My lack of showing isn’t the only reason my riding and blog enthusiasm is a bit dampened this summer. Simon is NQR, and has been off/on for months.
I mentioned in the spring how he was falling out in the hind occasionally during our rides. Had the vet out twice, and on the second visit we injected his hocks. That fixed the problem entirely… for about three weeks. I’ve tried taking video to see if I can re-create it on the lunge line to show y’all, but he usually only does this under saddle. I have to video examples, but you have to look closely.
Watch at 1:30 and 3:02 in the video below. Note, this is very old video and I think he’s moving quite well here… but he still shows the dropping behavior I’m talking about.
Probably a better example is this video below at roughly :19 seconds. Another note, he was in the middle of rehab here and is not 100% sound on his hind… I know that, this is just showing the (what I think to be) stifle behavior.
When I started noticing the dropping behavior coming back, I asked my trainer to do some flat rides and pay close attention if she felt anything. Sometimes he came out a little stiff (not unusual for him), but she always said he felt great and didn’t notice him dropping or falling out in the hind at all.
With me, he’s been doing it consistently. What used to be once or twice a ride has turned into once or twice around the ring – almost always in the corners.
I’ve tried riding him very forward and in more a dressage frame, and it didn’t help.
I’ve tried riding him in the dirt ring as opposed to the grass ring, didn’t help.
I’ve tried a long “power walk” warmup. I’ve tried going almost straight to the canter. I’ve asked the farrier to re-balance his hind shoes. Nothing helps. In-between these blips, he feels pretty damn good. Slightly uneven (which is his normal due to fugly hocks) but not unsound. I wouldn’t call this an unsoundness, but in my opinion it’s nearing a safety issue on a bad day.
Last night, I started in the grass ring with the intent of jumping some logs if he felt good. In the middle of our warmup, he fell out so badly that we had a very lurching stride. So I headed to the dirt ring where the footing is more even, and he typically works better. I felt some slight “blips”, but nothing severe. We did some sitting trot, haunches in, and I worked on no stirrups. We got some lovely canter, slow and collected, and when I circled he dropped again in a very dramatic/lurching way. I stopped my ride, and finished walking him out around the property in tears.
I had already called a (new) vet, and at this point am waiting for them to come out next Tuesday. I’ll do whatever she thinks we need to get to the root of this problem.
Right now, I’m just really frustrated and worried and upset. It’s not because my horse is NQR. That’s horses and it happens, and I don’t care if he needs a layoff or whatever… that’s all fine. What I’m truly worried about is that for whatever reason, I’m now too heavy for him. My trainer doesn’t notice this like I have, and I don’t think it’s because she’s not paying attention 🙂 I have also watched another light rider ride him, and I didn’t see him drop any. Basically, no one notices but me. I may be starting to go crazy.
My trainer wants me to keep riding him, because he doesn’t seem in pain at all and mobility is good for the fusing hocks. We’re going to give him a little bute the night before each ride to see if that makes a difference. Mainly, I’ll just be anxiously awaiting this vet appointment and trying not to melt into a puddle when I go out to the barn.