My quest for a soft face and collection is on pause. Btw, I never responded to the comments on my last post because I'm lazy, but I really appreciated the comments and I did begin working with her on it but as I am about to explain, everything is on pause for a little while.
I posted a post (redundant much?) about chiro work, and said I felt like pony was 'off' in the back left specifically. Her left lead lope is very very different from her right, in a bad way, and since it has been progressing and becoming worse, it leads me to believe that something is out of whack that is giving her trouble.
There is absolutely no visual lameness, other than looking stiff.
Since I was on vacation, she had about two weeks off. My trainer took her out one day and they just went up and around the hill, she said it was strictly walking, they didn't do any arena work or anything, so she wouldn't have necessarily felt anything weird.
I rode her last night bareback at a walk. She was a superstar, she didn't care about any of the funny sensory things we did. She got bad once we started to walk around the ranch and she kept trying to walk when I asked her to stop. I blamed it on simple hotness, but honestly I felt something else.
Today, I tacked her up western and she seemed super fidgety and uncomfortable and started stomping a lot as soon as I through a saddle on. That should have been my first clue.
I took her in the arena and finished cinching her up. BO was teaching a lesson. I went to mount pony and as soon as I through my leg over, she FLEW halfway down the arena sideways. This should have been my second clue. I thought possibly something spooked her, but that is still unlike her. Even BO said 'well, that pony is crazy but that was weird for her'.
The thing about Pony is that she is a crazy half feral thing, but she is super predictable, and not stupid. She's never done anything that I can't explain or couldn't have predicted.
She felt super tense as soon as I mounted. Every time I squeezed for a walk, she felt like she tried to fly somewhere. It was weird. She settled down quickly and was able to walk around, but still felt somewhat nervous. Not just hot, it was slightly different.
She did a reasonable trot, and we did some trot work. A lot of trot work. It was rarely a sittable trot, but it wasn't fast. Just strung out and unresponsive. Finally, after quite a bit of trot work, I asked for a lope. A circle to the right, perfect, easy and calm. As soon as I switched to the left I could feel her anxiety rise. I couldn't get a decent trot to the left, and when I finally asked for a lope, it was an off balanced gallop.
After that, she was a bundle of nerves. Long story short, I got continually mad at her because once she gets uncomfortable she tries to jackhammer trot every few steps.
Finally, I pulled her saddle and put her in the round pen. I wanted to watch her walk and check for visual lameness. There was none. She loped to the right and it was fine, no big deal. I asked for a lope to the left and she physically could not do it. I have never seen a horse do that before. She would toss her hind end up and towards the inside if the circle everytime it came to that part of the lope. It was similar to a buck, but clearly because of discomfort.
Obviously she is off. She cannot get her left hind where it needs to be. I went to talk to BO afterwards to get her opinion on chiros (her and her husband have serious money performance horses and have done some serious showing and using them, I definitely trust her opinion and wanted to see where she stood). She felt pony up and found back soreness. Not to mention that but could see some muscle atrophy in her hind and said based on what she saw with the mount alone and what I told her it was obvious she was out somewhere. She gave me the name of her chiro and said when her horses are in serious work, she has regular chiro and massage appts for them.
My trainer hadnt been there when I had pony out, so hadnt seen her, but showed up when I was walking to put pony away. I showed her the tender spot on her back, and my trainer said she's never seen her that back sore, even after 20 mile endurance rides.
I can say its definitely not saddle fit, since she basically had two weeks off. Also, I rode her bareback, and I'm thinking she already had some soreness. Plus, it's one side and I've ridden her bare back much more majorly before.
So here's my theory. You know how when you fall off a horse, if you get up and get back on, you'll be sore, but nothing terrible. However, if you immediately climb into bed and grovel, when you finally get out, your going to be seriously sore.
I'm thinking that she is out of whack somewhere, and it's clearly affecting her back left majorly. I'm thinking that keeping her in work (I ride 4-5 times a week) has made whatever had been bothering her stay dormant, but slowly get worse. However, her getting to hang out and not work for two weeks cause some serious stiffness and is now showing how out of whack she seriously must be. I think that the back soreness (it's along but below the spine on the right side) was from overcompensating for whatever is hurting. It's crazy how muscles can all relate to eachother!
I am seriously broke at the moment, and really can't afford a chiro (yay my sisters wedding! And not working much!) so, tonight I'm gonna research lots of massage and tomorrow massage those butt muscles with some linament gel. I am going to round pen her again and record it so I have some basis for how terrible she is looking.
Ugh, always fun with the ponies!