Playing around was a bit less successful. Something about the clicker training is getting us to a certain threshold - but not quite sticking. I'm going to do some reading and re-thinking before we work together again tomorrow. He seems to associate the click with a desired action, but only up to a point. He'll nose the bucket but then won't come back again after the click. When turned completely loose, the "bucket" command seems to clearly work sometimes and not others. It's almost like he only follows it when he's bored of exploring other things. It works like a charm when we're standing next to the bucket, and he'll go on runs where he'll walk 10-15' to nose the bucket, but then I lose him.
We stood in the indoor for his massage, and he was mostly good. He got fidgety at the end, especially when Judith was working on his right side as he was tight there. He entertained himself for a few minutes by learning how to unzip the arm pocket on my barn coat, which was hilarious and adorable.
Overall, though, the news was good. She said he felt less tight, and when I walked him around after his massage he was clearly walking more easily. When I jogged him he took a flying leap and landed in a bucking canter - the first time he's shown any inclination to canter in a very, very long time. When Judith jogged him for me he clearly still wanted to canter! It was a little tough to read if he was off at the trot, as he was not moving evenly due to trying to break.
When I described the size of the abscess hole at his toe to Judith she said it made sense for him to be quite sore on it still, as it was expanding and contracting with each step and probably torquing his foot. I'm still hoping that's where the pain is from.
We still have probably another 2-3 months of waiting, but it's easier waiting at least for the moment, knowing that he was feeling better today.