He was only ridden off-and-on this summer, mostly on the weekends when I could come home. I am in my last year of graduate school, and my parents are keeping him for me. We went to one horse show this year.
Almost every single time I rode him this year, he has this weird mis-step lameness issue with his hind right foot. Some days it was awful (doing this on every single step at the walk or trot) and some days it was so-so. He does this only at the walk or trot. He does not do anything at the gallop. Instead of picking his right hind hoof up to step on it, he is catching his toe and letting it rock over, so that he is then stepping on his own bent-over ankle.
If you look at this photo (horrific fall), he is stepping on his RIGHT hind ankle much like how this horse's LEFT hind ankle is positioned on the ground. This is the best google picture I could find to describe what's going on. I wish I had video to show it instead.
There are zero signs of anything else. No swelling, no tenderness, no heat, no lack of flexibility, and no outward signs that anything is wrong. Plus, he bucks, runs, and plays in the pasture like nobody's business. When he slows back down to his walk or trot, he's doing this ankle thing on his right hind leg again. He'll also gladly breeze in the wide open fields, when I did ride him this summer and shows no signs of any pain at a dead sprint (let's just say he loves to run ... he's like a dang 2-year-old).
I've been in Arizona since August and he's basically been on pasture rest since then (wasn't exactly in shape before that either .... ). It's progressively getting worse despite not being ridden.
If I think back now, I think this has actually been going on for years, but it was always very infrequent and I probably took it as him being clumsy (which he kinda is). For some reason, it has escalated this year to the point where sometimes when I would ride him, over 50% of his steps on that foot would be these ankle steps at the walk or trot. Again, galloping he is fine.
I have finally convinced my parents to take him to the vet. (Me being on clinical rotations and currently 1600 miles away, there's not much I myself can do.) My mom is going to try to take him in next week for me.
So mostly, I am just kind of curious if anyone has experienced anything like this with their horse, or if anyone has any suggestions as to what it might be. Maybe I'm trying to prepare myself for what the vet is going to say, as I somehow have a bad feeling it is not going to be good.