top of page

Spinal Integrity

"I was fortunate enough to have Celeste work on my 5 year old Haflinger who had a mystery lameness that we couldn’t figure out. We had radiographs taken and multiple lameness exams and didn’t find anything conclusive. After one session Celeste found the root of the problem, which was a spinal twist. She put her magic hands on him and helped release the tension he was holding, and then she had me ride him bareback. Through the exercise she taught me I was able to ride him straighter and he felt sound immediately. It was amazing to feel the difference through his back and how soft and relaxed he was so quickly. Now that it’s been over a month of riding him using the exercise Celeste taught us, he’s like a brand new horse! He hasn’t taken a lame step since. I’m so grateful to Celeste for finding not only the cause of his discomfort, but provided an ongoing solution that I can implement until she comes back next time!"

— George Ruth

When a horse does not have adequate muscling throughout his thoracic sling, specifically in his pectorals and shoulder muscles, he is unable to properly hold himself up around a bend.

Meaning, he’s leading with his weight to the inside of this body.

This collapses his cervical spine into his scapula and puts and unnatural twist through his thoracic vertebrae. Typically we see this as the horse will naturally want to counter bend with his neck to try to remedy the imbalance. This spiral can and will slowly surely continue on down through the rest of his spine over time, twisting up the muscles and ligaments within the spine.

The second most common reason for a twist, is through the lower lumbar vertebrae.

This happens when the horses front end has been shut down long enough that he then shifts his proprioception to leading from the front end like he was biomechanically designed, to leading from his hind end.

Again, because he twists out of integrity to what is natural for his body, he develops a twist through his spine.

Either are tricky to address as they quickly turn into compensation patterns that turn into movement patterns. And sometimes, we get “lucky” enough to come up with a spine that that has both a twist from the front and a twist from the hind.

Before an after one corrective riding session.

On top of being able to visibly see the spiral, some common symptoms are: • Reluctance to go forward. • Cross-firing or other wise struggling with leads. • Turning themselves into a pretzel to get out of an aid. • Swinging haunches in or out. • Random “explosions” or bucking. • Neurological symptoms. • Undiagnosed lameness.

But there is always a way out of the spiral.

Some important things to remember: Never push a horse forward out of a space that not in alignment. Meaning, when you ask a horse to trot and he sucks back and turns into a pretzel, take the time to straighten him out FIRST. Always aim to alleviate the front end first otherwise the hind end will not have true tracks to follow behind. As much as you can, protect the hind end of “fishtailing” around the front.

Lastly - Take your time. Your horse pretzels out of integrity simply as a coping skill, and if you do not take the time to untwist their spine and ride them forward from straightness, you will absolutely make the twist in their spine worse and aid in their self-fulfilled prophecy that said move was really going to hurt. We can ride our horses into alignment and truly train for soundness, always.

Full course coming soon, in the meantime feel free to schedule a private session to help with your specific concerns.


bottom of page