So I Did!!
It was still chilly, but the wind had died down and the footing in the arena was really good.
I saddled up Tucker and went out to give him some easy work. I had suddenly realized with the snow, slip, and cold, it had been over a week since he'd been ridden.
I was a bit worried when we started off, because he was very, very slightly off on his left front. If it was a real limp, it wasn't every stride and it came and went. I dismounted, took him back into the barn and cleaned his hoofs, thinking perhaps I might find a stone, but they looked OK. I got back on and he was still just a touch uneven.
I decided to ride on, to see if it changed as he warmed up. I cantered on both leads, and when we went back to the trot, he was fine. I suspect it was some muscle issue, or some stiffness from not being worked, or just nothing. I will monitor it closely, but once it worked out, he felt great! I did some easy exercises and then headed out into the woods for a hack.
Well, that was interesting. Twice, Tucker tried to bolt. He jumped forward and made to run for it, but I was able to keep him under control. I'm pretty pleased with myself as in the past, that kind of action on his part--tossing his head downward, striking with his forefeet, offering a threat to buck, and then leaping forward--made me decide to get off and lead him home. This time I rode it out, and he listened when I "chirpped" him back down to a walk. It's not quite a total mental breakthrough for me, but we finished the ride in good form, so I'm happy.
I took Toby out for a short hack next. But I actually think I spent more time grooming him and riding. He is shedding like crazy! The shedding blade left a pile on the floor both before and after our ride.
I figured Chance would be shedding too, but to my surprise he has hardly started. I didn't ride him, but spent some time grooming him and trimming his mane. He still needs more work on it, but it is looking a little tidier. I also put the mane and tail conditioner on his tail, hoping I can get it to grow.
They are all back in the sheets for at least tonight. I have to decide if I want to put the lighter sheets on for tomorrow as the temperatures are going up every day. Tuck was sweated under his winter blanket today, but the other guys were OK, so I suspect he might have been frolicking a little more than the others.
Stacie and Lucky update: Lucky is back home. He was walking sound for nearly a week, and Stacie took him to a consult with our ace acupuncture vet who is working with the "miracle vet" from Long Island. Our vet was studying in Florida with one of the Chinese herbal experts who knows the miracle vet well, so fate seems to be intervening. At any rate, apparently, Lucky has some pretty obvious muscle atrophy on his right side. Our vet said this is not normal, even with his ankle injury/surgery. So, the theory is to use acupucunture and herbal remedies to help balance him.
In the meantime, our vet told Stacie the worst thing possible for Lucky was to keep him in. So, Stacie gave Lucky some tranquilizer and turned him out this morning. Apparently the tranq didn't do much as he promptly galloped wildly all over the frozen field. Needless to say, his ankle got hot and he is limping again.
But, he's been locked in for three months. All the x-rays show the initial problem is healed, so our vet strongly believes that nature is the best healer at this point. And, indeed, if his lameness is caused by the muscle problems, then exercise is eventually going to help.
At this point, I think he'll be OK, but it is just going to take time.