I really wish it had been light enough to get video . . .
Last night was a night off for Ashke. We got to the barn about 7ish and turned him out into the field. When I first turned him loose, he flipped his head and nose at me and then shied away. All sass. I laughed and let him settle to eating. J and I sat on the patio and played on our iPhones. Eventually I got cold enough I suggested we drive to Costco and fill up my car. (Driving to the barn daily is certainly increasing the frequency with which I have to fill my car.) She agreed to go. I walked back over to the fence and hollered at Ashke, just checking to see if he was ready to go back in yet. He didn't even raise his head.
We got in the car and drove out, slowing at the edge of the field where Ashke was eating. I once again tried to get his attention and once again he ignored me. I laughed at his attitude and we drove to Costco. Filled up. Drove back. Once again stopped by the edge of the field where he was grazing and this time he raised his head to study us in the car. We drove over and parked by the stable and sat in the car, cuz it was getting cold outside. It was also getting dark.
All of a sudden Ashke tears across the pasture toward the gate. I can see him flipping his head and flagging his tail. I got out to see what was going on. When I got close to the gate, he saw me and started flipping his nose and snaking his neck. I slipped into the field and walked up to him. He let me rub his nose and the side of his head, and then snaked him muzzle around and tried to bite me. (It was a pretty lame attempt. More play than anything serious.) I stepped back and threw my arms up and shouted "HA!"
Ashke snorted and spun, kind of bucking and kicking. I spun the end of the lead rope in a circle around my right shoulder and made a "Psssst!" sound at him. He thought this was delightful. Ashke reared and bucked and then reared again, striking out with both front feet. He was now about 20 yards away. I threw up my arms and yelled at him again.
That did it. He was off. He did the Arabian version of scuttlebutt and tore across the pasture. Then he would turn and race back, jumping the ditch and then sliding to a stop not far from me. Then he would spin and tear off again. After he did that three times or so, he changed it up. He would gallop for all he was worth in a huge circle until he was between me and the barn, then he would change his gait to a high-stepping trot with his head up, chin tucked almost to his chest and his tail flagged. He would trot between me and the fence with one ear turned toward me, and then take off galloping again. He must have ran a circle around me four or five times. Everytime he got between me and the fence I would fake a lunge at him and make the "Psssst" sound. Off he would go.
He finally wore himself out and slid to a stop close to the gate, letting out a huge snort when he stopped. He let me walk right up to him and slide the halter on. He was breathing pretty quickly and had warmed himself up. I walked him back to his stall. He was a perfect gentleman on the way back to the barn.
The thing that got me about last night was his absolute exuberance and joy. Not just about being outside and eating grass, but at being able to run and play with me. Not once did I feel threatened or in danger. He was very careful to be a safe distance away from me when he was acting up. He just felt good and wanted to share his joy. When he first started galloping in big circles, Ashke threw his head up and whinnied. It was his deep-throated, happy whinny he uses when he first hears me in the barn. He wasn't whinnying for another horse, he was sharing his joy with me.
It brings tears to my eyes to know he is happy with this new life.