I am completely at my wits end here. I am the only horse person in my family and the only person that can help my situation. I recently in the past 7 months had to move my horse to a new boarding stables because our prior ranch that we had him boarded at closed down.
I own a 11 year old Quarter Horse gelding. I have owned him for 8 years and just do basic arena riding, trails, pleasure riding, nothing extensive or stressful. He is like my therapy horse, if you will. Anyway, he is VERY quiet and relaxed in nature, has never given me any kind of trouble whatsoever. Has been a very healthy horse, only having a issue with colic over Christmas Eve, he has been fine ever since. He is pasture boarded and not kept in a stall (but does have a stall to freely go in and out of) he lives in that pasture with a donkey and can see other horses over the fence.
Anyway, the ranch owner is into training and showing, but when I ask for help she seems as though I am putting her out by just talking with her, so I really honestly don't have anyone to go to for help for this.
OK! Now to my issue. In the past two weeks my horse when I gently ask him to go from a trot to a canter like always, he has started pinning his ears back, and swinging his hips to the left side only. He doesn't buck, but then again I don't dare try to urge him on with my legs. Well, yesterday when I want to go ride him, it was the worst he had done. He actually stopped firmly and swung to the left again. And I didn't urge him to go on thinking his stomach might be sore. I am not the type to kick firmly, but even with light pressure he would stop suddenly with his ears back and swing his rear to the left as if almost saying "ouch!" so I didn't continue. I've been very paranoid after nearly losing him back in December to colic. He was tubed and fluxed, no surgery but made a full recovery.
So anyway, I thought maybe it was the saddle. I don't do much riding with my horse each time I see him, but it has never made a difference before. This nature is completely out of the blue for him. I took the saddle off after not even being on him for 10 minutes and then I hosed him down, let him dry and then took him in the round pen where he gladly cantered the entire time. After drying, I take him back out into the arena and get on him with his bridle and am on bareback now. He does the same thing every time I would barely nudge him to go faster with my legs. He would stop firmly on his front end, lay his ears back and refuse now to go forward. I began to firmly nudge him now in hopes of making him go, but he began backing up. So I turned him the other way in the arena and he walked fine bareback...until I nudged him then he did as prior and stopped, swung to the left and laid his ears back. I fear if I try to urge him on that he will literally start bucking.
I am at such a loss at what could be causing this. I am desperately looking into everything I can to try and figure this out, but it is so hard having no one that is there to help me. I love my horse with all of my heart, I just don't think it's behavior like the ranch owner is saying. Not my horse. But trust me, I am not ruling it out though, I am open minded and willing to accept and work through that if that is the true case. If anything, my horse is on the lazy side, but has never acted this way before.
Also, if this helps, when my horse colicked on Christmas Eve, it was on the right side. So I wonder if that has something to do with it? I am open to any help I can get. I thought maybe ulcers, so last night I ordered a supplement called U-Gard.
Anyway, if you can please help me out with some advise or ideas on what you might think is causing this so suddenly. I thought the other day when he didn't want to canter that maybe he just wasn't feeling up to it, so I didn't push him. I care too much about him to have kept on and on. I have a very bad heart anyway, so we've sort of gotten lazy together over the years, but never like this.
Thank you so much if you took the time to read and possible comment to help me. I would be so grateful for any advise. At the moment I am looking into having my vet come out, but anything in the meantime would be more than appreciated. I am completely at my wits end and don't know what to do.