If you pay much attention to my Instagram stories then you already know this, but on Saturday Presto left for 5 weeks of pro training.
The reality is that for the next 6-8 weeks I’m going to be super busy at work, don’t really have time to ride 2 horses properly, need to get Henry legged back up while the weather is still cooler, and didn’t want to just let Presto sit and do nothing when he’d really just gotten started. Plus, like, let’s be real, I’m the only person that’s ridden him so far and while I’m fine, I have no doubt that his overall education would benefit from a better rider. I knew I wanted to send him to someone, I just wasn’t sure where and if I could make it work or not. It had to be somewhere close enough to make the drive there and back in a day, since I also have the horses at home to look after. When I talked to Michelle about it she was like “What about Megan?” – being Megan Sykes, the 4* eventer that Michelle had been riding with, who happened to just move to a new facility up near Dallas, and who’s husband Reed also happens to be a colt starter/groundwork/horsemanship type of guy that has worked with Michelle’s young horses. She’s the one who’s owners just bought Mari. As soon as she said it a lightbulb went off – that could potentially be the perfect fit.
Not to say that the thought of sending him somewhere didn’t still make me completely nauseous, but after talking to Megan on the phone about him and making a rough plan, I felt a lot more positive about it. I mean, I still spent most of Thursday and Friday internally panicking and wanting to back out, but ultimately I still felt like this was the best decision for everyone. Ideally I’d have liked to send him for 2 months, to get us all the way through Q1 at work, but Megan is leaving for Ocala in Mid-March so 5 weeks is what we could squeeze in. On Friday afternoon I packed his stuff, cleaned up his mane and goat hairs under his jaw (perhaps if he looks less trashy in those regards it will draw less attention to the fact that he has FIVE HUNDRED BITE MARKS?) and practiced loading him in the trailer a couple times since it’s been a while.
Still though, I tossed and turned on Friday night. I am really attached to and protective of the horse, probably too much so, if I’m being honest. I woke up on Saturday morning still kind of worried about the whole thing and second-guessing myself, and then he decided to refuse to get more than halfway up the ramp of the trailer. That’s a new one. In his defense, Henry did absolutely TAKE THE F OFF for the back of the property the second I started loading (thanks, friend) which freaked Presto out, but still. It took me almost half an hour of working with him to get him all the way on and the butt bar up. You know my biggest pet peeve in the world? Ok, that would be horses that don’t tie. But you know my second biggest pet peeve in the world? Horses that don’t load. Which is part of why he’s been loaded and trailered so much as a young horse. Why he decided to be a legit turd about it on that day I don’t know, but he bought himself some groundwork and trailer lessons with Mr. Reed while he’s away at camp.
On the plus side, I was so irritated about it that by the time I got there and unloaded him (he was a total freak coming off the trailer too – snorted and spooked at a wheelbarrow) that he had managed to erase all my doubt in one morning. The truth is that he needs a little bump from the nest so he can learn to exist within himself. He’s had a pretty easy, low-key, quiet life… even when he lived at boarding barns they were tiny, quiet ones where nothing much happened and things could be catered to him, in a sense. Going to a bigger boarding facility where he’s one of many horses, there’s a ton more going on all the time, and him having to adhere to their program rather than vice versa – I think it will do him some good. Time to cut the cord a bit, little one, you’re a real horse now.
He was definitely very wide-eyed about everything at first, but Megan says he’s settling in. She’s started working with him a bit, although of course we’re about to get hit with a major polar blast so that might affect his schedule over the next several days. Megan is used to dealing with enthusiastic young horses so seems totally undeterred by his shenanigans, and having Reed around is a major plus – it’s kind of the perfect duo in my eyes, ULR event rider plus good horsemanship trainer. The new facility is really nice too, so Presto is certainly not suffering at all, even if he’s slightly shell-shocked to learn that the world, in fact, does NOT revolve around him.
I’m planning on going up in 2-3 weeks to check in on him and bring some more feed, so we’ll see how things go. I definitely think that this is the best thing for him right now, even if I do miss him, especially at night check when his ridiculous little monkey face isn’t there waiting for a bedtime smooch. Such is life though, and it’s part of growing up. And for me I’m having to deal with being a bit less of a helicopter parent, trying to resist constantly asking about him (I’ve only asked twice in 3 days, that’s pretty good for me right?). I think he’s in good, capable hands, so that definitely helps.
I’ll update as I have news or things to share, but fingers crossed that Presto decides to be a good boy at camp!