I got my 5 year old OTTB in July. He was being retrained by a reputable pro and had been off the track since March. He had done a recognized BN event and had been signed up for a Novice event when i bought him so despite perhaps being pushed a bit hard a bit fast, was showing a lot of willingness and athleticism. The vet check was clean except for back soreness which after a week of rest wasn’t an issue. He has never tracked up behind but I assumed that was/is more a muscling/training issue. He is green with almost no proper muscling. I got him a chiropractic session off the bat and she said he wasnt back sore but had muscle spasms which responded to the session. I did a BN clinic and several elementary starter trials for fun in the first few months and I thought he was great. We have schooled some BN cross-country and he did it with ease. I’ve been riding 5 days a week plus 1 lunge. thats usually two lessons and a trail ride, with lots of poles, transitions, lateral work and everything i can to help build muscle… which he hasnt really done. Partly I’m sure because I’m an ammy working on my connection issues so hes not working on the bit a ton, but he was in training board last month with my pro trainer so getting some rides from her as well, and we added some pessoa lunges last month. When i first got him he was completely upside down and anxious. After a month he started to stretch down and be relaxed but he’s a very sensitive ride. any off balance or jerk and he is back up in the air. A major issue though is that he doesn’t pick up his back legs over poles, he just smashes into them - we even broke a solid wood pole the other day. When he walks downhill he drags his feet which also seems concerning re:his hind end.
A month ago I was out of the country and my trainer rode him and tried to jump a small jump on a circle and it was a disaster. He was willing but just throwing himself over the jump. She thought maybe he had just had a growth spurt from 16.3hh to 17hh and was having growing pains/unsure of his new body, but it hasnt worked itself out. A few months ago we jumped 3ft no problem (although we werent jumping that height with regularity, really working on foundational work), but now he seems to struggle with cavaletti. And if its a line… even if its the perfect distance and rhythm he knocks the second pole. He also tends to slip in his hind end…to be honest I’m not sure what side, i think he does it in both directions. He also hangs on the left rein a LOT but has been getting better with work i thought. I asked the vet last week and she said he had weak stifles and just to work him more. I had a bodyworker out last week after that and she said he seemed to have a groin pull on the left side and she worked it out, and for me to rest him and then work him back up slowly. On top of this, in september he got cellultis in his rear left leg - super swollen, heat, lame. He was on antibiotics for about a month. He was always a pooper but now it is out of control. He poops maybe 6 times in an hour lesson. He destroys his stall at night, and it needs to be completely stripped. In a 20 min lunge he will poop twice. All solid poops but it seems really excessive. No ulcers, no worms. The vet said to try probiotics. Equiotics didnt work so now im trying O3 omega oil and succeed. So now today, after three days off for rest, he has cellulitis again…maybe. It did rain the past few days and today his left hind was swollen to double the size, but not hot. not lame either. i gave him a bute and walk/trot work for 30 min and the swelling went down but still there. I called the vet and she said to give him bute and my leftover antibiotics (leftover because they didnt work initially and so we switched to a different one) but if i wanted to see if it wasnt cellultis and was stocking up from lack of work, to just see if it went down with the bute only ( i asked because my trainer said maybe its not cellulitis but an old injury showing itself after being off)… So question one is who should i take my horse to see? He is in Southern Maryland and I wish i could just put him in a full body scanner to see whats going on. I want answers! I keep wondering if he has food allergies but he doesn’t have diarrhea and two different vets said unlikely. We did a blood panel last week and it was normal.
I’m at a total loss. I dont know whether to work or rest my horse… aside from the cellulitis, which is a whole other disaster. My trainer is worried about what another round of antibiotics will do to his already overactive gut. On the one hand, I know i need patience with training my baby horse. On the other hand, my trainer thinks there is just something wrong with his hind end but she doesnt know what. She thinks its possible he is pooping because he is in pain. She said that when you look at him you can tell there is something wrong. he doesnt know how to use his back and she seems to think hes unhappy. honestly i just want to do right by him, he is the SWEETEST horse and so flipping willing, and i want to figure out what is going on. I know this is a lot of info all over the place. That’s how i feel right now. I have a PEMF appointment in a few weeks as well, im just throwing darts on a board now. I’ve spent like 6k on proper fitting saddles so i dont think thats the issue. Videos of trainer lunging him for clarity. Thanks in advance for any advice you have