I rode River last Monday. He was being kind of doofy. You know how they act when they want to flip out, moving short and up-and-down and flipping their head around? That's what he was doing. He kept it in check and behaved, but he was definitely considering being a jerk. When we picked up the trot, he wanted to stick his nose straight up and rush. I had to really focus on keeping my shoulders back and sitting tall and keeping my hands soft, not letting myself react to him. And it worked! It wasn't a particularly pleasant ride for me, but we got through it and made progress.
On Tuesday he was kind of like that again, just not as much. But then.... we were trotting around to the left. We leg yielded down the long side. In the middle of the short side (far side of the ring from the barn), he spooked, going sideways about 10 feet. I was pretty off-balance, which was made worse when he started spinning in circles. I'm not sure if he did that entirely on his own or if I caused/contributed by holding on to the reins for dear life. Somehow I stopped him or he stopped himself and I got back in the middle of him and we went back to work. We didn't do much more, just trotting around a few times each way.
The whole spook/spin probably only lasted 10 seconds tops, but it felt like an hour. At the start, my first thought was "I'm doomed, better bail", but I wasn't sure bailing would be any safer than trying to hold on, so I held on. I'm going to give myself a great big pat on the back for holding on and not getting too scared. Because, not gonna lie, it was scary. Pre-broken leg, it would have been funny. Post-broken leg, it's scary. The last time something like this happened was Thanksgiving before last, when a dog spooked him while we were cantering. That time, I stayed on and got him to canter again, but the whole time I was saying "I don't want to do this, I don't want to do this, I don't want to do this" and trying not to cry, and when I got off I was shaking like a leaf. I dealt with this time much much better. I'm a little nervous, but not overwhelmingly so.
We haven't ridden since then... not really because of the spook, except in a "the last ride wasn't very fun so I'm not really looking forward to the next one" way. There are a few things I want to do for the next ride, so I don't want to be rushed or grumpy or whatever going into it. Going to double check my saddle fit, pull out the ear puffies, and longe briefly.
The other thing is, he seemed kind of blah early last week. Not like he was really sick, he was just sort of subdued--not as cuddly, not as enthusiastic about grain. He was eating his grain just fine, but normally when he knows the grain is coming, he's nickering and tossing his head and being all excited; when he was blah he was just like "oh, yay, grain." Not his normal "OMG GRAIN! I love grain! Hurry up, give me the grain, where's the grain, gimme my grain! GRAIN!! So hungry I want grain! Graingraingraingrain!!!!!" But he's back to normal now.
Except I won't be riding tonight. Because Team Starkid's new musical Twisted is on Youtube finally and I can't wait to see it.