I rode Lucy at exactly the same time yesterday and today; a hair before 7am while the air was still cool and the sun just bridging the ridge.
Yesterday morning, Brett didn't come outside with me. He had woken in the wee hours of the morning, restless and uncomfortable with his knee. This happens often and he takes half of a pain pill which lets him sleep -- both of us really, since I don't sleep well next to a body that is constantly shifting and flipping around. The downside is that at 6am he is still feeling the effects of the pill and is a bit groggy. When I fetched Lucy she was eager to come out and work. Brett was still in the house so it was very quiet as we headed out to the dressage court.
Lucy was so relaxed that our warm-up was completed in record time and we moved on to some fun exercises. I had read in Dressage Today about an exercise of three concentric circles; one 10m, one 15m and one 20m. They can be ridden at the same gait or mixed up. I rode the 10m at walk, the 15m at trot and the 20m at canter with prompt, accurate transitions every time we crossed B. Lucy never rushed or fussed. We were gold. We even did some shorter steps and I practiced sitting her trot.
This morning, Brett was up with me early. No pain pill in the middle of the night so he was awake and ready to get to work. He didn't feed while I was riding, but he mucked the pastures. Lucy saw Brett, saw the cart (even if it was a muck cart and not a hay cart -- it's still a cart) and then saw Brett in the pastures with the cart. She could.not.focus.
We skipped our normal walk on a long rein and went straight to trot work. We did the three concentric circles, all at trot, to get her brain focused on bend. We did serpentines; we did more circles; we curved our way from one end to the other. When she was somewhat settled and willing to stretch a bit into the rein, we moved into canter. I used haunches in on the long sides to keep her from running and then some shallow counter canter to the quarter line and back. She couldn't keep balanced and focused on the right lead; choosing to change leads instead of counter canter back to the rail. Yesterday, she would have aced it but today she was too worried about missing breakfast. She wasn't disobedient but her brain was ping-ponging between her work and Brett's whereabouts. We finished up with some leg yield because she can do that in her sleep and I wanted to finish on a positive note.
And then she got breakfast.
After eating my breakfast, I spread composted manure under the fruit trees. The gophers killed a carnation plant so I dug more repellent in around the remaining two.