KISSING SPINE: Our Thoughts on a Pervasive Problem
Tad has long believed that a condition known as Kissing Spine is principally caused by saddles that inflict back pain in horses. This pervasive problem has caused many horses’ careers to be cut short, while others undergo invasive medical procedures. This diagnosis has even led to some being euthanized.
What is Kissing Spine? Long fingerlike spinous processes stick up from the vertebrae of the equine spine. Muscles cover and connect along these bony extensions form the structure of the horse’s back where saddles sit. Tad explains that when muscles in horses’ backs are painful and tight, these muscles contract and draw the tips of the spinous processes together, and there is no other option than to have these tips get too close. This closeness or rubbing can cause pain. Tad points out that therapies to mitigate this pain will not be a long-term fix if horses are still ridden in the same saddles which cause them discomfort.
This photo above shows the equine spine. Note the space between the tips of the spinous processes. The photo below is of a horse’s spine that has been diagnosed with Kissing Spine. Notice the lack of spacing between the spinal process. You can get a glimpse of the skeletal system in motion in the third image.
Over the past few years we have had considerable success using our saddles on horses with Kissing Spine. Horses that were given a career-ending diagnosis have been able to be ridden and competed with great comfort and success. This is due to the strides we have made in the Smart Ride and now Smart Ride Rx technology.
Recently we have been generously given an opportunity to demonstrate the effect our technology can have on Kissing Spine. An off the track Thoroughbred mare in our area was recently radiographed and diagnosed with Kissing Spine. She’s become a case study to see what changes the Thera-Tree and our saddle with Smart Ride Rx therapy can affect.
This is the first in a multi part series. In sharing this mare's story, we hope to create an alternative narrative on how the issue of Kissing Spine is being addressed.
For more information, visit www.thera-tree.com and www.tadcoffinsaddles.com, or give Tad a call at 434-989-3229.