I took advantage of SO being here on Saturday to get some video that wasn’t just us trotting past my phone set on the tripod. And, naturally, baby horse was very blah that day. It had been hot the day before, but Presto and his little 2yo friend had galloped around chasing each other all afternoon anyway, so I honestly think he tuckered himself out. He was overly snoozy from the second I got him out, and required a lot more encouragement to get him moving. Even his typically lovely big gaits were blah. It’s hard being 3, y’all.
He was well-behaved though, so we “worked” for all of 10 minutes. We’ve started working on changes of direction at a trot, with figure 8’s and serpentines, regulating his trot rhythm, and tuning in the “whoa” from my seat that will eventually work its way into a half-halt. Changing directions in the trot kind of confused him at first, he wanted to just default back down to a walk, but by the third one he got it.
We cantered each way, and for the first time he picked up the wrong lead. He initially had the correct lead, then kinda bulged out by the gate a little bit and broke to trot in the process. I clucked and he went immediately back up into canter, but since he wasn’t really balanced/prepared for the transition we got the wrong lead. It wasn’t a big deal, I let him canter down the long side, trotted, then asked him to canter again, and he picked up the correct one. It didn’t really even dawn on me until then that he had yet to have picked up the wrong lead so far at all.
Since he did feel so sluggish and blah, I kept it super short. He was also being fussier in his mouth again, I think probably a symptom of our lack of forward, so we kind of just ticked the boxes for the things I wanted to work on and then I let him be done. He’s going to have days where he’s brilliant and we can do more, and he’s going to have days where we just touch some basics and be done. That day was the latter. For anyone counting, this is still only his 8th ride. We’re very much still in preschool.
He’s getting really good at whoa from the seat though, that might be his favorite. He and Henry have that in common.
Since I did have a groundperson there that day, I decided to end the ride with a bit of a hack around the field. We walked out of the arena and into the field, and made a short lap. Presto walked very politely on a loose rein and never put a foot wrong. He’s certainly not immune to shenanigans, but on that day he was so quiet already from his escapades the day before, it seemed like a good time for his maiden voyage in the field.
I’m quite pleased with how consistent he’s being about a lot of it. He stands well at the mounting block, he doesn’t anticipate or get worried, and he retains everything. The progression is pretty fast, even if some rides he’s tired or some rides he’s looking for his friends, or whatever. The quality of the work steadily improves from ride to ride, even when his mood is different. I like that about him a lot. I think I’m going to keep experimenting with bits though, he still just feels overly fussy in the mouth to me. His mother really liked a Myler comfort snaffle so I’m going to put that on next time and see if there’s any difference. If not we may go back to the Nathe.
And, lest you think he is always Baby Genius, I leave you with this gem:
Yes, he did indeed trip over 3 out of his 4 feet within like a 20′ span. It’s really hard to keep up with all those legs, y’all.