So a couple weeks ago when we figured out that Presto indeed was not actually qualified for AEC, it was time to come up with a new plan. Plan… what are we on now… C maybe? As it goes with horses.
His whole pro training journey has been relatively fluid in general. I originally took him up for a month, but liked Megan so much that I opted to keep him on and send him to Ocala with her and have her be his trainer for the Futurity. And Ocala went really well, so he came home and we started making horse show plans, including getting him to a YEH qualifier. Our only real option for that was Chatt, and we were supposed to get two chances back to back with two weeks of shows, but then an issue came up at the barn and the horses had to miss week 1. That left us with only one YEH shot, and Presto didn’t get the score he needed for East Coast Championships. Trying to get him to another qualifier would require another 1000+ mile haul, and that’s just not worth it for any of us, so it was a one and done shot at a score, which he didn’t get. Close the book on the that plan. That didn’t exactly break my heart because it’s a 1500 mile haul to Championships, and while it would have been really fun to go and for him to experience the atmosphere and represent WTW, he wouldn’t have been very competitive. That’s a long friggin drive to do what is essentially a derby and not be very competitive.
But Presto had placed 2nd at Chatt, a qualifying placing for AEC. So we thought, hmm… is there another show between then and the end of the AEC qualifying period? Hence making the trip to River Glen, where he was 2nd again. At that point we thought we had the qualifications done and his next stop would be AEC, but alas that wasn’t to be either (I can’t tell you how annoying it is to have two Novices under his belt with two 2nd places and just be ONE measly completion short of him being able to go). I was more sad about that one than YEH, to be honest. I wanted a showcation, I wanted him to get to experience AEC and a big atmosphere, and I think he actually had a shot of being competitive there. But, ya know, sometimes we don’t get what we want and that’s just how things go. Hard to be that disappointed considering the fact that he’s already vastly (like by lightyears) exceeded any expectations I may have had for him this year.
So that brings us up to now. The “end date” of Presto’s pro training has always been a little bit fluid. If he’d qualified for YEH East Coast Champs he’d have gone to that in October. AEC’s are September. I always kind of figured whatever his last stop thing was with Megan, he’d come home maybe a month later. But then when those two things dried up we found ourselves without a clear last stop date on the schedule, so we had to regroup. For me personally, there are two main objectives left at this point in his training journey: 1) it’s time for me to start learning how to ride the horse she’s created. 2) every show has been an improvement on the one before it, and I really feel like he’d benefit from just a couple more with a pro ride before I take over, to help confirm everything he’s learned so far.
The first question was, what was on Megan’s schedule for the fall? I figured she’d have to be traveling somewhere, trying to get FEI runs on her two upper level horses, and indeed she was thinking of heading out to Cali for about a month so she could hit a 2* and a 4*. That would encompass basically all of October and into November. With her being gone for AEC combined with the fact that there’s only one show in our area before she leaves (at a venue Presto has already run at) I thought the best option would be to just send him along on her Tour de California. He can get another 2-3 shows under his belt at different venues (all of which are very different from any he’s seen so far), confirm all the stuff he’s done this summer, and get a little more life experience.
With that decided, the next priority was point #1 – it’s time for me to start learning how to ride him. The plan as of now is for me to start going up for lessons when Megan is back from AEC. I’ll take as many as I can in September (which, she’s 3.5 hours from me so that’ll probably be 3-5 lessons, realistically), then he’ll go to California, and then when he comes back in November I’ll spend the rest of that month going up and taking more lessons. In December he’ll come home and then we’ll see how things go from there. Right now he’s been on a bit of a break, which will continue until after AEC. He’s had a big summer, so he deserves it.
In a fairly hilarious plot twist, we did find out that Presto’s score from his YEH qualifier was actually good enough to qualify him for West Coast Championships (their score requirement is slightly lower since they don’t get the same kind of entry numbers that East does) and he will actually already be in California when Championships are taking place. For Futurity purposes it’s useless though, since right now they’re only operating in conjunction with the East Coast Championships, but I did briefly entertain the idea of sending him to West. In the end I’m just not sure I can justify the expense plus the addition of one more show to his schedule while he’s there. I can spend less money sending him to a full horse trial (where he stands a better chance of being competitive, honestly) and get more out of it. It’s cool that he qualified, but if I’m being practical I just don’t think there’s much value in him going.
For now we have (another) plan at least, and I’m honestly feeling pretty excited (albeit a bit intimidated) to start riding him again, but for real this time. I know my learning curve will be very steep – Presto couldn’t be any more opposite of Henry if he tried – but I’m feeling ready to get back out there and take on the challenge again!