Like I mentioned a few days ago, I wanted to challenge Izzy which meant challenging myself as well, so I asked to school flying changes. I had already warmed him up, and like most days, he wasn't even close to working over his back and his neck/poll/jaw were locked up tight. We didn't "care;" Chemaine and I have both learned that Izzy gets better the harder he works.
To prepare him for the change, Chemaine had us pick up the counter counter while on a circle. As an aside here, I am so proud of Izzy (and myself for that matter) that the canter aid is so well built in that we can even do that. We've got some skills.
Of course, none of my skills are perfect, so Chemaine had to adjust my seat. Because it helps a whole lot (not - don't try this at home), I was throwing my upper body towards the lead I wanted him to pick up which in this case was the right. As soon as Chemaine pointed it out and suggested that instead I push my seat in the direction of the lead I wanted, Izzy picked up the counter canter immediately and very gracefully. It sort of helps when your rider isn't a wiggly monkey on your back.
We didn't just change the bend immediately though. Izzy would have crashed to the ground. Instead, Chemaine had me simply straighten the new "outside" of his body, the side on the outside of the circle. She had me think of that 4x4 exercise from the week before: 4 strides true bend, 4 strides straighten, 4 strides true bend, 4 strides straighten. And then I took it from straighten to counter bend, straighten to counter bend.
I'd like to say it happened the first time, but of course it didn't. It did happen though, and I was even able to get it last night when I rode. In BOTH directions no less. On a freezing cold evening. Under conditions that Izzy loathes. Like I said, SKILLS.
The video is a bit long, but you can hear Chemaine really well. Plus, you get to see how hard Izzy can be to ride. You can laugh; it's okay.