Izzy never makes things easy. There's hey, we're getting somewhere and a whole lot of Dude, figure it out! There's rarely anything else. This past two or three weeks have been more of the seriously? kind. Over the weekend I tried yet another strategy to get him focused and listening.
There are three main components that keep Izzy and me out of the show ring: leaning on the bit, tightness in his back, and no stride length in back. These are all mostly the same thing, but over the years, I've been able to get one or two of them fixed, but without all three things working well, we're just not going to be able to show.
For a long time, I fought the heaviness thing. He just would not flex his poll or unlock his jaw. Time and changing bits really helped with that. Then it was his tight back. He was simply unable to stretch over his topline. Patience and a whole lot of long and low have unlocked his back so that now it actually swings - sometimes. Once his back was moving, his stride opened up. For a few minutes last month, we had it all - a poll with flexion, a swinging back, and length of stride.
And then we crashed and burned. Out of nowhere, he has started to once again lean on the bit to the point where I have no steering or brakes. Never one to give up, I tried a new strategy. Rather than focus on getting his back to swing, or engaging his hind end - why do that when he's blasting through my hands?, I focused on suppling his poll and the base of his withers.
I would love to say that getting him to let go of the bit and carry his big noggin himself did the trick, but it didn't. We've spent a couple of weeks working on the idea, but he still thinks the idea is a crappy one. So crappy in fact that he'd rather duke it out with me for an hour and a half rather than carry the bit lightly for 30 minutes.
It's a good thing we both have a pretty good sense of humor.