Will not be tired of this picture any time soon
My horse was a model citizen. He didn't even try to kill the mare in our rail class when she dared to pass him in a slightly out of control lope/canter/gallop. He stood like a saint when I had to drop his bridle for bit check.
Fun fact, you have to dismount and drop your bridle after every test in western dressage. I can't even begin to imagine the freak outs that would occur if you tried to do that in standard dressage. Theo didn't care and just stood there looking mildly confused. I also had the steward so 'oh, that's a nice one' in regards to his bit. Huh? It's a loose ring snaffle. Maybe she was happy that it was an easy one that took basically no inspection?
Anyway, my horse was perfect and wonderful all day. He only tried to slam through the door of his day stall once and since the door is still standing, he didn't really have his heart in it. But all day, I kept bumping into people that would ask 'is that Theo?', closely followed by 'wow, I know that horse, he's changed'. Seriously, all day, people were recognizing Theo and all of them knew him from his dark past. Some looked horrified, others looked confused. It was surreal.
I'm sitting on my horse in warm up, he's snoozing, my reins are looped. The secretary asks to borrow my whip to show a steward how to measure it. I shrug, hand it over, and then volunteer my horse for a whole tack check if she wants to demonstrate. Theo loves tack check and stewards, he's been used as a demo at several shows now because he's so easy. She mentions I'll have to dismount (this is when I discover that dropping your bridle is a thing) and I say no problem, my horse won't care. She looks him up and down and says 'I've heard about this horse, that wasn't always the case'. WHAT?! The secretary flew up from Florida! How the heck has she heard horror stories about my horse already?
I've pieced together that one of the volunteers who also judged the rail class runs the barn that Theo was at when the vet owned him. When he was at his absolute worst. A lot of her boarders and students were in attendance during those times and Theo certainly made an impression. They spotted him pretty quickly, but had to double check because he's physically changed a lot.
Grown up Theo
I'm taking it as a compliment that people are flabbergasted when they meet him now. Mr. Jumps Out of Rings and Bucks People Off and Puts Them in Hospitals is now a civilized, well trained horse. Sometimes.
Super fancy show horse right here
But man, what all did he do when he was young? Apparently there were many, many 'incidents' before he made it to my barn and they were highly memorable. Considering the ones I do know about, I didn't ask. I don't want to know.