Plan on riding for 7 days in a row (1 week straight).
DAY 1 and 2: Ride normally under saddle and monitor performance.
DAY 3, 4, and 5: Administer 2-3 grams of Phenylbutazone orally once daily in the morning. Ride under saddle 2-4 hours after administering the medication. Monitor performance.
DAY 6 and 7: Discontinue Phenylbutazone therapy (i.e. do not administer any medication before the ride). Ride normally under saddle and monitor performance.
The horse's performance is subadequate on day 1 and 2 (without Bute). A dramatic improvement in attitude and performance is observed on days 3, 4 and 5 (during bute administration). A regression in performance is noted on days 6 and 7 (after discontinuing the bute).
CONCLUSION: The problem(s) is likely inflammatory-/ pain-mediated. Issues that fall into this category include arthritis, tendonitis, ligament inflammation, muscle soreness, etc.
The horse's performance is subadequate and doesn't change dramatically throughout the course of the entire week.
CONCLUSION: The problem(s) is probably not inflammatory-/ pain-mediated. Issues that fall into this category are likely behavioral or biomechanical in nature and include trimming/ shoeing problems, intermittent upward patellar fixation, fibrotic myopathies, etc.