Doesn't want to canter
Boy am I pulling my hair out trying to figure this one out. My TB normally loves to canter. He's like the energizer bunny. He'll go all day. As of 2 weeks ago that changed. For reasons I cannot diagnose, he does not want to canter, either way. I do not think it is due to any type of soreness. He is not showing any obvious signs of resistance. No ear pinning, tail swishing, head tossing, nothing. He will offer a fabulously forward collected trot in place of cantering. I doubt he'd put himself into a frame if his back were sore. It is not an issue of being unbalanced. He doesn't trot strung out and faster when I ask for canter. He just offers a bigger trot that would score a 9 from any dressage judge. It's like he's totally forgotten how to do it. The only thing that happened around that time was new shoes, but this farrier has never done a bad job, there's no heat in any hoof, and the horse is completely sound at the trot. He did recently go through an episode of sleep deprivation and was falling asleep on the cross ties, but that was quickly resolved by moving him to another paddock. He was also diagnosed with a heart valve condition, but the type he has is very common and is not likely to affect his performance. I've been checking his heart rate during and after exercise, and if anything, he's on the fit side. Any ideas on what this resistance could possibly be? I'm baffled.
I suppose everyone's first suggestion would be a pain issue.. but if he isnt showing any signs, maybe not. Unless he is a real stoic. Maybe saddle fit? Will he canter on the lunge?
seems like he is feeling lethargic, especially since he was falling asleep in the crossties. Does it feel like he is lazy or just doesn't have the energy? Some heart problems make it hard for the horse to really get a good work out as it strains their heart.
He definitely not lethargic. The falling asleep problem was solved instantly 10 days ago when we moved him back to his original paddock. He hasn't done it since. He offers up the biggest, round forward trot he's ever done in place of the canter, so he seems to have plenty of air in his lungs. We trotted around very forward for about 10 minutes and he didn't show a hint of breathing heavy. I don't think there's pain involved. When I ask him to canter, he doesn't give me any indication of pain. He just seems like he's completely forgotten how to step into it. He's definitely not lame. He won't canter on the longe either, and I've now tried all 3 of my saddles to rule out any saddle issues. I rode him today. He did finally canter a little each direction, but only for a short time before backing off into a trot. I've been taking his heart rate before and after exercise and it's fine. His return to normal rate is very quick. He did have 10 days off and gained 70 pounds in the process due to a recent change in diet to free choice hay. Maybe he's just big time out of shape?
Hmm sounds as though you've been very thorough. It might be taking him a little longer than usual to adapt to the recent changes. eg: the change in paddocks and feed.
Completely off-center but have you tried just taking him for a trail ride? maybe something to break the trend, might give him a bit of a morale boost?
Boy I wish it were as simple as a refreshing trail ride. I've taken him out into his favorite hay field. If he wanted to run, he'd do it there. It's like his fuel injectors are clogged. He gets moving a few strides but then pulls up completely winded. 5 seconds later, he's ready to go again. I put in another call to the vet. I'm just baffled.
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