Monday, April 3, 2023

My Theo

 I randomly got talking to Trainer Z about Theo's past and realized I never told the whole story.  Probably because I thought she'd run away from him.  Started training at 6 (probably gelded at that age as well) with an ammy that wanted a trail horse with some dressage.  Big accident, landed with some 'cowboys' that wanted him to obey and used force to get there, then some years being ridden into the ground to make him a school horse.  All the time people assuming the draft cross is a dead head and lazy and needs to be forced.  I met him as an angry, distant school horse that wanted nothing to do with people.  We went to war for six months while I explained that I would not be bullied and I was not going away.

We were discussing it as we plotted getting him back to working outside.  He likes working in the outdoor arena but we also want him to get back to hacking outside before or after his rides.  We took him outside after my ride today to start getting him used to the idea of walks after lessons.  We only went a couple hundred yards with Trainer Z for company but he realized it was a hack and relaxed into a long neck after he figured out what we were up to.  We'll do a couple more hundred yards next week and keep adding until he can loop around the woods for a hack.

While working on my transitions, I got reminded to not ask with my spur, I don't need it.  Think trot and he bounces into the transition.  Sit on the correct seatbone and the half passe is right there.  I thought there was a very cute First level horse when I first started riding Theo.  Now he's a Third Level horse and Trainer Z cocked her head and said there was another trot starting to show up.  It might be time to go back to the half steps and introduce passage.  He's only 19.  She wants me to not close the door on what he could do just yet.  Apparently his changes are still coming together but are now a mental challenge, not a physical one.  I'm not good enough with my seat to handle what she's created so I'm going to do some lessons on her GP stallion Muffin to practice on a horse that has no question on what he's supposed to do.  I'm learning that a properly trained dressage horse will take a shift of weight as a cue and that I have to KNOW what seat bones I'm weighting.  Under her training, Theo is now sensitive to how I weight my seatbones.  She described it as not asking for the flying change but allowing him to change.  I had very nice, comfortable counter canters today since I now know what he's looking for (and my chiro has my SI straightened out enough that I can sit on both seatbones).  The plan is to practice on her GP stallion Muffin who is 100% confirmed on all movements and won't be fussed by me making mistakes.  I may get stuck doing tempi changes around the ring as he's rather wont to do but it'll get me used to riding changes one way or another.

Kiki arrives tomorrow and folks are wondering if I will lose interest in Theo as Miss Fancy Pants High Score Filly moves in.  Not a chance.  There are certain partnerships you treasure even if they were formed in less than ideal situations.  Theo is my heart horse and that won't ever change.


  1. Theo is divine and I'm so excited for Kiki's arrival! <3

  2. I really adore Theo, he reminds me so much of my previous lease Canadian in his face. And I'm glad he's still got some spark left to show despite some turbulance to start his life, he's got rock steady now.