Ridden evaluation is crucial in horses presenting with poor performance. The main objectives for seeing a horse ridden are for subtle lameness, back pain and poor performance evaluation; which may include problems such as resistance, lack of impulsion or loss of rhythm. These problems may be the result of pain, or they could be training related, a physical limitation of the horse, or rider related.
For these types of problems, the horse is often ridden at the initial evaluation, which may be by the owner or an AHT rider. The response to diagnostic tests can be assessed by riding particular movements that show up a problem and assess whether there is a significant improvement. If the horse stays for further evaluation or management, then one of the skilled AHT riders is available for riding.
The horse may exhibit some of the following;
- Not want to bend to the left, resist to the right?
- Lose rhythm in lateral work?
- Change late behind
- Refuse to go forward?
- Have an unsteady head?
- Lose freedom in his shoulder?
- Find difficulty with piaffe?
- Get 7s when he used to get 9s?
- Come above the bit?
- Lose impulsion?
- Go unlevel?
- Breathe harder than expected at exercise and recover slowly?