I appreciate the supportive comments about my escapade with Smokey.
This horse journey for me is about learning from my mistakes. I'm not beating myself up, I just need to learn what I shoulda'.
In the event that these lessons are helpful to others, here is what I would have done different.
1. When I learned they were running late I should have had a plan B. I have noticed that horses know the minute you don't know what to do. I did take him to the street to do some work, and if I'd kept doing some deliberate work, that would have helped.
2. I should have changed him into his working halter. The web halter was not sending a message, it just became a tug of war. He never pulled completely away, but it was harder than it needed to be.
3. Correct the rear immediately. Nuf said.
4. Not spend so much time in the water. He is a good water horse, but we should have cut our time there in half.
5. Someone asked if I was lunging him. Not in terms of mindless circles. More like giving him a chance to move since that's how he releases anxiety. And refocusing. Yes he goes in a circle, but it's about turning ear and eye to me, not wearing down. I'd like to have a longer lead line for these moments.
6. Check my emotions more to not let my frustration build. Shake it off quicker. I'm going to get aggravated. But I can work on getting back to balance sooner.
I did many things right. Most importantly we ended in a very solid place. The next two days we had terrific rides. We will see what's next.