Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marianne's lesson from Tom

Marianne riding her beloved Criollo Mise
Continuing on from my last post,  I decided to quote from the book Marianne Du Toit wrote about her 2 year journey accompanied by two horses.  In her final leg towards her goal of long riding to NYC in time for the Saint Patrick's Day parade, she passed through our town where we met and spent a few days together.

In her book, Crying with Cockroaches Argentina to New York with two horses, Marianne wrote of her problems with American horse Toto and how Tom Simmons addressed them.  She writes:

"Tom was and expert with equines and strongly believed that they should be outside in their natural habitat as much as possible and allowed to be horses.  He was well-known in the area, as well as in California, for his direct and intuitive approach with these animals.

"Toto wants to be the leader," he said, "and as long as you allow him to be that, you'll have these problems and outbursts." 

He told me that Toto did not get enough leadership from me and that I hadn't yet established my authority over him.  I told him how I was more a friend to the horses than a disciplinarian but that I recognized the importance of being in control. 

He also reckoned that while we rested at Annette's for the five days, the daily alfalfa and sweet feed combination could have made him particularly hyper.

He took Toto in a ring for a bit of training and to get him to become more submissive without hurting him.  Afterwards, Toto was like putty in my hands.  I took him on the leading rope and walked with him.  When I stopped, he stopped, when I retreated, he did the same.  You could see that he was now respecting me as the boss.  I had a feeling Toto would always have his dominant personality, and I would not have wanted to break his spirit, but at least it was clearer to him now as to who was in charge.
Tom said that Toto needed to feel safe with me and that he needed a lot of reassurance when something frightened him.  I tried to apply all the tips and advice and the improvement was noticeable immediately."
Fred Rojo, Marianne, Nancy Rojo, Tom Simmons & Camanchi

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Crying with Cockroaches


  1. This book looks really interesting. I am looking forwrd to getting a copy and reading more. What breed is your horse Romeo? He looks incredibly athletic!

  2. Hi Stacey,
    Romeo is an American Saddlebred. Show horse bred but trained for carriage rather than breed showing. He is very athletic and for thin bodied horse he is, he is powerful and quick in response. Too bad I retired before he could have progress in sport beyond Preliminary level. He is my number one driving horse now at age 13 years. Thanks for your interest! Nancy

  3. Wow. That sure is a long journey. I'm going to say she's a LOT braver than I!