It may be a simple case of his leaning down onto the bit, dumping his weight on his forehand and subtly increasing his speed; or it can be much worse, with a horse violently resisting, locking his jaw and bolting out of control. This resistance is caused when the horse takes on a more aggressive approach by building his own pressure against the bit, ultimately trying to take the rein pressure away from you.
The correction bit doesn't let Izzy lean on or grab the bit. It gives me excellent stopping power, but it rewards Izzy with a comfort zone when he relaxes his poll.
- There is no more careening around the arena at mach 10 with me hanging on for dear life. I half halt, and Izzy can hear me. I can ask him to soften and then let him move forward into the softened rein.
- We can now leg yield at the trot because he listens to my halting rein. We can now go sideways from the inside leg to the outside rein. We can also leg yield out onto a larger circle.
- We can now get a lovely right lead canter and hold it. A lot of that is due to the bit, but in my last lesson with Chemaine, she also taught me how to move his shoulders out and keep his haunches in. For the right lead canter, I have discovered that I have to hold the whole left side of his body with my outside leg.
- We can also canter left without me needing to yank his face off to get him to SLOW DOWN. The left lead canter is not nearly as pretty as the right though. I am having some trouble capturing that drifting right shoulder. When I get the shoulder straight, we lose the inside bend. That is definitely something that I hope to work on with Chemaine this weekend.
- We are also slowly conquering the scary parts of the arena. On Saturday, I tied Speedy in the spooky end and simply asked Izzy to do some exercises at the walk down there. He was absolutely dreamy with only one or two small spooks. His walk was ever so lovely - swinging and relaxed. Since then, the scary end is no big deal.
- Having Speedy tied at the trailer has helped Izzy relax while being tacked up. At our old barn, the cross ties where just a few steps away from several horses. Izzy was happy to stand there all day. At the ranch, there is a horse fairly close by to where I tack up, but Izzy just feels too isolated. Bringing Speedy out to join him has done wonders for his relaxation.
- Izzy's digestive upset is also completely cleared up. Once he was back on the Platinum Performance, his loose poops solidified and stayed that way. He never had loose poops before the Platinum, but it must be doing something to aid his digestive health, particularly when he's tense or anxious. His energy level hasn't spiked either. In fact, he seems happy and relaxed once again.
If you're on a less than easy horse to ride, keep working the problem. I am pretty sure it's worth it!