As horse lovers, we all want our equine friends to be happy and stay healthy. Safeguarding the health of our horse’s back and spine is particularly important. When a horse is experiencing back pain, they can resist activity and even actively protest, which results in a frustrating experience for both horse and rider.
Here, we will look at a condition called Kissing Spine, how it manifests, what we can do to help our horses, and why Sedelogic saddle pads are the best choice for this condition.
What Is Kissing Spine in Horses?
The vertebrae in a healthy horse’s spine will be evenly spaced along the length of the entire spinal column. When the dorsal spinous processes (the bony projection at the top of the vertebrae) are too close together or touching, it is referred to as “kissing spine.”
Most commonly, this occurs in the thoracic region (the part opposite the chest) of the spine, which unfortunately is where the saddle and the rider sit. Occasionally, kissing spine does happen lower down the spine in the lumbar region.
When these bony projections touch together or overlap, it can create nerve pain for the horse. This pain can worsen when the affected area of the back is touched even gently, such as during grooming. Certainly a poorly fitted saddle and pad will create pain for these horses.¹
Kissing Spine Causes and Symptoms
The jury is still out on what exactly causes kissing spine. There is a possibility that it could be genetic, and some people believe that it is more common in horses with a long back, especially if it is swayed. Poor training may make the issue worse as well. Kissing spine has been noted in just about every breed of horse, though it is more common in males.
One of the most common signs is a tightness to the muscles in the back. Muscles can spasm and become contracted due to kissing spine, while in a healthy horse the back muscles will feel almost elastic to the touch.
One of the most common symptoms is severe bad behavior which occurs irregularly. Some horses with kissing spine may kick, run off, or buck after completing a jump. Other horses may develop a seemingly negative attitude toward doing anything at all.
Horses that appear to be moving stiffly or carrying themselves in an almost rigid posture may be suffering with the back pain of kissing spine. Other signs of trouble can be a resistance to bending in a particular direction, girthiness when trying to tighten the saddle, or bolting when weight is added to the back, such as the saddle or the rider.
These symptoms of kissing spine can also be caused by a lot of other issues, which makes it hard to diagnose based on symptoms alone. While kissing spine can be diagnosed by x-raying the spine, not every horse who has the condition will exhibit symptoms. It is possible that about 25 percent of horses can be diagnosed with kissing spine, though they do not have pain.²
If your horse is exhibiting these symptoms, it means it is probably time for a check-in with your veterinarian. Proper diagnosis is important. Treatments can address the pain and training can address any issues with core strength.³ Appropriate and well-fitted tack is also very important to help keep your horse pain-free and facilitate healing or staying healthy in the first place.
How to Choose the Best Saddle Pad for Kissing Spine
Every horse needs a well-fitting saddle in order to perform their best. A saddle pad is not meant to compensate for a poorly fitting saddle; it is there to help distribute the load and keep pressure off of sensitive areas. An improperly fitting saddle or saddle pad will cause a horse to use his back muscles in inappropriate ways, which can lead to pain and back issues.
For a horse diagnosed with kissing spine, an orthopedic saddle pad may be recommended. As opposed to a plain flat felt or neoprene saddle pad, an orthopedic pad is able to efficiently distribute weight evenly over the largest possible area on a horse’s back.
A good orthopedic saddle pad will also reduce or avoid pressure points caused by the shape of your horse’s back. Ideally, you want a pad that also keeps your horse cool and comfortable while saddled.
Benefits of Sedelogic Saddle Pads
Here at Vitafloor, we carry Sedelogic S-curve advanced orthopedic saddle pads. Sedelogic saddle pads are developed by veterinarians and can be custom shaped to fit your horse’s unique shape. These saddle pads offer therapeutic and performance benefits for your horse, as well as the highest level of pressure distribution.
The custom moldable thermoplastic layer can be re-molded as your horse’s needs and body shape changes. The moldable layer can also help create the perfect fit for horses with asymmetrical body issues. Sedelogic saddle pads can be re-molded as often as you wish to get that perfect fit.
For horses with kissing spine issues, the Sedelogic saddle pad systems offer many other benefits such as:
- It has unrivaled shock absorption.
- The S-curved front allows maximum shoulder freedom.
- The three-dimensionally woven structure is lightweight and very breathable.
- It is the only saddle pad recommended AND developed by veterinarians.
- It helps horses to properly engage their back and core muscles.
The Best Saddle Pad for Kissing Spine? Sedelogic from Vitafloor
Learn more about Sedelogic saddle pads and tendon boots today. Here at Vitafloor USA, Inc., we are happy to help answer any questions you might have about our wide selection of Sedelogic saddle pads. We carry a variety of Sedelogic saddle pads. In addition to the orthopedic pads, we also carry half pads, western pads, hunter/jumper pads, and more.
Call us at (831) 319-2704, or contact one of our representatives located all around the world to help you in any way we can.