Don't worry. I didn't ask Sydney to work very hard. I am pretty tough, but 103 is hard even for me. Instead of continuing with our 10-meter turns, I decided to work on the "off the property" issue. I am a little bit anxious about riding him in the warm up area and dressage court at next weekend's show. I am not 100% sure how he'll behave. Given that he's been rather good the few times I've taken him somewhere, I am somewhat confident of a good outcome. We wouldn't be going if I thought he was going to totally nut up.
Sydney hasn't been very many places since I've owned him, but he was on the track in New Zealand, and he does hold his USHJA card where I assume he was shown. It's not like he's never been anywhere. Just to practice being somewhere new, we rode past one neighbor's property and down the road of another's. The loop is probably a mile roundtrip. We pass by two, large barking labs, go out of sight of any other horses, walk down a dirt road that has a bit of a whoop-de-do, and then we see horses in pens.
We did this little ride a week or so ago. Last time, he spooked at the dogs. This time he was tense as we passed the dogs, but he held his ground. As we left sight of the other horses, a GIANT lawnmower roared ahead of us; he didn't even see it. Our walk down the whoop-de-do was uneventful as was the walk down the neighbor's road. His head was pretty high for most of the journey, but I just sat deep and alternately rocked each rein. Every few strides he would soften his neck and relax for a bit, but then up his head would pop.
What I liked about his behavior was that he was thoughtful about the scariness. He tensed up, but he didn't pull the run and ask questions later bit. SInce he kept it together and seemed relaxed by the end, I dropped his reins at the edge of our barn's property and let him snack on the grass. He earned the snack. When we do that loop in a few days, I am hoping that he remembers that a quiet hack around the neighborhood means green grass at the end.
Before hopping off, I looked around for someone to snap our photo - no such luck. It's been a long time since I've had a picture of me up on him. Hopefully I can get a photo today.