My daughter's 14 yo TB, who she events at BN (horse has gone up to Prelim), stopped suddenly and uncharacteristically at the 2nd fence in a tiny pony club horse show yesterday--the jumps were 2'6". She circled him, and he bucked and threw his head around--also unusual--tried to stop again but she was pretty fierce with him (daughter is also 14) so he awkwardly jumped it, then again nearly stopped and went through the next fence. At which point my daughter withdrew, saying, "Something's wrong with him."
Turns out his back is very sore, particularly on the right side, far back near the hip (only partially under the back of the saddle). Her saddle was actually custom-fit to him and her; he hasn't changed shape and it seems to fit him well. I'm assuming he did something stupid in the field. I have a new mare and the horses have been running in the field more than usual (they are turned out 24/7 except in bad weather).
Experiences with this? Suggestions? We gave him bute, liniment, did some stretching exercises and some massage (I know a fair amount about human massage). A chiropractor is coming on Friday. We're also supposed to go to a horse trial on Friday, but my daughter's already saying she thinks that's a bad idea. She's got a pony club rating the following weekend, and really wants him well for that.
I would scratch. Even if it is a simple muscle strain, that could take a few weeks to work out. I am not against chiropractors, I think some are very good at diagnostics, but a full vet workup will certainly help pinpoint the underlying cause. It might not be his back, an acute injury from his pasture 'friskiness' could have been slight but resulted in him moving differently thus aggravating his back. You may only be seeing the back soreness now.
If it is just muscle stiffness, I swear by the Back on Track products for both my 15yr TB mare, and myself!
“You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky
Best go get the vet out now if she wants him well next weekend. In my experience, back soreness can take quite a while to resolve (4-8 weeks of no riding).
Hopefully its simple muscle soreness, and the vet can give him some methocarbamol to help him out. However, you could be dealing with an SI injury or kissing spine- so it would be best for your vet to palpate and shoot a quick x-ray to make sure everything is well.