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Weird Lameness

I have a 6 yr old OTTB gelding. He was completely sound up until the end o November. Being we’re in the south we decided to pull his front shoes since my farrier said he has “the best feet he’s ever seen on an OTTB.” My farrier is amazing and extremely well trained and I completely agreed with him.

We pull the shoes and he was a little tender for a few days. This continued for about 2 weeks and I could just tell he was not a fan of the lack of shoes. It made him a little grouchy. He does grow toe very very slowly so I felt like it really wasn’t benefiting him to be barefoot when he wasn’t growing enough hoof to support the change.

So back on went the front shoes. I couldn’t make the shoeing due to a work conflict but my BO and a couple of boarders were all there. Everything went well and he went back out for a few hours. I got there roughly 4 hours later and he was distinctly lame on his right front. Everyone was shocked because we walked off fine. We thought maybe a hot nail. Farrier came out that instant and hoof tested for soreness. We were only getting a mild result on his right front no where else. He moved all the nails and released a little pressure here and there to accommodate any previous pressure that could have caused the lameness.

It took about 2 weeks for the lameness to wear off we all are pretty convinced it was a deep stone bruise that he had gotten while barefoot and had just gotten exasperated by the change in pressure.

Now let’s preface this with he is now gallivanting through the pasture. The other day he took the automatic waterer for a jaunty gallop around the farm. He’s not lame on the lunge or while out having fun in his pasture.

But while riding him he feels just a little off on his left hind on a right 20 meter circle. At first he would do about 3/4 of the circle and then dance his way out or canter out of it. We had our amazing Chiropractor out and she adjusted him. She said he was super locked up in the back end but came out of everything beautifully and should be nicely adjusted now.

That was a week ago. Rode him today and did figure eights about 20/30 meter circles. Again going to the right he still felt slightly off to me while posting on the outside leg. He didn’t dance out or canter out of the circle and held the circle fine. To someone watching he isn’t presenting lame at all. No difference in his tracking and no head bobbing. It still feels like a short step when I ride him.

He’s not pitching a fit or acting like it’s bothering him. The only think he is doing is he’s pulling on the reins and seems to want me in more of a half seat. More of a he’s lifting his back and seems very collected but to me it feels a tad heavy in my hands. Or he’s head up not full giraffe neck, just a little up and in front of the bit.

I don’t have a fitted saddle to him yet, working on that. He’s never presented lame before and everyone including our vet thinks maybe it’s just a lack of muscling from being off the last 10/12 weeks while dealing with the front foot and now the back and the gross wet weather we’ve had lately.

He’s in great spirits plays in the pasture sweet on the ground. No heat/swelling/bruising/tenderness or anything. Picks and holds up all 4 fine. For a little while he was hesitant to pick up his left front when the right front was tender. He voluntarily holds up each foot no issues.

Anyone have a clue what this could be? It’s not visible to anyone else and everyone seems to think it’s just conditioning. Paranoid horse mom here wonders if it’s something more.