So while I really wish Izzy would get his canter together, I know that it's not going to do any good to rush it or force the issue. Instead, I'm just chipping away at it little by little.
Anyway, back to last night. I took advantage of his mellow mood and did a bunch of figures at the trot. We did about a million changes of bend in serpentines, the tear drops from First Level, and then we did Chemaine's Butterfly exercise - a tear drop into a ten-meter circle into a new tear drop.
When Izzy started to feel a bit bouncy, which is how he gets when he's starting to really work from his hind end, I asked for a left lead canter. Right now, my focus is on getting the lead without Izzy feeling like he has to explode into it. Happily, the transition was fairly decent, so after a half circle, I brought him back to walk and gave him a big pat. If he was sore in his nether regions, I didn't want him to think that it was because of the canter work.
I let him walk a bit and then started to track right. I almost called it quits as I didn't want to pick a fight, but I figured that one more canter transition wouldn't kill him. I set him up for a right lead canter but got a bit of a balk with a kick aimed at my leg. I put my spur into him gently and said, Forward. he wasn't thrilled about it, but he trotted forward. I just sat very quietly, and kept asking for the right lead.
After a bit more fussing and another kick or two, Izzy hopped into the right lead canter smoothly. Almost immediately, I brought him back to a walk and gave him a lot praise. I repeated the request several more times and got two more very nice trot to canter transitions. We walked after each one. I wasn't focused on the quality of the canter but on the correctness of the lead.
Special note; the David is on my mind as we'll be in Italy this summer and seeing Michelangelo's sculpture in person is very high on our list of must see. Have any of you seen it?
Dressage horses are undoubtedly works of art. Who cares how long it takes to finish our work? It's worth it in the end.