What I am liking about our current upswing is that Izzy is showing a lot more maturity. His I don't wannas are way less dramatic and a whole lot shorter in duration. They're also less frequent.
I also like that he's asking to stretch. It's not happening every stride of course, but the fact that he is asking at all says that he's finally realized it feels good to stretch and relax. Ya think?!
Even with the deck stacked against us a bit, we had a productive ride. He spent most of the time with a tight back, snapping his head up at every sound. But in those moments when he wasn't a giraffe, he was reaching and stretching. He did try to bolt a time or two, but with this bit, I have him back within one stride.
My cure for the bolts, since they almost always happen in the same spot. Is to do a trot to walk or even a walk to halt transition right before the place where he wants to bolt. As we approach the trouble spot, I ask for a walk (or a halt) and then I ask for a stretch. After a few of these, I shorten the amount of time that we are walking (or halting) and pretty soon we're doing trot/walk/trot transitions through the scary place.
And then last night? He was even better: back was loose, neck was loose, and he volunteered to canter. We were BOTH smiling!