So I looked around on craig's list today, and found a couple ads that sounded like decent horses for sale. One in particular caught my eye regarding a 9 yo TB mare, that has had dressage training in her past. Described to be bomb proof in the ad and "perfect" (seems like they are all described as perfect, lol). Anyways, I called and went to see her tonight. The girl who rides her now (Jr in high school) rode her first. The mare went ok. She avoided the bit at all costs, but showed an obvious ability to collect..just not much willingness to do so, and stay that way for long. As the girl worked her, she eventually asked her for a canter, the mare obliged..but quickly switched into the wrong lead (after just a few strides). After a few strides, she switched into the correct lead..then back to the incorrect lead again. (was very grumpy, hollow, ears pinned etc while cantering.)
So my turn...walk, fine. Trot, fine. Canter from the walk, goes directly into the wrong lead..after a few strides she begins bucking. Before the bucking begain, her head was high, head shaking, ears back etc. This mare just did NOT want to canter.
SO, at one point in her past, she was injured while jumping. On a front leg..current owners do not know which leg sustained the injury. According to current owners she has remained sound while they have had her (1 year). They have not ridden her very extensively..mostly trails and pleasure stuff so I do not believe the injury has had much stress.
I am not interested in moving forward with the mare after tonights test ride for a few different reasons..but I am wondering with the mare picking up the wrong leads..and displaying obvious discomfort while in the canter, is this an indication of pain? Or lack of training? Sheer laziness? Isn't it quite unnatural for a horse to repeatedly pick up the incorrect lead?