Presto the Baby Event Horse

Omg y’all. This baby horse, he is too cute. I cannot handle it.

PrestoXC2

So, as I talked about in yesterday’s post, the real purpose of this trip was to be an XC school for Henry, dipping our toes back in for the first time since Chatt. But I brought Presto along too, which of course means two different sets of adventures – one for each horse. Since you already got to see Henry’s part, now it’s time for Presto’s! His is a little more… entertaining. More dramatic. Less professional.

PrestoXC3
Meeee???

My original intention was to leave Presto back at the stalls with some of the other horses, ride Henry, then come back and get Presto for a quick in-hand session with my trainer and a short pony around the field. Presto was not keen on that plan. As soon as we started leaving the barns he pitched a yearling tantrum and I was pretty sure that he was either going to climb up or jump over the little metal gate that serves as a stall door at this facility. Clearly he was Not Okay with being left with a 4yo OTTB as his babysitter, and those gates are not exactly a safe, solid barrier behind which you can let a baby horse work through his tantrum. This was not the appropriate time or place to address his anxiety, so, Plan B: take him out with us.

PrestoFlat
He wanted to be friends with everyone. No one wanted to be friends with him.

He walked and trotted next to Henry while we warmed up, then I pawned him off on whoever was available to hold him while Henry and I cantered and jumped. Presto was pretty concerned the first couple times I handed him off and then cantered away, but he got less and less anxious about it as the schooling wore on and he realized he wasn’t being abandoned.

Presto walked through the water (although there wasn’t much water in it – mostly pea gravel and puddles) with us, and then after everyone jumped through there we went over with the group to the ditches. Presto thought those were kinda scary. His first leap across was nothing short of hilarious.

PrestoDitch1
This is my life size baby horse balloon. It’s a real hit at parties.

The second attempt was still careful, but much less dramatic.

PrestoXCditch2nd.jpg

After the ditches we headed over to the bank complex and walked up and down the little bitty one. Those are no big deal, he seems to understand the concept of stepping up and stepping down pretty well. He might even be better at the stepping down part than Henry is. Of course, he did travel in a step-up trailer a lot when he was a baby, so that might be why he understands the concept so well. But at moments like this, I can get glimpses of his future, and it’s pretty exciting.

PrestoUpbank
Do you see the event horse lurking inside this baby horse balloon?

So he conquered water, ditches, and banks: the holy trinity of cross country. Check, check, and check.

After that I hopped off of Henry and had Trainer watch me trot Presto in hand. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to help him get the best trot possible in the show ring. At his FEH show he was quite BLEH, trotting flat and quiet like a hunter and then just breaking to a disorganized canter. It helped that he was a little amped here, and I’ve been experimenting with running more “knee high” myself to get more of the same action from him. As soon as she had me shorten the lead rope and keep him closer to me, we got the last little bit of change that we needed. Such a small simple tweak, but this is why I needed eyes on the ground. Hard to handle the horse and see what he’s doing at the same time.

MCPwalkboys

It’s definitely A LOT taking both of these doofuses to something like this. Many thanks to the ground people that held my baby horse for me, and for everyone else’s patience while we played with the baby. I hope he was entertaining at least. The extra great thing about this venue is that the stalls are at the front, near a semi-busy road, and the XC runs next to a railroad track. He got to hear traffic noise AND trains while we were there! Didn’t give a shit about either, btw, which is good because I’ve been on a couple horses that had absolute meltdowns about that train. It was certainly a productive day for his little brain, with all kinds of good “experience points”. Hopefully by the time he gets to his first real XC schooling, some of this stuff will be old hat!

25 thoughts on “Presto the Baby Event Horse

  1. um Presto looks like he is growing again all lean and long. OMG he is going to be huge. 🙂 HA HA HA

    And how much fun he got to go along! And so much drama! 🙂 I cannot WAIT till you are doing the schoolings on him. they will never ever be boring. What a good baby though and Henry deserves a ton of treats for putting up with Presto. Tho that photo of Presto over Henry’s neck may be one of my fave all time ones. OMG so cute…..

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    1. I don’t think he’s stopped growing since the day I brought him home. His legs are already longer than Henry’s, and the only growth plates that are fused by this age are from the cannon bone down!

      Henry gets a lot of treats. Like… a lot. And he deserves all of them.

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    1. Me too! On one hand I’m really enjoying this baby phase, watching him soak up everything like a sponge. On the other hand, I’m ready for him to be old enough to ride!

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  2. You are doing such a great job with him! Being exposed to all of this so early on, he is going to be a SUPER nice event horse when he grows up! 🙂

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  3. I can’t. He’s going to be perfect just like his uncle Henny.
    Also yay for train experience! They have a ring in VT next to the train tracks, and a lot of horses lose their mind over it when it comes through. You have the option to wait for it to pass before showing in that ring, so it’s not a bit detriment. But how annoying. I thought for sure Jamp would come unhinged about it, but he actually didn’t care at all. Full of surprises that one.

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  4. That pic of him going up the bank – he totally looks like an event horse there. The lines of his body just scream “eventer”, long and lean.
    I think he will be at least as great on XC as Uncle Henny. So far he seems pretty much unfazed by anything you throw at him. Guess it´s a combo of Sadie´s character traits and what he´s already experienced in his short life..
    I cannot wait to see him under saddle…

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  5. The great thing is that by the time you approach all these obstacles from his back they’ll be old hat to him. You’re getting all the theatrics out of the way (thinking of those hilarious videos where horses just waaaay overcompensate their first time over Xcountry jumps)

    It looks like Presto had fun too, which is even better!

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    1. That’s what I’m hoping. I want him to feel sure of himself in the face of new or scary things, long before I ask him to deal with them under saddle. I hope it helps make him a more confident and relaxed horse later down the road. Time will tell!

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  6. Remember back to before he left the breeding farm, when you were wondering if it would be better to just board him out at pasture somewhere, and let him grow for a year or so? I’m sure you are very glad you decided to keep him with you! These experiences are priceless! And how much fun to add more and more to the baby-yearling scrapbook album! 🙂

    Presto is glad to be with you, too. And Henry is also glad that Presto … oh well wait, better check with Henry on that … 😉

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  7. And how good Presto is at getting what HE wants. That picture of his face looking at the camera from over Henry’s neck … Presto wanted to go adventuring with Henry, and there he is adventuring with Henry. Score. 🙂

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  8. I just love that you do all these adventures with him! He is most hilarious but seems pretty game! Hell, once you swing a leg over in a couple of years he will already be ready to go Novice! haha!

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