Presto’s First FEH

Well that was definitely an adventure! And one that went about as well as I could have possibly ever hoped.

Unimpressed Presto is Unimpressed

Presto got a mega deep clean scrubby bath on Saturday, which seemed to annoy both of us equally. I’m so glad he only has one tiny white sock. Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve had a show horse with any leg white, because I forgot how freaking annoying it is to scrub socks and try to keep them clean. Plain bays forever. But I got him clean, brushed all the burrs out of his forelock (OMG the debris that thing can hold, it’s like a big puffy tangle of velcro) and told him not to get too dirty overnight.

so fresh and so clean clean

Sunday morning I was out at the barn by 6am, and managed to get him fed, hitch up the trailer, check and put air in my trailer tires, load my stuff, bring him in, groom him, braid him (the Quick Knot did AMAZING – stayed in perfectly for all 8 hours of our day and were so quick and easy to put in/take out with a wiggly baby), get after his orange tail with some black spray, and get him loaded, all in under an hour. There was some initial screaming but by the time I got on the highway he was settled and munching hay, which he did the entire rest of the 2.5 hour drive. Thank you kiddo for being a good hauler.

Mum, you’re the worst.

The trip was delightfully uneventful, and we got to the facility, parked, I went to check in, and then unloaded. Presto took a quick look around, let his presence be known with a trumpeting neigh (like, really though, my eardrums), and went straight to grazing. Pretty crazy, this baby horse.

the awkwards, we has ’em

We arrived with about an hour to kill until our class time, so I just let him hang out and graze until about 20 minutes before. Then it was back to the trailer for another quick brush off, a halter change, some hoof oil, and I grabbed my whip and helmet.

But everything was running a bit behind, so we went back to the real serious business: NOMS.

calm down, kid.
he also liked watching the horses out on XC

Finally it was our turn in the ring, by which point I was dripping sweat. Thankfully Presto was pretty well behaved. A little wiggly at times for all the standing parts, but nothing too dramatic. Of course, by the time he’d stood out in the baking sand ring in the midday Texas summer sun for a while, he didn’t have much fire in him for the walk and trot. He did his best impression of a pokey hunter. Which would be great if they weren’t looking for uphill dressage type gaits with impulsion.

this is the only pic I have of us in the ring and literally all of us look confused. Peter was still adjusting his triangle markers. 

After we were done I went and tied him to the trailer again and then watched some of the older horses go while we waited for scores. At one point while I was standing next to the ring I caught part of a conversation between the judge and the organizer, with him telling her not to think he’d lost his mind with the scoring, that at a show a few weeks ago he’d scored only one or two in the 70’s, with the rest in the 60’s. My heart kind of sank at that, interpreting it to mean that the scores were really low. I didn’t go to the show expecting a qualifying score (which is 72 or higher), in fact I actually didn’t think Presto would get one, but, ya know… hope springs eternal? The judge was Peter Gray, one of the Championship judges from last year and will be again this year as well, so I know he’s legit and can be tough. I also knew that my yearling definitely looked gawkier and less developed than everyone else’s did. In a sea of Irish babies, a mostly-TB-with-a-little-warmblood definitely looks… different. Legs twice as long, body half the mass.

Look at that baby horse standing at the trailer by himself like a real boy

So I was pretty floored when I got his score sheet and saw that he’d scored a 75.95 (at what point do we get to round up to 76?). He was last of the 4 yearlings, of course, I knew he would be, but they were all within a few points of each other and had some good scores. The judge said the overall quality of the group was very good.

Looking at the score sheet and the comments, I agree with all of it. Presto’s biggest strength is definitely his type, he LOOKS like an event horse, but he’s pretty awkward right now development-wise, especially in his topline (or lack thereof) and that showed up in his frame score. That part just might not come until he’s older, honestly. And despite not really showing his gaits as well as I know he can, he scored decently enough there, and then got a nice score for general impression too.

“great attitude” ❤

I can’t complain about that. For one of the Championship judges to give him a good enough score to essentially stamp Presto’s ticket, it’s a compliment. It means he thinks the horse is good enough to want to see him again in September, and he will. FEH Championships, here we come!

Really though, the way Presto handled the whole day was just as exciting as getting a qualifying score. He hauled great both ways, loaded easily both ways (I did all of this ALONE, btw), drank well, ate all of his hay, and stood at the trailer like a champ. That’s really what it’s all about.

42 thoughts on “Presto’s First FEH

  1. What a good boy (and you ain’t half bad yourself doing all that LOL)
    So exciting he qualified. Now to see what he looks like in Sept HA!
    He definitely is looking more horse-like. If you squint you can see it 🙂

    He really is such a great youngster though. Nothing phases him!!

    Love that shot of him at the trailer AND watching the cc horses 🙂 So cute….

    And yes the two half socks Remus has i would love to just color them in buckskin 🙂 I hate keeping socks clean…..if they were meant to be clean they should be up on the body not down in the dirt LOL!


  2. That is so exciting! What wonderful confirmation for your breeding choice and the hard work you’ve put in since Sadie got in foal! I can’t wait to see what he looks like come September. 🙂 Congratulations!


    1. That’s pretty much how I feel about it. I mostly wanted him to behave and get some good miles/experience, and really as long as he scored over 68 I’d have been happy.


  3. Congrats! What a good baby horse! I’m a little disappointed that our FEH show is after Central Champs, but honestly I probably wouldn’t be able to make it that far anyway even if my filly did get a qualifying score. I guess maybe we can aim for an earlier show in her two year old year if she does well this year.


    1. I’m really excited about the inaugural Central Championships. We’ll see how it goes this year, but I’m guessing it might be pretty well-attended. East or West Coast was so unfeasible for most people in the middle of the country, so I definitely hope the Central one is a success and continues on.


      1. Oh I definitely agree that Texas is much better than either coast, but it’s still a 10 hour drive from MO. It would be cool if they moved it around each year. Kentucky would be a much more reasonable drive.


  4. Congrats!! I knew he would be on his best behaviour. I think he really thrives in the show atmosphere.
    Great marks, especially the one of a “successful future”! You must be so proud (and you should be!!) that your self-bred baby is exactly what you wanted!


  5. That 8 down at the bottom is all you really need to remember ❤
    What a great day, and I really can't get over his brain and attitude. What an amazing baby horse you have there!


    1. I was totally frickin thrilled with the Type score and the General Impression. Like… to ME he definitely looks like everything you’d want an event horse to be, but it’s always nice to have someone high profile like Peter – an Olympian – agree with that sentiment. I think most of his “negatives” will work themselves out in time, or are relatively easy to improve upon once he’s under saddle.


  6. thats so fantastic – glad you guys had a good experience. and he scored really well considering he kinda looks like a mule right now (yearling uglies are… really a thing.)


  7. Yay Presto! Good job -both of you. He deserves all the best considering his rough start in life. But lots of times, foals that are ill at birth and handled a lot are imprinted, super gentle, and sensible for life. Keep us posted on both the boys!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s an absolutely awesome achievement.

    The thought of putting my yearling through that…. well I wouldn’t be there alone let’s just say that haha.

    What a cool program though, another thing I would love to see over here.


    1. It’s a cool program, even if it’s not the most accurate predictor for future success. It brings attention to breeding, gets some recognition for the breeders and horses, and gets good show experience for the horses. In all those ways, it’s great.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations! You deserve it – you’ve prepped him really well, and that shows in the comment about the great attitude. Yeah, a good nature helps, but you’ve done the work to prepare him and that lets him show off that great nature. Take some credit, you’ve earned it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. One hell of a weekend. The comment on attitude and his manners throughout your travels are really great takeaways on top of the score, too. Well done, Presto!


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