Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So THAT explains it

It has been quite some time since I last posted but this post has been brewing in my head for a few weeks and I decided it was time to blog about it.

You may remember this time last year, I was struggling with some unwanted under saddle behavior from my normally steady-eddie, good soul Boca.
Remember us?
In fact, ever since the day I bought him, Boca and I struggled mightily to canter. One might think walk/trot/canter was a fairly simple goal - one of the basics. But the canter was our nemesis. Many people thought it was a strength issue. Many thought it was a greeness/training issue. Some thought it was a behavior issue. But I thought it was a pain issue.

My main reason for believing pain to be the underlying issue is my relationship with Boca. I've had him coming up on two years now, which is the longest I have ever owned a horse. In that time, Boca has always, always, met me at least halfway. He has always come through for me - sometimes in situations where I really didn't deserve him to. The trust bank is strong with this one. 


Some of the process I have outlined in earlier posts on this blog. But to see the full spectrum of what we have gone through to get to this point, I figured I'd outline it here.

  • Aug 2014 - Saddle fitter - Re-flocked wool saddle to custom fit. Thermal imaged Boca's back. Was assured he had no back pain.
  • Sep 2014 - Chiropracter - Was told he was weak, stiff, and under-developed, but zero back pain.
  • Jan 2015 - Saddle fitter - Adjusted wool saddle.
  • Mar 2015 - Saddle fitter - Added 1/2 pad. Thermal imaged Boca's back. Was assured he had zero back pain.
  • Mar 2015 - Had a cowboy ride him.
  • Apr 2015 - Vet - Wellness exam. Test for lyme.
  • Apr 2015 - Vet - Endoscopy for suspected ulcers
  • Apr 2015 - Full course of Ulcergard
  • May 2015 - Sports Medicine/Lameness Vet exam. Found significant back pain.
  • May 2015 - Back Injections
  • Jun 2015 - Back Re-check/Further Injections
  • Jun 2015 - New Saddle
  • Oct 2015 - Back Re-check/Surpass topical cream
  • Jan 2016 - Bute/Robaxin Trial
  • Feb 2016 - Xrays
Along the way, I have been taking weekly lessons. I have been through 3 instructors, 4 different pro rides, 2 farriers, 2 saddles, 2 veterinary practices and 3 feed changes. And a partridge in a pear tree.

And that, my friends, leads us to our diagnosis. Boca has Kissing Spines.

I was very relieved to finally have a diagnosis, one that is definite, treatable and has a positive prognosis for Boca's future as a riding horse. Once we did x-rays, it was very obvious even to the untrained eye, exactly what the problem was.

I'll get into more detail tomorrow, but I'll end today's post here. This feels like a long post for someone who is out of practice.



  1. I'm interested to hear what you have to say tomorrow regarding details of the treatment. Stampede was diagnosed with kissing spines in 2013 after a long battle of figuring out what was wrong. He has since still seen many vets and I've been told varying and frequently opposite advice on how to help him. One thing I have learned however (not until after several injections that should have been done differently) which hopefully you've already been told is that kissing spines is a symptom not the issue itself. Kissing spines is caused as a result of either a ligament issue or a facet joint arthritis issue and treatment depends on which of those issues it is.

    Just getting my horse comfortable enough for work has been a battle and at this point I count myself lucky that he hasn't had to be retired yet.

    I know I really liked being able to talk to other people dealing with the same issue so let me know if you want to talk sometime, more than willing to share what I have tried and what seemed to work.

  2. I wondered what was up. I'm glad that you have an answer!

  3. i've missed your posts! wow what a roller coaster too... good for you for pressing the matter even when others tried to convince you it was anything other than pain. diagnoses are a good thing!

  4. Glad you have some answers! Our gut instinct usually isn't wrong.

  5. Glad you have answers! It must be such a relief!

  6. Always better to have an answer! Hopefully you guys can catch a break from now on!

  7. You really have been through the wringer with him. Glad you finally have a diagnosis. :-)

  8. Glad you finally have some answers. Always trust your gut.

  9. It's good to have you back!! My god, a roller coaster is a good word - what a rollercoaster you've been on. So glad you finally have a concrete diagnosis!