24 hours. That’s all the time Presto got to settle in before his first big boy day of what I will call “Charm School”. It could also be called “Real Life” or “Fun’s Over, Kid” or “Boot Camp” or “Your Mom is a Real Drag”. So ya know, Charm School just sounds better.
As soon as I got to the barn I went out to his pasture to check on him, with a few alfalfa pellets in hand. I don’t want him to think that he’s in for torture (his words, not mine) every time he sees me coming, so I intend to make a point to walk out there sometimes and just love on him or give him a little something tasty. He doesn’t run from people, or avoid being caught, but he’s definitely wary of what fresh hell you intend to unleash on him. Can’t say that I blame him for the wariness, considering all the poking and prodding and medications he’s gotten in his one year on earth.
So I walked up, gave him a couple alfalfa pellets, rubbed his face, and then left his pasture. He followed me for a few steps before he resumed grazing next to his bestest BFF Quarter Horse across the fence (he’s still not that interested in his donkeys).
After I rode Henry, Presto was still in his stall finishing his dinner hay, so I pulled him out and led him into the barn for grooming. He wasn’t totally keen on my idea, and neighed a couple times, but he came willingly enough. I curried him and brushed him and picked out all 4 feet with very little protest. The barn worker was turning the horses out, so every time he led one out of it’s stall Presto got a little concerned about where that one was going and would dance for a few steps or neigh/poop. But overall the grooming part was pretty civil, so I grabbed a dressage whip and headed out to the arena for a few minutes of in-hand work.
We walked, trotted, practiced standing up correctly for in-hand classes, and backing. He’s actually quite obedient for the in-hand work (we worked on it a few times before his inspection), although very very ADD. He gave me as little of his attention as possible, and was much more interested in all the horses that were coming and going to and from the barn. He did everything I asked though, so we can work on the Eyes and Ears On Me part.
Then I started introducing the most very basic idea of lunging – just basically sending him around me in a small circle on the lead rope and working on cluck = forward, whoa = slow down. The left he understood almost immediately. The right he was a little less cooperative about, but after a few corrections he gave me several proper circles. The good thing is that he’s quite civil about not pushing into my space, and takes the corrections well. He’s smart. Maybe a little too smart, just like his mother. It could be a challenge to keep his brain engaged for good instead of evil.
We ended by walking over some poles in hand, which he plodded right over no problem. We were out there for a total of 11 minutes… that’s how fast he got all of those concepts. Then I took him back to the crosstie area to give him his soaked alfalfa pellets + oil. I’m trying to get more condition on him, he’s so growthy and scrawny looking right now. Plus I want him to associate that area with good things, and look forward to coming inside for his lessons. While he ate I draped the lead rope across him, around his legs, picked up his feet again, and tossed a saddle pad all over him. He kind of just gives me the same “You are LITERALLY the most annoying person in the entire world but FINE” look that Henry gives me all the time. He did think I was trying to murder him when I got to the fly spray part though.
I went home and ordered him an arab size rope halter, hoping the nose is a little smaller, because that current one (which is supposed to be horse size but looks like it would fit an elephant) is just ridiculous. I got hunter green on a whim. I dunno, I think he might be a navy and green kind of guy. We’ll see, I guess. His summer coat is just barely starting to poke through, a nice super dark chocolate brown, but he still looks really mousey from being clipped.
We’ll keep doing these short little lessons and then hopefully maybe next week I can start trying to pony him a little!