"Cold Backed" Horse Humps Back in Canter
8 year old TB Mare, ex racer (7 races), evented through training level last summer, ready to move up. Exhibits cold backed behavior every winter but, for the most part, only in the canter. Fine in the fall, spring and summer. Saddle, teeth, back check (minus x-rays), good riders (professional and pretty good amateurs)...
Mare does get cold so I use a quarter sheet for warmup and in all weather under 40 degrees and heating pad during warmup on days cooler than 30. Extensive warm up includes lots of walking, trotting and bending before canter. When asked to canter she pins ears, rolls her head down into her chest and humps her back. If you can get her to canter off like a true hunter she is MUCH better but it's impossible most of the time to keep her head out from her chest.
On bad days she humps her back on canter depart and won't level out until you go back to trot. Tends to be more humpy to the right.
Never gets humpy in the trot or walk as long as you warm up her back. Most of the time works out of it if you stay off her back and is happy and forward. Sometimes it feels like she hops/switches a little behind, a little crow hoppy but not mean, sometimes she kicks out. Sometimes she just humps her back up behind the saddle so it feels like you are riding down a hill.
I have independent hands and ride evenly. She has a sensitive mouth but her rolling her head to her chest has nothing to do with me grabbing her mouth or being "handsy" - she does it even if you ride with no contact. She is the type of horse you use very little contact with anyway, she goes almost completely off your leg.
Trots like a rock star - foward, floaty, loose, bends, no slipping stifles, no short stridedness. Once she lets go through her back her canter is fabulous. No additional symptoms of hock/stifle/SI/back issues (such as toe dragging, swelling or stiffness) just the humped back and hopping behind. Vet has known her for a long time. Says she looks great, back is great, etc. Doesn't want to x-ray - thinks it's just the way she is - that she gets cold and tense.
Currently treating for possible ulcers - day 17. Not scoped but cribs, picky eater and a worrier so figured maybe that was part of the problem. No change so far on ulcer meds.