Presto the Show Horse

A few months ago when I was planning Presto’s move and subsequent, uh, life… I tentatively highlighted a couple of Future Event Horse shows that I might consider taking him to. Caveat being, since he’s a yearling, it would depend on how he looked at that particular moment in time. He’s a leggy, rangey, kinda scrawny looking type of guy. His large percentage of thoroughbred blood is obvious. While I personally think that’ll make him end up being a pretty great event horse type, right now it makes him look a bit like a baby giraffe. Sometimes llama.

He has great hair though

While most of the judges at FEH are able to see through stuff like that, it certainly doesn’t put him at his best for the whole in-hand showing thing when he’s in the middle of a particularly giraffey growth spurt. A couple weeks ago he actually was looking like the May 20th show might be possible. He’d filled out a lot, his neck was looking pretty normal, and he almost had a butt. Then, seemingly overnight, he grew another inch and everything went back to mega giraffe mode. Like… he’s cute from only a few very specific angles, and only if he stands very still. I love him, but it’s true. He’s hardcore in the teenage awkwards.

when mom left you tied IN the stall, but since you’re basically a piece of spaghetti you can contort yourself sideways through any opening

So, the May 20th FEH show is a no-go. I just have a hard time wanting to send in the entry and spend a couple hundred dollars when he’s not in a particularly attractive stage of growth. I thought about just saying screw it and taking him anyway, for the experience, but… it’s a long drive and a lot of money to spend for experience.

There’s another little show here in town this coming weekend at the place where I sometimes take Henry for laid back Combined Tests. It’s cheap, it’s a lot closer, and it still has plenty of hustle and bustle and LOTS to look at. More than the other show, honestly. They also offer one in hand class – “in hand trail”. Presto is definitely not a trail horse. I have never done a trail class in my life. I’m not even totally sure that I know what it is. I mean, Henry and I have wandered over to their trail course a couple times so he could snort at all the pool noodles (there are so many pool noodles) but that’s the extent of my education.

Naturally, I cackled wildly and signed Presto up for in hand trail.

when the show organizer finds the note you left in your online entry form

I mean, worst case scenario he won’t go near any of it and we “wasted” our $15. But they let you come school the course beforehand, so we’ll have a little time to snort and freak out at all the weirdness before I have to try to actually get him through the whole thing. I’ll be honest, if I can get him through it all, I’ll be shocked. It’ll be good for him, though.

Some of their trail course. Gonna go out on a limb here and say that the pool noodle curtain might be our undoing.

Last week I did set up a couple of little things with poles in our arena… a square that he had to pivot in, an L shape that he had to back through, and two barrels set about 4′ apart that I “sent” him through back and forth by himself. He understood all of it pretty much immediately, then a few horses neighed in the barn and he forgot his place in the world for a moment. A few corrections later, he remembered.

that face you make when you remember that you reside at the bottom of the totem pole

So I have no idea how any of this will go, but at the very least it will be good for him to get in the trailer and go somewhere alone, get to see the commotion of a show, and be expected to “perform” and pay attention in the midst of it all. It might be a long day for all of us. There will be a lot of those in the next 4 years.

As an aside, I texted the farrier yesterday to ask how Presto was for his trim and he said “Perfect! He gets a gold star.”. Majorly proud mom moment right there. He was not so good before and I’ve been working with him a lot, because I can’t friggin stand it when horses have bad farrier manners. He’s gotten to where he’s really good for me now, but you never know whether those manners will translate in the real world. Very glad he wasn’t a monkey (and so was the farrier)!

19 thoughts on “Presto the Show Horse

  1. I think I did an entire post on prepping for in hand trail, but its breed show in hand trail, so a little different. I wish it had more pool noodles. Joey is pool noodle pro.


      1. Yeah, I’d love to take Joey through cowboy challenge type obstacles. Luckily fear isn’t ever a concern, it’s more about making sure he understands the question sometimes. He’s a fearless monkey.


  2. I don’t think I could get my 6 y/o “baby” through that trail course 😂 of course she is still randomly a shit for the farrier despite having regular trims every 6 weeks for 6 YEARS soooooo 🙄 haha. Presto is gonna be so well-adjusted and chill by the time he’s actually ready to event with all the prep work you have planned!


  3. Not sure how close you are to Parrie Haynes Equestrian Center but they have an obstacle course and 5,000 acres to ride on – plus other ‘obstacles’ like fire pit gates of hell, bathrooms where people randomly appear/disappear like magic, other horses that must be glared at, suspicious vehicles and trailers and the always terrifying MULES!! You could pony Presto through the trails and tackle the obstacle course all for a whopping $10 a day! I’ve taken my babies there so many times they are pretty much immune to everything.


  4. I love this idea! I’ve been toying with taking my yearling to a FEH show in October, but that’s a long way off so we’ll see how she looks (and how well the show budget is doing at that point in the year lol). One of our local barns sometimes has a young horse class at their dressage show where you can practice the triangle walk/trot and standing up for the judge, and I’ve been hoping to take her to one of those this summer. I took her to a cowboy clinic in March, and he worked with us on what I guess you would call in hand trail, and she was perfect. The university program I got her from did a TON of trail obstacles and desensitizing with the babies, so she’s pretty much a pro at dealing with novel obstacles. My goal is to get her off property at least twice more this year, and bonus points if she gets to stay the night in a new place too!


  5. I bet he totally rocks it and knocks your socks off. It’ll be the second, third and fourth times you take him to do the in-hand trail that he is a nut. 😉 My Mom always does in hand trail and lunge line classes with her yearlings and they all end up being SUPER easy 2 and 3 yo. I think it is a GREAT idea and I can’t wait to see the pics.


  6. Please, PLEASE tell me there is someone there who will take a good video of this experience. Presto´s first show.
    I need it. Seriously.
    Even if it´s just to see your jaw drop when he is behaving like an angel through the whole course….
    Oh, and: can you please tell me that you will never tame that forelock?


  7. Please tell me you have a videographer coming to Presto’s show debut. I really feel like I’m gonna wanna watch it over and over and over…


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