When Bandero turned about 5 1/2, we took him to a well known and recommended trainer in Paso Robles named Tye Mac Donald. Tye was a favorite here for starting young horses. Bandero was with him for about 4 months and Tye got him rideable for us. He also introduced Bandero to cows, which did not go well at first. Bandero definitely didn't take to dealing with cows.  He did get alot of time riding in the river and trailering with other horses. Tye was very good to Bandero but Bandero was really miserable there. He really didn't want to be a "cowboy horse". He hated the pipe corrals  and he hated the ranch as well. This was a real working cow horse ranch, nothing al all like his sweet home with his own box stall and all his family.  We visited him every week, and every week he had made progress but he was becoming sadder and sadder. We finally had to just bring him home!
Bandero was glad to be back home. He may not have wanted to be a "Cowboy horse" ( HIS words!), but he did learn alot of basic horse stuff from Tye. Trailering in a stock trailer with 5 other horses, standing tied to a trailer for a while, riding in the river, pushing cows around, having a rope twirled around him...all that cowboy stuff. But the most important thing Bandero learned was to how to carry humans around on his back and take instructions from them and not make them fall off.  This was a huge help to us as now we could ride him! He's a big moving horse. He has a LONG stride that gets you across the arena real fast even though you maybe didn't want to go that fast! We are having to learn how to ride a big horse like this...most of our riding experience came from small, compact, gaited horses like Peruvian Pasos. So Bandero is a bit of a 'culture shock' for us! Our beautiful prince is about 6 years old in these pictures and just look at those amazing dapples. He sure is evolving into a magnificent animal. He does want to be a 3-day event horse though. He is powerful and athletic and proud. But to the heart of it, he is loving and kind and oh so sensitive.  Momma Cinders was so strict with him as a baby horse, he is ultra careful of not getting out of line. The poor boy believes that everything is his fault and he's already sorry for it before we even get started! Cinders training of him in the early years made the human's part of his training much easier. He's a BIG, energetic colt, but he came with MANNERS built in.  He loves working at liberty with Randy and Randy can even correct his lead simply by saying "lead" when Bandero is cantering around on the wrong lead. It's pretty cool to watch. I wish WE were better informed...Bandero is so capable of so much more.
2014 was a great year for our star boy. He's getting so big and so white!  He's the kind of horse that loves to play. He's a "young minded ' guy for now so we concentrated on respectful play and de-sensitization for several months. Box mashing is a favorite job of Indigo's, but Bandero wasn't too fond of it. While Indigo enjoys stomping the boxes flat, Bandero tried to navigate through them without really touching them if he could. It really helped him not be spooky about the sound or the flapping box.  My sister Terrie also came over a few times and rode him so he would continue to understand that he had to comply with other humans. She's a barrel racer so she really appreciated his long, ground covering stride! While Randy does most of the work with Bandero, sometimes I would also put him through his routine. He followed my body language just perfectly, stopping as soon as I bent over a little, coming in to a gesture, stopping, backing up, all with simple hand gestures. But more then anything, Bandero loves his "daddy", Randy.  Randy and Bandero have a special bond that is so wonderful to watch. Randy speaks to Bandero just like a human sometimes and the two of them wander around the arena "finding" things. "Hey, Bandero, come look at this", and Randy will have found a 'special' rock to show him. Bandero stays right with him while they 'search' for more treasures. I'm sure Bandero doesn't understand what Randy thinks is so special about a rock, but he obviously enjoys the interaction.
In July of 2014, Bandero got to go to the school of his dreams. Twin Rivers Ranch in San Miguel with trainer Andrea Baxter. This was a dream come true for all of us and Bandero really came into himself and just "bloomed". He loved the beautiful wide open ranch and he loved being able to stretch  his muscles and really move out. The Thoroughbred in him really came to life. THIS is what he was meant to do. I can't say enough wonderful things about Andrea Baxter. She understood Bandero and believed in him and helped him find the courage  he needed to actually compete in a 3-day event.  For as big and as 'forward' as Bandero is, he's really kind of a timid horse and I have to blame his mother for this as she was SO strict with him. He's almost afraid to try something for fear he'll get in trouble for it. But Andrea kept the training fun and without pressure or stress. He was allowed to feel victorious for every attempt and accomplishment. Bandero was treated like royalty, just like all the other expensive Warmbloods that were in training there. Andrea was impressed with his athleticism and laughed that he was better then some of the expensive colts that came through there! She did so well with him and Randy and I visited every week to watch them work out. It was some of the happiest times of our life, watching Bandero in training.
Training at Twin Rivers Ranch went extremely well. By September of 2014, Bandero was ready for his first 3-day event. We were like proud parents watching our child "graduate" from a prestigious school!  Bandero did very well and scored high in the Dressage section. Stadium jumping wasn't great, but cross country was stellar.  Here's a video of his run:  Remember, this is his very first cross country run and he was really scared!  But Andrea gave him the courage to finish the course and he was able to jump every jump. At some point, we will get Bandero back to Twin Rivers for more training. He has grown up so much and become such a magnificent horse. Watching him work just takes your breath away. He has a natural rather high stepping animation about him that I hope can be developed with more training.  More later!
Bandero's time at Twin Rivers went by way too fast. What a wonderful time for all of us and Bandero enjoyed it so much. It is in our heartfelt dreams and plans to get him back there some day. But for now, our silver boy is content with being a 'pet' horse. He has become SO silvery white and so big! I think he's a bit taller then Cinders now. I use "Horse Sense White Knight" shampoo on him and boy does it ever make him shimmer.  He's alot of horse for us so we haven't taken him out on the trail yet but I'm sure he'd be just fine.  We mainly do fun things and play with him and he gets to race the fence line with Ricky and Momma Cinders.  Uncle Indigo has taught him to be a CLEAN mess in the stall and all his business is done way out in his run.  His horse family has made working with him much easier for us little humans! The future looks bright.......

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