This week/weekend I’m working at WEC, but I wanted to be able to get a lesson in with Presto before that started. The winter season is very quickly approaching (closing date is next week for our first one!) and I thought it might be a good idea to go XC school a few questions that he maybe hadn’t seen yet. In particular, there’s a Weldon’s Wall at Training at a couple venues, and I am not the biggest fan of those, and Presto had never seen one.
Our favorite close venue happens to have a Weldon’s Wall on their Training course, which was tres convenient, and Steph had time on Tuesday to meet us, so we headed over there.
Aside from the Weldon’s wall I also wanted to school a drop into water, since we haven’t done that question very much either. Presto is bold, but he IS still green, and we’re still a relatively new partnership, so I’m definitely interested in doing the things that put deposits in the trust bank. It’s never the best feeling to get to a show and be like “hmm well we’ve never done anything quite like that before”. At least not for me.
So we started with a few simple warmup fences, then went over to the trakeners. He’s jumped the Novice one before and the Training one isn’t much bigger, so he didn’t even blink at that. He was far more interested in the horse at the top of the hill in the distance that was having some primo shenanigans.
What I have noticed about him now that we have a few XC runs under our belt is that there are 3 very distinct Presto modes while on course. For the first few jumps he’s almost a bit overly bold… super pumped to be there, not as responsive to my half-halts. After that he levels out and goes into cruising mode and is quite lovely and focused. That lasts for most of the course. And then by the last few he’s like “perhaps I have regrets about my earlier Fuckery” and can be a little slower off my leg. Three different horses that require three different rides within about 5 minutes.
Schooling is a bit of the same. In the beginning he’s like YEEEEEHAW and then levels out, which is helpful because we can at least practice the best way to ride/handle each of the modes.
After the trakehners we went over to the Weldon’s, which he gave less than zero shits about. I don’t think he even registered that the ditch existed.
Since that was super uneventful we went to the water next, jumping down the smaller bank (which was on the T course), then doing the whole T line (down bank into water, skinnyish ramp a couple strides out of the water), then the Prelim drop. The T line was no problem, but he did seem to quite enjoy launching himself into the water. Steph was very convinced that if we repeatedly just walked or quietly trotted off the drop, he would eventually jump down it normally.
Which would be sound logic, if Presto was normal. I’m not sure if y’all knew this, but Presto is NOT normal.
If this had been a cannonball competition, he’d have won hands down. You could practically hear his glee every time he leaped out into the water like he belonged at Sea World. His enthusiasm never once wavered, no matter how many times we went down it or how quietly he approached. He was having a grand time. My knees and spine were having a less fun time. Also, I was soaked. I got a face full of water on multiple occasions, like I went to the water park. I guess I did.
I mean, the good news is, he has no hesitation about dropping into water. You just… might not enjoy the style in which he does it. The joys of a young, exuberant horse.
After that we finished up by stringing together the coffin, a corner, and the big open MIM oxer, all of which he popped through easy peasy. He was a super good boy and it left me feeling a lot more confident about whatever we might see on the Training courses this season. Time to send in the first show entry of 2023!