Birfday Boy (it’s not easy being 3)


I’m not sure a Presto birthday will ever go by without me getting a little emotional about it. This day could so easily have been one of tragedy instead of triumph, and even 3 years later it still feels raw. It’s so easy to look at him and feel immense gratitude, especially on “milestone” days like this. He had to tolerate a very long, slightly blubbery hug from me this morning while he ate his breakfast. He’s used to my insanity by now I think.

So how did Presto spend his pre-birthday weekend?

Henry hates the ball as much as Presto loves it

Ya know, doing Presto things. Like yoga.

And playing bitey face with Henry. Which… he’s starting to have a real height advantage on Henry for that game. It’s hard to bite a giraffe in the face.

He also got his second ride on Saturday. Hillary came out again to be my ground person, and Presto was out back having a hardcore play session when I went to get him. He was real mad that I interrupted. REAL MAD. Life is hard when you’re 3.

dis is bullshit

Since he was having toddler tantrums we did a lot of groundwork before I got on, and he lunged for a little while at the walk, trot, and canter until he removed the stick from his butt. I did lots of transitions to get his brain engaged, and finally he settled into the inevitability of his life. I mounted up, and we basically repeated the same things as the first ride. We started off on the lunge line, did some walk and trot, and then did some walking on our own. I added more turns and transitions this time, and the steering was a little better.

I am concerned that he already looks this big considering he’s literally only a foot wide at the moment

Despite the fact that he’s done a good bit of ground driving, he seems naturally more responsive to seat and leg than he is to rein aids. He’s still just a little fussy about the bit at this point, which we’ll revisit more on the lunge line. So we worked on the idea of whoaing from the seat, and moving away from the leg, and just thinking “forward”. So far I think he’s very much going to be a thoroughbred type of ride, which… thank god. That’s what I was hoping for. I much prefer a sensitive horse that has it’s own motor.

Even though he was a bit put off about having to leave his play time to come “work”, it was a good learning day for him. He sort of pouted his way through everything, but he acquiesced. It’s all part of him figuring out what his job is and developing his work ethic while the lessons are still short and simple and easy. I’m thinking of the rides more as opportunities for feedback, to see what we can still be working on from the ground in between.

We’ll see what we get done this week, if we can dodge the rain. For today, he’ll be getting some special birthday treats and probably a few more blubbery mom hugs. Poor Presto.

11 thoughts on “Birfday Boy (it’s not easy being 3)

  1. what a thrill ! How did you determine Presto was structurally mature enough to begin safely carrying weight ? I have a young horse and don’t know how to tell when he is physically ready to ride.


    1. IMO that’s up to the discretion of the individual horse and rider. I personally prefer to put first rides on after 2.5 (or around the 3yo birthday if they’re bigger/less mature). I also don’t put them right into a full schedule, I do a handful of very light rides spread out, then give a break, then bring them back and do mostly trail riding and hacking for several months before they see any real work. For me personally, it’s more important how you ramp it up and what work you’re actually doing in each ride. Obviously putting a 3yo into a 4-5 day a week schedule of wtc for 30 minutes a day is far more damaging than riding 1-3 times a week very lightly for 15 minutes. It takes a long time to build the topline muscles to easily carry our weight, especially. I’ve talked about my personal thoughts before here:

      If in doubt I would consult with your veterinarian.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy Birthday Presto!! I remember this week very well from 3 years ago. Ups and downs and ups and more downs! glad it all had a happy ending! 🙂 AND WTF RAIN. Same here. UGH…..


    1. Happy birthday, Presto!!!🥳🥳🥳
      I feel emotional, I can only imagine what a rollercoaster it is for you!
      That said, I love seeing that big grin when you ride him.
      Loved the vid of him playing with his ball with Henry snorting his ass off in the background. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you think playing with the ball would help develop his top line at all? Seems like it makes him engage different muscles, maybe!


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