Misty and I were riding as usual. No change in setting or any new objects. I had purchased her just a few months ago and had fallen in love. Continuing with the ride, I asked her for a lope. She pinned her ears and popped her rear up in protest. I thought, something was wrong. So we unsaddled and I checked her legs and hooves for pain. Nothing. I ran my fingers down her back and boom. My saddle had been pinching her. I felt like an idiot for not realizing sooner. So I gave her two weeks off from work, with daily back massages. After that, I called a local saddle fitter to check my newly purchased saddle. Zoom forward about two months. Again, we were just riding around when I asked her for a lope. She does her signature hop. I was partially surprised. So, I snap the lunge line on and unsaddle her. We walk, trot, and canter. Nothing. I tack her up again and repeat. Nothing. I have my friend lunge while I sit on her. Nothing. I say to myself, it's just a one time thing. After all, Misty does have a certain attitude (Example: I'll pick her hooves and she'll step in her poo. :roll:)She continues to hop for 3 months. It is more annoying than fear of falling (Since it is only a little hop). I guessed it may have been my seat/posture wasn't quite right and it might be setting her off balance or causing pain. So I watch my seat very carefully, but she still hops. One week later. The hopper strikes back. Ugh. I decide to re-visit groundwork. She did everything I asked with flying colors, no hopping. So I turn to my very trusted instructor. She hops on and afterwards, Misty is behaving like she used to. I ride her a few days after that, and as you can guess, she hopped. It had to be pain. So I asked my dad to take her to the vet. He says, "I'll take her when she shows pain in her eyes."
Sorry for the novel there. So my question is; Is she hopping because of pain or attitude? If pain, how can I show (such as a certain exercise) that she has discomfort? If attitude, how can I fix it?
Note: I will post additional info because right now I'm in a hurry.
Thanks for all the help!!