Most of the time, Presto is a really good 2yo. He’s pretty chill, his manners are good, and while he is a bit cheeky (a feature I actually quite like) and likes to toe the line, he almost never crosses it. A finger pointed in his direction and a “NEEHHHH” are enough to dissuade 99% of his disobedience. But… he’s still 2. And sometimes he gets these bright ideas where he thinks he’s gonna be real naughty. Usually these rebellions are easily squashed, since he’s a rule-follower at heart. On rare occasion though, he likes to remind me of his age and breeding (73% turdbred/27% dumbblood).
I haven’t been doing quite as much with him lately as I had over the winter, mostly because I’m pretty busy with Henry. I still get him out a couple times a week to at least groom him, and he’s done a little bit of ponying/walking over poles/ground driving here and there very sporadically, but definitely not much or on any kind of regular basis. And you know how the saying goes…
Plus he’s gotten a little more swagger since moving into the turnout pasture with Cannavaro and Dobby. I have no idea why, he’s so far down on the totem pole it doesn’t even register. But he thinks he has friends now, and he feels pr-etty darn cool. Combine his newfound swagger with having very little to do, and his behavior on Sunday was the perfect storm. Presto has always been best when I’ve kept his brain occupied, and I definitely haven’t done my part lately.
The day started out well enough. I pulled him out of his pasture, groomed him, and got him ready to take out to pony. While I was currying his butt he pushed into me, which earned him a reprimand, but that was about it. I tossed Henry’s sidepull on, grabbed Presto, and went out to the mounting block. We have done this dozens of times, Presto knows that Henry stands next to the mounting block and he stands next to Henry. Except he didn’t. He wiggled, he tried to bite Henry, he tried to graze, he tried to walk away, he did literally everything but stand. It took me a few tries (and some helpful pinned ears from Henry) to get that turd to stop moving for 5 seconds so I could mount.
And honestly, that was the best he behaved the entire time. He was in rare form, trying all his tricks. He’d try to leap ahead of Henry, then plant his feet and refuse to follow. He’d be walking quietly along and then suddenly slam on the brakes and start grabbing at the grass. He lunged at every tree and bush we passed, trying to eat whatever he could get in his mouth. He tried to bite Henry. He tried to pull away. I mean good god, he has never been that bad at all once.
The nail in his coffin was when he swung his butt toward Henry and gave a half-hearted little kick out (as brave as he’s going to be toward Henry ever, I imagine). That did it. You lift your little turd feet at King Henry and I will rip them off and shove them up your butthole. He got a few HARD wallops with the end of the lead rope, and I immediately put him out on a circle to trot around me and Henry, getting his feet moving and taking some of the wind out of his sails.
We finally got back to the barn and I turned Henry loose to graze and then took Presto into the arena to have a discussion. As soon as I put him on the end of the line and asked him to move, he tried to bolt away and kick out. Fatal mistake, tiny turd. Fatal mistake. I do not tolerate the hind feet leaving the ground in my general direction in any regard – not when they’re loose, not on the lunge line, not towards Henry, and definitely not in a ground work session. He knows this. He’s known it for a long time.
The “discussion” turned into 20 minutes of groundwork, moving his feet, yielding his hindquarters, yielding his shoulder, changing gaits, and sending him over and through obstacles. At speed. With enthusiasm. Until he sweated out his demons.
Presto met Jesus in the arena that day, and he saw the light. By the time I let him stop moving his feet, he was born again. Anything I asked him to do got a quick yes ma’am. I finished up by doing a little bit of in-hand show practice, which was foot perfect aside from the fact that he swore he couldn’t get enough oxygen to trot that fast (hey kid, that’s the result of your poor life choices, not mine. Suck it up.).
Since he was nice and sweaty and hot and born-again, I decided to
baptize bathe him. He isn’t a fan of baths but lol I don’t care, so he stood there while I hosed him and soaped him and scrubbed him and hosed him again. He half-heartedly tried to put his front foot in the bucket at one point, but a “no sir” had him putting his foot back down and lowering his head to pout.
After that I decided he’d been tortured sufficiently for one day and put him back in his turnout. Cannavaro immediately lunged at him, bit him on the ass, and chased him in circles. It’s tough being a snot-nosed kid, I tell ya.
On Monday I got Presto back out, just to check and see where he was at. He was a perfect gentleman, full of yes ma’am and please and thank you. He stood like a rock in the crossties, and when I took him out to the arena for groundwork he was so good that we were done in less than 2 minutes. The new religion is sticking, at least for now. We’ll see by next week…