I've been having some problems with Smokey, one of my barrel horses, and I am wondering if there could be some kind of pain problem.
Last Wednesday when I was riding around the arena (not doing barrel work, just exercising him) he was doing fine until I asked him to canter on the left lead. He did ok for a couple of strides but then he started kicking out, crow hopping, and throwing his head around. I asked him to do it again to see if it was a fluke but he did the same thing and bucked me off.
So, I figured maybe it was because he hadn't been rode in a week, but when I rode him again today he did the same thing on the same lead at a canter. He does fine on the right lead and acts normal, but on the left lead he just will not budge.
So, I am wondering is there a chance this could be caused by pain? I know it is not the saddle because I have had a fitter out within the past month to check out all of my saddles on the horses. I don't believe it is a discipline problem because he is perfectly fine besides this one thing.
I know that often sacroiliac pain can be exposed by a horse being reluctant on leads. Do you think that could be the problem?
I heard from someone that there is some way you can check a horse for back pain by running a finger down it's spine or something, but I'm not sure how to do it.
If I need to call out a chiropractor or a vet I will. I'm just not sure what to do.
Help, please? :)