Ughhh I am at the end of my straw…please help brainstorm! Where to start?!
So I have a young warmblood (disclaimer -This is my 3rd young horse I have owned, but ridden many many. I was a professional for a while. Just want to throw this info out to cover my basis for info and give a better idea of my experience).
When I first got this horse a year ago, he was super super easy. No issues. Out of nowhere this horse decided he didn’t want to go forward anymore, BUT here’s the weird thing, it is ONLY when he first trots. He doesn’t rear or do anything naughty, just doesn’t trot off when you put leg on. He stops and backs (quite calmly). If you take leg off he walks forward but does it again when you put leg on. Doesn’t respond to a dressage whip, but if you spin him and kick he will trot off. Great, no problems after that. Can walk again and trot off again no issues, it is literally just the first trot. He does the same lunging - Will turn in and avoid that first trot off. Then no issues. Around this time he was diagnosed with an NPA. I really believed this was the problem, but we’ve fixed it (confirmed with x rays) with shoeing and horse has been confirmed sound by vets. I’ve had 2 vets look at him, deemed sound and said he’s just being a baby and keep going. This has gone on for 8 months now, doesn’t get better, doesn’t get worse. In the last 6 months he feels a little stiff when I start for a circle then totally fine. If I walk at the end of a ride and start to cool down then go back to work, I’m at square one again. Resistant to go forward and stiff. Fine after starting again and a good circle.
So everyone thinks I’m crazy and says there is nothing wrong with the horse and he’s just a young kid. Deep deep down I truly think this horse is bothered by something, I just don’t know what. Chiro been out multiple times and he gets regular PEMF/body work. Nothing sticks out. He has a custom saddle that gets checked regularly. I first thought ulcers, but did ranitidine tabs as trial and no symptoms went away. He’s on extra vitamin e to see if anything helped, he does feel less stiff but doesn’t go away 100%. I’m not completely ruling out the NPA as the culprit since it all coincides around the same time, but aside from a very small broken back pastern axis, the palmar angle isn’t really negative anymore. Towards the end of the cycle he’s more neutral, but the horse doesn’t change attitude throughout a cycle. Ever. Farrier and vet are happy with the progress we’ve made in 6 months with the foot and don’t want to change much. Could the foot still be bothering him even though he isn’t lame? I’ve been told unlikely, but ???
If this was your horse what would you do next? Could this be a muscle issue somewhere? Some of the metabolic issues don’t stick out to me as it normally gets worse the longer into your ride, not stiffness starting out. Already on a IR diet. 1st cut Timothy and TC ration balancer gold. Coat and weight looks really good to be ulcers, but I know that doesn’t rule it out. Maybe i should just treat a month? Maybe I do a baseline blood test? Not sure what else to test without just going out on a whim here looking for something that isn’t obvious. Like I said, the few vets I have used and expressed the issue don’t see it being a big issue and think i should just keep riding, which is fine, but I just feel like there’s something.
Thanks for sticking with me through this erratic post. I’m sure I left vital info out somewhere. Hoping someone has maybe had a similar issue and can give advice. This horse has a super bright future and if anything, maybe just some encouragement from strangers on the internet is all I need