Now that the babies are confident in themselves and officially old enough to be unlikely to hurt themselves if they pull some kamikaze stunts, it was time to introduce everyone’s favorite toy – the ball! Some years its a hit, some years it’s not. Manny loved it maybe the most ever, and Ollie had some good times with it too.
It always starts with the ball outside of the fence first, so everyone feels safe enough to come up and investigate, and give it a sniff. You’ll never guess who was the first to come over.
Of course, Obi is in a major “ME TOO ME TOO” phase where he simply must be part of everything, so he was quick to walk over and see what the weird new thing was too.
Once everyone had sniffed their fill and seemed comfortable with it, the ball was dropped over the fence and they were left to their own devices.
It didn’t take Obi long to decide that the best approach was chaos.
Although Teddy was quick to get in there, roll it away from the fence, and give it a piece of her mind too. The difference between the colt approach and the filly approach is pretty hilarious.
Pippa came over and checked it out at one point but couldn’t really figure out what all the fuss was about. It’s just a dumb ball. She’s far too mature and refined for that kind of thing.
She did end up calling a pasture meeting, though, so they could all discuss their thoughts on the new addition.
Patrick RSVP’d as Pending because heck no he ain’t getting involved in any of that foolishness, nooo thank you.
Which is probably just as well, because about halfway through the meeting Obi’s attention span went out the window and he just couldn’t control his feet or his mouth anymore.
I have to say though, I think the real winner when it comes to ball shenanigans was Percy. Now THIS is a stomp. Little dude’s got some moves.
Happy Friday! Hope you have as much fun with your day as these kiddos did.
Still no pro photos. Super glad I paid that rush fee for nothing. GIF’s it is!
When we left off on yesterday’s recap I said that I had a feeling that the XC would definitely have an impact on the placings. Reason being – it was a pretty legit Novice. Nothing super big of course, being Novice, but there were definitely a few technical combinations that weren’t so simple. I didn’t get pics of the first two fences (a simple rolltop thing and a simple house thing) or the last fence (run of the mill hanging log) but I got most of it.
What’s kind of funny is that originally I thought one of the perks of Presto doing the YEH class on Friday was that he’d get to see the water before the actual horse trial. Sometimes he’s still just a little careful/looky at water so I was like “hey if nothing else comes from the YEH class at least he will have gotten to see the water!”. Ha. Hahahaha. Only problem with that logic is that the YEH class used one water complex and the Novice XC used an entirely different water complex. Because of course it did.
Walking the course there were only two things I thought might potentially be tough – the coffin combo at 7, and the water at 10. At the first week’s show the coffin caused mass chaos and total carnage, and while Presto has schooled ditches, neither of his first two shows had one on course. Not only was he meeting a ditch for the first time in competition, but he was meeting it in kind of a tough question – the ditch was skinny across but quite wide, and had a boat on an angle one or two strides away (depending on where/how you jumped it). I thought that was quite a stout question for Novice.
The water was dark and kind of hard to see until you got right up on it (it’s shaped weird), and it had a jump just a few strides before it and a few strides after it. Megan wasn’t worried (she’s never worried about anything, how do I get some of that?) but since it was only his 3rd show I wasn’t quite sure what he’d think of it.
There was also one more combination that I thought was pretty legit for Novice – a little roll thingy, bending line to a down bank, 4 strides to a sharks tooth. He’s schooled something similar so I didn’t think he’d have an issue with it, but still, definitely a legit question for the level. I’m not sure I’ve seen many Novices that asked more questions than this one did. There was definitely plenty to do out there.
Luckily it’s quickly becoming obvious that XC is Presto’s phase. He was a totally different animal than he was in showjumping warmup, more settled and more focused. He’s still got his patented Presto Swagger of course, but he’s more tuned-in the the job from the second he steps foot in warmup.
The first jump was set quite close to the box, so Megan cantered out and popped quietly over the first one. Presto was very nonchalant about it.
There was a decently long stretch before fence 2, so she revved the motor a bit and picked up the pace, which he was more than happy to do. He pinged right over 2 on a bit of an angle and then made the turn back around to 3 (for some reason a few horses thought that fence 3 was definitely a horse eater, not sure why) with no issue.
Then it was over to the first combination on course, a simple 4 stride line from a wide brushy thing to a sharks tooth with some very bright flowers in it. Presto jumped in a bit bold there so the four was tight, but he was quick and clever with his feet and made it work no problem.
From there they had a loooong gallop out into the back field, which unfortunately we couldn’t see very well. Fence 5 was out of view, but I could see the ditch and boat of the coffin way off in the distance between the trees, which he jumped through without hesitation. Good kiddo. From there he disappeared behind trees again and I was very impatiently waiting for updates from the announcer, since we couldn’t see the water at all. It wasn’t long before he said “here comes Like Magic WTW and Megan Sykes confidently back into the main field” and there they were popping over the stone wall and headed toward the downbank combo. He looked to be cruising along easily.
She jumped the little roll and asked for a big whoa to get him back on his butt and make sure he actually saw the down bank, and he came right back, popping politely down the bank and staying balanced for the four strides to the sharks tooth.
After that it was pretty much home free, with just the big V table and then cruising over the last, coming in with 20 seconds to spare.
When Megan pulled up after the finish she said it was super easy, he didn’t look at anything or even so much as hesitate, he just cantered right around like it was old hat and was quite rideable. She jokingly said “He’s ready for Training!”. (don’t come for me internet people, he’s not actually going to move up to Training, but you understand the sentiment). Double clear like a pro.
As I anticipated, XC did indeed have an impact on the placings, moving Presto back up two spots to finish in second. Without the forgotten-jump-circle in showjumping he would have won by a good 7 point margin, but we’ll still very happily take 2nd at a big venue in Area 3.
I was really super proud of him all weekend. Was he foot perfect? No, but he was pretty damn good for a 4yo who just started eventing a couple months ago, was at his third event, and was at a real legit venue like Chatt. It was a lot to see, a lot to do, a ton of atmosphere, a really long journey, and a big ask, but he stepped up to the plate big time. He proved that he can seriously lay it down in the dressage (I’m still mind-boggled by my 4yo doing a 23), showed improvement in the showjumping, and absolutely ate up a tough XC like it was a fun and delightful second breakfast. For a young horse I think he’s pretty freaking exciting, and I think we’ve got a future XC machine on our hands, which absolutely thrills me. It seems to just make sense to him innately, which is pretty freaking cool to see. This is exactly what I was hoping for when I bred him, and watching him blossom under Megan’s tutelage so far has been a feeling I can’t quite describe. It’s really really really fun.
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…
Hey there, long time no post. For me anyway. As you may have noticed, I left for Chatt last week, and I didn’t have the time or the energy or the WiFi for the blog, so I took a hiatus. But now I’m back home, fully WiFi’d, and with tons of updates and pictures and videos that will take us a few days to get through. Yay? In all seriousness, Presto was just THE BEST kiddo and I’m so freakin proud of him.
Anyway – as you may remember we were originally supposed to do both weeks of Chatt. Unfortunately something came up at Megan’s barn that she had to stay and take care of, so she had to scratch week 1. With everything happening with Quinn that kind of ended up working out better for me anyway honestly. I ended up flying in on Tuesday morning, Hillary picked me up at the airport since she was already there, and then Megan got there on Tuesday night with all her horses. On Wednesday they offered some jumper rounds, so Presto got to go in and jump around a 2’11” (he was clear and a very good nug) although the course was short and simple and didn’t use all the “spooky” standards… it was still good to get him in the big ring with all the flags and stuff. He didn’t bat an eye, naturally.
On Friday he did the YEH class, which we’ll circle back around and talk about later, because I have a lot of thoughts and need to organize them before it just becomes word vomit. On Saturday the regular horse trial started, and he had dressage and stadium.
Presto was the last of Megan’s four horses to do dressage, and she had to come right off of Prelim XC and onto Presto in the dressage warmup. It was hot AF that day, like melt the skin off your face kind of weather, and poor Megan was just dripping sweat like a faucet. Presto decided that would be a great time to be a very disagreeable little shit in warmup, of course. It got a little better towards the end but it wasn’t great, so she headed down to the ring and I was like “well, this is just gonna be what it’s gonna be, that’s green horses for you”. Really Friday had been a very long day for him and I think he was just kind of Over It by that point.
But wouldn’t you know it, the second he trotted into the show ring he was 100% all business and never put a foot wrong. Guess he decided he just doesn’t want to warm up? Whatever, he went in there and threw down his best test yet, being such a good boy and super rideable, with very few bobbles, even in a ring with a lot of possible distractions happening in the background. He just looked very steady in general, without any of the temporary losses of focus that he’s had at his first two shows. I really wish the photographer had gotten any dressage pics so I had something besides these crappy screenshots. Low quality screenshots, high quality horse.
After Megan halted and started walking out the judge asked what breed Presto was, which I hoped was a good sign. She seemed to really like him and said he was lovely, and he was as good a boy as a 4yo can possibly be, so I was hoping the third time was a charm and he’d break into the 20’s (his test at Texas Rose was 31, MeadowCreek was 32). I took him back to the barn, hosed him, and Megan was off to hop on Tenny for cross country. By the time I got down to XC warmup we checked the scores and holy shit did he ever break into the 20’s.
Fuck yeah, Noodle! He was out in front by a 3 point margin in a class that ranged from his 23 all the way up to a 45. The judge loved him for sure, and we will 100% take that and run with it. There was still room for improvement, so it’s kind of fun to see glimpses of some real potential. Imagine how good he could be when he’s stronger and really coming through his body more! It’s pretty exciting. But also kind of intimidating for me, because I’ve never had a horse that was even capable of a score like that, and now I have to learn how to ride this creature at some point LOL. Luckily Megan said that despite all his monkeying around in the warmup he’s actually super easy to ride in the ring, so hopefully he stays that way.
I think my favorite part of the entire test is the collective comments – “lovely prospect” and “well started”. It feels so freaking good to see that. For me, because I believe in the horse’s potential so much, and for Megan, because she’s done such a stellar job with him already. If you’d told me 5 months ago when I dropped off that half-feral creature at her farm that he’d soon be at one of the biggest shows in Area 3 scoring a 23 in the Novice in excellent company, I’d have said you were high AF. I’m getting a ton of joy out of watching him blossom under Megan’s guidance, and I’m so freakin proud of both of them. She’s put a lot of hard work into him and it shows. It was really fun to be rewarded with a great score like that at a place like Chatt, not gonna lie.
There wasn’t a ton of time to celebrate though, because showjumping was next!
We said goodbye to Quinn the corgi yesterday. The writing has been on the wall for him for a while, so there was nothing sudden or shocking about it, which honestly made it one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. When Quinn was diagnosed with DM a couple years ago we promised ourselves that we’d let him go if/when his quality of life diminished too much, or if/when he started to lose the control of his front end or bladder. And well… we kinda hit all three of those milestones at once.
DM is tough, because they aren’t really in any pain. And for a smaller dog like Quinn, who is extremely lazy and very content to lay around the house most of the time, it didn’t affect his quality of life too much for quite a while. His hind end was first to go – one foot followed quickly by the other. We got him a wheelchair and while he never really took to using it, it did help him toddle around a little bit when he felt so inclined. DM of course is progressive, and over time his paralysis has inched it’s way forward. The past few months he really hasn’t been strong enough to hold up his front end in the wheelchair anymore, nor more recently could he push his upper body up on his own anymore. He could scoot from side to side, but not lift himself any. A couple weeks ago he scooted his front end off of his bed in the middle of the night and was just kind of hanging his front end off sideways, all twisted up and contorted, looking at me for help as soon as I got up in the morning. Who knows how long he’d been stuck like that but he was pretty stiff. My heart just sank.
Coincidentally that was right around the time he started not being able to hold his bladder anymore. Sometimes he could, sometimes he couldn’t, but he started dribbling a lot pretty much all the time and keeping him/his bedding clean became a full time job. We moved into the diaper stage last week, and I had to start wrapping my head around the fact that it was time. He wasn’t going to get any better, he was only going to get worse. It was really hard to think of it being the end though, when a dog is otherwise happy to see you and wagging his nub and begging for treats and all that stuff. He wasn’t in pain, but he clearly wasn’t living a happy dog life anymore either, and I was worried that there would be more incidents of him getting stuck, or he’d end up with some kind of infection or sores from trying to keep him clean and dry all the time. Trying to judge quality of life is tricky, and not something I would wish on anyone, even though pretty much all pet owners have to face it at some point. I have always said though that I would rather let him go a week too early than a week too late. There comes a point when you’re keeping them alive more for your benefit than theirs, and I think we were at that point.
We made an appointment to have him euthanized at home, to avoid the stress of the vet clinic. He spent the morning eating all sorts of terrible food that he normally can’t have, and then we said our goodbyes. We’re having him cremated, and we’ll spread his ashes out at the barn. He did love wandering around through the fields, back when he still could.
While we didn’t have Quinn for a super long time – we adopted him 6 years ago as a “senior” special needs corgi from a rescue up in north Texas – we loved him a lot all the same. He was part of the family, and quite possibly the cutest little miniature grizzly bear I’ve ever met. We never did succeed in training him even a tiny bit (he was totally uninterested in our opinion) but he was a funny, sweet dog in his own way and he fulfilled my dream of having a corgi. I will greatly miss his fluffy little stumpers, and I hope he enjoyed his time with us as much as we enjoyed our time with him.
Since it’s a holiday weekend I figured we could all use a little extra dose of foal cuteness, and the kiddos were more than happy to participate in providing the media. Well, ok… the fillies and Percy were interested. Mostly those 3. The fillies in particular really seemed to like their tutus and tiaras. Hope everyone is having a good long weekend and holiday – these guys sure are!
Maybe it’s because he had such a rough start but Percy is quickly emerging as a favorite of the 2021 class of foals. It’s hard NOT to love him, he’s such a sweet little dude. Plus like… his ears. LOOK AT DEM.
He’s continued to do well, with gradual but steady progress. Every week his legs look stronger, and he’s been growing like a weed. I think he’s easily doubled in width for sure over the past few weeks.
You can tell that he’s looking more proportionate, with the rest of his body catching up to his head and legs. He’s still got some filling out to do, but it’s a massive improvement for sure.
He’s also quite perky. Now that he’s got his legs more coordinated, cantering is his favorite.
Besides getting his gallop figured out, he’s also starting to master the art of becoming airborne. These jumper-bred foals, I swear. They’re like little bouncing balls.
It’s going to take more time before he’s totally caught up, but this is good progress, and his temperament has remained superb. Just a sweet little kiddo that’s doing his best to catch up with the others, development-wise. Percy is very easy to love and it’s fun to see him start to blossom. I may or may not have a particular soft spot for him, given that Presto also had a rough start. It’s amazing what they can overcome with time.
All your good thoughts have worked well for him so far, so please keep it up!
I don’t really want to talk about what’s going on in my world right now because this week has been absolute shite, so how about a light-hearted blog post instead? The heavy stuff can wait. Bel Joeor posted a fun Bathtime blog hop and I do quite like bathing products (for horses anyway) so let’s do it. (Also – pssst – Riding Warehouse is doing a Bargain Bin sale for the holiday weekend, check it out)
Do you bathe regularly, or only before shows?
As necessary, really. Before shows or if they’re really dirty, or pre-body clip. In our mild climate they can get hosed off for most of the year, and mine are pretty much always clipped, so they don’t tend to get super dirty.
What’s your temperature cutoff?
65 if they absolutely must be bathed, but I’d rather it be 70. We’re Texans, we’re allowed to be weenies about “cold”.
Any favorite gadgets or shampoos?
Ooo boy do I have some favorite products.
My “gadget” I suppose would be my Power Shower sponge. It’s a regular sponge on one side and a Tiger’s Tongue on the other so I LOVE this thing for bathing. It’s a super all-in-one little tool.
My favorite shampoo/conditioner line is probably Espana Silk, it washes out easily and smells fantastic, plus the conditioner does a really good job detangling the tail with little effort.
I also do an after-bath rinse where I fill up a bucket about halfway with water, add a few glugs of liniment (usually Vetrolin because it’s more economical, sometimes Sore No More if I’m feeling bougie whene I’m buying liniment) and a capful or two of baby oil.
I sponge that all over the coat and it’s a nice brace for the horse’s muscles plus the little bit of baby oil leaves the coat nice and rehydrated and shiny without needing to use any kind of silicone spray afterward.
In the winter if it’s too wet to bathe but they’re particularly dirty (you know how clipped horses get super dusty? Or your horse – ahem Henry – loves to lay in poop?) I like to use a good waterless shampoo and dampened towels to get them clean.
Any other strong opinions?
I have a lot of strong opinions, but not many about bathing. As long as you’re not freezing your horse to death by bathing them when it’s too cold, you do you.