Newsflash, y’all: this kid can be a real punk when he wants to be. At least for a few minutes at a time, anyway.
I have to give him credit too, his moments of punkiness are 100% calculated and planned. Presto is not a reactionary horse in the least, he is a plotter and a planner, a mischievous little semi-deviant who sees himself as a bonafide rebel with a rad punk rock hairdo and an overactive sideeye. But on the inside, he’s 0% committed to being a Bad Horse. He’s easily swayed by his desire for snacks, and easily intimidated by authority, so usually all it takes to get him back in line is a growl or a swift correction. He is all bark, no bite. All hat, no cattle. All foam, no beer. Or I guess in this case: all mohawk, no… piercings?
I’m pretty convinced that he spends most of his free time brainstorming new schemes. You can usually tell when he thinks he’s struck gold, because he’ll have a particular little gleam in his eyes when I go get him. When I see that I’m always like “oh boy, here we go, what bright idea have you come up with today?”. Except his ideas are never bright. He thinks they are… right up until Reckoning time when I put the kibosh on that shit real quick. He’s just so bad at being bad.
The latest in his string of bright ideas has been experimenting with various turdly ideas during ponying. Clearly he’s gotten a little too comfortable with the routine, if he’s graduated into being a punk about it. When things are genuinely new, scary, or interesting, he’s usually a golden child. But we’ve been ponying a lot more lately, 3-4 days a week for 40ish minutes at a time. These are forward, marching walks out through the fields, up and down our hills. Presto used to have a hard time matching Henry’s pace, but as he’s gotten a bit stronger, his walk has gotten bigger and more forward too. Now that he’s not struggling to keep up, he’s got a little less to keep his brain occupied. We all know what that means.
The first bright idea was the Must Eat Now day. On that particular afternoon he spent the first half of our ponying session trying all myriad of ways to get snacks. The first attempt was just your standard plant-feet-and-yank-head-down approach, for which he got a swift smack on the butt and a series of extremely dirty looks from Henry, who does not take kindly to having his hacks interrupted by shenanigans. That having failed, Presto next tried to randomly exit stage right, throwing himself into the bushes and grabbing desperately at whatever greenery ended up near his mouth before I could reel him back in. One quick jungle extraction later, he spent the next 10 minutes plodding along politely, clearly pouting about his failure. And since his bottom lip is very square and juts out a good inch beyond his top lip, it’s extra amusing when he pouts.
Then out of nowhere he just completely disappeared from beside me and I looked back to see him fling himself down on one knee, grab a huge bite of grass, and pop back up again, all in one swift motion. Honestly, it was kind of impressive from a sheer athleticism and cleverness standpoint. So naughty, but really crafty. You gotta admire that. Of course, it can’t be tolerated either, so we spent a few minutes moving his feet (while I chuckled a lot more than I should have, probably) and reminding him that ponying time is business time, after which he promptly gave up and hasn’t tried it again since. He’s SO not dedicated to his rebellions, it’s actually kind of pathetic.
After another few near-perfect ponying sessions, he’d come up with his next scheme. This time he spent the first five minutes constantly trying to reach over and bite Henry. That in itself isn’t new, he usually manages to summon up the courage for a little nip at least once or twice per session. This time, though, it was constant. The end of my lead rope turned into a whacker, and every time that naughty little nose pointed our way he got a nice wallop. Of course, not being totally new to this game, he would quickly nip at Henry and then leap to the right or duck down to avoid the wallop. That was a new one. Granted, all I had to do was increase the range of my wallop, which really seemed to have him stumped. HOW WAS I STILL ABLE TO NAIL HIM, DESPITE HIS AMAZING ACROBATIC ESCAPES?
Baby horses are really stupid, guys. It’s hilarious.
So again, that game ended after a few minutes, and Presto trudged along looking defeated once more. I have no doubt that sometime in the next couple weeks when I go to get him, the gleam will be back and he’ll roll out his newest brightest idea. I also have no doubt that it won’t really be that bright, and we’ll go through the motions all over again. He is nothing if not entertaining.