Ashke was itchy and ready to be groomed when I took the sheet off of him last night. I did a quick grooming (I'll do better today when I'm not losing the light) and then saddled the boy. The five days of rest since the last time I rode seemed to have helped the boy to rest and recover. He was in a great mood.
I checked him for swellings and then took him to the round pen. He hates being worked outside after dark. But, with some protest he did it. He kept trying to cut the circle in so he was closer to me. We weren't out there very long. Just long enough that he worked the kinks out of his system. (Although its been months since the last time he humped his back.) We moved to the indoor arena and spent forty minutes or so trotting in circles. I was able to get him to canter in both directions on the correct lead, but we weren't able to keep up the pace due to Chris having a class at the same time. The two who were riding don't canter, so it was just easier to trot and walk then try to avoid the slower horses.
It was incredibly dusty, but the footing felt okay. The dust is from the sand they laid the beginning of the summer. I feel like I am sitting the trot much better and that Ashke is picking up what I am asking him to do. I tell him what a good boy he is all of the time and that seems to calm and encourage him. After I finished riding, I unsaddled him and took him back out to the main saddling area to let him cool off (he wasn't sweaty, just a little warm and I wanted him cool before putting the fly sheet back on him.)
T asked if he could run with Ashke up and down the arena. I wasn't sure Ashke wanted to but I know how much T loves it, so I said we could try. I turned Ashke loose and he just looked at me. I turned his head toward T and said, he wants you to chase him. Go on. Damn if that horse didn't take off after the boy, with his tail flagged, and his head up. T ran down the arena and then back with Ashke just a couple of feet behind and several to the side, cantering slow enough T could stay in front of him. As Ashke came to our end of the arena, I praised him and told him what a good boy he was while giving him scratches on the sides of his head. They did it three times before T was done. All three times Ashke was respectful of distance and speed, seeming to understand the game. T was panting and exhausted at the end of their chase. Ashke just seemed amused.
He is such a wonderful horse.