Ashke was back to his normal self when I showed up there last night. He played with the ball and seemed to be moving freely, cutting and turning to terrorize his evil nemesis. It is beyond funny to me to watch him play. He pins his ears and chases after the ball with his teeth bared, neck stretched down and out. You can almost see him saying to himself, "And then that other stallion tried to bite at my front leg, so I nipped at him, teeth bared, then spun and darted my head the other direction, catching him in the ribs and biting ferociously." He acts more like the ball is another horse, then that it's a ball.
After playing with the ball he chased T up and down the arena a couple of times. At that point I decided the boy really needed to be groomed, so I hauled him into the grooming stall. T stayed in the arena and played with Ashke's ball. Ashke got really upset by that. He kept shifting and trying to see what the heck T was doing with his ball. There were a couple of times when he could see T playing with the ball and got upset enough he lifted his front feet off the floor. Just to be clear, he kept his feet on the ground when I was with him. Both times he reared up a touch (a couple of inches at most) was when I was away from him doing something. It reminded me of a toddler who has had their favorite toy taken away from them by a bigger kid. When I took Ashke back out into the arena, he immediately raced over to check out his ball. He didn't play with it again, but he did make sure it was okay.
While I was grooming Ashke, I couldn't find any incidents of soreness or tenderness on his back or haunches. He was pretty happy to be groomed though, since I think his heavier winter coat is itchy. He is so muddy. And dirty. And he needs a bath, which I would give him except it will take forever for him to dry and I don't want him to be cold at all. So, we wait. Spring will be here soon enough and then the heavy coat will come off in handfulls and he will be shiny and sleek. Until then we get to deal with the dirt and the poo and the pee.
The plan is to ride every day that I can over the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend. I hope J and T are okay with that.