Last night I made it out to see Ashke. It was the first time out since Monday. I groomed him and saddled up. I have gone back to the original cinch I purchased with the saddle, because I almost lost both the saddle and the blanket on Sunday riding at Bear Creek. I ended up making a latigo tie with the second strap on the cinch to get it tight enough to stay on. The original leather cinch is much easier to get snug and I like how it fits his barrel. I think I am done with the polyurethane cinches. They weren't as effective as I had hoped. So now I am riding with the thin pad and the original cinch I bought when I got the saddle. A great big circle.
When I was walking Ashke down the aisle at the barn the rhythm of his steps sounded funky to me. I worked him a little on the lunge line and then swung up. He was really stiff in the front and slightly favoring his left. I only rode him for fifteen minutes or so. His butt loosened up in that time but he was still favoring his front leg. I let T ride up and down the arena one time and then we put him away.
I'm not sure where the pain is coming from. There seemed to be a bit of swelling on his left shoulder, right where the line of the sheet was, so we left the sheet off of him for the night. (Bad idea. He was shivering this morning when he was fed. Grace shut his window and we are going to take his winter blanket out to him at noon. Wasn't expecting the snow we got last night.) I rubbed his shoulder and leg with liniment, which he hates! but which usually has the same effect on him that using icey hot on my sore muscles has on me.
We will see how he is feeling tonight. I think I will have the feed upped for him during the winter. I want him comfortable and well fed this winter to help banish the fear, loathing and pain of slowly starving to death that he went through last winter. And I want to be able to ride and work him without him losing any of the weight he currently has.