Zephyrhills, FL 33539

(352) 812-0042

This number does not accept text messages, please call or email TampaBayEquine@yahoo.com 

This is a condition that has caused back pain and the bedevilment of horses for longer than we have been able to diagnose it. Once this disease gets on a horseman's radar,  behaviors and performance problems begin to make sense. Luckily for our horses, the technology of modern equine medicine allows a fairly quick diagnosis. So, you have your diagnosis, either firm or presumptive. The next question is: Now what!?  I have compiled this list of references and resources to answer the questions I often get regarding this condition. I hope this is helpful for you and your horse! 

Nancylee Bielawski, , DVM CVMMP

​​​​Nancylee Bielawski, D.V.M. C.V.M.M.P.

                         Kissing Spine or Overriding Dorsal Spinous Processes 

1) "Lunging" Square Pen
Things to avoid are small circles, lots of turning and bending and pulling on the lunge line.
To accomplish this, consider creating a really large square pen. The idea is to free lunge in a manner that does not have to be on a constant circle ( round pen) but instead to allow straight lines for 10 or more strides, make 1 turn then be able to go straight again and to keep working in this manner.  
Eventually, add in cavalletti, things to encourage movement in a long and low frame.

2)  Pessoa Lunging System  or Equibands from Equicore or similar are helpful, once the horse has an idea of how to work in the square pen.

3) Body work is really important, especially Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Massage. Please call us 352-812-0042 to make an appointment. 

4) Anti-inflammatories such as Equiox may help if there is residual tenderness. Reducing discomfort helps correct movement and improves the therapy.

5) Chinese herbs such as Body Sore and Bone Stasis can also be helpful.

6)  Consider watching the expert panel video on Kissing Spines created by Platinum Performance as well as the cohesive expert Kissing Spine paper by Platinum Performance 

7) Consider adding in Sure Foot pads to your daily grooming sessions, as they can help develop core balance without any impact. Some people like to start with the inexpensive ones you can find on Amazon, but it's a little bit of a hit or miss approach.

8) Saddle fit is also critical when the time comes. You will want to ensure the gullet is wide, staying well away from the spine, and does not have excess pressure from the origins of the girth billets and stirrup bars. 

9) Look into training surcingles this one looks interesting because it seems soft underneath
This one is a Vaulting Surcingle, but it clearly shows the way it is padded by the withers, keeping the pressure way up and away from the spine.
State Line tack seems to have a variety of styles

10) Consider bareback pads with girths and rings for attaching straps, as a step between now and when the horse is ready for a saddle.

11) please get this guide Activate Your Horse's Core : Unmounted Exercises for Dynamic Mobility, Strength and Balance by Narelle C. Stubbs and Hilary M. Clayton (2008-05-03)

12) The scar tissue may need massage or laser to help reduce it. Please call us for a laser therapy appointment 352-812-0042

Exercise must achieve the goal of the horse moving freely forward in a relaxed frame (“long and low”). They need to stay fit and strong and have a solid strength in their topline before riding begins. 

Daily exercise is key, and ground poles and cavelletti exercises can be added to the program once the horse is willing to stretch down. ( More advanced: the horse’s frame should only be changed by the rider gently lifting the horse’s head and then compressing the horse by asking the horse to move into the bridle. It is imperative that the rider not force collection at any time.) 

13) AAEP's THE  HORSE paper on genetics/ hereditary factors of Kissing Spine