I’ve been back from Ocala for 6 days and I’m just now getting around to talking about Presto. What a terrible mother. He’s even had more adventures since then! We’ll get to that.
The main goals for our Presto-centric parts of the Ocala trip were 1) boop that snoot 2) see how he was doing 3) get more video for his next Futurity vlog 4) sit down and have a chat with Megan regarding how she was feeling about where he’s at, and what the plan should be for him going forward. As I mentioned before, I officially handed over the Futurity reins to Megan for as long as he’s “in the hunt” so to speak, and his next vlog update is due in May. Considering the only videos I had of him were from March when she’d only done a handful of rides and a couple weeks ago when he XC schooled, we needed something else to fill out the footage a bit. Naturally Ocala decided that the weekend of my trip would be the perfect time to absolutely piss rain like nobody’s business, so what started off as a plan to take him offsite morphed into a plan to just jump a few things at home which morphed again into a “well it’s not lightning right now, lets see if we can hack around the totally waterlogged grass arena at the top of the hill”.
I think it kinda worked out though really because the footage of him flatting in the rain (by himself, not another horse in sight) showed that he’s definitely matured a bit from his time in Ocala. When he got there just hacking up to that ring (which was a really long way from his barn) was so exciting that he wanted to do it at mach 5 and/or bouncing in place and/or sideways. And that was with quiet horses in tow to show him the way. So for him to hack up there quietly all by himself in the pouring rain after not having been ridden for 2 days and do it with zero shenanigans… that’s definitely progress. He had a very mini “NO I DON’T WANNA” in the canter one direction where she was asking him to bend around her inside leg and he really wanted to stare off into the distance instead, but he got over it pretty quickly and went back to work. Very reasonable for a 4yo kiddo with major ADHD, given the conditions. He didn’t bat an eye at the standing water or mud or rain.
That evening we went to dinner with Megan and chatted about how he’s coming along, and looked at the show calendar and YEH calendar. I have a massive chip on my shoulder about the YEH calendar in general in regards to Area 5 – the only two qualifiers we have here are at the end of March and beginning of April. How does that make sense for age-restricted classes? Granted we don’t have any recognized shows from June through August so the pickins are slim to get the qualifiers done here before the Sept 14 Championships cutoff, but still. Why not one of the May shows? Can we lobby for that? Alas, by having a 4yo ready to tackle a qualifier by the end of April, which seems pretty freakin early to me, we had already missed every opportunity within a 15 hour haul of us. Delightful.
The other two best options were Chatt in July – they have two weeks of back to back shows and back to back qualifiers – or, there are two in California a couple weeks apart in June/July. Megan is doing Rebecca Farm in July with her upper level horses anyway, so it would make more sense to look at things on the west coast that could be more “on the way” rather than heading 16 hours east to Chatt, coming home to Texas, and then immediately heading 27 hours northwest toward Rebecca. Instead they could go the 18 hours west to Cali, spend a few weeks out there, head up to Rebecca, and then come home. Plus she was based on the west coast for a while, so she’s familiar with everything out there. We’ve penciled the California qualifiers in as the tentative plan for now.
But, YAY, she thinks the kiddo is ready for his first show now, and there’s no need to wait until June or July for the qualifiers to kick things off. All the jumping stuff is very easy for him, the flatwork is a little harder, but mostly it’s his focus and keeping his mind on task and a lid on his enthusiasm. Those things will only come with time and miles, so we may as well get started. Naturally there is only one (ONE) event left on the calendar in Area 5 between now and September, that being Texas Rose in the middle of May. Texas Rose wouldn’t really be my first choice of venues for a horse’s first show – it can have a lot of atmosphere, a lot to look at, a lot going on, etc. Definitely tends to be the busiest and most impressive of the Area V venues. But again, ya know… beggars can’t be choosers.
Megan didn’t seem worried about it at all (she never seems particularly worried about much, how do I get some of that?), and I don’t give a crap about his USEA record, so if he gets there and his brain can’t handle the atmosphere and he has to scratch, or circle on course, or trot all the jumps, or his dressage is super tense… that’s fine. Hopefully he can contain himself but if not we’ll deal with it as it comes, and really there’s only one way to find out.
Megan did the 4* (or as some are calling it, the 5* Short lol) at Kentucky last weekend with her Advanced horse, so instead of going to Kentucky and then back to Ocala and then back to Texas, all of her Ocala horses made the trek to the Horse Park. Yup, that’s right, Presto was right there at Kentucky on LRK3DE weekend.
I mean, he was over in the non-compete stabling pouting about being bored, but still.
He did have a rough journey from Ocala to Kentucky, not hauling well at all and getting a bit banged up in the process, so he’s gonna spend some time working with Megan’s husband Reed (who very conveniently is a groundwork/colt starter guy) in the trailer and rehashing some of those patience lessons. Presto got a bit of chemical assistance for the trip home from Kentucky to Texas, to make sure he didn’t hurt himself or get in a bad situation. I suspect that (knowing him and having watched him on camera every time I’ve hauled him) his noodle self may have tried to turn around in the trailer and got stuck, scaring himself in the process. That would be pretty on-brand. Hopefully it will be simple for Reed to fix, once Presto gets some confidence back about the situation. These things are all part of learning how to be a real grown up horse, there will inevitably be hiccups.
Presto is looking pretty good though, condition-wise, especially considering all the travel. He’s put on a little bit of weight and some muscle (and possibly height but we’re pretending not) and while he still definitely looks gangly and babyish you can tell that he’s maturing a bit too. He seems to really thrive off the work and enjoys having a job, so I’ve got no reservations with continuing on with pro training/the Futurity at this point. We’ll keep re-evaluating as we go along and I’m sure some plans will change, but that’s all our current thoughts at least!
You’re now fully debriefed on the life and times of Presto. Sorry for the novel.