The thing is....this horse is TOO quiet. We turned him out in the indoor after being inside all day, and he stood exactly where we left him and hardly moved. I tried to lunge him, and he would walk around me while someone led him, but nothing more. Someone got out a feed bag and waved it at him behind my back, to which he trotted a few steps and then stopped. He acts so listless and his eyes are so disinterested...
We saddled him for the first time in five years. I tried to work on bending and backing from the ground but he was very stiff through his neck and would hardly flex. I mounted and he was a little wary, trotting a few steps, but soon stopped. I tried to flex him again with his sidepull, but again, he was very stiff. He would not respond when I cued him to walk with voice and leg commands, so I had his owner lead him off in a walk when I gave him the cue to go forward. He soon relaxed after a few turns around the arena, but still would not walk without someone at his head. Even then, his walk was very slow. I did, however, teach him to back up very nicely under saddle.
The other thing is, he has a very interesting build. His hindquarters could be those of a cow, if you can picture that. Flat croup and weak hind end. His lower stomach is very large, and I would call him fat if his ribs weren't prominent. It looks like a worm belly, but he's been wormed religiously every six weeks.
He has me absolutely stumped. He knows what we're asking, but he is either very lazy or in some serious pain. The owner will not have him vetted; she claims he is healthy and just very lazy, but our mutual friend and I both think it's something more. All of her horses are in great condition and well-cared for, so I don't know what the deal is with this boy. She wants me to come back often to work with him. Any thoughts? Stomach ulcers possibly? I really want her to have this horse vetted.