Today was a weird day for riding. There were a lot of people at the barn because the kids are on Christmas break and all out riding their ponies. And one mom was trying to fix something for someone so she was outside the arena hammering, and there were horses and people passing the arena doors constantly. On top of that Toad was feeling a little remedial as it was. She didn't get to go out for her morning turn-out because the paddocks were all iced over and the ground from barn to paddock was like an ice rink, but when I took her in the arena to free lunge her, after doing some seriously huge bucks (and farting like crazy) she just plunked around and ended up looking out the door like "Can I go in now?"
While I was grooming her she was being calm and nice. Except for when Trainer K. was showing me where some mud was packed up in her feet just above her leg, where just brushing wasn't getting it off - she pulled her foot away in kind of nasty, kicking sort of way and Trainer K. reprimanded her and she kicked out in a challenging sort of way which of course led to a bit of a showdown of which the Toad did not win. But then she was all sulky. I've been wanting to be the one to tighten her girth lately because she is still learning not to be rude about that. Today she was fine except when I reached under her girth to pull on it to see if it was tight enough and she jumped and swung her butt at me. I corrected her and we tried again and she did it two more times and got corrected each time, which upset her and made her act like she was the most put-upon horse in the world.
She did pretty well during her lunging session but she was very distracted when I was riding her. A couple things made her jump a little and prick her ears up. Then much to my angst the dumbass a couple doors down decided for the first time that I've heard since April to gun his mufflerless engine on his truck. And not just gun it but hold it down and let it rev over and over. The exact same noise that scared Rolls and Gabrielle so badly last April that they threw me and Sara. The first time it happened today Toad started and looked terrified and Trainer K. was right next to me and said, "Keep her going. Just keep her walking and paying attention to you and that will calm her down." She was already so wound up that we were working at a walk on steering and keeping the energy in her walk.
Then bozo decided to rev his engine over and over again and it really freaked out Toad (and it didn't help that my subconsious now equates that noise with "I'm going to thrown off!) and I'm not sure what she did but she did something along the lines of spinning and scooting. I managed to go with her in the seat but I'd had some fairly long reins to begin with and fumbled a lot to pull them back to stop her and was clumsy and discombobulated trying to shorten them. I told Trainer K. I was glad it wasn't a bad spook and she said it was more bad than she would've liked with me riding, but when Toad started to spin and I was no longer balanced, Trainer K. said that Toad felt me shift and stopped. So, she was taking care of me! That's my girl! It's probably good that I've had so much practice with Girlfriend and her scooting and spins when she's all riled up because I never lost my balance enough to think I was going to fall off, mostly I was just thinking "Aaack! Shorten the reins!" while clumsily fumbling with them. But still, I think Trainer K. was right and Toad did forget I was up there and stopped when she remembered it. I don't know why she is so good to me but I'm glad about it.