Someone suggested that horses who aren't sweating - also known as working, might hold on to their hair longer. That may well be the cause. When I saw some loose hairs this weekend, I dragged out every shedding tool I have to help him get rid of as much hair as possible.
I've been following a series in USDF Connection that was written by Hilda Gurney in 1978/79. Every month I snag at least one nugget of wisdom from the articles and usually more. As luck would have it, this month's topic was the flying change.
Hilda does an excellent job of discussing what the horse will do instead of changing the lead, all of which Speedy has tried. She also gives a variety of ways to teach the change; just before a corner, on a counter canter circle, after a change of rein across a short diagonal, or for the horse who "diligently retains the counter lead regardless of your efforts to the contrary, congratulate yourself on your fine job of schooling obedience at the counter-canter and go set up a low ... jump."
It occurred to me that Speedy has probably learned to change more from the rein aid rather than from my seat aid. As I prepare for the change, I maintain my seat position - inside leg at the girth, outside leg back, but I change the bend. As soon as I change the bend, Speedy starts skipping with his hind legs offering changes with every stride.
It only took a minute, but he quickly realized that I was just moving his parts around: first his shoulders, then his haunches. Counter shoulder in, regular shoulder in. Travers, renvers. When he accepted my aids at the walk, I repeated the exercise at the trot.
Each time I answered with a no, but he started to take offense. He likes to help make decisions, and when he feels as though his voice isn't being heard, he gets a bit grouchy. I changed things up by cantering down the centerline, asking for changes of bend to the right and left all the way to C.
He was still rushing the change, so I put him on a circle making sure to keep my seat and legs on the lead I wanted him to stay on. And then we cantered the circle while I asked for small changes of bend. I had to work really hard to make sure that my seat and legs insisted that he hold the lead, but he did it.
I think that's all Speedy wants from me anyway.