I'll admit it though, I felt almost nauseous as I got on. I pulled Chemaine to the side and voiced my apprehension. She knows that I can be very ... intense in my riding, so she immediately lightened the mood with the ladies who had stayed to watch. She knew that a quick joke or two would get me to relax, and it worked. Within minutes, my anxiety passed, and I started riding my horse.
It was a good thing I did as he was higher than a kite. He was more "up" than he had been the day before. He squealed, grunted, launched into the air, and corkscrewed a few times. He basically spent 30 minutes acting like a bucking horse at the rodeo. I know it sounds like my anxiety caused his, but Chemaine later reassured me that it was all him.
When we talked about it later, Chemaine pointed out that right now, there really isn't anything that she can say except to confirm what I am already doing. I was actually happy with that. It's hard to give a lesson to someone on a rodeo horse, but she helped by not letting me back off. When I am riding alone, I do my best, but I worry that I am asking for too much or that I am causing his tension.
Having Chemaine there in my ear pushing us through the attitude gave me the confidence to keep doing what I was doing. And the result? It worked. After that first half hour, he finally started giving up. Little by little, I was able to open up the circle and really get a good quality canter, and a long stretchy trot.
We did play around with a fun exercise once his brain was back in his head. Chemaine had me do a 10-meter canter circle and then go straight for a few strides and then back into a 10-meter canter circle. I felt that it really kept his mind on his job because he couldn't get bored by the same circle. It got him really listening to me and using his body to keep his balance.
By the end of the lesson, Izzy was doing a very lovely right lead canter that was soft and relaxed. I was even able to spiral in to a 10-meter circle. Given that he couldn't even get a right lead canter a year ago, I was super pleased with what I was able to accomplish with him.
If the weather cooperates, Chemaine will be back at the beginning of March for another clinic. I am looking forward to seeing what Izzy and I can get done before we see her again.