Rode tonight while N was taking a lesson with Cassandra. Ashke did really well. I think he was sore in the lower back and his right hip, but we started with a slow warm up and he got better with movement. We walked and trotted, although he still pops his head up and tries to bounce into a canter, instead of dropping his head and trotting. I kept him moving forward and tried to keep my hands as soft on his mouth as I could. We had several moments where he was relaxed and collected and soft on my hand at a trot, but they were hard to come by. I'm thinking we are still rehabbing muscles in his back and hips and that he will get better as we go.
I asked him to canter. I had to hang onto the pommel to feel secure, without increasing the pain in my back. I may have to ride that way in the arena until the muscles get stronger. At least we cantered at a smooth, rhythmic gait for several circuits of the outdoor arena. When we turned to the right it was harder for both of us, even with me holding on. He really struggles to bend that direction and keep his balance. The first circuit was smooth, but that's because he was on his left lead. When we switched to the right lead, he was rough and difficult to stay with, and I could really feel him trying. It's a lot more painful for me too, so we did as much as we could before I turned us back to the left. This was the first time we were cantering in the arena that I didn't feel like he was trying to take off or running downhill with me.
We finished up with lateral work. He can turn on the forehand and the hind in both directions. We can move across the arena on the diagonal, although he moves more sideways (like a sidepass) than diagonal (like in dressage). I'm actually okay with that since working equitation uses the sidepass at speed vs the diagonal for the obstacle course. Maybe on Thursday night I will pull the poles into the big arena and do some pole bending with him.
Overall, he did awesome. I cold hosed his back and hip tonight, after he followed me into the wash stall without hesitation. Hopefully, he won't be sore on Thursday when I go to ride him again. I'm so proud of him I could cry.