Need some suggestions.   16 yr old Mare I've had about two years now.   When we first got her, she was ridden almost daily.  She would do all gaits smoothly and with little effort.  Went well for about 4 months, then she started having problems being on grass and she would try and bit you when you saddled her.  We were riding in a sand area, so thought maybe the harder ground would help.  She was on a dry lot with only being able to see other horses, so upon advice of the vet, we treated her for ulcers.  I finally changed barns so she could have a more normal environment.  Currently she is on a decent sized paddock and we limit her access to grass.  She also has hay all the time, so no more problems with ulcers and her flanks are not sensitive anymore.  I've had two different farriers look at her and even sent pics of her feet and legs to Coco Fernandez . No issues with her feet or legs.  I've had the chiro out and adjusted her back.  Once you get in the saddle, she plants her feet and will not budge.  You can get her to turn both directions but she will not walk out.  Right now we are working in a round pen with grass footing, a bit hesitant to work outside of it in case she has a blow up.  She does this in both a halter and a bridle, teeth were just done last fall.  First vet that looked at her of course, mentioned DSLD but said he really couldn't make a diagnosis because he had not seen her before.  Said her ligaments did not feel thickened and her fetlocks do not drop like a suspensory issue.  Same vet, second time suggested treating her for ulcers.  Since we moved, our new vet didn't really have too much to say other then the limiting grass/sugars, etc.. which we are already doing.  

When you are trying to get her to move, if you like squeeze or tap her sides, you get really ugly mare ears.  We have also tried just waiting her out.  Tapping her butt, doesn't work either. 

We've tried two different saddles also.   So basically without spending thousands of dollars on vets, any ideas?   

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You might try tightening the girth gradually. She might have had a bad experience with the girth.
You might try hand-walking her with a bareback pad or saddle with a loose girth and breast collar and if she won't go forward willingly, try having someone pony you or go in a zig-zag as she will turn, but not go straight.

You seem to say everything physically is fine, so it sounds like a respect issue. Over the several months the horse lost respect for you as the leader. Remember each time you are with your horse you are teaching and he is learning. Be careful how you handle this horse each time. He may have a challenging attitude and has decide he can challenge your requests. The biting is a sign of this. I suggest you study how to gain respect back from this horse.  Ground exercises would be safer as a start.

Thanks for all he advice.  Farrier was out, she about fell down standing on three feet.  Became evident that we needed to get to the bottom of her issues and now.  Diagnosis - arthritis.  Gave her an injection, can't remember the name, similiar to Adequan and said to see if a regime of bute would take care of the pain.  Good news, found out why she seems to hurt everywhere.  Bad news, she does not tolerate bute whatsoever.  Thankfully the Cosequin seems to be working.  If we get to anti imflammatory stages,  not sure what options we have.  Showed signs of ulcers again after three days on bute.   Three weeks into the Cosequin she seems to be happier in general. 

For the bravest mare I've ever seen, she sure is subtle in her "I don't feel good" signs.  I'm glad I listened to her and just didn't push her.   I don't know why it never occurred to me to think about arthritis.  She's basically middle aged and was ridden quite extensively in her previous home.  I felt as though whatever issue she had was body wide.  She never showed anything constant.  Just vague, here and there issues.  

I know all about the ulcers. I have my own drama Queen in the middle of an ulcer incident. No fun! Good luck with yours. I'll send you an email.


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