Pain or attitude? No access to equine vets
Ok, I know I should be getting professionals in but there simply are none within 1000kms. All I have are general purpose and livestock vets. No saddle fitters or chiropractors. Unfortunately :/
So, I've posted about this before, and the general consensus was that my mare is the testing type and things she does are basically non-events. But...I'm still wandering. Maybe she's in pain and trying to tell me something in various ways.
Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that she is never dangerous and I can correct all her tests. But they keep coming.
Is there any way I can confirm that she is just giving me attitude? I know I'm asking a lot.
Anyhow, her current set of "symptoms" are:
- girthy and complains when she sees the saddle. This only happens sometimes, at other times she falls asleep and I literally have to wake her up for her to take the bit.
- slightly gate sour. It's like a slight gravitational pull to the gate which goes away when she is fully focused (when we are jumping or I'm riding her very forward)
- refusing to go nicely off the leg into trot. Walk and canter are fine. Strangely, her canter departure has improved immensely in the last month (how weird is that?)
- not standing for mounting. This is a new one, she used to be rock solid.
Anyhow, I had other people ride her and she always starts of as good as gold for them. She seems to be a bit apprehensive of a new rider and once she figures out they will not beat her, she starts up with her antics. The progression is exactly the same regardless of the rider experience (except, of course, experienced riders handle it better but she still tries to get her way).
Also, I don't ride with a crop. When I do, her work ethic is impeccable even if I've only ever hit her once. I would ride with a crop but she gets quite stressed out and fearful so it is very unpleasant and I don't enjoy it at all. Her schooling also suffers as she doesn't learn anything because she is hyper-focused on the impending doom - as she sees it. Poor thing.
I am first and foremost an animal lover and would hate causing pain to her. This is seriously impacting my enjoyment in riding. I keep getting stressed out by her behavior because I always have this thought at the back of my mind that she is hurting. And I'm spending a lot of time and money on something that I'm not really enjoying at the moment.
If you have any ideas, I would be very grateful.