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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I just bought back a horse I sold a few years ago who has kissing spines. It’s mild, and she’s only shown real discomfort from it once three years ago, which led to me getting her back and stifles injected. Since then she’s been fine with light work and low jumping and hasn’t needed to be injected again, but I want to try and start competing her at a higher level now that I have her back. Does anyone have any tips for managing kissing spines day-to-day? She gets seen by a chiropractor regularly so I think I will keep up with that, plus I use a heating pad on her back before riding to help relax her muscles. She is on MSM just for general joint support. Does anyone recommend any specific saddle pads, supplements, exercises, or literally anything else that can help me keep her comfortable as we start doing more? Thanks!
 

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Have you looked into surgery? and has a vet confirmed it is still mild? horses mask their pain very well and a horse who wants to please is going to try no matter what - that is until the pain it soo much. I would have a vet who is knowledgeable about kissing spine re-evaluate your horse before anything more strenuous is done
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
She’s been seen by three vets, all confirm it’s mild, and she’s never been unsound. She’s evaluated and adjusted every 6 weeks by a 4th excellent vet/chiropractor. The only reason we even know she has kissing spine is because I do have a very good vet who is knowledgeable about kissing spine. This post was not intended as a replacement to veterinary advice, just trying to find others who might be in a similar situation and have things they like. I wouldn’t have bought back a horse that I knew had kissing spine if I didn’t a) love her and b) know that she’s 100% capable of jumping comfortably. If she can’t handle the higher jumps then that’s fine she’ll still always have a loving home.
 

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Don’t want to nit pick this apart but you mentioned that she was in real discomfort 3 yrs ago, then she was sold and now you got her back. What guarantees do you have that she was not in pain while she was sold and also horses like most animals, are very good at hiding pain until it becomes a big problem. I’m just thinking if I had joints where the bones were grinding, mildly or barely at all, that sounds like a lot of pain if you need to do something that involves moving those joints in a higher range of motion than just normal, esp with the weight of rider and saddle.
Of course you can medically intervene, and relieve /mask the pain temporarily, but for how long and at what cost to the horse. You might be willing to keep her even after she can’t jump anymore, but with damage that jumping most likely will do, she would have to be managed with pain killers. How long? Until ulcers develop? Then what, more meds and not so far down the road you’ll be talking about quality of life.
I get you’re not asking for vet advice, and that’s fair, can’t offer you that. But this is an ethical question and that’s where this reply comes from. Your vets are probably the best equipped professionals who can answer this question. And most likely you’ve already asked them all and they probably gave you answers you didn’t want to hear.
Why not keep this horse at a level of work that she’s easily able to sustain for the rest of her life or find her a home that can do that and you can get yourself a horse who is capable of jumping at the level you’re looking for?
Sorry if this is not what you’re looking for. But in my book animal welfare comes before sport.
 

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b) know that she’s 100% capable of jumping comfortably.
And how, pray, do you know that?? Did it suddenly get better 3 years ago? And what did you do to make it better, aside from injecting her(which is palliative only)? And as she didn't get injected in her stifles for kissing spine, so I suppose whatever prob that was effecting them just miraculously went away too, that you're now saying she's 100% comfortable for jumping now??

I echo Saigold, in that it is not a very nice idea for you to consider jumping this horse AT ALL, let alone competing at 'higher levels'! Horses are very stoic animals, often putting up with way more than is good for them, without complaint. By the time they complain, it's commonly that the pain has been chronic/serious for too long & further damage has come out of it. I know different people have different ideas, that some value a horse's 'use' over their wellbeing, but you say you 'love' this horse....

Injections, operations, etc, are more palliative type management. To actually get the horse fit for carrying a rider well, to ensure a comfortable saddle, to ensure she's trained well enough to be properly 'collected' and never ridden 'hollow', to not ask too much/too long of her in the saddle... are some ways to help her stay fit to ride, so this prob doesn't get worse. I don't know what he's got on his site on it, but you could look up 'The Spinal Vet' Dr Ian Bidstrup, who is Australia renowned, and the last lecture I went to from him was on 'kissing spine'.
 
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