Ocala Festival Part 1 – Dressage and SJ

Presto and I were back at it again last weekend (well really we went on Thursday and Friday, so last week)! Season is very much winding down to a close here in Florida, and Ocala International Festival of Eventing is basically considered the last event of the season. It’s also known for challenging courses and a lot more atmosphere, so we chose to do one more Training rather than make the move to Modified at this show. We’ve run several Training’s at the Florida Horse Park by now, so the goal was really to just have a very boring and ho-hum weekend. Spoiler alert: mission accomplished. Perhaps too thoroughly at times.

This show was set up different from every other one we’ve been to at the FHP. Our dressage was down on the polo field, and showjumping was up where the dressage rings normally are. I thought Presto might take exception to things being different, but really he didn’t care. Signs of maturity or is he lulling me into a false sense of security? Who knows with him, could be either really.

We were in the Training Horse division and our dressage was Thursday afternoon, so I braided him before lunch, stuck him on the trailer, and headed out. I put studs in him this time since we were on grass, and he had no trouble with the surface. He warmed up pretty well and then literally AS we were heading over to the ring he became convinced there was something in his ear and started shaking his head like crazy. He had a bonnet on, so I dunno if maybe he got some sweat in his ear or if he was just imagining things, but at that moment we couldn’t do much about it, so Steph just pulled his bonnet off and away we went with his wild mustang forelock leading the way.

He continued to slightly shake his head a few times through the test, which was frustrating and distracting, but it wasn’t too severe. Overall he was a little heavy/flat in the heat and I was slightly late with a couple of transitions. It wasn’t brilliant but it was decently good, and there were no yeehaws in the lengthenings, so I’ll take that. Boring… we like boring.

We scored a 26.7, which put us in second place only half a point behind the leader. As Presto’s breeder I will never not be proud of this horse finding his way to the top of the pro/horse divisions in Ocala… it’s literally all the good pros on their nice young horses, most of them imports, and he can hold his own even with an amateur on board.

only negative comments, but lots of 8’s!

After dressage we loaded up and headed back home where Presto was delighted to wallow in his sand pit that he’s created in the corner of his turnout.

Showjumping was early Friday morning, so were up early and at the Horse Park before 8. I was prepared for him to be a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man, since SJ warmup is his most favorite place for those shenanigans, and I thought having a “new/different” warmup from the usual place was just begging for antics. Color me very shocked when he was The Most Civilized animal in warmup. Like… so quiet it was suspicious. But we did our w/t/c, hopped over a few jumps, and then there was an open gate, so we went in a little early.

most civilized (and bored) noodle

He definitely lit up a bit when we went in the ring, mostly looking around the outside edges at the bleachers, photographers, ring crew, etc. Normally when he’s in there it’s dressage courts, so that’s fair. We picked up the canter, came around to the first one, saw a good distance, and I literally felt him go “yeah yeah there’s a jump, but WHO IS THAT GUY OVER THERE” as he left the ground, and he whacked the everloving shit out of the first jump. Presto. My friend. Pick up your feets, bro. He’s super duper not impressed by the 1m anymore and when he’s bored his focus tends to stray pretty easily.

After having the first fence down he decided maybe he should pay attention, and he jumped the rest super, even when I got him to a bad spot into the first two stride. He did a real Good Boy job there. Otherwise it was a nice, very normal round. So ultimately we had one rail, from him just not paying attention, although honestly I deserved a rail at the two stride and he kept that up, so… we’ll call it even.


The scores were tightly packed enough that a rail dropped us from 2nd to 7th. Ouch. It ain’t over til it’s over, though, and we still had cross country left! Stay tuned…

8 thoughts on “Ocala Festival Part 1 – Dressage and SJ

  1. I think that purple coat might be my favorite purchase you’ve ever posted on this blog. It looks sooooooo good!


  2. I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical of the purple coat when you got it, but it looks amazing with Presto’s dark bay!


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