I got to the barn about 4:30 and pulled him out of his stall to give him a good groom. He has definitely lost weight since I pulled him off the alfalfa, and overall looks pretty darn good. I took him out to the big outdoor arena, since no one was in there, and he was tugging and head bobbing as soon as I got the gate closed. I released him and he began to race up and down the arena at a canter to a dead run for about fifteen minutes.
He ran himself until he was pretty sweaty. My fav is when he got to the far end of the arena and turned toward me, his head stretches out and you can tell he is running as fast as he knows how to run.
I had to ask three times before he would let me approach. Not that he was being disrespectful, he just wasn't done. Once he was finally done with racing around like a wild Arabian, I put him on the lunge line and fixed up a cross rail in the arena. We started very low and I asked him to go across it on the lunge line. I wasn't trying to force him, rather I was asking him.
He jumped it the first time and I said "good boy". He stopped and looked at me, with his ears up and a bright look on his face. I made a big deal out of it, petting and praising to let him know that's what I wanted. Once he had it figured out, he went over the cross rail in both directions at a trot with no hesitation. My only issue was flipping the lunge line up and over the jump standard without tangling the line.
For you hunter/jumper types, I don't plan on jumping. This is mostly rehab and an opportunity for Ashke to figure out how to go over obstacles while we are on the trail. Mostly, though, it is rehab for his back and butt. A year ago, he couldn't trot over poles without dragging his hind legs, now he was hopping over a 18" crossrail without issue. And it keeps him interested in what I am doing with him, which I honestly think is going to be a real challenge. I want to create a set of raised cavelletti poles, like the ones Dom was working Traz over, so we can work on timing and him lifting his feet to work through them. Maybe not as high to start with though. And I need to find out the correct spacing for Ashke.