I can't believe I forgot to talk about the Static Attack!
We'd had our turn and were busy working on our stops when all of a sudden the batteries on Mark's wireless mic went out. For those of you who never have to deal with this, what happens is the speakers are suddenly pouring out very loud static.
Smokey decided this was way too much. First I dragged him into this place with no sky, then he had to do all that grown up horse stopping, with all those people watching, and now the entire world was HISSING!
We surged forward at a somewhat controlled trot around the indoor arena, round and round the other horses. I never tried to stop him completely, but was somewhat dismayed to be on the only horse reacting this way.
But I decided what was best was letting him trot this out as long as he stayed in my control. We were turning well, no bucking, no rearing, but head pretty high. Finally, after four days (okay 2 minutes), Mark SLOWLY put his new batteries in (why no one turned down the volume is beyond me) and the static went away. We came to a halt and I shouted "Thanks a lot!"
There was much relieved laughter. Or was that just me?
Later I asked if I did the right thing by "riding him out" and Mark said that usually that's what he recommends; however since so many of his students these days are backyard horseman they can't always ride things out, especially when it's a much bigger reaction (full gallop, I presume).
I spent a good portion of the next two days praying that he had longer lasting batteries in that mic.