover a horse from this condition by riding in such a saddle makes no sense.
No effort from a horse to lift his back under the rider will succeed if the horse, in attempting compliance, is thwarted by back pain. This is true no matter how skilled the rider may be.
This holds especially true for a horse with Kissing Spine. Finding a saddle that will not compound the pain and actually promotes normal, healthy back mobility is the key.
The sheer number of horses being diagnosed with this condition and its association with saddles should perhaps suggest that our current narrative regarding saddle fit might be flawed in some way. This seems rather obvious to me.
It begs the question: Do we really believe that the technology in saddles is sufficiently advanced that there is no need for improvement beyond our current tinkering with tree width and panel flocking?
Consider for a moment the widespread level of resistance being offered up by horses of all kinds in a variety of disciplines along with the extraordinary levels of veterinary care needed to keep them operational.
In contrast, imagine horses on a grand scale moving beautifully and freely in total cooperation with their riders and without the need for coercive measures, therapies or pharmaceuticals.
I would argue on behalf of a wholesale rethink of saddle design and construction across the saddle industry.
At TCPS, we have been pursuing technology to address the needs of the equine back in dynamic motion for over 25 years. I can personally attest to the complexity of the task. I can also say with confidence that the horse's needs can indeed be met and that the results are worth every moment spent in effort.
Bella has been a perfect illustration of the possibilities such efforts hold in store for horses and riders alike.
Our technology, Smart Ride Rx, is in our saddles and also in our therapeutic device, Thera-Tree®.
If you’re curious for more information about either, please visit www.tadcoffinsaddles.com or www.thera-tree.com and be sure to check out the “What People Are Saying” section, which we are regularly updating with anecdotes from customers who are using these products.
To experience what Smart Ride Rx technology can do for your horse’s performance and improve your partnership with him, call me at (434) 989-3229 to discuss a saddle trial, or ask about trying a Thera-Tree® for a month to see for yourself.