No Rest for the Wicked

After FEH Championships, my plan for Presto was to give him some time “off”. Since he came to live here in April, he’s had something done with him almost every day. Tying lessons, ground work, ponying, grooming, the basics of roundpenning, in-hand practice, trailering, and so on and so on. He’s always seemed interested and engaged in his lessons, but still, he’s been pretty busy for a baby, so I wanted to give him a few weeks to just go be a horse (except for hoof picking and fly spray, those are daily objectives).

He hated that idea.

he’s really into selfies right now

For the first couple days he didn’t seem to think anything of the fact that he was being ignored, but as more days passed, he quickly caught on. One afternoon when I went out to his pasture to fly spray him, he wouldn’t let me leave. Every time I went to step away, he tried to block my path and climb in my lap. Rude AF. Also pathetic. The next day he was in the barn eating his dinner when I arrived, and as soon as he saw me he left his food to come bang on the door with his foot, while staring right at me. If horses are capable of staring at someone accusingly, he certainly was. And he was definitely pouting when I went to Henry instead of him.

there’s been a lot of galloping

He’s been playing with (and chasing) his donkeys plenty, and he still gets to come inside twice a day to eat. It’s not like he’s been abandoned in the wild to fend for himself. Far from it. He seems to think that’s exactly what’s happened, though.

HERRO BEST DONKEY FRIEND
I eat you now

It turns out that I don’t think Presto wants a break from school. He’s become more and more of a pest every day (those poor donkeys), and finally on Monday I broke down and took him out for a pony with Henry. Yes, that’s correct… it barely lasted a week. He seemed happier immediately, though.

On one hand, I’m glad that he likes his “work” this much. I’ve tried to keep his lessons light and easy and varied, so that he never feels too much pressure or finds reason to become sour or resentful. I mean, he’s only a yearling, there’s not a lot we can do anyway. I guess he must like them, if he objected so much to having them temporarily stopped. On the other hand, his brain is so busy, and so eager, I’m not sure how the heck I’m supposed to keep him occupied for the next year and half. I’m already running out of ideas for stuff I can do with him.

These two idiots

For now he’s on semi-vacay… I’ll get him out to groom him and he can come pony with us a couple times a week. Maybe that will placate him for a little while. Such a demanding little turd. Any ideas for what else Presto can be learning over the winter? We’ll start revisiting ground driving again soon, but after that I’m running short on creativity when it comes to this little monster.

36 thoughts on “No Rest for the Wicked

  1. Working equitation style obstacles, from the ground. As exotic as needed for entertainment quality. Noodles above & below him. Flapping things. Stepping on and off things.

    Check “Pumba’s” YouTube videos. Dinosaur costume. Children. Wild activity all around. Other animal species. Desensitize to other horses in harness with a cart.

    A day hanging out at a rodeo, or FFA day, with more distractions and different species than a horse trials. Or a play day. Lots of them in the Austin area.

    What a sweetheart that he likes the attention of working! 🙂

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    1. He’s done the noodles and the curtains and the bridges and the L’s and the poles and that kind of stuff already, for his in-hand trail thing that he did. He figured all that stuff out pretty quick!

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  2. Poor Presto so bored. 🙂 It is going to be a long winter for him (and you HA). At least he likes ponying!! I def would do some more ground driving with him. Not sure what else……is there anywhere trail like so you can take him for a long walk out and away from the barn?? (Like Project Gingersnap does with her Palomino yearling pony?) that might be fun and Rob could bring the corgi 🙂 HA

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  3. No help from me except maybe start walking him in hand on trails. I love teaching trail skills that way as it forces the horse to mind their own feet though you are getting that by ponying anyway. I don’t know. No help.

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    1. We don’t have trails unless I load him up and haul to them, unfortunately. Which hopefully will happen at some point, but it becomes tough to fit it into the schedule with all Henry’s stuff too. That is a goal for the winter, though. We do have almost 100 acres of fields, which is where we pony now.

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  4. You’ve talked about ground driving. Have you considered teaching him to drive? Won’t help you with a yearling, but one can hitch a lot earlier than one can ride. Saddlebred folks do this with almost every horse, whether or not said horse goes on to a driving career. Something other disciplines could benefit from, even if they never drive the adult horse. Great way to engage a youngster. Also, horses seem to like driving, at least outside of the handful that loathe it. A good way to exercise the horse without loading the back.

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  5. You’ve created a monster, lol! To be fair, he’s had more human contact than is normal ever since he was born, seeing as he was in the ICU. I’m sure it’s what he is used to..and expects!
    I think you’re just going to have to tough love this one out. He may need to learn that being alone when you’re around is ok. Otherwise he may expect its all Presto all the time. And let’s be honest it probably WILL be, but he doesn’t need to know that, lol.

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    1. His mother was like this too, even with WAY less interaction and attention than he’s gotten. She was a really busy-minded horse that liked to work, and when she was left to her own devices for any extended period she tended to come up with things that were not good for her own safety. I had SO MANY vet bills her 2yo year because she just would not stay out of freaking trouble. Once she had a job and something to do every day, she stopped doing that and seemed content to just be a horse the rest of the time. So maybe I’m a little worried he’ll turn into his mother if I don’t give him an outlet to engage his brain? He’s so much like her in that regard…

      It’s not even like I always give him “good” attention. Sometimes I just get him out and tie him and leave him for a while LOL. But when he had his own “lessons”, he was fine with me being around and ignoring him. I always go to Henry first and work Henry first, and give all priority to Henry. Presto seemed content with that when he had his own stuff happening too. Now he’s over there like WHAT THE HELL MOM DID YOU FORGET ABOUT ME??? Ha… dummy.

      I do wonder if any of this will change once he’s gelded. Maybe that’ll make him a little less busy?

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      1. I tend to agree with nadsnovik. He’s had everyone’s undivided attention his whole life so now might be a good time for him to learn to just be. And better when he’s young enough to not get into as much trouble as a 2yo.

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        1. I think I’ll keep grooming him and ponying him a couple times a week (especially when, like now, the weather is bad and he doesn’t get as much turnout as he’s used to) but that’s about it for the next month or so. Unless he starts taking out his boredom on his donkeys, then we might have to re-evaluate. 😉 I quite LIKE the fact that he enjoys “working” though, and wants to do things, so I don’t want to discourage that. To me, for how my horses live, it’s a positive thing. He just has to not be a pest when he’s idle. 😉

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      2. Ha ha you’ve basically described Georgie as a baby. Her owner told me she spent so much money on her, and she was a total nightmare until she started under saddle.
        I think gelding will help as will him just growing up. June is so different and more mature than she was a year ago. I tend to forget how much attention a toddler needs compared to a preschooler.
        He’s going to be fun!

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        1. That’s EXACTLY how Sadie was. I started her 6 months earlier than I intended because I was so tired of paying have her stitched or stapled back together, or paying to fix whatever she broke! As soon as she had a “job”, that crap completely ground to a halt. It just took me a while to figure out the solution. Smart horses are the worst lol. Especially when they’re mares.

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  6. Would it be possible to give him a new turnout with some other horses after he’s gelded? Herd dynamic might be an interesting thing for him to learn to keep his mind busy and have someone his size to play with! (And maybe a chestnut mare to teach him how bitey face goes with the big kids. 😂) I don’t know how the pastures are in Texas, but the ones in Michigan are generally large and house anywhere from 2-25 horses.

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    1. I’d like to turn him out in the larger back pasture with a group of geldings, but their fence is not in a condition that I’m comfortable with right now. I only let mine go behind solid fencing or hot fencing, so my horses currently occupy 2 of the 3 “suitable” spaces on the property. If they made the back pasture hot again then I’d let him go out there, but right now it’s just smooth wire. :/

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      1. Darn, that’s inconvenient. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Would be nice to pawn the job of asking him to move his feet to the horses. They do it free! Lol

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  7. Stall toys? Slow feeder puzzle toys for part of his ration? Definitely a much obstacle/groundwork/liberty stuff you can think of. Up the challenge level. Back toward you, side pass without contact or ground tying. Nose to the ground for bridling/clipping. Just getting him out and tying him in a new spot while you work Henry will teach patience while still letting him think he’s not being ignored as much. TTouch, massage, Masterson method, Reiki- not because he needs bodywork but for something different and to really learn where he’s ticklish or itchy. And prep for post-gelding, when you may want to do some of that to help him heal.

    Or, is there anyone else around who you might trust to start handling him regularly? Not new things, but reinforcement from a new person or persons once or twice a week so his entertainment doesn’t always come from you. He’s had plenty of human contact, but you don’t want him becoming a one-person horse like those annoying dogs who only behave for their owners and bite everyone else.

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  8. I love that he’s so eager to learn and be a working horse! Hope he keeps that work ethic up!
    Maybe you could teach him some tricks. Or try some of that target-clicker training stuff. (Clearly I’m very educated in these areas… hahaha)

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  9. Do you think he has to do new things every time? Maybe doing *something* will keep him content.
    I think a self designed pbstavle course might be a great thing. Something you can change up easily.
    And if you find the time: haul them out to a good trail.
    And what about hauling him when you have lessons? Even if he just learns patience and waiting from it…
    That is really tol bad about the pasture, he would surely benefit from some horsey interaction.

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  10. Clicker training would be super fun for him. There are a lot of ways to teach a horse to take treats politely and that would be a great thing to work on with him. Then you can build off of that to having him do all sorts of things with clicker and treat training! I do a ton of it with my horse and she has soooo much more fun now than when we did things any other way. And she’s much more polite on the ground!

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  11. I have no idea how to add more stuff for a yearling to do. I’ve never had a horse that young. I’m just here to giggle at Presto being an attention hog. Hopefully, just getting out occasionally will satisfy him for now.

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  12. It sounds like you already have the bases covered with baby horse skills… may he always have that work ethic!
    You can always use him for stuff you may want to practice, like wrapping or braiding, or photography (conformation shots, portraits, or more artsy stuff you see on pintrest). Get him used to having his mane pulled and clippers.

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  13. Never too early to start training lateral movements – in hand at the walk is a great way to work on those sideways movements. I’ve also taught the spanish walk to a youngster before, but just for funsies. The classical training books sometimes have great in hand sections.

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  14. Teach him to fetch! I have taught critters from rats to llamas to do that (start from the end point, the critter dropping/spitting out an object into your hand while you say the word “fetch” and press the clicker. Then add steps onto the front end of the sequence until you can send him out after an object.)

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