At nearly 12, Speedy's not old by anyone's standards. Arabs tend to mature slowly and they can live a long, long time. He didn't feel old-age stiff. Instead, he just felt less fluid than he has in the past few months. In some ways, that's great news as it tells me that the work we've been doing has been correct.
On Monday, we had a bit of a Come to Jesus meeting as he acted as though he had no idea how to let go of the left rein and bend his neck. After about 15 minutes, I forget to wonder if he was sound enough for work. I focused on getting him in front of my leg and giving to that left rein. He got mad; I love Speedy when he's mad as that's when he gives me his best work.
While he still had some energy, I worked on changing the bend at the canter and was quite pleased with how well that went. A good change of bend at the canter helps with the change of lead through trot which ultimately leads to flying lead changes. The day before, during our quick school, I asked for a 20-meter counter canter circle with zero preparation and was delighted to get it both directions.
It might take us a week or two to get back in the groove, but I think Speedy's up to the challenge. I have an afternoon meeting today, but if it doesn't run long, I'll be on Speedy again today. I'm really hoping he feels sounder today. If not, we keep waiting.
And this too, shall pass.