I think the best thing about having Presto added into the mix with Henry and me has been the amount levity he brings into everything he does. Henry is a real derp, and quite a cheeky little turd all on his own, of course, but when you just have one horse and you have a lot of riding and competition goals with said horse, sometimes things start feeling a little too… serious.
I’m definitely serious about all of this, don’t get me wrong. But I also have to be careful not to ever get too bogged down in the day to day drudgery, both for my sake and for Henry’s. He’s got a fantastic work ethic, almost too much “try” to be honest, and it would be really easy to burn him out if he couldn’t have time to just be a dork and have some no-pressure fun in our rides and interactions.
I am much the same in that I can get so hyper-focused that I forget to take a step back and just let it all go sometimes. I’ve gotten a lot better about this as my relationship with Henry has progressed over the years, because his mental health can be a bit delicate, and I’ve really had to learn how to balance everything for him.
Adding Presto into the mix has changed the dynamic a bit, and only for the better. This kid is something else. He is weird, he is goofy, he is cheeky, and he is obsessed with being as cool as Henry.
They can’t live together, of course, because Henry is a grade A asshole of a pasturemate. He lives alone, and he likes it that way. But I do occasionally turn them out together for short stints so they can play (under supervision) because Henry, as much as he would like to deny it, freaking loves that kid. Well truthfully I think he just likes having something to chase and make rude faces at, and Presto is perfect for that because he would never dream of protesting Henry’s authority. Henry sure does love a power trip.
Sometimes Henry even fancies himself a Horse Trainer and tries out his roundpenning skills on the baby.
And Presto, bless his sweet little doofus heart, is almost just too pure and innocent for this world. He’s got a “WOW, WHAT IS THAT AMAZING THING?” and “OK SURE THAT SOUNDS FUN” approach to life that you can’t help but love. He’s a little bit like a 15.3h golden retriever.
I mean… how could you not be entertained? Everything that horse does, he does with joy.
And probably a healthy dose of naughty.
But mostly joy. He thinks everything is great fun.
I try to pony him at least once a week, rides where Henry pretends to be put out by the intrusion, but secretly loves because he gets to pin his ears at the dumb baby horse whenever Presto pulls any shenanigans. Henry relishes his role as the fun police. We go on long marching walks, usually with Henry in his sidepull, and sometimes with me bareback, and we just go explore and have fun. I look at Presto and I’m reminded that it’s not about today, it’s about the big picture, the long game. These long ponying walks that were originally meant for Presto’s benefit have really come to be of great benefit to all three of us.
Having Presto around has been so refreshing, and he’s a constant reminder to not get too bogged down in the day to day minutiae. Hitting a snag in Henry’s training? Oh well. Let’s take a couple days to back off, remove the pressure, go do something fun and goofy, and try again when we’re both in a better headspace. That approach pretty much always works for us.
Presto has brought a whole lot of levity and perspective into what can sometimes feel like a slog. It’s a treat to have him here, and it makes me so happy to watch him and Henry interact. I hope that I can always do my part to retain that adorably lovable golden retriever personality.