Thera-Tree® Therapy for Kissing Spine

Kissing spine,  a condition in horses where two or more of the spinous processes (the flanges of bone sticking up from each vertebra in the spine) are compressed so that they touch or rub against each other causing pain, reduced movement and other related problems. Daily Thera-Tree® therapy and the use of Smart Ride RX saddles can greatly improve the condition of kissing spine, reduce pain and increase the mobility and happiness of your horse. 


These are "before and after" x-rays of a horse named Bella with Kissing Spine taken 18 days apart. This horse was 'treated' with our Thera-Tree® and ridden in our saddle with Smart Ride Rx technology. NO OTHER THERAPIES, DRUGS OR SUPPLEMENTS WERE GIVEN. 

Here's the back story:

Horses hollow their backs to avoid the pressure of painful saddles. If this persists, over time the tips of the spinous processes become closer together. This condition is commonly known as Kissing Spine. 

Many of our customers have had great success using our saddles on horses that have been diagnosed with this condition. The technology has allowed these horses to relax their back muscles, creating more space between the tips.

We've been looking for an opportunity to showcase the effects of our technology.

These x-rays belong to Bella, a 10 year old OTTb mare diagnosed on March 8th of this year with Kissing Spine. She had become increasingly difficult to ride and had been out of work for several months. Recommended therapies included continued osteopathic manipulation, surgery or a series of injections. Euthanasia was also discussed.

Learning of her condition, Tad invited her owner, Patsy Richards, to bring Bella to his stable for a Kissing Spine Challenge: Would it be possible, using the Thera-Tree and Smart Ride Rx technology, to put Bella back in work and demonstrate, using radiographs, that her condition could be improved?

Bella received no other therapies, drugs or supplements of any kind from March 8th on.

She arrived on March 16. She spent several hours each day in the Thera-Tree® both before and after being ridden by Tad. Each day her pain level decreased and her willingness to work through her back improved.

Bella was x-rayed again on April 3 by the same veterinarian, two and half weeks after arriving. The results, plainly visible, are astonishing. The attending veterinarian confirmed that the spine was 85% back to normal condition. Again, this all happened in the course of 18 days.

Bella continues her work with Tad for another month. We will have x-rays taken again before she returns home to Patsy to be ridden in her new TC saddle.

Creating saddles that allow horses to use their backs correctly has been Tad's focus for over 25 years. It has been the driving force behind the evolution of our technology. 


The series of photos tell the before and after story of what 60 days of using the Thera-Tree® and only being ridden in Tad Coffin’s Smart Ride Rx saddle looks like. During this time Bella received no other therapies, no supplements or medications, and there was no saddle customization or change in saddle padding or shims to the pad.



Patsy Richards, Bella’s owner, wrote this: 
“Miracle. That’s all I can say as I trot my mare. This is Bella. This is the horse who had become so unrideable that two months ago I had discussed euthanasia with my vet. This is the foxhunter prospect I bought with great optimism and then carried for two and a half years of countless vet bills, supplements, saddle fittings, osteopathy, massage therapy, hock injections, consultation with horse whisperers and behavioral experts. And almost no riding. This is the horse we finally x-rayed and found had a clear case of Kissing Spine.

This is Bella moving freely and willingly under saddle. After only eighteen days of consistent use of the Thera-Tree and riding in Tad’s saddle her next set of x-rays were described by my vet as bringing her within 85 percent of normal spine function.

This is Bella now after just over two months of continued riding and Thera-Tree “therapy”. Back home and greeting the dawn in her field, lounging contentedly in her stall, heading out calmly for the morning’s work. This is Bella. Walking during the warm up not the least bit concerned about the other mare calling out, not troubled by the workmen using tools and making noise. Trotting with all the softness and confidence of the best riding partner. This is Bella who had become frantic at being left behind, who had refused to walk down to the ring, who had chewed on fences and was fearful of almost everything.

In case you have assumed that it is Olympic Gold Medal riding that explains Bella’s improvement you are wrong. I’m no Tad Coffin—I’m just an average lifelong foxhunter with no advanced or sophisticated riding skills. And this is Bella. Moving just as comfortably under saddle with me back home as she did in Ruckersville with Tad. It’s not the rider—it’s the combination of Thera-Tree and saddle. There is no question that Tad’s excellence in riding played a critical role. Each time he rode he urged Bella to explore bending and moving her body in ways that had previously generated pain. In doing this she learned to forget the pain and regained her confidence. But in truth, with a Thera-Tree and Coffin Performance Saddle any of us can achieve a similar result. It may take a bit longer but it’s equipment not the rider.

We’ve all heard testimonials that challenge credulity—I’m now riding and enjoying one every day. This is Bella. And this is Thera-Tree and SmartRideRx.” -Patsy Richards