So Theo's left lead canter broke last year. We got his hocks done and his canter straightened right up. When his right lead canter started to break down this year, I got his hocks and stifles done. For a couple days he felt like gold. His over track was enough that I had to put him in bell boots to keep his dang shoes on.
Then I got sick and ended up disappearing for two weeks.
Now I'm back and he's back in full work. The right lead canter? Still wonky. It's pretty specific, it's only when I actually collect or ask for things like the 10m canter circle. The rhythm breaks down from 3 beats to 4 beats (and one time 5 beats, I'm still not sure how the hell he did that). I did some experimenting to try to figure out if it was pain, strength, or training. With a hackamore and bareback pad I can totally canter a 10m circle and basically use no hands, but it's not in collection. He isn't on the bit, aka flexed. When I tell him to actually flex and stay on contact, the rhythm breaks down. I can sometimes feel a resistance in the collected trot, but no one can see it. It makes me question my sanity.
Unrelated but we showed up in my GMO's newsletter and I'm still giggling with delight at how far we've come.
I also tried taking him into the outdoor to see if softer footing made any difference. I have no idea if it did because he was locking onto fences and that was improving his canter dramatically. I don't jump from the collected canter since I want him to be able to move his head to focus. He was delighted to go hop over stuff and had a nice three beat rhythm on both leads. I can feel a hesitation if I roll back on the right lead but the rhythm holds.
Sneak peek of our new jumping outfit
I suspect pain. It's kind of my go to answer and he's showing a hesitation even when doing something he considers fun. Teeth have already been checked, chiro and massage are on schedule, so I don't have any clues other than the rhythm breaking down. I ask him to really sit and bam. Four beat canter and he'll start looking to break to the trot.
So. Now what? I've got a horse that most people see as 100% sound that I'm hesitant to work because I think he's in pain.
Vet is on vacation this week so hopefully I can get him out next week. If it's Theo's SI, we inject it and move on with our lives. I want a lameness exam to make dang sure that it's not something else that I'm assuming is coming from his weaker right hind. He does have that crack in his right front so I don't want to rule out other causes for canter rhythm problems. There's zero sign of lameness in the walk or trot so I'm pretty confident that right front is fine but I'd really like to have a professional's opinion.
In the meantime, Theo's loving the jumping pony life. I can keep him fit and happy working over fences and doing nothing more than a First level frame. He's supposed to have a show at Second level at the end of the month but if I don't have an answer, I'll scratch. Theo can still collect in the trot and walk so we'll do that to keep his topline development at it's current level.
He better watch it or I'm going to take him to that H/J show coming up and do some medal classes.