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Managing a Horse diagnosed with Kissing Spines



The amount of horse's being diagnosed with Kissing Spines or ODSP "Overriding Dorsal Spinal Processors" has increased over the last few years.


Why is this? Could it be due to better diagnosis equipment? Or is it a training and management issue?


In my opinion, I believe it is a combination of both!


Our Vet's and Practitioners are getting better at assessing horse's and understanding their behaviours which provides a more holistic approach to diagnosing your horse. On the other hand, I often come across many horses that are suspect to having kissing spines, either due to the conformation or training, but haven't yet been diagnosed. Don't get me wrong if a horse is showing signs of discomfort and they are in pain, they need help immediately. Training a horse in pain is never an option and I believe we should be assessing and reassessing our horses every single day, before we ask them to train!


If a horse is not in pain, however they are starting to show patterns of compensation through their body that if ignored will lead to kissing spines, the answer is pretty simple.


Yes, you read correctly! Let's not complicate things!


From a daily management and training perspective there are MANY easy practical things you can do to prevent Kissing Spines.


My daily exercises include:

* Posture monitoring

* Activation exercises before work

* Specific Inhand walking exercises

* Baited Exercises after work


I would like to share a story with you. Meet Olivia with her lovely young Lusitano Lance. Olivia is based in a different county to me, so already has her regular practitioners. Lance was displaying signs of discomfort when being ridden. These included:


* Difficulty maintaining the right canter lead

* Struggling to build strength through his back

* Reluctance to go forward


Olivia signed up for my online coaching where we defined how we were going to improve Lance's weaknesses. In just 6 weeks, this is what Olivia had to say:


" I’ve always enjoyed ground work, but not so much with Lance as I’ve found him a bit lazy and resistant. The online coaching program gave us simple repeatable patterns and a structure which enabled Lance to understand what was wanted and so relax into the work. Nika’s prompt and incisive responses to my videos quickly lead to huge improvements in the quality of his work. One of our biggest issues was his resistance in the first few steps of any exercise. His head came up and his back hollowed before he relaxed and engaged. With Nika’s help I was able to help him step forwards into an exercise with his back lifted which was my aim for the course. I very much look forward to being able to put more time into this again but I’m thrilled with the results so far. Thank you!"




If you need help with your horse or you know someone that is struggling, online coaching is here to help. To enquire please click on the link below or email me directly.





With love,


Nika x

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