My horse recently started skipping/hopping behind trying to swap leads from left to right. At first it was only on turns, but he's starting to do it on the long side as well. My first thought was maybe it's time for the hocks to get injected again, but I'm doubting it as he has always had very specific signs that it was time and he just isn't showing those signs. He seems happy otherwise and doesn't get mad about this like he might if his hocks were bad, but he clearly would prefer to switch leads.
He is long backed and straight behind and engagement is obviously challenging for him. I have been asking more from him over the past 6 months and have started seeing this issue for about a month.
From your experiences, would you be more inclined to think this is a vet issue (injections somewhere?), a chiro issue (pelvis? si?), or strenghth issue? something else?
I appreciate your responses. Yes, I will get the vet and/or chiro out next week.
My gelding was swapping his back leads, mostly in the corners and in circles. Did it more going right, but sometimes would swap going left. I had my vet look at him. Could find nothing.
Then a friend was watching us and noted that my inside leg was slipping back behind the girth when I was applying my bending aids. I was inadvertantly signalling him to change (since he does not know flying changes yet, he was only swapping behind). Now that I have been consciously keeping my inside at the girth, where it should be, he no longer swaps behind.
Not saying your horse is in the same situation as mine, but it is something to think about.
My horse went through a phase of this when he was about seven. I injected hocks, stifles, and SI, over a period of time. The farrier also tried trailers on his shoes. None of this had any obvious effect.
It started in the spring, and by fall, I learned to ride him with a little counterbend to prevent it. I rode him lightly, pulled his shoes over the winter, and next spring he was fine. Still don't know what was causing it (I still suspect hocks), but it never came back.
Sorry I can't help you with a specific diagnosis, but maybe this information will be helpful.
I'd say get a good sport horse vet first because it could be one of 50 different things. With unclear problems I like to cut to the chase and not muck around. you can spend 6 months going ' round and ' round wondering if the adjustment REALLY helped or if it didn't, or you can try to nail down a diagnosis and then focus on the various therapies. JMO--I am big on practical and definite.
Rieter, thanks for the responses. I agree and have decided to only hack for the next couple weeks and see if it helps. He did run a few events this summer (his first season out) and maybe (hopefully) he just needs some time off.
davistina67, the pelvis is exactly why I asked about the chiro. I've never used one before, but I have read that these symptoms do seem indicative of pelvic issues. I left a message for a vet/chiro this morning, but haven't heard back yet. I'm really curious to have him come out and see what he thinks.
deltawave, I agree! I do not want to go around and around with this. I just want my horse happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, there certainly is not an abundance of sport vets around my area...most of them seem more old-school, backyard types. This is why I like to get as much info on my own before my vet comes out. If this vet/chiro guy gets back to me, from what others have told me, he will be my best bet around here. If not, I am willing to make the 3 hour haul to the nearest equine sport clinic.
Did some body work on a colt not long ago for a very similar situation. She was doing fine and then about 3 weeks of not holding the lead and very reluctant to go into a canter. I did her hooves and didn't know anything about the problem with her lead swapping until I asked the owner if she was having trouble going around to the left. Her right hind was wearing very strangely - much different from the other. Also her left front was needing more work on it than the right. Turns out she was very spasmed in the left wither. So, something you might want to check out. I worked on her and by the time I was done she went from a head up, jiggy, prancing nervous nilly to her head down to the floor, rolling her eyes and yawning. That was a month ago and she's still doing fine -- no more issues. So, something to think about and maybe take a look at -- muscles spasms somewhere. And for what its worth to you, you could have a chiro and vet out but even with an adjustment its not going to hold if there are muscle spasms.