But, enough of that. Yes, I'll never reach the end of the road, but I am glad because the journey is so very fulfilling.
I popped him into a pipe stall between several other horses, and while he wasn't thrilled, his behavior wasn't too bad. He paced back and forth and tried to hook up with the pretty mare next door, but I've seen horses behave worse.
He spent several hours in that stall and then to keep a friend's horse from having to sleep in the show barn alone, I moved Izzy to barn #2 for the night. The next morning, my friend's horse left, so I moved Izzy back to barn #1 where he fretted and worried for a bit but ultimately relaxed. I would say that he behaved remarkably well considering that he spent time in different stalls on his first over-night event.
When you ride with Christian, he first asks what you want to work on, and then he tells you to just start riding. After watching for several minutes, he'll start to murmur instructions into the ear piece: lower your right hand ... more inside leg ... MORE INSIDE LEG ... turn with your outside thigh.
He doesn't explain the reason for his instructions. There's no lecture. He essentially rides the horse through you which gives the rider the sensation of what correct work feels like. I am not always sure how we got there, but I always savor the feel that he helps me achieve.
In a lesson with Chemaine a month or so ago, we started tackling the issue of Izzy's lack of throughness. She had me focus on holding the outside aids firmly while using my inside leg to push him to the outside rein. I've been working on it, but Izzy has been super resistant and often refuses to give. Christian challenged me to PUSH him to a shorter outside rein WITHOUT backing down.
It took many circles for Izzy to figure out that life is so much better when he yields to my inside leg and relaxes into the outside rein. Without Christian forcing me to hold it, I would never have had the guts to ask for something for that long. Essentially, Christian had me kick him repeatedly over and over into that shortened outside rein. I don't know how long it took for Izzy to soften the first time, but it was a while.
Once he finally gave to my inside leg and agreed to engage his hind end, I got the magical feeling that I've been struggling with for so long. Every time his head popped up, I shortened the outside rein and pushed him into it with my inside leg. Over. And over. And over. Relentlessly.