Over the past two months, four things have happened that seem to explain his new found confidence. I doubt that any one them is the singular cause. More than likely, it's just a bunch of things that happened all at once that Izzy likes.
In September, I had a good lesson with Chemaine Hurtado in which she noticed that I was frequently riding Izzy defensively. When he tensed up and shortened his neck, I choked up on the reins in an effort to keep him from bolting. Chemaine encouraged me to try stronger and firmer half halts with bigger and quicker releases. As hard as it was to trust him not to bolt, I gave it a try, and it is definitely working.
When CC came out in October, Izzy had some muscle soreness, but it wasn't anything that CC couldn't work out quickly. For the most part, Izzy seemed to enjoy the body work for the attention rather than for pain relief. I'll have the chiropractor back out in January. Hopefully, Izzy will look about the same as he did in October.
Instead, the saddle has done wonders for me. Izzy is hypersensitive to my every thought and movement. If I even start thinking about picking up a canter, Izzy tenses up all over even if I don't think I've moved a muscle. With this saddle, I can sit deeper and flatter and don't feel as though I am struggling to maintain my balance. I can actually relax.
I write the same thing week after week, but it's still true: We're getting there.