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.