Echo has had the last couple of weeks off for various reasons, and to be honest she hasn't worked consistently for a couple of months now. I'm not worried about this, as she is young and growing at a rate of knots, so the time off will not do her any harm. However, I lunged her last week and she didn't look quite right in her hind legs. She didn't look lame, but there was a definite 'not quite right' thing going on. I'm sure that phrase is becoming a technical term among horse owners! I couldn't really put my finger on it, so I trotted her up for the yard manager and he said she did look a bit stiff in her hind legs, possibly through her back a bit too. He suggested that it might be from having lots of time off and only sporadic work, so he suggested I should ride her and see. I didn't end up riding that week for various reasons, then was away all weekend.
I lunged her again yesterday, thinking that a week off might have rested anything that was sore, and to begin with she did look slightly better, but she was doing something very odd in her walk-trot transitions. Rather than push off her left hind, she would do a strange sort of jump in front, then would use the left hind properly once she was trotting. I had a close look at this, by timing the transition just at the moment where she should have to use the left hind to propel her into trot, but she wouldn't use it. I trotted her up again afterwards, but no one could see anything conclusive.
Today I had the saddler check the fit of her saddle and was thinking that I would see how she felt with me on her, but when I mentioned to the saddler that I thought she had a sore back, he ran his hand down her back, behind the saddle. It was amazing - when I have done this, she hasn't flinched at all - I must not be pressing hard enough. When he did it, she nearly fell over! He said that she has a very sore back, but that it is too far back to have been caused by the saddle (and luckily for my bank balance, the saddle still fits fine!) and must be due to something she's done on her own. It has been so wet recently, that it is quite possible she's slipped in the field. Her front end is also rapidly shooting up to reach the height of her back end, so this could be tweaking something. What is good to know is that it is predominantly on the left side, which would explain the problem with the left hind.
I have contacted the Bowen back specialist and she is going to treat her on Wednesday. She will have to have two weeks off while she is treated over a five day period, and that is just typical, as I am on my school Easter holidays right now. How do horses manage to time things just perfectly? However, at least the clocks change this weekend, so it will be lighter after work and we won't always have to go in the school in the evenings. I will update once the back lady has seen her next week. Fingers crossed!