I had to work late today, so I only turned Nina out and did not ride, but I am glad I did because it gave me a chance to watch her and I think another light bulb turned on. This one is just flickering.
When I got Nina she chewed her tongue...a lot. And stuck it out whenever she was trotting/cantering. With some horses this is just a little OCD behavior, but with some it is an indication of pain. When I treated her for ulcers some of this went away, teeth done...ditto, chiro...ditto. Lately she has been very easy to handle, wants to be petted and is not hanging her tongue out.
Last week, starting the day she reared while I was riding, she has been hanging her tongue out again. She also has been very aloof and does not want to be petted or touched.
She has a knot of tissue in her neck that has steadily reduced since I got her, but vets have said that it is indication of a serious injury probably a long time ago. She is very stiff through the neck, also improving, and sometimes moves as if she has a stiff neck. I assume that her neck hurts at least some of the time and the side reins I have been riding her with are both to discourage her from rearing and to keep me from pulling her neck around too far.
Yesterday I wiped some DMSO on her neck, which I have been using off and on to help reduce the swelling.
Today she was cheerful, wanted to be petted and did not hang her tongue out at all while running around the turnout.
I think I need to pay attention to this and not get on her when she is exhibiting this behavior....instead spend my time locating the source of the pain and doing what I can for it.
This might be another step to getting her confidence while being ridden.