Well, I paid the rush fee for pro photos specifically so that I would have them by today, but alas I still have no pics. So… sorry about the shitty screenshots again. At least there’s video.
Presto had a couple hours between his dressage and his stadium, so he got to go in his stall and chill for a bit (aka rub all his braids out and make me redo them) while the humans continued running around all over the place shuffling horses between phases. I wasn’t even riding and I was still sweating to death, plus getting more and more sunburned no matter how often I put on sunscreen (six times. I put on sunscreen SIX TIMES.). It was by far the hottest and most miserable day of the show, naturally, since it was also our busiest. Four horses showing meant 4 dressage rides, 2 Prelim XC rounds, and 2 Novice showjump rounds in a 7 hour period. Megan looked miserable before she even got on Presto for dressage, but she’s a trooper. Finally by late afternoon Presto was the last ride of the day for her with his showjumping round.
They’d had jumper rounds during the week before the show, and he’d gotten to do a 2’11” round on Wednesday evening. It was a good chance to get him in the big ring with all it’s flags, gazebos, extra jumps in the corners, tack trailers along one edge, concessions along another edge, jump crew milling about, loudspeaker, etc. That ring can be a lot to look at for even a seasoned horse, so it was nice to have a chance to get them in there for a little jump around before it was in Full Atmosphere mode on the weekend. The course for the jumper rounds was short and simple and didn’t include any of their scariest jumps, but true to typical form Presto didn’t give a shit about any of it anyway. On Saturday for the show they had their two scariest sets of standards as the first two fences (naturally they hadn’t used either of those in the jumper rounds) which had caused a little bit of spookiness with the greener horses, but we didn’t anticipate a problem with Presto. If anything we hoped that maybe they would help back him off a bit, because he still sometimes has that tendency to want to take over once he locks onto a fence.
He was a little bit of a turd in showjumping warmup too, just like he’d been in dressage warmup. I’m not really sure what his exact deal is with warmup, he has no issues with traffic or any of that, and he doesn’t get nervous or spooky, he just tends to want to get really cocky and flip Megan the bird a little bit, like he thinks he already knows what to do and doesn’t need a dumb warmup (he is incorrect). Knowing him and his general demeaner/outlook on life, it’s not really too surprising. He’s had plenty of self-confidence and sheer audacity for his entire life. Poor Megan was at the end of an already really long hot day and there Presto was deciding to make her work for it even more. Nothing like saving the youngest greenest one for last.
By the time they got in the ring he was definitely feeling a bit full of himself and wanted to argue about a few of the distances, but he did listen and started to settle as he went around and realized that maybe he indeed did not know everything. He managed to get himself deep into a couple, once when he whoa’d a little TOO well and added a stride and then again when he jumped in big to the in and out (his stride is a lot bigger than it looks), but I thought it was kind of cool to see the difference in how he handled it here vs how he handled it a couple months ago at Texas Rose. At that show he ended up with a rail because he just hadn’t quite mastered his back feet yet when he got a deep distance. Here he was much more clever about getting all of his feet out of the way, even when he got right up to the base. He’s got a lot to learn still for sure, being a baby, but you can also definitely see the progress, and even when he’s tossing his head around being green, he’s still thinking forward and still responding to what she’s asking him to do. Now that he’s done 3 shows we’re starting to see patterns in him that can change the tactics a little bit… we’re still learning about him, too.
His style can still be a little bit inconsistent, but it’s gotten better with a little more height and I think it’ll get better still (he really seriously continues to remind me so much of Mama’s Magic Way, just less fancy). He’s fairly economical in the air, and he’s not overly careful but he’s careful enough to definitely make an effort to not hit the jumps. His round was going pretty well right up until the next to last jump when poor brain-fried and half heat-stroked Megan accidentally cantered right past it. She realized her mistake almost immediately (thank goodness) but it was too late to make it to the fence, so she had to circle. She recovered well and they jumped the last line nicely, but oof that circle was costly, with 4 penalties plus 6 seconds of time. She landed from the last jump and threw her hand up in exasperation at herself over the mistake.
Kind of a bummer, sure, but 1) that shit happens to everybody, no matter how focused and professional you are. Especially at the end of a long stupid hot day. 2) the horse has no clue what a circle means, and he jumped all the jumps clean, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a clear round. The scoreboard might not have reflected such, but we all know he did it, and that’s what matters most. 3) I was mostly just glad she remembered that fence in time to salvage things rather than cruise right past it, jump the last one, and end up with a technical elimination. It could have been a lot worse! 🤷🏻♀️
Megan kept apologizing to me about it but I really wasn’t bothered… definitely not nearly as much as she was. Which, I 100% understand, because I probably would have felt exactly the same way if I had done that, but still. Whatever. It’s not a big deal to me at all from an owner perspective. The horse jumped well and showed progress so that’s all I really care about at the end of the day. Plus he’d had a decent enough lead after dressage to where adding 10 points still only dropped him from 1st to 4th anyway. HA. Not the end of the world by any means, and I had a feeling that, after having seen the cross country course, the placings would change more by the time it was all said and done. There was still a lot left to do in that phase. More on that tomorrow…