For those of you who think Izzy is an easy ride, rest assured that I struggle right along with the rest of you. Many of the issues that we struggled with earlier this year are mostly gone: he's a perfect gentleman in the cross ties and enjoys being groomed and tacked up; he gave up bolting (not that it was ever that big of a deal), and I can ride him through his temper tantrums without fear of either one of us getting hurt.
We can now canter on either lead and make 15 or 20-meter circles. He's learning to move into the walk or trot without flinging his head up, and just yesterday he gave me a very square halt. He'll stand for days at the mounting block without stepping forward, and I can ride him on the buckle anywhere in my arena that I'd like.
A few years ago, JL, the hunter-jumper trainer with whom I took lessons, used to say that riding the horse's stiff way (to Izzy's left) was always easy because the rider has something to push on. Riding the horse's limp way (to the right on Izzy) is always harder because there is nothing to push against. She was right.
Tracking right, Izzy has decided that he doesn't want to bend to the inside. Instead of bending, he's trying very hard to go counter bent. I need some inside bend, but when I add inside leg and use the inside rein to bend him, it feels as though he is already stepping way underneath. There's just no place to send his inside hind leg.
To "fix" this, I've been resting my inside hand on my inside thigh to show him the bend that I need. As he softens and agrees to get on the outside rein, I relax my inside hand. I am pretty sure I am on the right path, (Chemaine also says that I am a thinking rider), but I need someone on the ground to confirm that what I think I am feeling is right.
As soon as we get back from vacation, Izzy and I will head down for another lesson. For now, I only have a one or two more days that I can ride before we leave for Italy. Maybe a few weeks off will fix all of the things!