Bridling is no longer an issue, but I am still working on it. I am not happy with "no fight." I like my horses to almost bridle themselves, so I am teaching Izzy a few things to make bridling even simpler. I want him to lower his head without being asked - he already does this for unbridling, and I want him to reach for the bit rather than waiting to open his mouth until I ask. He's getting close.
A welder pulled into the ranch just as I started my ride which sent little danger! danger! signals to his brain. He could see the welder talking to the ranch owners away in the distance, and he was certain that meant all learning was done for the day. I used that distraction as an opportunity to assert my dominance yet again. To my surprise, he let me talk him out of being worried and distracted.
Knowing that his meltdowns only reveal a lack of confidence makes it much easier to problem-solve. He wants to be dominant but doesn't have the confidence to back it up. Lately, if I show him a safe and calm option, he is happy to follow my plan.
As we worked on Saturday, I reiterated over and over and over again that we go slowly when he's tense, but if he relaxes, we can open his stride. He seems to understand the two rein half halt better and better and as a result is even beginning to soften on his own when I ask him to slow down.
Nothing miraculous has happened over the past month and a half, but I think that by switching out the bit, he is now able to hear me. Instead of running from the pressure, he is now able to soften and get the relief he was looking for before.
Whatever it is, I am liking the path we're heading on, even if there are a lot more corners in our future!