Today’s horse-time started like any other. Bringing Oscar in and exhausting myself before even getting on because he is the dustiest dust-mite ever and no matter how clean he is when I put him away, I bring him in with a dusty grey bum and a mud mask. Grooming is a marathon and never a sprint.
I wrapped him up in his teal Le Mieux polos, which is our equivalent to business socks, and planned to revisit some of the stuff we had worked on with C last year. He even had a hay net today because I needed him to have some sustenance because it was game face schooling. 8m canter circles kinda game face.
We had a super long walk warmup because he was feeling a little tense, before popping into trot.
He just felt a little off. Not head bobbing lame, but definitely not even. I wondered if he was still a bit muscle sore from hunting despite having a course of bute, numerous back on track therapy sessions, a few days off and liniment washes. So I thought the best thing to do is to keep trotting and see if he warms up out of it. Whilst he never got any better, he didn’t get any worse.
I set up my phone on a jump stand and videoed us trotting a circle on both reins. I rewatched the video and he barely looked lame at all unless I squinted my left eye, bit my tongue, tilted my head on a 40 degree angle and had the phone in a specific position. Basically it was near impossible to see any lameness.
So I went out and asked for canter. No response, which in itself is unusual as he’s picture perfect upwards transitions. So I jammed on my leg pony clubber style and kept it on for a few canter strides. He felt pretty normal so I took my leg off a little, at which point he just slumped forward into halt. It was so abrupt I almost went over the pommel. From canter to halt in 0.3 seconds. Can your Audi do that?!
That wasn’t right. I hopped off, removed the wraps and lunged him. As with the video, I couldn’t see anything, but a reluctance to go forward and the tiniest smidge short in the right foreleg. I’m usually pretty spot on with seeing where the soreness is coming from, two years of a farrier apprenticeship and 300 lame horse call outs you get better-than-average at spotting causes of lameness. Whether it’s in the shoulder, knee, fetlock or hoof or a tendon. But Oscar had me baffled.