So often, riders equate a poor attitude and performance with discipline issues. Make it a priority to check your horse for pain first! Kissing spine can lead rearing, bucking, biting, and bolting. That misbehaving horse is acting out in pain!
What is kissing spine?
The large spines in the vertebrae of your horse’s back rub together. It also leads to inflammation.
What are some symptoms?
Irritability and a poor performance are the most common signs. Your horse may refuse to be ridden or become very stiff. They likely will act out when the girth is tightened. You can expect rearing, bolting, bucking, kicking, and biting, depending on the severity.
How should you check for kissing spine?
Your veterinarian will X-ray your horse’s back. Commonly, they’ll find problems in the rear vertebrae. If suspected, the vet can inject a local anesthetic to the space in-between the bones. When observed under saddle, your horse would show improvement if kissing spine is an issue. The injection acts as a nerve block.
What are the treatment options?
Rest or surgery are the typical solutions. Surgery requires reshaping the spines of the vertebrae. This allows your horse to flex their back without rubbing. Some vets may recommend cortisone injections.
Unfortunately, kissing spine can affect top performers. If your horse is acting abnormal, make sure to rule out this condition! It can be extremely painful.
Don’t forget to check out ‘Does Bareback Riding Hurt Your Horse?‘