The horse is question (seen in my avatar) is not mine, but belongs to a friend who has recently retired. I've been the one riding her most for about 4 years now, so I have a good idea of her health and fitness.
First, a few details about the horse (Macy):
She's a 15.2 hh 14 year old Welsh Cob x Dales Pony (we question the dales part of her pedigree due to conformational features and movement patterns) That's never been professionally schooled and is ridden on average 2-3 times a week by people of varying skill in a field on a slight slope. She's prone to laminitus so has a carefully monitored diet and strict restrictions on her grass allowance.
She's capable of basic walk, trot and canter and is currently being schooled to jump correctly ( she's on about 3ft crosses and straights). She's worked in a variety of ways- lunging, flatwork, polework, hacking, jumpwork.
Now, the problem:
Macy has always had some problems with canter- field conditions mean that she doesn't do muchh canter work over winter, so every spring when we gradually bring it back in her work cycle she get excited and tend to buck alot. Once that's stopped after a couple of weeks, she tends to have to 'jump' into canter because she struggles with the upward transition. However, this year we made good progress with her and she was excelling both at canter transitions and canter work itself- it became a lovely manageable pace with good flow.
Then, one week when she was being ridden (I wasn't present) she simply refused to go into canter on the right leg. She was fine on the left, but would not strike off on the right rein or if she did, it was on the incorrect leg. When I rode her next a few days later she was better, but it still took a good 3 attempts before she would lead with her right leg. She also would not go into canter when lunged on the right side, and when worked at liberty if put on the right rein she wouldn't go for more than half a circle without stopping and changing direction. This was in April, and Macy is still having problems going into right canter. We've tried varying her work and building up her fitness, but there's been only minimal progress.
There is no obvious injury or lameness, (thorough checks have been done) and she's fine on the right rein in all other gaits. Our initial thoughts were she'd run around in the field at night and strained a muscle somewhere, but the lack of improvement despite a change in her work seems to go against that theory.
Does anybody have any idea what could be causing it, or have any suggestions of exercise that might help her strengthen or improve her right hand side?
Thanks for reading