This goes against my better judgement to post this here, but I am sort of at a loss so need advice/help. Sublime had that hoof issue a couple weeks ago that stopped us from competing at a show. My farrier was at the show, so he looked at him and said to give him a few more days off and he should be better. So I gave him another week off and decided to give it a go again yesterday. He has no heat in his hoof, no bounding pulse, no soreness when I poke and prod at his hoof/leg. He was fine at the walk and trot. Didn't feel off, no head bob, he didn't look ouchy or seem cranky at all. I kept the ride very short since he hadn't worked at all for a while. When I cantered him it was a different story. He has always had a rather uncomfortable canter to sit, but yesterday was so uncomfortable that I couldn't get in the rhythm and I felt like I was working really really hard to sit his canter. He was really strong and then all of a sudden he kicked out behind him mid canter. That's weird for him. Over the last year or so he has occasionally swapped leads or gotten "bunched up" behind where I can feel him tuck his butt/tail under him and he gets really short, choppy strides. This sometimes follows with a lead switch, sometimes I can work him out of it. Generally that would only happen in the corners when I took him into a corner way too deep. If I cut my corners a bit and kept him from getting too close to the wall, then he usually wouldn't have this issue. So I just figured he would get too close to the corners and feel trapped and lose his rhythm. Problem solved. Right? Well now I'm wondering if that was actually an issue that I was unknowingly ignoring and just chalking it up to rider error. It still very well could be rider error, but I'm wondering if it has something to do with pain?? He has never kicked out behind him during the canter, so I'm at that point where I'm wondering if I haven't been listening to my horse and he finally got to the point where he protested enough to make me listen. That makes me sad because I don't want Sublime to hurt or be uncomfortable, but I don't know if that's the problem or if it is in protest to how I'm riding him. Another added tidbit of information- Sublime has an area on his back that has practically no muscle or fat on top of his spine. So you can very easily feel his spine. I have had two vets look at it before and neither have said he has any pain there when they looked at him. Just in case I pad him up pretty heavily with thick gel pads. This has always been an area of concern for me, but now more so than ever. So my question to you folks is what would your first step be? I'm calling our lameness vet today to set up an appointment to get his eyes and hands on Sublime of course. But until then?