I recently picked up an OTTB. He has been out of work for around 12 months, but I jumped on him after that long, without lunging or anything, no worries. He originally didn't seem to mind being worked much. He has always been grumpy at feed time though, ears flat back and circling, but never attacks. A few weeks after we got him he was massaged by a respected massage guy, and was found to be very trapped through the back (he has a slight roach back). At that time though, he wasn't acting like a grump to be ridden, even with the pain.
Fast forward to the past week or so, and he has just recovered from swollen legs that were a reaction to a tick bite. His legs are now fine, and he visited the vet a few days ago for a check up and steroid shot, and he was deemed to look fine in his movement, but a little footsore (has typical TB feet, and terrible heels) The vet (the best this area has) said he doesn't look sore.
BUT, when I have him on the lead or undersaddle, he walks forwards nicely and actively, and will do a lovely big walk for me. If I ask for trot, whether on the lead or in the saddle, he is ears flat back, toss the head, and THEN trot. If I keep him trotting, he turns back into 'happy' ears after a few 30m circles.
Just to test things today, as I was walking away from him with his feed, I clicked to get him to trot and he did the head flick and tail swish, and ears back, but trotted by himself.
Not sure if he's just p*ssed off at having to work, or is actually sore and the best vet we have didn't pick it up in a trot out?