Monday, July 16, 2012

Pistol came home!!

Great news! Pistol  came home yesterday! And drum roll please…he’s perfect! Well maybe not perfect but he’s pretty darn awesome! I had been emailing the trainer and asking if he thought he was ready to come home and he thought that he was. So we hooked up the trailer and made the journey out to the trainers place.

When we pulled up the trainer came out to greet us and then we made some small talk about the weather then we asked about how Pistol went. “well” he said “he’s got some issues”. Great I thought! Here it comes! He’s gonna tell me that riding him is like riding a freight train and he’s got no breaks, and should probably be sent off to a rodeo for a bucking bronco. “Getting his teeth done was probably the best thing you could have done for him” the trainer said. “He’s gotten better each time I’ve bridled him up. But someone mistreated him and he has got trust issues.” We sort of figured that part out about him. The trainer figured that no one bothered to fix his teeth and just kept getting more aggressive with Pistol when he was trying to tell his rider that he was hurting. Then they eventually just dumped him at an auction because they didn’t want to deal with his problems anymore. He said that he rides great, but he doesn’t really trust that we aren’t going to hurt him. The trainer says to just love up on him as much as possible and he will come around. He also said that since he’d been at his farm he started warming up to the trainer and his family. Pistol just really wants to be loved. The other issue that he had was that he didn’t back up. He figured that since he’d gotten away with not backing up his whole life, he wasn’t about to start doing it now. But that is something I’m not too concerned with.

We asked if he had any other problems when it came to riding. The trainer said, no not really. He does spook sometimes on the trail if something leaps out at him like a dog or a deer. But Pistol will do a  little hop straight up, but then realizes he is fine and then keep going, he doesn’t spin and bolt for home. He said that he’s a bit on the lazy side but he does listen to your cues. Walk, trot and canter are all there, but he never really long trotted him much.  He also told us that he ties and stands well for everything. The trainer even told us that he was riding and then just tossed Pistol’s reins over the box of the pickup and ran into the house to get a pop. He came back and Pistol was standing right there waiting when he came back.  Yay! He also said that he’d feel comfortable putting any of his family members on Pistol and his family doesn’t really ride all that much. That made me feel happy. We now have  a horse for every riding level!

So chatted a bit more and then we went down to the barn to see Pistol. He went right up to him and haltered him up and brought him into the barn aisle. We had asked him to help us fit our bridle and bit with him just so we could get it done and not have to fuss with it when we got home. He fitted it and then just slipped it on no problem at all. Pistol doesn’t like his right ear messed with much but he just sort of looks annoyed rather than jerking his head straight up in the air and turning into a giraffe. The trainer then asked if he wanted me to saddle him up so I could try him out. Ummm YEAH! SO he saddled him up and then I hopped on up!

Pistol is a big boy. He’s very tall! But I managed to hop right on up and not make an embarrassing scene like when I tried out that pony at Christmas time. But I asked for a walk and got one. He neck reins too which is so weird for me! I’m so used to direct reining with Pinecone so it’s just kind of a nice surprise!  I just briefly walked and trotted him around the yard, I didn’t want to take up too much of their time.  Since it was hot and muggy out. So we untacked him and then we went to settle up our bill.

When we dropped Pistol off we had to pay $125 for board. The trainer said that he charged $10 a ride/training session which I thought was very fair. The trainer came up and I asked him “what do I owe you?” and he said “eighteen seventy five”. And for whatever reason my brain was telling me $1875.00 and I thought he was joking. So I said “Eighteen dollars and seventy five cents?!” And sure enough that’s what the remainder of our bill was. HE said that he only put on 5 rides because it was so hot one of the weeks he was there. He  said that he could have rode the piss out of him and made a bunch of money but that wasn’t right. Especially since Pistol didn’t need that. I appreciated his honesty. And I would recommend this guy to anyone who is looking for a trainer. We were planning on paying up to $450 for 30 days of training on him. Which sure isn’t much money by most people standards, but we just needed a refresher put on Pistol. I have a feeling  a couple of the other trainers I had contacted would have kept him for the 30 days, charged the $450 and then told me that they probably needed to keep him for another 30 days. A friend of mine who is big into showing AQHA’s and heads to the world championships yearly gave me a list of trainers that I could contact. She also told me to make SURE I told them I only wanted 30 days because a lot of trainers are notorious for putting 30 days on then saying they needed more time. Most of the trainers she gave me info for were around the $650 a month mark. Which, if I had a younger horse that I had planned on showing at a higher level in western Pleasure, or even Hunter under saddle then maybe that would have been a route to explore. But Pistol is older and he’s probably not going to see the show ring. He was purchased to be a trail horse for when we had people over to ride with us. But I must say  our trainer’s honesty really, made me happy with our decision to go with him. Sure he was 100 miles away from home, but factoring in gas we were still under our budget! When we left we told him that we would definitely be recommending him to anyone looking for a trainer. He specializes in ranch horses so we said that we might even be bringing Duke out to see if he could get him started as a roping horse.
So when we got Pistol home I decided to take him for a quick ride around the yard. I grabbed my saddle and then tacked him up and hopped on. Gosh he is a big horse! I rode him around the yard and he was fantastic. I then took him down the road and he was amazing.  I am so happy that we decided to send him to get a couple rides on with a trainer. I was actually getting very nervous about keeping him since I was starting to freak myself out over the thought of tacking him up. The $143.75 we paid someone else to get the first ride on him was well worth it in my opinion. He’s going to be a fun horse I just know it!

And I haven't forgotten about telling the rest of my Western Adventure...I know you are waiting at the edge of your seats to hear about it...but I will finish my story this week! ALSO this weekend we went to watch some horse racing here in Fargo. I will tell you all about that because I'm sure you are dying to hear about the small cow track we have here ;-)

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