Rode about 4 miles with James. He rode Bullseye and I mounted Woody, my grade quarterhorse.
Woody has been ridden by mostly beginners for the past few months, and he has completely lost his handle. He has a very poor stop if it's not maintained with lots of firm stops and backing up. Currently, I would rate his stop a 2/10. It will probably take me a month of riding a couple of times a week to get his stop back to his personal best, which is about a 7/10. He never "stops on a dime", but rather slows down and then eases into a stop. But right now, he's tossing his head and I'm using the "emergency brake" (a one rein stop) to get him to slow reasonably quickly.
Woody is also not riding collected, and he has lost some speed control. He hasn't had a rider on him in months that insists he lowers his head and flexes at the poll, and so he's not. He's got his head in the air. And he has walk, trot, and RUN. And I want the slow canter I know he has. Needless to say, it was a "working" ride yesterday, and we did a lot of flexing, lowering head, and fighting the bit to keep him from running and to get him to stay in a slow canter.
Despite our disagreements, he never reared or bucked, but I could definitely feel his displeasure at his not getting his way.
I have a million requests from friends that want to ride with me. I give them Woody, because I know he won't knowingly hurt anyone. But I'm afraid he's not reaching his potential with so many novice riders on his back. I may have to take him back, and be his only rider for a while, to get him back in form...