I did ride him today since the rain cleared up long enough to go out. It is rather frustrating though, because lately he has been off again on the left front. He is somewhat tender anyway with being barefoot again, but on wet, slightly soft sand his left front still was not happy. I have wondered about his knees ever since I got him and I am wondering even more now. So I hardly rode at all today, basically just enough to say, Yup, he's not sound. Mira was happy to be out, though - as usual. She kept (politely) asking my brother who was holding her to let her run. After a bit I handed him Andolu and took Mira running up and down a bit. She has always been so sound around the legs that if it weren't for her arthritic back I'd still be able to ride her. It is fun to watch her trot really big. Of course, when they lope together she is like a dainty toy next to Anatolian's big motor. :-) Anatolian was snorting and "getting big" as he usually does when watching her run, but he didn't try to pull my brother in order to follow. So yeah, he's not comfortable. If I thought shoes would help I would have him reshod, but it does NOT seem like a foot issue other than a bit of tenderness on harder ground.
The other frustrating thing is that after all this time he still really hates his boots. I have not been able to get him used to them at all, really. He tolerates them but does not like them or go well in them.
Oh well. Mira is happy and he at least is healthy, if not earning his keep. One of these days I'm sure I'll get Andolu's knees and fetlocks x-rayed to see what exactly is going on. Hopefully he'll snap out of this and be better soon, though.
And I am really, really hoping to start taking lessons in March so I can ride whether or not he is sound at the moment.
A few days ago I went out after dark, I believe to let Mira out after eating, and it had temporarily stopped pouring rain. I could see dimly that Andolu was lying down in the (COLD - why is that better than dry pea gravel?) mud and I had to go past him to get to Mira. I talked to him a bit as usual and he moved his head as I went by, but didn't bother getting up. After letting Mira loose I came back past him and said good night and he just looked at me. When I was almost to the house I heard him get up and mosey over to check to see if Mira had left anything, but he didn't bother to move until then. It was nice to see that he doesn't feel the need to jump up when I come by :-)