Theo has gone from being that bratty school horse to being the object of a lot of kisses and adoration and admiration. With his improved manners, a lot more people want to stop and say hi to him in the aisle. Other people love to watch him work. He looks like a different horse, going forward with no kicking, making it all look so easy when compared to the other school horses. Little girls coo to me about how much they want to ride him.
The downside to the lingering chest congestion for me is that they can now hear how hard I'm breathing trying to keep the big lump going in the right direction.
But just because perceptions have changed doesn't mean that Theo has truly turned into a new pony. He's still Theo. On Friday I had a private with Trainer A, getting us ready for our big three day show this weekend. Mi papi got an extra day off due to some work nonsense and instead of being up and fresh, he told me to go pound sand. He even spooked at the door to the arena which he hasn't done in months.
Well, hello there, Naughty Theo. We haven't seen you in a long time.
We did a run through on Training 2 and while it was fine, he was braced through the neck and throwing his shoulders about. It wasn't harmonious or submissive at all. Trainer A was kind of pleased with the timing, since irritable, distracted Theo is what I might get at the show. She took us out to a field, past the construction equipment, and had us run our test again out there. She managed to trigger Naughty Theo pretty effectively, but in an environment where I could stick my spur in his side and school him through his correct responses. We worked until I was getting polite, prompt canters (on the correct lead) reliably while the tractor loaded water troughs to be hauled up for cleaning.
I wasn't happy to see Naughty Theo one week before our biggest show, but I guess if he's going to pop up, might as well be now. He's going to be in very steady work from now until we finish the show. He's so darn fit now that he can canter for multiple minutes and almost immediately catch his breath. I'm going to pack all of his lunging gear. He's no longer a horse where I need to worry about him being able to handle the physical exertion. Some ponies look good with some extra energy. Theo just finds new and exciting ways to use that energy up. We don't get bonus points for the degrees of difficulty he likes to add, so I'd like to just skip that part entirely.
And since I just sent off his entry for his First Level recognized debut at the end of the month, I'd like to work on the lengthen canter without praying for my salvation and functional brakes on each attempt. I get dinged for talking in the show ring.