We had a really lovely ride Thursday, all around the big hay field, a long peaceful walk with Tristan munching on the one bite of long grass he snatched at the beginning, grass brushing almost at my knees at times and the mowed path just barely discernable in spots. The edges, alongside the creek, were squelchy and soft and there were one or two steps that sent my heart to my throat keeping my fingers crossed for his shoes, but he did fine. (And now I know not to repeat that ride until we've had a few more days of sun!)
Then up to the outdoor ring for our trot set, which went reasonably well though we had discussions about wiggliness - flinging his shoulders in the direction of the gate, speeding up with the barn in sight, blowing off the far corners. Not an unusual conversation to have with him for his first few rides in the outdoor. He also offered up about a 10 second temper tantrum - 2-3 big arched-back bucks, which I kicked him out of, which led to a high-headed bolt of 2-3 strides, which I stopped by turning him hard and kicking him off one leg to interject bend, then 2-3 decent-sized crowhops which subsided when I pulled his head back up and sent him forward.
I'm not sure whether he took a funny step, had a momentary flash of temper, got divebombed by a bug, or got spooked. (The last would be out of character for him.) Once it was over he went back to well-behaved and orderly and we had some nice trot circles.
Last night, Friday night, was not so good. I was running late from work and unsettled from the things that had kept me there, and he had just finished his (bare handful) of grain, so I balked and moved slowly changing and getting his tack. When we set out he was very looky at the farrier's trailer, which lives next to the back barn, and which he's passed a dozen times. He was sluggish and uninterested in hacking out, and I wished I'd brought a whip for our trot. It was shorter overall - only maybe 30 minutes. Maybe he was a bit tweaked from our long pasture ride and his bucking fit, maybe he didn't want to play after dinner.
It's not out of character for him to have slower days, though, and I watched the shadows of his legs like a hawk on our road ride, paid careful attention to what I as feeling, and he was moving soundly and evenly, if a little short and lazy.
He'll get the weekend off as I travel for a family thing, and Monday morning we'll bump up to 30 minutes walk, 10 minutes trot, and see how he handles that.