Winters in the southern central valley of California are very mild compared to winters around the world. We can pretty much ride 365 days a year. Our winters are typically very short with only 4 - 6 inches of rain, and temperatures from the low 40s to the high 60s℉ (4℃ - 15℃). It can get into the teens, there has been snow, and our ground-to-sky fog can be very wet and chilly, but compared to say ... Minnesota, our winters are very conducive for riding.
Our summers, on the other hand, can be quite brutal by anyone's standards. They are long, sometimes lasting five months, with temperatures that do not drop. Once summer is in full force, we see heat waves with lows in the 80s and highs up to 112℉ (27 - 45℃). These conditions might last 10 to 15 days.
As I write, it is currently a very uncharacteristic 62℉ (16℃) which is ten degrees warmer than when I rode in the morning. It has also been raining off and on since last night. When I first woke up this morning, my first thought was, how great the footing is going to be!
Once at the barn, I had a moment's hesitation about riding as the wind was gusting pretty fiercely and rain drops were falling in big wet splats. Throwing caution to the wind, literally, I saddled up with the side reins and started out with some lunging exercises. It was either the cool weather, or Speedy being more respectful of the lunging cues, but he had much better impulsion and was far more balanced. After some quick trot to canter to trot transitions he looked ready to get to work. I hopped on and felt a delightful sense of lightness to his feet. Too light in fact.
I had forgotten the running martingale. Speedy gave a couple of "squirty" bolts before I decided that the martingale was less of a training device for today and more of a safety feature. I got off and retrieved the running martingale. Once we were finally set up and ready to go, I had a delightful schooling ride.
The weather certainly helped Speedy to be more forward, but I think the time off also refreshed him. I am also really liking, for now, the switch back to the french link snaffle. I haven't quite been able to put my finger on it, but I think that since it is a thinner bit, he's not leaning on it as with the thicker lozenge bit. It certainly has a different feel.
Whatever the reason for the perkier, more forward ride, I'll take it!