Presto has been really, really quiet lately. He’s always pretty quiet for a baby, as far as not being an idiot, but his default setting is also “pest”. You know how baby horses are… kind of busy and mouthy and with short attention spans. Over the last month or so all of that kind of faded away to the point where even the barn worker noticed and said something to me. He ate, he drank, he played with the donkeys a bit, and he looked fine, but he just seemed to be a little more dead to the world than you would expect a long yearling colt to be. On Wednesday he was so blah that I even took his temperature to make sure he wasn’t dying (nope, all good) and left the barn wondering if I should have the vet out for another blood panel or something.
And then a cold front blew through.
Have no fear, people, Presto is back and he is a bigger menace to society than ever. I got him out intending to take him out for a pony in the field, and he was a total wiggle monster in the barn. Couldn’t stand still, wanted to put everything in his mouth, forgot very basic manners relating to what direction his butt is allowed to go at any one time, etc. And that was just in the barn.
He spent some time tied in the arena while I flatted Henry a bit, which he mostly just alternated pawing and moving his butt around from one side to the other in protest. When I untied him and went to pony him away, he decided it would be fun to bite Henry and then try to run away bucking. Clearly we were not going to pony in the field this day. Baby horse was miiiiighty big for his britches, and way too full of joie de vivre.
So baby horse got put to work instead. I really just wanted to spend 5 minutes doing walk/trot/halt transitions on the lunge line but that little turd decided to kick up his heels and try to act like a fool. I do not tolerate horses kicking out on the lunge line, especially babies, and especially when the hind feet come anywhere near my general direction, so he kept getting quickly shut down every time those hind feet decided to rocket from the earth. I wish I could say that he learned his lesson quickly, but no. We repeated it over and over and over. Finally he started to focus and I started asking for some transitions, but now he’d forgotten how to stop straight, and instead opted to turn in towards me and stop. Seriously, this is a thing he learned forever ago and hasn’t done in a really long time, he knows that whoa means halt straight, but we had to have some serious remedial school work yesterday.
By the end he managed to gather his faculties and put himself back together. Turns out he can in fact still trot and walk and whoa and stand still and pay attention. Mostly. We ended with me standing next to the big mounting block outside of the arena and stomping around, leaning on him, and flapping things around. He was unimpressed by that, so I think I sufficiently re-killed his spirit.
Life with babies is never boring.
I was glad to see him back in pest mode though, since I was starting to worry about the too-quiet behavior. Maybe he was just feeling hot and sluggish. Maybe he was moping about not getting to come out and do stuff as much lately. Either way, if yesterday was any indication, he’s cured.