As a young guy just starting out in our training program, the goal for Theo is to keep things light. We’re working to develop his balance and strengthen his confidence while wearing the saddle. Theo continues to get softer and is showing great improvement with connection, feeling, and responsiveness.

Theo is a naturally gentle young fellow, but when we started working with him, he also seemed rather “dull.” His feet seemed “stuck” which was indicative of some traces of insecurity and reluctance inside him. So first, we had to help him free up his feet and realize that he can move in any direction. This is a very important step that needed to happen before we started saddling him. His first rides will be so much more successful if he’s not holding any trouble bottled up inside.

During this part of his education, it’s important to help Theo explore moving in balance, as well as changing eyes on his handler and the flag or rope. We’re seeing him turn loose to these movements, which is very promising. Theo, being so young, is a bit of a blank slate because he doesn’t have bad experiences or bad habits that need to be rewritten. He has an untroubled mind and a natural aptitude for the work, which makes him a pleasure to work with. Still, it’s important to lay a solid foundation, which is a responsibility we take very seriously.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to expose Theo to a broader range of experiences and give him plenty of time to adjust to wearing the saddle before attempting any rides. He is young and time is on our side to help him have an untroubled start. We have another 5‑day training week in May where we will have our friend Joel Conner on site to oversee Theo’s first rides, and offer a valuable layer of support and expertise.