If I want to show Izzy, I need to get him ready for the level at which I want to show. I would prefer to start out at Training Level of course, but given how unconfirmed the canter is right now, I should probably aim for a few walk/trot classes first, and then ease him into the canter work at Intro C.
Getting the right lead is still troublesome, but in better news, he has a spectacular flying lead change. Izzy is not as bendy to the right which makes tracking right a challenge, especially at the canter. Once he can get an edge on me by shifting his hind quarters even slightly out, the shoulder starts to blow out and then he can't turn right. This is when he does a lead change to the left.
Dragging his head to the right does nothing but shoot his hindquarters even farther to the outside. Putting him in a counter bend works sometimes, but then he falls on his inside shoulder. The most effective tool I have right now is to try and catch his hindquarters before I lose them. When this fails, and he's already made the lead change, I simply counter bend him and asked for the flying change by re-asking for a right lead canter (outside leg back/inside hip forward).
Don't misunderstand, he didn't get smacked because he wouldn't change leads. Instead, he had grabbed the rein and was ignoring all of my aids indicating he should either slow down or turn right. His number one evasion is to grab the right rein from me and bolt to the left. The whack on the shoulder comes after I have asked with my seat, legs, and rein aids. When all else fails, I whack his shoulder to say get off of my outside leg.
The next time he swapped to a left lead, I again asked for the right lead with a gentle reminder with the whip to not run through my outside aids. Before long, he was holding the right lead. It was wild and wooly and I had to ride it in two-point, but he held the lead and let me get some inside bend.
Now that I am competing at First Level and schooling Second Level, I am so grateful for the thinking behind the Introductory and Training Level tests. The slow changes of direction, large circles, and long lines are just what green beans need.
I was really, really happy with how well he worked, I could put him anywhere I wanted without any shenanigans. I can now see what we need to work on. He needs to be steadier in the bridle, he needs to be better balanced in the corners with more effective half halts (quit running through my aids, Mister!), and we need a much better trot to walk to halt transition.
After running through the trot work, I finished up by doing a million walk to halt transitions followed by a few minutes of trot to walk. By the end of the ride, he was doing a much better job with the downward transitions.
If I am not careful, I may end up with a Training Level horse before I know it!