Despite predictions of rain from the weather office, the sun was shining when I woke up this morning. I got Tonka groomed up (went over him with the shedding blade -- I am now white) and tacked up. The Aussie saddle fits him very well, but I need a longer girth for it, so we stuck with the Wintec today. After getting him cinched up I lifted his front left hoof for picking, but his right knee seemed to give out and he almost went down. He's generally an honest horse and I have never known him to pull a stunt like that, but he walked it off just fine with no sign of weakness or pain in either leg.
At this point I am thinking that I caught him off guard by doing his feet after tacking him up and that he was worrying about the girth and not prepared to hold himself up properly. I'll try it again next time to see what happens. It was obvious after a few minutes under saddle that he was walking fine and bearing my weight with no difficulty, so I'm viewing it as an interesting blip for the time being.
And oh, the places we went! It wasn't a long ride in terms of distance, but it was great in terms of experience. We watched two trains go by under saddle (he was definitely calmer the second time, but we will keep doing it) and we went over a bridge. I had to dismount to get him over it the first time, but after that he was tentative-but-willing under saddle. One of the guys working on the railway track shouted "you've got a good owner, big guy" and I felt good about my philosophy of persistent patience.
And everyone who saw us commented on how good Tonka is looking these days, which is nice. Today I noticed the huge improvement in his front right heel, and the left is coming along as well. I can't imagine what a year will bring. Now his blanket is in the wash in preparation for tonight's rain, and I am back to the grind.
52 minutes ago