MAJO - One Very Special Stallion!
Majo (pronounced Mah-HO) is an absolute charm to ride with his natural collection and wonderful demeanor. He is a horse with a rear engine and has proven his worth many times, and finally to the Cria Caballar on the day he passed the Revision Process. To pass Revision a horse has numerous measurements taken. The horse is touched, viewed from all angles, and evaluated for approximately 20 minutes. Unlike horse shows which frequently seem to favor professional handlers, this is not just a beauty contest or an evaluation of the handler. It is an evaluation of the horse against standardized criteria established for breeding Pure Spanish Horses. Majo was presented for Revision and passed with flying colors.
I am proud that I have been Majo's only trainer, rider, and handler. I tried to preserve the spirit of the stallion in him and also have a close friend. So it stresses me to watch a Dressage Sally run a horse at the end of a rope before she can mount up and, in spite of that, claim to have a disciplined horse! I can't think of a quicker way to simply numb a horse then to run him at the end of a rope. Majo has never run at the end of a lounge line to warm up for a ride. He doesn't need a leveraged bit to respond. You will not see any spur marks on his sides from so called riding in harmony!
I tried many times to quit smoking. Hypnosis, Acupuncture, gadgets that tell you when you may smoke, nicotine gum. I failed with every attempt over a period of years. Then one day before Majo was 3 I realized if I did not quit I would not be around to raise Majo through a normal lifespan. That was 1995. I have not smoked since.
Majo and I have ridden without a bridle, just a TTEAM ring. That's Linda Tellington Jones way of riding in Harmony. Go look at the sides of some of those highly trained "High School" horses. The marks you see are not from riding as a team. Those horses are mostly nervous animals that could not cantor down Main Street in a parade. I am afraid they simply serve as a commodity for the owner to derive pleasure from the prestige of ownership not of partnership. This horse we call the Andalusian does not, for me, inspire thoughts of "High School" exhibition. The discipline of "High School" work is thought by many to be beautiful to watch. And it seems the minute someone acquires an Andalusian the poor horse is destined to be tortured and trained into the stereotype. But why take a kind and gentle horse with so much talent and fill his mouth with a bear trap to ride in harmony. This highly disciplined activity appears to make many horses nervous and uncomfortable. When I look at all the tack required for High School, and when I see the reactions of the horse to this disciplined performance, I ask how any thinking person can call this riding in harmony?
Majo has been on the beach on a noisy Fourth of July and in parades with a light snaffle in his mouth and the reins lying on his neck. His ability to handle the hustle bustle of parades without spooking has been shown many times. It takes a special stallion to handle parades and cantor down Main Street to the cheers of the crowd. This special young man has won my heart and is my once in a lifetime equine friend. Majo has even faced a bear in the woods. Most of the highly trained dressage horses would dump their rider in a heartbeat under those circumstances. Ironic as it seems in an arena he is more nervous than in a parade or facing a bear in the woods.
Majo reigns in his hilltop home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. These green hills of the Shenandoah are a place of pastoral beauty, and our stallion Majo adds a very special magic to that mix. Majo is the living art that is the Spanish horse but he doesn't do horse shows. His home in the Shenandoah is a place we call Majo Country. At Majo Country we have tried very hard to deserve our Stallion's trust and retain the natural qualities Nature gave to this descendant of the famous Terry Bred horses of Europe. Much like the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, Majo provides a rare magic in a time when magic is hard to find!
At any show it seems the average Andalusian owner feels absolutely compelled to adopt the Spanish Culture. Believe me, this horses is every bit as much the pleasure without playing dress up and doing a flamenco dance! It is as if owning a Deutschland bred German Sheppard inspired you to wear lederhosen and sport cuckoo clocks on your dog house!
The Iberian Horse has always been considered a
War Horse without equal. Before all else, a war horse is treasured for its
courage and stamina. War Horse qualities of the Spanish Stallion are conveyed
in his Temperament, Athleticism, and Relation to
Rider. A noble specimen of equine artistry, the Andalusian is far more
than a creature that can taught to "Dance" or fight bulls. The
Spanish Horse is living art that can work with little connection to his mouth.
I regard my Majo first and foremost as a wonderful companion animal of
exceptional courage and beauty.
So what do I do with my special guy! Well I certainly don't bore him to death with repetitive and mindless drill! I have little interest in hauling him all over God's creation looking for yet another show to sap his spirit. A great stallion deserves better than that. He has allowed me into his world, and he has carried my soul to new highs while riding the beaches, in the mountains and on the trails. We have done Exhibitions of his willing and tractable temperament. We ride in parades where he is a natural and people that know nothing of horses fall in love with this magnificent fellow. They cheer his noble presence and calm demeanor amidst the hoop de la of a parade. We have even ridden in 60 mile an hour windstorms! But what we really do best is found away from the crowd. It is a solo performance. Those are always an immense source of JOY! I am the steward of his physical and emotional welfare. He is the lifter of my spirit! We don't need to win anything or be in a herd to feel that way! He is happy to be owned by a real Maverick!
Majo is natured to relax in a street crowd. Prior to age three, he was sandwiched between a fire truck and a drill team in his first parade. To see a breeding stallion that can perform with Majo's calmness in a parade should tell you something about his training and breeding. Majo was not trained to meet other people goals. I refuse to use questionable training techniques to reach questionable objectives just to please a judge. The ride is one for us both to enjoy.
Unfortunately, many horses suffer from all kinds of bad training. The Andalusian is no exception. So many times I have heard: "He is a professional and has to treat horses like that to get results"? That is a sorry excuse for training techniques designed for a specific result – WINNING SHOWS! Unfortunately, the professionals do not lead but seem agreeable to be creators of techniques to please judges! I will never forget one professional whose techniques I questioned. He asked me if I ever took a horse to championship. I asked if that was his yardstick for success. This man was supposedly helping people learn, Yet everything in his speech was on how to win.
The impact of these techniques beyond wining was irrelevant. He had zero respect for the horse. He did not and doesn't not even own one. I yearned to hear a voice tell this trainer there is a lot more to horses than winning of ribbons and the resulting prestige. But there was the silence. Today, this trainer continues to carry horses to national championships. To most people that validates his thinking and methods and I am the heretic. The mindless continue to flock to him and he will have done his duty. He will have provided victory and winning is what it is about.
I try to listen to Majo as much as to any expert trainer. When Majo and I are both having a good time then something must be going right. Majo looks great when he is excited by the mares. He parades around with an arched neck and puffed chest looking like one magnificent hombre. But I do not expect him to ride for hours on end in the posture he uses to impress his lady friends! I ride a calm stallion that can cantor down the street in a parade and respond to my requests! Majo will put his head where he needs it to give me the response I want. And the more we ride, the more he puts his head on the vertical as a natural response.
If you ever see Majo cantering in a parade with his reins lying on his neck you will understand the Joy I share with this wonderful Spanish Stallion! My rides with him and the General were the best there is to know. There is no experience grander than Equine Joys and it has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. The beach rides of the Pacific Northwest are behind us now. But I will always remember cantering through the waves at the beach with The General at our side. Those were great times. A fetlock Injury prevents me from riding my wonderful boy. But he is a magnificent specimen of equine nobility. He wasn't made to Dance for us and he wasn't made to fight bulls. He was made to be a magnificent specimen of the equine species.
Internal combustion toys
These can never Have
The Heart of a Warrior
The Soul of a Poet
Such things can never compare to
My Iberian Stallion
Through him I know the best there is to know
Through him I found Equine Joy!