On Saturday Dobby went to his first Beginner Novice derby, at a local charity show. They didn’t offer any classes that went high enough for Henry, plus I was still nursing my sprained ankle anyway, so I decided to take Presto along instead. He was pretty darn excited to be included, even if Henry was super pissed. He watched while we loaded Dobby and Presto (they both self-loaded like proper children!), and as soon as Henry realized he wasn’t coming, he starting bucking and running angry laps in his paddock. I’ve got some nerve, taking those two little turds in HIS trailer without him.
My main objective for the day was for Presto to have to stand at the trailer by himself when his buddy leaves. He’s stood at the trailer when he’s gone places alone, but he’s never had to deal with the whole clearly-i’ve-been-abandoned-here-to-die-alone aspect that comes into play when traveling with a buddy and you don’t have stalls. I didn’t really care if he spent the whole day screaming or dug a hole to China, as long as he stayed attached to the trailer.
He was real screamy when we first got there. I took him away from Dobby almost immediately and went off to the XC area to walk him through the water and up/down the little banks. He would scream, Dobby would scream, I would move his feet a little, one of them would scream again, etc. He went into the water without much trouble, although when I sent him down the little bank (I mean like 6″, y’all, it barely counts) he LEAPT off of it, landing almost on the other side of the little water. My options were either let go, which… I figured a 2yo running around loose at a little charity show full of tiny humans was probably bad… or go with him. So with him I went, flying through the air like a human kite, and I narrowly missed faceplanting right in the middle of the water. Instead I just ended up shin-deep and had to wade out with my Blundstones full of gross black water. Thanks Presto.
After that his butt got put to work a little, trotting around me, changing directions, yielding his shoulders and hindquarters. I took him out and sent him over a couple of the tiny XC jumps, just to give him something to occupy his brain. He never really gave up singing the song of his people, but he settled enough to where I felt fine about parking him at the trailer by himself while I went to video Hillary’s dressage and then jumping rounds. I could still see him from my vantage point, and he pawed a tiny bit and neighed a few times but otherwise just stood there eating his hay by himself for an hour or so.
I had talked Hillary into doing the in-hand trail class just for shits and giggles, so when she was done riding we took both boys over to where all the obstacles were set up so they could check them out before the class started. Presto has seen them all before, so he didn’t care much, and neither did Dobby. No one could believe Dobbins was a just-barely 4yo that’s been off the track since December, he was so freaking quiet about everything. The only thing Presto didn’t really understand was the “pedestal” that they were supposed to stand on with their front feet. He kept trying to jump all the way over it. I can’t fault him for that, normally his job IS to jump all the way over things. But eventually he figured it out, even if he thought it was real dumb.
Dobby was first to go in the in-hand trail so we hung around up there while I videoed his round. Or tried to, anyway. Presto is the freaking WORST videographer’s assistant. At one point he knocked over the judge’s drink, so I had to pick it up real quick, and in that split second Presto somehow managed to swing around and get his feet tangled in a hula hoop, which I then had to extract him from, and in the process of that he knocked her drink over again. Once I got all that sorted he managed to hold himself together quietly for the next few obstacles, and then when Dobby got to the “gate”, all I saw on the screen of the video was Presto trying to eat the tree we were standing under.
There is never a dull moment with that one around. Are you not entertained?
Mission accomplished for the day though. Presto got to see more sights, and he remains unbothered by the show environment. I also now feel pretty good about leaving him tied at the trailer… even if he gets upset he’s very respectful of the fact that he’s tied and doesn’t try to get loose, nor does he panic. As long as he has food he seems to do just fine with self-soothing and chilling out. His next great adventure? A FEH class next month! Hopefully he’ll decide to fill out a little bit by then…