I will be the first to admit that I'm not always calm, rational, and sane. I have been blessed with a pony that (knock on wood) has made it to 17 without any major health issues, is sound barefoot on most of our usual trails, trailers nicely, and has excellent ground manners most of the time.
When she started doing an odd muscle-twitching/kicking sort of thing with her hind leg after some rides, my pony-massage gal got a frantic email asking when she'd be able to make it out.. two months earlier than planned.. right in the midst of the show season starting for all her regular clients.
Bless her heart, she found a spot a week or two later to fit us in - and we're way out of her usual client range, a good hour away from her home base - despite the fact that Fetti's kicking doesn't seem to have presented itself much at all since the email.
The verdict: Lots of poll tension, which is totally normal and not to be concerned about. Slightly sore right (I think) scapula. Could stand to gain a few pounds. Otherwise? Pony looks good. In light of the mincing downhill, I asked about range of motion. Front legs: excellent. Better than six months ago, actually. Left hind: not great. Right hind: pretty good.
That does explain the tiny downhill steps. If she can't physically keep up with the left, there's no sense taking big steps with the right. My wonderful massage therapist gave me some stretches to do before/after rides with Fetti, though I'm not to expect major improvements immediately.
So.. previously, on Tuesday she got the day off due to a delightful windstorm blowing branches down. I was very proud when she merely flinched at the noise, but not dumb enough to point her out on the trail after that. Thursday morning was her massage, and in the afternoon we wandered around the barn bareback with a few spurts of trot. Saturday will be our first Real Work in just about a week.
For extra bonus fun, I locked my keys in my car at lunch today. I am SO ready for a good trail ride to clear my head and make the world better again.