I bought Maestro from a lady that had bought him from another lady who bought him
from another lady. So I really don’t know anything about his past. He is obviously pure bred Paso Fino with a lot of brio. The woman that I bought him from said ” riding him is like riding a Ferrari and he is too much horse for me”.
I loved him at first sight and at first ride.
That was four years ago. And I still love him fiercely but he drives me nuts.
I don’t think he had much, if any, trail experience. I think he had a lot of rides in the arena, and I think he was told to gait all the time. It took me a year to get him to walk.
He is 21 years old and is fiery and proud. He also has temper tantrums like a two year kid. I’m talking foot stomping. snorting, spinning, bucking and rearing, refusing to move temper tantrums. He has stood in the middle of the road refusing to move for 15 minutes while I smiled sheepishly and directed cars to go around. That is embarrassing.
I’ve tried backing him up. My neighbors brought chairs out to watch the show the day it took me an hour and a half to get hIm to travel two blocks. Rearing, circling, stomping and refusing to move for an hour and a half. It was a battle. I’ve tried circles. I’ve done more ground work. He has a custom saddle. I’ve tried making him stand still and soothing him. He gets better, then worse. There is no predicting when the tantrum will occur, or why.
He has helped me learn patience. He has also scared the crap out of me a few times.
A few weeks ago we went riding with Tina and Sidnee to Grape Creek. Maestro pitched a really good one at the beginning of the ride. So I told Steve to ride in front so I could keep Maestro on Rio’s tail. I ‘m beginning to think that Maestro gets scared being in front. Now he also gets pissed being behind another horse but that is easier to cope with on a trail ride.
We rode through the canyons of Grape Creek. We crossed the creek 20 times and he did fine. Until…
Steve took the road less travelled when the trail split. The road was a trail that was actually a deer track that disappeared over the crest of a hill. Not good. Scary. Steve and Rio took an alternate route down a very steep, rocky and wooded side of the hill, maestro started to follow. I wanted to evaluate the situation so when Maestro started to follow Rio I halted him.
Well let me tell you what that little bugger decided to do.. If he couldn’t follow Rio he was going to go back the way we came. Now we were on a narrow footpath on the side of a steep hill and that sucker decided to rear up, pivot all the way around and haul ass back down the trail. Thank God Tina and Sidnee had already backed up or I think we would have all gone crashing down the hill.
It took a while to get my breath back. We came very very close to falling off the hill. And while I love him, this horse of mine does not have any sense of self preservation when he is in the throes of a temper tantrum. I’ve put up with sideways dancing on the side of a hill. I’ve navigated on rocks when he had his head up in the air, snorting and tossing his head, his front feet beating a fast staccato rhythm in pissy fit. We have slid in ice because told him to slow down, he got mad, and decided to start spinning in circles.
Nothing had scared me as much as that day.
Driving home, horses in the trailer, Steve and I talked about what happened. He said “I’ve seen him throw tantrums but I’ve never been scared like I was then. I could have lost you.”
I said “Steve, I can’t trust him. I can’t trust him to keep a calm mind and take care if himself and me if the going gets tough. I can’t keep riding him on trails like this. Not only could I have been hurt but I’m putting my friends in danger.”
Steve told me to start looking for another horse.
Two days later we purchased Aliente.
Maestro has a forever home with us. He is loving and calm in the pasture. I rode him bareback in the arena at Heath’s for an hour last week and he did great. I’m not giving up on him. We are going back to basics with ground work. We are going to do some easy rides. We may try putting him on a line and letting him pack when we go camping. Maybe some of the Paso people I’m now meeting will have some insight to help me help him. But we aren’t going to throw him to the unknown for a 21 year old horse.