Izzy said nope to trotting forward and even bucked and bolted when I insisted. At first, I thought he might be sore, so I left the arena and hacked around the property. Not sore.
The next time I rode, I lunged him before I got on. His canter was unbalanced, but he was respectful. I got on, and the dude refused to go forward without flat out bolting and "broncing" his way across the ring. I swear to you that I told him right then and there that he was for sale. I was so over it.
I hopped off, threw him in the round pen for a few minutes and then tried again. He was even worse.
When he finally came to a stop and stood in front of me, I got on for the third time. And what do you know? We were able to get to work.
I didn't think two days of galloping was enough, so after he galloped, I got on but ditched the arena and headed out around the neighborhood. I wanted Izzy to have the chance to really move out without the pressure of "doing it right."
I think I've mentioned this before, but I have (almost) zero fear on a horse out in the open. They almost can't make me nervous if I have room to let them work it out. So when Izzy got really bouncy when we passed the cavorting pigs at the Haner Family Farm, I just sat deeper and laughed. Bounce away, big boy I told him. Let your freak flag fly. He did, but he eventually refocused and kept his brain with me.
By the time we got to the old golf course - it's now just thin grass surviving on gently rolling mounds, his brain was back in place. I've never schooled him in such a big open space before, but I was feeling like we needed it. We picked up a trot. We cruised up and over the mounds and made the circle bigger and then smaller and then bigger again. I asked for a right lead canter.
We cantered all over that open field with ears pricked happily forward. He lengthened his stride but stayed pretty light in my hand. We floated over those little undulations taking in the rise and fall of the ground like it was nothing. He was balanced and adjustable. The bucking and bolting were gone, and in their place was a very happy pony.
I brought him back to trot and then changed direction. He cantered quite willing to the left and hungrily ate up the ground. At one end of the field is a line of railroad ties in a line. They're about ten inches high and perfect for our "jumping" ability which is none.
We walked over the railroad ties a few times, and then I sent him over them at a trot. He hopped over in the front, but trotted over with his hind legs. We went back a forth a few times just because we could.
From there, we headed home. Both of us felt so much better. He walked home with a bit of a swagger and a much longer stride. I realized that Izzy isn't going to be a super quiet horse for a long time. I am just going to have to learn how to manage his energy until he gets where I want him to be. It took Speedy almost 9 years to get there.
If all else fails, maybe we can do some cross country. Anyone got a jumping saddle I can borrow? (please say no!)