And that's a whole other load of stress, the Cushing's Disease. Not only does he get that pill every morning - a very special thank you to the ranch owner who does that every day, but he's suddenly looking like a Cushing's horse. For the first year ever, Speedy isn't shedding. His coat is just as heavy as it was in December.
Our winter has been unusually cold and wet, so I am just hoping he's holding on to his hair for good measure. I sure wish he'd start to shed though. I've promised him that I'll wait until April before I clip him. That should give him enough time to begin shedding on his own.
Even though he looked so sour on Saturday morning, I saddled him up anyway. He grouched at me and let me know that he wasn't happy with life in general and with me in particular. But then he started trotting, and his attitude changed. He gave me a really lovely ride which let me know that he does enjoy the work.
The next day, he was crusted over with mud. He had paced himself into a nasty sweat that had dried by morning. My heart was crushed. I don't know what has made him so unhappy. I hosed him off, which annoyed him even further, and tacked him up anyway.
A neighbor came over to use the round pen just as I started our warmup, and Speedy got spicy. Like tail over his back, hot to trot, spicy. I just kept asking for leg yields, transitions within the gait (trotting), and a lengthening here and there. Eventually he focused on is work and gave me the most brilliant canter-walk-canter transitions.
After several months off, I didn't think he'd remember how to do them. He did. And after asking for the first couple, he started showing off by offering them if I even thought about a half halt. I could see his self esteem rising after every movement. He was positively glowing with pride in himself.
While I desperately want to earn my bronze medal on him, I only want it if he's happy to do it. Speedy's happiness is more important.