Why won't he just relax? See above.
Why won't he soften? See above.
Why won't he do any of the things that I want him to do? See above.
I've been doing a lot of thinking the past month or so and have landed on a few "explanations" (for lack of a better word) that seem to put Izzy's life choices in perspective.
First - I think the dude is slow to mature. At eight years old, he still acts an awful lot like a youngster. He's willful, brave one moment and terrified the next, and generally an all around dork. Compared to Speedy, who at one time was all of those things too, it's easy to see the lack of maturity. I've brought along quite a few young horses in my life, but Izzy has been the slowest of the bunch to "grow up."
In just under a year and a half, we can now walk, trot, and canter pretty much when and where I want to. I can ride him out in the open without worrying about losing him. He trailers, stands tied to the trailer, and can be counted on not to rip the trailer apart. These are all small things, but I think he's learned a fair amount in a short amount of time. I need to remember that he has had to learn how to be a riding horse AND learn how to be a show pony all at the same time.
Other comments that have helped have been of the "who cares if it takes three years, go at the speed he needs" variety. That's been helpful to hear because it takes some of the pressure off my need to advance yearly.
With his motor running at such high RPM's Izzy can't get off his forehand and let go of the bit. I've been addressing it, but I am certain that Chemaine will have some new and creative exercises to get him to slow down a bit so that he can lighten his front end and get off my hands.
I always look forward to the weekend, but now I have an even bigger reason to welcome those two days of freedom. And to make it even better, I get Veteran's Day off too!