I’m back from sunny southern California! When I booked my trip it was originally supposed to be for Presto’s Training level debut… which clearly didn’t come to fruition since he decided to be a monkey in turnout and effectively remove himself from his entire fall schedule. I waffled a lot with whether or not to cancel my trip, but in the end I decided that 1) I wanted the break from work since it’s the last one I’ll get for a while, 2) I wanted to be there for Presto’s next vet appointment. The money was already spent on my plane ticket so… may as well, right? I got there on Wednesday afternoon and Megan’s mom picked me up at the airport, and we hustled straight to Galway so we could be there in time for the 2* and 4* jogs.
Once the jogs were done we went down the street to the barn Presto has been based at during his Cali vacation… very convenient that it was so close. Megan had told me that he’d filled out a lot in the past month and boy she wasn’t kidding. The spaghetti noodle is looking more like a manicotti these days. I guess standing in a pen doing nothing but hoovering hay may not have been so bad for him. He barely even greeted me, he was too busy with his treat ball. I said hello, gave him a couple cookies, and left him to his business.
Thursday was dressage day, with Tenny going early in the 2* and then Mo going mid-afternoon in the 4*. Megan’s mom had gotten a VIP table for her entourage (which between family and owners was sizeable) and let me tell you, I was decidedly not suffering. Ringside table and full catering? I could get used to that horse show experience. We had a great breakfast and then headed over to watch Tenny’s dressage, which was lovely – she’s developed so much over this year. I mean maybe I’m biased because she’s my favorite but meh no I’m not.
Mid-morning we all loaded up and headed down the street to the barn for Presto’s vet appointment and to see Megan’s newest addition to her string (the first redhead in a mass of bays). This was Presto’s first Shockwave appointment, and my opportunity to talk to the vet in person.
He was a super nice guy, pretty much the first thing he said was “this is just a blip, it’s only temporary, he’ll heal up and this won’t be a problem or affect his career in any way” which is always nice. Clearly he’s used to concerned owners if that’s the first thing he offered up without any preamble LOL. I asked him what the most conservative, probably-overkill recovery and rehab plan was and he gave me an outline. We’re gonna do a couple more Shockwave treatments (which he didn’t think were necessary but said “definitely wouldn’t hurt”… what’s money, right?) and keep him rested for at least another month, maybe two, and then re-scan and see how it looks. We want any heat and filling to stay out of it and prevent him from irritating it any further. I’d much rather overdo the rest and recovery than try to rush him back to work and end up back at square one. Presto’s not missing anything (well ok he’s already missed everything there was on his schedule) so we may as well take it slow and be extra sure.
This does mean that he’ll be staying with Megan quite a bit longer than the original home-in-December plan. It’s not really possible to stall rest him here at home or do “controlled” turnout, and then it also seems a bit pointless for me to try to bring him back into work myself after he’s been off for 2-3 months. Plus, like, the whole point of him staying through the fall was so he could do a few more shows with her to solidify what he’s learned this year so… he should just stay. We’re already 9 months in, seems like it would be a shame to potentially throw all that progress away at this point. He can stall rest there, she can bring him back over the winter, and then he can go to Florida with her and get a few shows in. Then I can take lessons on him again and bring him home late spring. So yeah, I’m bummed to be Presto-less for longer, I was really excited to get him back, but horses are horses and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I kinda wanted him to go to Florida to show anyway, so maybe it’ll turn out to be a good thing in the end.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spiral pretty hard that night. I did. I promised Henry to Hillary for the winter to ride and show, and I REALLY do want her to ride and show him, it’ll be good for both of them. But that was based on the premise that I’d have Presto here, which now I won’t. Did I stay up until midnight looking at horses off the track? Indeed I did. The whole reason I ended up with Henry in the first place, for those who remember, was because I had leased out Sadie and spiraled hard a few months later, so there’s definitely precedent for this. Michelle talked me off the ledge though and told me I should just come get one of her mares to ride through the winter… something different for me to ride, a little excitement to look forward to, and no spiral-induced impulse purchase required. Yeah ok that seems like a much better idea. More on that later.
I also didn’t give in and buy a BEMER, which was my brains other “excellent idea” for a quick dopamine hit. It was tempting. I did manage to talk Tenny’s owner into one though, which was almost as satisfying.
Friday was cross country day, which kinda just makes me nervous when a friend and horses I’m truly invested in emotionally are running. The 2* looked fine (clearly I’ve suffered long term brain damage because I was like “these look kinda small”) but the 4* was YIKES. Like… YIIIIKKKEESS. Hard pass. No thank you. There were these big white rails headed straight down the side of a hill that you would have to pay me a massive amount of money to point a horse at. It was a big hard track, for sure, and the whole entourage was drinking hard and heavy first thing in the morning. Quick pause to say how freaking awesome her family and friends are – just the nicest people and a lot of fun. Which, I am notoriously bad at integrating into new groups with new people so the fact that I did so easily says a lot about them.
Megan’s two rides were only an hour apart, with the 4* running first, so we scoped out our spectating plan. We parked up by the startbox as she came out and went around the first loop, then booked it up to the main water so we could see her come through there. The first time through they had a big brush drop in, bending to a brush skinny, and Megan and Mo were baller through there.
It was a really tough course and took it’s toll, with only 4 people jumping clear. Megan ran into some trouble at the big downhill rails and opted to walk home and try again another day. There was a quick turnaround to get Mo vetted out of the box and then Tenny tacked up, then we were back at warmup. A bad fall on the 4* course caused a long hold and delay, so Tenny’s owners and I decided to head up to the main water to wait for Tenny. She came flying around that course like she was having the time of her life, looking absolutely fantastic and adding a nice double clear for her first 2*L. Great wrap-up to cross country day, and more importantly two happy sound horses… can’t ask for more than that.
Although when Megan was whipping from barn to barn in the golf cart doing post-XC care she almost ran over Billie Eilish coming back from dressage on her horse. That would have been bad. I knew Billie rode but didn’t know she evented, so that’s pretty cool. I mean, don’t run her over with a golf cart maybe, but welcome to our sport.
Saturday was showjumping day, and once again there was so much suffering happening up in the VIP area. I ate hash browns and oatmeal until I physically couldn’t anymore. Woe was me.
We ran over and watched the jogs (ok there was no running, I was full of potato) and then went and poked around in all the vendors for a while. It was disappointing, I found zero things I wanted. One trailer had some breeches and shirts that I liked but inevitably whatever color I wanted was not in my size and whatever was in my size was a color I didn’t like. The shopping gods said no that day, I guess. I did buy a sweater from a little clothing boutique (and talked Tenny’s other owner into a jacket and sweater and hat… I am an expensive friend) so it wasn’t a total failure. If they’d had the jacket in a darker color I would have gotten it but also how many jackets does a Texan really need?
Tenny showjumped a couple hours later, and while she’s still figuring some things out she’s progressed a lot in that phase too.
I really love that mare. A lot. And may or may not have talked her owners into maybe doing an embryo transfer or two. Like… the husband was even looking at all of my bloodline spreadsheets with me on my laptop that night. No one else likes to nerd out at that level with me so I was delighted. Gimme some baby Tenny’s.
The horse show wrapped up with that but I still had a few more things to do and people to meet while I was out on the West Coast… more to come about those adventures tomorrow!