Since I know that highs are frequently followed by lows, I am taking advantage of Speedy's good mood while it lasts! This whole last two weeks have been filled with FUN rides. I don't know if his willing attitude is due to the new exercises we've been doing or the cooler weather we've had. It doesn't matter; I'm enjoying all that he is offering.
We had a ride a week or so ago that started out on the rough side. A neighbor and his wife walked by with a kid on a Big Wheel, another kid with a remote control car, and a loose dog. They spent forever getting out of sight. The whole time they were creeping by (with weird noises), Speedy had a spectacular giraffe neck attached to a wet spaghetti noodle of a body. No matter what I did, I could not get his attention back on me.
Once they finally made it out of sight, I was able to get Speedy refocused and bending. Just as we were getting some relaxation through his back, the family reappeared (I am NOT kidding) and turned up the street. Speedy lost it. I simply got off and let him stare and blow as they slowly ambled up the street. And when I say up the street, I mean it literally. The road has a gentle uphill grade which meant the little girl on the big wheel went even more slowly than before, scritching and scratching her plastic tires. The remote control car found the climb arduous as well and ultimately crashed and spilled its batteries all over the road, which sent the "driver" scampering around to collect them.
Even though they were out of sight again, Speedy kept a rigid focus on where they had been. He was certain they would reappear since that is what they had been doing for the past 20 minutes. Now, I understand that distractions are common and that it is my job as a rider to school my horse to listen to me when unexpected things make an appearance. Normally, we would have been able to do that. This time, for whatever reason, the stimulus was just too much for the gray pony. Sometimes you gotta just wait it out.
Once I convinced Speedy that yes, they were gone and were probably not coming back, he was happy to get back to the program. I wasn't sure he was going to be able to focus, but he surprised me by being quite the good student.
We did some trot loops, some 20 meter circles, some trot "lengthenings" and then he rolled into the lightest, softest canter imaginable. I hadn't asked for it, but I decided to use what he offered. I did a couple of canter loops down both long sides and then transitioned back to a working trot. We finished up with some pretty decent leg yields (left is definitely easier than right).
I was laughing like a hyena the whole time. It's obvious that Speedy likes variety. Schooling the First Level movements has been a good call; we're ready.