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Kissing hip/spine

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  • Kissing hip/spine

    I need some information on kissing hip or kissing spine. I was talking to a trusted horse owner/rider/retired trainer/barn owner/wonder woman. She said my horse has kissing hip but when I asked her to explain she said I better look it up to get exact information. Well I went to google and every article says something different. Some say he's as good as dead and others say that it is manageable.

    I have a 7yr old OTTB. His race history is minimal and not very exciting. Every once in a while he will seem to get stuck and when I ask him to move forward he bucks and then like magic is fine! This doesn't happen everyday. Maybe not even weekly. He is not lame, current lameness check was passed with flying colors. (long story and non-related) He only does this in hand. I have had no problem under saddle and no discomfort signs.

    I am a young adult with minimal funds but want to do what is best for my guy. I'm not sure if chiropractic or body work or what would help. Since it is not a consistant pattern I have had trouble diagnosing a cause. My vet is known to be a lameness expert and didn't catch anything, of course he did not do this on the day he was there, that just might have been helpful.

    People with experience would be fantastic! do I stop riding him? Can I not jump him? Will he ever be able to jump? Help?? Please!!

  • #2
    From my experience...

    I have actually come across several horses with kissing spine. The worst case we ever had the horse has to be maintained and can't do too much. The second worst case we had after many vet visits, Scintigraphy and shock wave the horse was maintained on cold laser treatments once a month and not jumping higher than 3', robin when he jumped. Other cases were not as severe. I have been told a lot of horses have it and people don't know it so I believe there can be horses that live a normal life. We have always had to have a Scintigraphy done to see exactly what we are dealing with. Hope that helped a little.


    • #3
      It could also be one of his stifles catching. I'm pretty sure something can be done with the ligaments if that is the case. I would talk to the vet before entertaining all types of doomsday scenarios.


      • #4
        I've only known of one with kissing spine, but have heard that bucking can be a reaction in horses who have it. Have never heard of kissing hip.

        The horse we knew was an OTTB and we were assisting his owner to sell him. He had raced sucessfully, but could be a bit of a handful (big, gorgeous horse) and anyone looking at him was told that he was known to buck and was a tough horse. Was not "off" or lame and did not buck all the time. He did not have bucking fits, but would kick out and buck when feeling fresh. Nothing that was a huge red flag - he just seemed to be a tough-minded, athletic fellow.

        After a woman bought him, we heard he was doing well. She lunged him a lot and evidently the barn she had him at was mostly warmbloods and he wasn't too welcome there by the trainer or the other boarders. I think he was intimidating to them and they did not like OTTBs in general. About 6 months later we started to get emails saying the woman was having problems with him - he had started bucking in earnest. A couple of months later she said he was diagnosed with kissing spine and she wanted her money back and to be reimbursed for the vet diagnoses (it was a long time ago and I don't remember how they diagnosed it - x-ray or what). The problem was that she had drawn up the contract herself and had only given 30 days for a refund. The previous owner offered to take the horse back and refund part of the money, we also offered her another horse that we had advised her to take instead of this one at the time of sale and offered to take this horse back, but she wanted full compensation for the vet bills and even some of the training fees. Unfortunately, the previous owner felt that she herself may have caused some of the problems with all of the lunging she was doing and with bad saddle fit. There were too many variables, and she had done a PPE when she bought the horse using her own vet. If he had kissing spine at the time of sale, no one including the previous owner knew it. I don't know what happened after that - laywers were involved and I do know that the previous owner did not have to pay the new owner, but I never heard what happened to the horse. Really sad situation, and if the new owner had been more reasonable I think things could have been settled in a much better way.

        Sorry for the long story, but it brought back memories. Hope yours is not kissing spine!


        • #5
          Can you share what symptoms this person observed to lead her to pronounce this horse as having kissing spines???

          Kissing hip is a new one on me...never heard of it, is there another name it goes by???

          Kissing spines I am pretty familiar with, there is at least one poster on here that has shared chasing erratic performance and mystery lamness, soreness etc for years and lots of $$$ down the drain before finally confirming kissing spines.

          Wish I could be more positive, and it certainly can vary by horse, but it severly impacts performance ability and there is not much you can do outside of manage the pain and adjust the workload. It is what it sounds like it is-the vertabrae "kiss" rub against each other, it can hurt and does make them stiff.

          A chiro can help but it is normally not possible to put them back in proper alignment without surgery and that particular procedure is sort of 50/50 far as recovery goes.

          Sorry...but it may be something else, only proper diagnostics can confirm it...and maybe it is a bit of a doomsday scenario that other woman should not have alarmed you with.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • Original Poster

            So I'm guessing that she confused the phrase as there seems yo be no such thing as 'kissing hip'. She actually has not seen my guy in about a year but instead mentioned kissing spine while I was discussing his behavior to her. She mentioned the biggest reasoning being that she knew that a buck to fix the problem being a big symptom of kissing spine. She in no way diagnosed my horse but instead told me to look into kissing spine and see if it fit my worries and Piper's symptoms. I am not blaming her for anything and am thankful she had a suggestion since it seems kissing spine, if the cause, is hard to diagnose without lengthy x-rays and such.

            I'm mostly looking for knowledge of symptoms and solutions. Anyone with first (or second) hand knowledge would be great!

            Thank you to those whom have already shared!


            • #7
              OK, symptoms or signs since it is not really a disease, of kissing spines would include vague lamenesses that you can't isolate to a single leg or joint, vague NQR-some days good, other days not, bad behavior jumping-like rushing the fences, throwing the head up and taking off or bucking on landing that will not school out. Most of the time they look normal but some of them...just look a little crooked in the neck or stand "funny" sometimes. Lot of them seem to be hard keepers too, probably because they hurt.

              No proof at all but most of them I have known all had at least some degree of ewe neck and tended to carry it upright with alot of difficulty flexing in the poll and reaching down and out in front-fact they could not stretch out and down when given a loose rein. But not all horses that are like that have kissing spines.

              One positive here, if all you have observed is this one getting "stuck" when being led and then a buck? That is more like a sticky joint somewhere, like the previously suggested stifle. Kissing spines really shows up when you ask them to work hard, they are fine just being led around or doing some easy flatwork.

              Sounds like an old theory that a horse bucking is self adjusting, some truth to that, when they roll too. But that won't fix an actual case of kissing spines, more like a normal hard stretch when us humans get out of bed or something.

              I would not worry too much about the KS here, maybe look at the stifle and just make sure he is warmed up before you work hard. Pretty typical in those off the track and quite manageable for most. Just be aware of it.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • Original Poster

                Hmm, what about stifle lock? That seems more relavent. The discomfort, being 'stuck' and needing to buck comes when he has been standing for a long time and locks his legs. That seems more to what I read about stifle lock. A lot of people have mentioned discomfort undersaddle with kissing spine, I pulled up a thread over in eventer land, and Piper doesn't have any issue undersaddle and no lameness which it seems most with kissing spine have.

                A couple of people have mentioned stifle discomfort on this thread which lead me to reading up on the stifle and finding 'Stifle Lock'.


                • #9
                  You might get a lot more information if you ask your question in the "Horse Care" forum.
                  Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.