How would you encourage peppier hind leg action?
I have a large, 6 year old, late maturing, clinically lazy (evaluated "clean and clear - and lazy" by vets, bone scan, ultrasound, x-rays, full neurological exam) 16.3 TB gelding who has a tendency to be lazier about properly moving his right hind leg at times. He pulled a muscle way up in his right hip goofing off in the paddock a few months ago and is back to complete work - started jumping again this month over low fences. I feel as though this right leg lag could be due to muscle memory from it being injured for a long time - it went misdiagnosed for about a month during which he was completely sound. Finding the injury was a total fluke as I had a bone-scan done for piece of mind about his SI.
He has a Hunter's Bump which has been cleared as non-reactive and is not thought to be a limiting issue for him in his current career as an Eventer. Please don't get caught up on the SI, hip, etc - he is sound, he works straight (most of the time- he is 6 and lanky), he has wonderful gaits and an excellent jump. He is seen regularly by a chiropractor and massage therapist to ensure that he is happy and healthy and that I am not hurting him in any way. His hind end is STRONG and getting stronger. He does pole work and hills and he does them properly (99% of the time! ;) ). He is pretty fit right now and even muscled behind.
The issue that I notice is that he swings his right hind through the middle towards the left side and out to normal track again at the trot - lets even say for giggles that sometimes he doesn't step into the track of his front hoof with that right hind, although I'm not sure he ever does it that badly- he does not interfere, although once in a while if he's not paying attention he will trip a bit behind over it. It is not a stifle catching or even a knuckling over, just a "catching a toe in the dirt" moment that is over in a second. He does not go down or truly trip. He does NOT swing his leg in this motion over poles and he does not take weird steps when he is working well off my leg and listening. The many vets I have seen are not concerned about it and say it's just his way of moving. He does not do this trip-ish thing behind when out hacking.
I'm assuming it's connected to the other thing I notice which is that when you ask him to do a turn on the forehand to the right, he leaves that right hind on the ground and twists around it until the last second when he actually picks it up and crosses it in front of his left to end the exercise correctly. To the left he moves his left hind right away, no lag or delay.
What would you all recommend for a horse that is pokier with one limb? I feel as though I need to remind him that the leg is pain free and re-teach his mind and body how to use it properly. I think he'll always have a tendency to cross it under his body and out but I would like to get him a bit more reactive to stimulus to that leg.
Thank you in advance for reading!! Sorry for the essay... :sigh:
Serious Worrier, Over-Thinker