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Case study

Take a look a small selection of some of the horses benefiting from our services.

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Kissing Spines

Interspinous Ligament Desmotomy and Ostectomy
(Ligament snip and bone shave)

A 12 year old TB, ex polo horse. A year into retraining to be a general all rounder. This horse had always had a buck but this gradually got worse until the rider came off and she was showing signs of discomfort under saddle, although not lame.

At this point the owner went straight to the vet for investigation and diagnostics, where the kissing spines was found. The decision was made to undergo surgery where the interspinous ligament was snipped and the dorsal spinous processes shaved. 

Physio treatment began 3 weeks post operation, 1 week after the staples were removed to allow the incision sight time to heal. 

Following the initial assessment a bespoke treatment and rehabilitation plan was made. This consisted of laser therapy, H-wave, manual therapy and stretches. 

An initial 7 week walk plan was made, gradually introducing pole work, transitions and a large variety of stretches. Starting with in-hand work and long-reining to promote even muscle development, and for this reason lunging on circles was only slowly introduced at week 5. When lunging was introduced with the use of double reins was used to encourage working over the back and even flexion through the body. Along with this bungee bum bands were used to encourage engaging of the hind quarters and the core.

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16 weeks post operation and canter is starting to be introduced on the lunge, slightly later than originally planned, but that is rehab with horses. A few little bumps in the road along the way.  

The next step, saddle fitting and getting back on board. 

To ensure the horse is strong enough to support the rider and maintain good posture throughout, canter is well established on the lunge with poles before getting the rider back on board. 

Continuing with the lunging and ground work while slowly introducing ridden work, again building this up similar to the ground work. 

It's always easy to jump forward when the horse is feeling good, but doing this to early can set you back 3 or 4 steps so quickly. Take your time and listen to the horse. Patience pays off!

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We are now nearly 18 months post Op (April 2024). She is now back in full work and progressing nicely in her work and muscle development. The process has not been straight forward as she learns to move and use her body in new ways. Ground work has been essential in teaching her to relax and process her work, this is then transitioned into her ridden work nicely, resulting in her being relaxed and very rideable. This was unheard of post kissing spine diagnosis.

The rehab process and ground work will continue throughout her ridden career, this is to maintain her muscle development and correct way of working over her back and the rest of her body to support her.

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