A couple months ago I noticed that Cowgirl was a "little" off and I put her on stall rest. Everyone around me thought I was nuts because they couldn't see it. They thought I was overreacting. After a couple of weeks, she did look better, even to me, and when the farrier came, he couldn't find anything wrong.
Then, about three weeks ago, I noticed she was lame again and put her back in the stall. Again, she didn't look lame to anyone else. We had the trip to Washington DC planned, and since it's my daughter's horse, I asked her to observe and make a decision. She reported back that she didn't detect any lameness.
Let me backtrack.
When I spotted the lameness, I did an all-over body check for heat, swelling, abrasion, tenderness--anything that would pinpoint the problem. I found nothing.
When I got back from DC, I asked my daughter to come out to the barn with me. I wanted to test each hoof and then have her take her through the different gaits so I could observe from a distance. She didn't want to let me pick up her hooves--especially her front left. She also had a hard time taking up the lope on her left lead. We suspected some tissue injury in the left shoulder and put her away to rest again.
This week, however, things started to get worse. It began to look like the problem was in her right hind (which made sense--left front to right hind) because she was acting like she didn't want to use her back legs. She was walking goofy.
And, actually, now I should switch to the present tense because she is acting the same way today. In fact, today she is acting like she is disengaged form her hind legs. She can stand fine and eats fine...doesn't seem like she's in any pain, but when it comes to walking, her movements are uncoordinated.
I put a call into my farrier last night and he'll be here tomorrow at 8, and I'm going to arrange an appointment with my vet directly following it. I want to first rule out any hoof problems and then go from there.
However, I'm starting to highly suspect EPM. Makes me sick to think it, but all signs are starting to point that way.
List of symptoms as they progressed:
1. Slightly off, almost undetectable. (2.5 months ago)
2. Return to soundness
3. Slightly off, almost undetectable again.
4. Unwillingness to pick up hooves for cleaning. (3 weeks ago)
5. Difficulty maintaining left lead.
6. Slow, uncoordinated walking. (3 days ago)