Over the past several months, I think I've managed to bust through the worst of Izzy's resistance. Every now and again, he thinks about telling me no, but the jackassery of the last year seems to have been shelved.
HIs whole demeanor has mellowed. He still huffs and puffs in his little boy scaredy pants way, but rather than lose his marbles, he rests his muzzle on my head, my shoulder, or jabs me in the back to ask if all is well. I've learned to listen more closely to his I need my mommy body language. The dude still lacks confidence, but as long as I stop for a moment to reassure him, he mans up to face the world.
He's as much a drama llama as is Speedy. Sheesh!
Over the past few days, he's been so mellow and workmanlike that I've needed to add something to the million and one 20-meter circles that we've been doing. Even he seems bored by them. This week, I've thrown all kinds of stuff at him:
- leg yields - he's better to the left; to the right his shoulder leads a bit too much. When I corrected him, I loved how he flicked his ears at me and tried to get it right.
- the single loop at the canter - I did it really shallow the first time, and then rode it short and steep so that he really had to pivot around X. No worries - he nailed it.
- turn on the haunches - just a few steps to get the idea, but he did that without any difficulty, too.
- half pass at the walk - again, just a few steps to show him that he can put his bum in all kinds of places and still move about.
- canter to trot to canter transitions - to the right, he was pretty confused, but after a minute or two, he realized what I wanted. To the left, he was perfect. We haven't been able to school these before because it was already an effort to get a canter departure that was balanced without an explosion. And once we were cantering, it took all of my riding to get some kind of circle without him leaping out from underneath me in a wild spook. Not this week - easy peasy.