I walked her in hand, trotted her in hand, lunged her... she was such a good girl - very eager to please, gentle and kind.
I walked her up to the mounting block, where I sort of dilly-dallied and fiddled with putting presure in the saddle to see her response. Unfortunately, the owner (who no longer rides) was the only one there - the trainer who works with this mare (she is in her late teens) was at work. Sooooo - I broke my own rule and mounted a horse I didn't know without seeing a demonstration first I climbed aboard very gently from a mounting block and just sat quietly for a moment. I could feel the horse tensing up a bit. When I gave her a squeeze to urge her forward, I was surprised when she arched her back upwards.
After a few instances of walking forward a few steps, stopping and arching upwards, I finally quit using my leg and started using voice commands. The mare went forward very nicely and did not offer to stop again.
Been racking my mind since then to figure out what is up with the "hunching" she started out with, and the only thing I've heard of that comes to mind is "cold backed".
If it is cold-backed, should I be worried that this mare could become progressively wore? Do horses "recover" from being cold-backed? Are they actually sound for riding? Does chiropractic manipulation help? Are there stretches that can be done? I was thinking of a few, including one where you run your fingers up from the center of the belly and up the sides to get the horse to "arch up" and stretch/flex their muscles.