The other issue I'm working on is reducing the number of minutes with him screaming HELL NO! before he shrugs his shoulders and gets to work. On Wednesday night, it took less than ten, but it took the use of the whip to make it happen.
He warmed up nicely. I started with the 1-2-3-4 change the bend warm up exercise that Chemaine recommends, but we did it at the walk. He was feeling very bendy so I sent him into an easy trot. He made a circle or two and then started to get fussy. The HELL NO showed up loud and proud.
I jumped off and grabbed the whip. As soon as I was back in the saddle, I took that whip to him and reminded him what the outside rein means. I goosed him forward and then tapped his shoulder briskly until he was spinning away from my outside leg and rein. And then I did it a few more times for good measure. Every second that he sassed me, I tapped his shoulder again. Within less than a minute, he had quit blowing through my aids and was looking for a correct answer.
Well now, good boy, Izzy!
Chemaine calls it the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde technique. As soon as he is naughty, I am a snarling Hyde ready to kick his butt. The instant he complies, I am the ever pleasant Dr. Jekyll offering a cup of tea with a biscuit. Turn it on, turn it off - I am a machine without emotion.
It is working like a charm. The only problem with the strategy is that you have to be ready to ride though some nasty shenanigans. On this horse, I feel pretty safe when I cowboy up and kick the crap out of him. He can get pretty bronc-y, but I feel confident spurring him forward and riding it out of him. And if I growl loud enough, dig my spur into him, and whack that shoulder a few times, he knows the jig is up.
Once I had his attention, we had a lovely ride (for a green bean). He did a series of pretty impressive leg yields that were nicer than what Speedy can do (sorry, Speedy, G, but it's true). We also did some fun work on a 15-meter circle alternating between shoulder in and haunches in. The dude's got some talent.
We finished up with a right lead canter, something that I haven't been able to get with any consistency. And to make the ride even better, it was the best right lead canter he's offered to date. It was super balanced and light. Oh my gosh was it light! And even though he fell out of the canter a time or two, I was able to squeeze him right back into it.