To the bad, I just couldn't get the softness and relaxation that I can get by myself. It wasn't like there was a large crowd or anything, but he knew things were different.
She had me leg yield across the diagonal, but rather than focus on keeping him relatively straight, she encouraged me to ask him for a lot of haunches. Like, get BIG steps, and it was okay if his haunches led. The point was to unlock his back a little and get his hind end freer. Izzy likes to kind of pogo stick his hind legs, especially in the canter.
She didn't feel the resistance that I feel. She didn't have trouble with the right bend. She did have a bit of trouble holding the right canter lead, but that was only because she was asking for counter canter on a circle. Mr. Smarty Pants kept throwing in flying changes (much to Chemaine's delight I might add).
When I rode him a few days later, I started off at the walk, and when he got spooky in the far corner, I gave a quick, firm correction, and then let go. it took about three good firm half halts, and all of a sudden, he was light in my hands and listening. We had a very relaxed ride, and I got off feeling quite successful.
I got back on on him yesterday afternoon, and I was back on the freight train. I leg yielded across the diagonal, and I tried the big half halts with big releases, but he simply refused to relax his back. After a full hour, I was finally able to get something sort of like relaxation, but neither one of us felt particularly successful.
I frequently question why I am still doing this. I don't have a ready answer. He's making progress; as slow as it is, even I can see it. I am just not sure I want to keep progressing this slowly. On the positive side, he's not a scary ride, and when he's relaxed, he's a lot of fun to ride.
For now, he can stay in my barn, but I sure wish he'd learn to enjoy relaxing.