My horse is a 5 yr old paint gelding. In the past few days, he's been acting very strange...
Before, Sailor just loved to run! He'd take any excuse to go faster and would never get tired out. A few days ago, I noticed that Sailor's trot/canter were a bit slower than normal. Then, he would suddenly stop and refuse to move. I gave him complete slack on his reins and kicked as hard as I could but he'd just stand there.
If I kept up with the kicking, Sailor would start walking backwards. So whenever he did that, I would back him until he didn't want to anymore and then try to get him to go forward again. This worked somewhat, but he would only go forward a few steps before stopping again.
Whenever I clucked or kicked to him, Sailor's ears would pin and sometimes he'd turn to look at me.
In the past three days, I got out my crop during rides and would use that whenever Sailor decided to plant his feet. After a few uses of the crop, he would get thre idea and do pretty well without me having to use it.
But yesterday our ride went a little downhill. I rode Sailor(with crop) at a walk and trot and he did fine. But when I asked him to canter, his ears pinned back and his mouth went to my boot(he didn't bite, but just kinda touched my boot). I used the crop to try to get him to canter but he did the same thing except this time he did a smal buck. I tried a few more times with the same result.
So this is where you guys come in! I know I should rule out pain first, but I don't know where to start. I don't think it's the saddle fit. He's went fine for months with the same one. I don't know if it's a respect issue. For Sailor to suddenly just refuse to go when he used to love it is kinda weird. He's never bucked with me before yesterday. I would appreciate any input on what I should do. What should I check first? He's had his teeth filed down about 3 months ago. He also got a vet check when I bought him 5 months ago.