Sweet Seniors! In October and into November on YourDressage, we are celebrating the special horses in our lives that are ages 20 and up through photo galleries and exclusive stories. Join us all month long as we celebrate the ‘Golden Oldies’ of the dressage community! Here, an adult amateur from Region 3 tells the story of the rock star she met at a clinic, and through a twist of fate was later able to purchase.
By Anne Titus
I met Maestoso at a riding clinic 12 years ago. I asked the owner if I could simply just sit on him. To me, that was the equivalent of shaking hands with a rock star! She said, “Why don’t you ride him in a session?” I was so overcome with excitement that I was quickly reduced to a child that was barely able to ride! He was magnificent! I could only own a horse like that in my dreams.
During one of my trips to the farm where Maestoso was, to visit a foal I was purchasing, I noticed he was not there. I was told he had been sold. I was heartbroken. When it was finally time to bring six-month-old Conversano (AKA “Tosi”) home, I arrived at the farm to pick him up, and I saw the handsome Maestoso once again! I was told he was not compatible with the new owner. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and decided to pick up the phone and ask about purchasing him. What could it hurt to ask? A short time later, I was at the farm again to pick him up and reunite him with Conversano. They have been together all of Conversano’s life, and they are best friends! Maestoso (AKA “Ross”) is now 24 years old, and still teaching others and myself.
A short time after getting Maestoso, he went to the Kentucky Horse Park to be part of the Parade of Breeds, where he represented the Lipizzaner. Sending him off on that transport was one of the hardest things I’d ever done! I had just gotten this amazing horse, but I had gone down with back issues and couldn’t even groom him. The timing was good, because he would be cared for and have a job. I had minor back surgery and was able to recover while he was there.
After he returned home, I started taking dressage lessons. Riding dressage had always been my goal. I did my first dressage show on Maestoso at Intro A and B in January 2014 with good friends by my side. Maestoso spooked and dumped me right in front of the judges before entering the ring. I climbed back on, went in, and rode a great test! Of course, it wasn’t the last time he dumped me in front of the judges, but he was teaching me a lesson of his own I guess, and thankfully I learned fast, and only had to make that climb back on twice. In February 2014, I got my first blue ribbon on Maestoso. I rode that test with a picture of my dad in my pocket. He had passed away a year ago that day. I rode that test for my daddy. As nervous as I was, it felt like Maestoso was saying let’s do this!
When he was 20, I rode him through First Level Test 2. From the age of 21, he has been the mount of a young rider for several shows at Intro through Training Level Test 3. He can give some attitude, especially in the warm up, but when the bell rings, he’s all business. He loves having his picture taken when he’s finished a test, and even seems to expect it. He has truly taught me the meaning of riding your horse 100% of the time. He becomes easily bored and will find excitement himself. He’s taught me that even though he’s the alpha in the horse world, he needs me to be a leader. His nickname is The Enforcer! He is the alpha horse and respected by the other horses as such! He is small but mighty, with a huge presence!
He’s got years of knowledge, and I am thankful to him for sharing all that knowledge with me.
He has the same spunk as when I got him at age 12. He still does several clinics a year with classical riding instructor/trainer, Cody Harrison.