ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Help for kissing spine
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 05:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have a 9yo TB with a history of back troubles.

He is slightly long in the back, hocks fused at 4yo, and has lower back pain, sacrum, etc.

Interestingly his sister had the same problems beginning at 4yo. Thank goodness no other horse on my farm has...leaving me to believe this is genetic.

Anyway, last week the vet was able to get films of several parts of him.

He has close space between several spiny processes though none are touching.

His hocks are exactly as they were as a 4yo...no additional changes (which is sorta good news in light of things).

His front limbs are all clean.

When seen by a chiropractor he also has his sacrum or hips "out" and does not hold adjustments more than a couple of days at best.

Is there any kind of careful safe exercise program that would help him?

I am not interested in making him the next Olympic champion but would like to help strengthen him without hurting him.

Or is it best to leave well enough alone?

 

thank you.

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3254
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 10:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Leah: You need to evaluate whether this horse does or does not have a "low" back. Another term for this is "saddle back" or "sway back". All of these terms mean that the horse's back looks like a shallow "U" when seen from the side. How deep the "U" is can vary from a slight amount to a considerable amount.

Of course, when someone who doesn't have much experience with horses looks at a horse's back, objectively, all horses' backs are to some extent "lower in the middle than at the ends". So the question here is how much experience you have, to be able to differentiate between the normal appearance of a horse's back vs. a low back. You have to be careful of what you are really seeing, especially when the horse is either rump-high, as many Quarter Horses are, or when the withers are high, as they normally are in TB's and American Saddlebreds.

If your vet has X-rayed the animal's back and found kissing, or near-kissing spines, this is precisely because the back is low. Note that what makes the dorsal spines of the vertebrae approach one another or kiss is not that the horse has a deformity of any of the vertebrae, but rather because he is not holding his back up, i.e., his posture is poor. This is fortunate for you, because structural deformities are generally not fixable, but poor posture is.

Now, in terms of your learning what you need to know about horse anatomy and function, I want you to come back in your reply to this message and be able to tell me what holds a horse's back up. When you get a clear idea of how this system works, you will be able to participate actively in designing an appropriate program of therapeutic exercise for your own horse.

The place for you to start on this is in "Knowledge Base" in this website. Click on the "home" button at the top of this page, and then click on the KB button. The papers there that you want to read are (1) Lessons from Woody and (2) the sequel or "part two" to this, which is entitled True Collection.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 06:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you for your reply Dr Deb. I have just finished reading the two articles and feel better prepared for our discussion! :-)

One sidenote-I am very excited to have found this forum and your articles. I recently purchased Michael Shaffer's book when I learned of the kissing spine (as well as a book by Mark Russell-are you familiar with him). The information in the book combined with your articles has given me a wealth of information. I was literally sighing with relief when the concepts started making sense!

SO your question...what holds up a horse's back. When I was reading the articles I kept looking for a one sentence or one word answer but realize now there isn't one, is there!

A horse's back is held up by more of a process...the relaxing of the jaw, neck, all the way down to his toes and tail, if you will (no brace zone)...a total release and relaxation of his topline...this allows the horse to be straight (absolutely essential)...once he is straight he can elevate the base of his neck and coil his loins, allowing his back to round up.

It is far more difficult for a horse to achieve this with a rider so achieving each step in order is the key (and only key) to allow a horse to not travel crooked and inverted while mounted.

In a nutshell, the answer to my question is right there...get him brace free, released topline, traveling straight, helping him understand to lift the base of his neck, coil his loins (from mild to strong depending on his level of devlopment)....this will give him the suppleness combined with CORRECT muscle so he can improve his posture, change his back from inverted to round and ease his discomfort and open those tight spaces.

The next question is the how...can I take a guess here?

In hand exercises at first...for one it will allow him to learn proper carriage without the added burden of me...and I can observe that his movements are correct and without brace.

I am guessing developing shoulder-in in hand is going to be part of this...starting with the exercise of stepping under his navel.

Am I doing ok so far?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3254
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 09:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Leah, very good. You have clearly read the material suggested and understood quite a bit of it.

However, you have not actually answered the question. EXACTLY WHAT holds up a horse's back? And perhaps I need to clarify the question a little bit, so what I am trying to get you to tell me is:

(1) is it bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons that are the ACTIVE agents in holding up the back?

(2) once you figure out which of the above four types of tissue it is, then I need you to tell me WHERE the active agent (or group of active agents, all of one tissue type) are located.

(3) When you know what the active agents are, as well as in what body zone they are located, then you will be able to design the appropriate training and riding program for your own horse.

It's OK if you don't get the answers to this on the first try -- this is not necessarily easy material to master. And also, you will probably find it harder because you've already been fuddled up: 99% of all the world's literature on this subject, whether it be from European schools that give certifications, or the Pony Club, or books, or magazines, give wrong information on this subject, sometimes grossly wrong. In other words, you'll be quite a bit ahead when you succeed at getting this clear.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 09:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you again...

Wow...now we are to the core of all of this. I will be honest, I am scratching my head on this one. BUT I like the idea of having to sort through this like a puzzle. It makes the learning experience all the more solid when I get to the other side.

Let me return to the materials, give this some common sense thought and I will give it my best shot in my next response.

At least I know i shouldn't "guess" the obvious answer first. :-)

I will get back to you as soon as I do my research!

Liz Sugar
Member
 

Joined: Wed Aug 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 17
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 02:46 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb,

I have recently read a book by a German  who has set up a training centre for horses which have been written off by trainers, vets, riders, judges etc as having problems which could not be overcome - some so bad that veterinary advice is to put the horse out permanantly or destroy it - even though definitive diagnoses could not be made as to the reasons for the horses' inabilty to  perform. His work ( and his wife's ), is devoted to straightening crooked horses.  Having read the Woody Article many times and attending your clinics in Australia I have been able to see the effects of crookedness everywhere. It was great to see  some people dedicated to bringing back some animals which had been so compromised by their lack of straightness and educating their owners to continue the work after leaving the centre.

 It may be of interest to this thread.  Am I allowed to reccomennd the book and Author here.

Regards

Liz Sugar

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3254
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 08:36 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Liz, thanks very much -- let us hear who these folks are.

And Leah, I am looking forward to your next post too. -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Tue Sep 25th, 2007 08:36 am by DrDeb

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 12:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
OK Dr Deb...I have pondered your questions and while I am not terribly proud of my answer * unsure grin* I am interested in the progress of the thread and not want to delay the discussion!

I actually talked with two friends (husband and wife team, small animal vet and vet tech) to try and cheat and see what vets are taught so I could pick another answer!

The initial answer from the vet was the 3 sets of muscles that run high, medium low along the spine.

His wife chose the ribs and adjoining muscles.

My initial answer was based on advice to humans...when you have a weak back, do sit ups to strengthen your abs...so my first answer was the ab muscles...

BUT my gut kept thinking about the muscles at the base of the neck.

So my first try is actually muscle AND bone.

The muscles at the base of the neck but only if developed on a straight spine...

Though I still feel I am missing something else that would take an active role...something in the loins. I just can't decide if it is muscle...again my gut feels it might be something different...perhaps ligament and tendon that relates to to hock apparatus.

In other words, that hock apparatus would have an active place in holding the back up.

Then again I could still give 6 other guesses and have pretty good reasoning for why I chose those 6.

So there are several first attempts with an attempt of reasoning behind them.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3254
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 05:24 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Leah, you know, I never ask trick questions. So don't get all of a flutter here and make it harder than it needs to be. However, I am glad you went and talked to veterinarians -- that's always good.

The ACTIVE component in any biomechanical system is always muscle. It is the only tissue in the body that can actively create movement. So the answer to question 1 is : the type of tissue that is active in holding up the back is muscle.

OK, now that part is cleared up, so I'll give you another pointer on the other questions, which I still am hoping you can figure out yourself. Question 2 is: WHERE are the 'active agents' located (which you now know are muscles). Specifially, I offer you two choices:

(1) The muscles which act to hold up the back are located above (dorsal to) the spinal chain; or

(2) The muscles which act to hold up the back are located below (ventral to) the spinal chain.

Which is it? This is the main point on which most of the industry worldwide is confused.

In deciding, it will help you to look at a picture, such as what you might find in any common 'coffee table book' about horses, that shows the general layout of the musculature in the horse. Also, I will tell you that your idea about strengthening the 'abs' is correct. So, with that big a hint, all you have to do is figure out where the 'abs' are relative to the spinal chain.

For 'extra credit' you can then go back to the "True Collection" article and look at the pictures shown in it, so that you can then give the actual names of the three muscles that are key to holding up or raising the horse's back.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 05:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Alrighty!

You know, I am an attorney by education so I fear it is in my nature to think, rethink, argue and debate one side, the consider all sides, the prepare appropriate support for each side I create :-)

Works well for law...can make life quite complicated with horses *grin*

With abs as the big hint, the 3 obvious muscles would be

Transvers Abdominal

Internal Abdominal Oblique

External Abdominal Oblique

Last edited on Tue Sep 25th, 2007 06:29 pm by Leah

IrishPony
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 08:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Leah, sometimes obvious is not always correct however.

I've been struggling with this for my horse also, and from my reading, I think the muscles which hold up the horse's back are below (ventral) to the spine.

I've learned that to 'round upwards', the longissimus dorsi must relax or stretch. To do this look to the Rectus Abdominus on the underline must engage (seen when a gelding urinates...ah, such rounding!), the Scalenus Muscle in the underside of the base of the neck (where it joins the chest) and the protractor muscle (anatomical name?) in the thigh.

Dr. Deb refers to this as the 'ring of muscles' that's so important to a rounded back.  Since just one of these muscles in the the abs, does it qualify as a <ahem> trick question?   ;-)

Kathy

P.S. If this is correct as I think it is, where do we start to loosen up the rigid back?  Not in the back, methinks, but in the suspension bridge model holding up the back.

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 09:07 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Kathy-

I am with you on the LD having the relax or stretch for sure! That one was not on my list of 'active' muscles.

Ok then!  Scalenus muscle in the base of the neck...and the Rectus Abdominus makes perfect sense with the vision of the gelding urination (will never look at that the same again!) and the thigh area ( I am still looking at my book to see the formal name)...

That makes perfect sense...when I was speaking with my friends we actually had the bridge discussion-I said I thought it might have to be the muscles on each pillar somewhere (front and back pillars) and something under for suspension.

So...now I have the muscles (thank you Kathy)...I guess the big job is creating a proper development program.

As far as releasing the back, wouldn't that go back to the idea of releasing the jaw and poll, then allowing release of the back, etc etc?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3254
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 10:17 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Two out of three ain't bad, people....

Where did the thigh muscle get in there, though?

We are talking here about axial body function. The axial body does not include the legs. This is not to say that a horse doesn't use his legs when he moves, but no muscle of the legs is key to collection. This is one of the major points I am making in "Woody" and "True Collection" -- it is the axial body that is key, not the limbs.

So you've gotten the Rectus Abdominis and the Scalenus/Longus Colli complex, but you've left out the most important of the three. Let's pursue this by giving you another hint:

Rectus abdominis is the major muscle responsible for supporting the freespan of the back as a whole.

Scalenus/Longus colli complex supports the base of the neck.

What muscle then supports/coils the loins?

Collection is properly described thus:

"Collection starts from, and is always primarily the product of, coiling of the loins. Coiling of the loins promotes arching of the freespan of the back and aids in the raising of the base of the neck."

What I am telling you is that these are the three 'parts' or 'phases' in the act of collection, and that each one has a primary (and large) mass of muscle to power it.

It is indeed necessary for the muscles that are above the spinal chain (dorsal to it) to release or relax before effort of any muscle which underspans it can be effective. If the ventral musculature contracts while the dorsal musculature is also still contracting, you have a "war between the belly and the back", which results in strain and dysfunction.

To summarize, you have gotten this much correct:

(1) You know that the only tissue in the body that can actively create movement or effort is muscle tissue.

(2) You know that the back is supported or held up by the effort of muscles which UNDERSPAN the spinal chain.

(3) You know that for the ventral musculature to be effective, there must already be relaxation or release in the dorsal musculature.

(4) You know the name of the muscle group which underspans, supports, and can lift the base of the neck: Scalenus/Longus colli.

(5) You know the name of the 'governor' muscle which underspans, supports, and can lift the freespan of the back as a whole: Rectus abdominis.

Now you need to learn the name of the muscle that coils the loins. (If you want good pictures that show this muscle, look in my "Principles of Conformation" books, Volume I, or any of the zillion articles on this I have done since 1984 for Equus Magazine, or in several of our "Inner Horseman" back issues).

I am also going to add one other question that I'd like you to answer. Remember there are no trick questions, so this is very straightforward:

When we say that a muscle "contracts", that means that the muscle:

(a) Gets longer from end to end; or

(b) Gets shorter from end to end.

This point, though it may seem ridiculously simple, is CRUCIAL to your being able to understand this lesson and make practical use of it.

When you report the correct answers back to me, then we'll go on to the next part, which is designing a program of riding and training which will be good for a horse with a perceptibly "low" back.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Leah
Member
 

Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 256
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 11:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Iliopsoas.

 

When a muscle contracts it shortens from end to end.

 

Are we doing better? :-)

Last edited on Tue Sep 25th, 2007 11:06 pm by Leah

IrishPony
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 26th, 2007 01:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb wrote: "Where did the thigh muscle get in there though?"

I was reading _Principles of Conformation Analysis_ Volume 1, page 55-57, as well as in Volume II, page 17. 

I made a mistake when, in my previous post, said in the thigh. I didn't read thoroughly and carefully. If I had, I'd have seen that this isn't part of the ring, but just assists by bringing the limb forward. 

My mistake; sorry. Kind of like the kid in class who says, Oh oh...me! Call on me.  Maybe that kid just better be sure she knows the correct answer before raising her hand!

I know from my Anatomy/Physiology class, a muscle that is contracting is getting shorter from end to end.  Kathy

Last edited on Wed Sep 26th, 2007 01:46 am by IrishPony


 Current time is 02:24 pm
Page:    1  2  3  4  Next Page Last Page  




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez