A few months ago when I was planning Presto’s move and subsequent, uh, life… I tentatively highlighted a couple of Future Event Horse shows that I might consider taking him to. Caveat being, since he’s a yearling, it would depend on how he looked at that particular moment in time. He’s a leggy, rangey, kinda scrawny looking type of guy. His large percentage of thoroughbred blood is obvious. While I personally think that’ll make him end up being a pretty great event horse type, right now it makes him look a bit like a baby giraffe. Sometimes llama.
While most of the judges at FEH are able to see through stuff like that, it certainly doesn’t put him at his best for the whole in-hand showing thing when he’s in the middle of a particularly giraffey growth spurt. A couple weeks ago he actually was looking like the May 20th show might be possible. He’d filled out a lot, his neck was looking pretty normal, and he almost had a butt. Then, seemingly overnight, he grew another inch and everything went back to mega giraffe mode. Like… he’s cute from only a few very specific angles, and only if he stands very still. I love him, but it’s true. He’s hardcore in the teenage awkwards.
So, the May 20th FEH show is a no-go. I just have a hard time wanting to send in the entry and spend a couple hundred dollars when he’s not in a particularly attractive stage of growth. I thought about just saying screw it and taking him anyway, for the experience, but… it’s a long drive and a lot of money to spend for experience.
There’s another little show here in town this coming weekend at the place where I sometimes take Henry for laid back Combined Tests. It’s cheap, it’s a lot closer, and it still has plenty of hustle and bustle and LOTS to look at. More than the other show, honestly. They also offer one in hand class – “in hand trail”. Presto is definitely not a trail horse. I have never done a trail class in my life. I’m not even totally sure that I know what it is. I mean, Henry and I have wandered over to their trail course a couple times so he could snort at all the pool noodles (there are so many pool noodles) but that’s the extent of my education.
Naturally, I cackled wildly and signed Presto up for in hand trail.
I mean, worst case scenario he won’t go near any of it and we “wasted” our $15. But they let you come school the course beforehand, so we’ll have a little time to snort and freak out at all the weirdness before I have to try to actually get him through the whole thing. I’ll be honest, if I can get him through it all, I’ll be shocked. It’ll be good for him, though.
Last week I did set up a couple of little things with poles in our arena… a square that he had to pivot in, an L shape that he had to back through, and two barrels set about 4′ apart that I “sent” him through back and forth by himself. He understood all of it pretty much immediately, then a few horses neighed in the barn and he forgot his place in the world for a moment. A few corrections later, he remembered.
So I have no idea how any of this will go, but at the very least it will be good for him to get in the trailer and go somewhere alone, get to see the commotion of a show, and be expected to “perform” and pay attention in the midst of it all. It might be a long day for all of us. There will be a lot of those in the next 4 years.
As an aside, I texted the farrier yesterday to ask how Presto was for his trim and he said “Perfect! He gets a gold star.”. Majorly proud mom moment right there. He was not so good before and I’ve been working with him a lot, because I can’t friggin stand it when horses have bad farrier manners. He’s gotten to where he’s really good for me now, but you never know whether those manners will translate in the real world. Very glad he wasn’t a monkey (and so was the farrier)!