There is a special place in heaven for horse show photographers that are both affordable AND fast, I swear. I pre-ordered the All Photos package and had 97 pics in my dropbox by first thing Tuesday morning after the show. It’s a complete novelty for me down here in the land of 4-6 weeks for digitals that cost twice as much. Anyway, now that we have pics we can get to the latest Presto show recap!
Fair warning, I was unable to go to Tennessee for this show, so I don’t have as many of the nitty gritty details as I normally would. This is the first show of Presto’s that I’ve missed and I absolutely hated it. My level of anxiety was sky high. Especially because River Glen was very slow to update scores and Megan had another horse in the Novice that she was riding after Presto, plus the reception there is really bad, so she couldn’t always give me immediate or detailed updates. And he didn’t do dressage til almost noon on Saturday so like aagggghhhh the waaaaaiting. I HATE waiting. It was the very definition of torture. Do not recommend. I am a terrible absentee owner.
Anyway, Megan said he warmed up beautifully for dressage. The warmup was a long way from his show ring down by the river, and she said by the time they got down there with all the spooky stuff and no other horses, he went a bit tense and ADD on her. Nothing naughty, she just couldn’t really ride him super forward and flowy the way she had at Chatt, and he wanted to pop his head up above the contact and look around a few times. She said she felt to her like it was more of a 30ish test, but he scored a 33.
I had to kind of chuckle, because for a tense gawking 4yo to go in the ring and still manage to get a 33… I’m not upset about that. A tense gawking Henry is closer to a 40 and toes the line of belligerent. Presto was just kind of behind the leg and occasionally distracted. I won’t complain about his expression of tension, or the fact that a “disappointing” score is a 33. Either way, he still ended up 4th after dressage, about mid-pack… apparently a lot of horses aren’t really fans of that far ring.
Showjumping was a few more hours later, and I spent most of the day hitting refresh on all the scores like a psycho. Rails were falling left and right all day, in mass quantities. Like… a lot of them. There were very few clear rounds and 5 compulsory retirements in the Intermediate, Prelim, and Training divisions. I dunno what was going on there, but it wasn’t good. Presto is pretty careful but he’s still kind of a monkey with his legs sometimes (little brain and a very long way from said brain to his feet), so it was hard to guess how this might go. Honestly though, he only needed a completion at this event to finish out his qualifications for AEC (you need a first or second place and 3 USEA event completions – he had a 2nd from Chatt but had only done 2 USEA events, so needed one more). Mostly I was just like “please, just jump all the jumps in the right order and no one fall down or fall off”. There’s something about very low expectations that make it even more nerve-wracking as you imagine the 1001 different ways it could still all go to shit.
His ride time came and went, with me madly hitting that refresh button (it’s VERY DISSATISFYING when nothing new shows up no matter how many times you hit it) and then I got a text from Megan: “He jumped so good! Barely ticked the last jump and had it down but probably the best round we’ve had, he was so rideable!”.
Thank the lawd, huge sigh of relief. Two phases complete! And I really could not care less about a cheap rail if he had a more rideable round. Stadium is his hardest phase at this point, so how he goes around the course matters way more than whether he jumps clear or not. She sent me the video of his round later and indeed it was a definite improvement from Chatt. Especially as the course went on he got better and better, and since she could actually soften before the jumps he was jumping better too. He still has some, uh, interpretive dance moves in the air sometimes when he spies some surprising filler, but I don’t think it ever even crosses his mind to not jump. I swear he cleared the first one by a couple feet LOL.
There were so many rails that even with having one down Presto moved up from 4th to 2nd. I dunno what kind of monsters were living under those jumps all day, or what kind of ejection seat jump cups they’re using, but that was nuts. Worked out okay for us though, with Megan’s two greenies sitting first and second in the Novice at the end of the day.
I couldn’t breathe too easily yet though, because cross country was the next morning…