Wednesday, August 29, 2012

we gotta build some trust.

I decided last Friday to saddle up Pistol and go for a ride. It was my first solo ride since way before Piney left me. If I was to tell you it was easy, to tack up and ride on down the road I’d be lying. It was pretty tough. I’ve let my confidence as a rider slip away from me. I was so comfortable with Piney. I knew how he was going to react to most things, or really not react. I knew that when he was being “bad” and not listening, he’d never rear, or bolt, or buck. He would just be naughty until I reminded him he was the boss. It makes me nervous to ride Pistol because I just don’t know him. I don’t know how he’s going to react to certain things. I should know by now I’m a good rider. I can handle most situations and have been around horses long enough to know what to do. The trainer said that Pistol didn't ever buck, rear, or bolt. He rarely put a foot out of place and was a great horse. I need to start believing that he isn't a monster, he is infact a good horse.

Pistol is a very sweet horse. He is a different horse than the one we brought home from the auction this spring. He no longer has a dead, cold look in his eyes and he doesn’t take off or tense up when you try to touch him. He has been coming up to me in the pasture and he loves to be snuggled. His eyes are sparkly and he seems happy. While he does sometimes resist a little when trying to snap a lead rope to his halter he isn’t as bad as he was when we got him. He leads like a champ and tacking him up is so easy.  He’s obviously been handled a LOT in his day. I wish I knew his history,  but obviously that is something I will never know. He’s changed hands so many times that finding out anything about him is just never going to happen. I think if his owners back in the day would have gotten his teeth done they would have probably kept him. I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason he was dumped at a few different auctions is that he was head shy, and did NOT want to be caught in the pasture. Getting his teeth done pretty much cured that. I often joke that Piney’s ghost entered Pistol’s body. He sometimes acts like Piney. Not nearly as clingy in the pasture but he does have some similarities I love those similarities.

Anyways, I tacked up Pistol and he was great as usual. He’s easy to saddle and bridle. He doesn’t even freak out when you touch his ears like he used to. I’ve been riding in my western saddle. I’d love to try my dressage or English saddle but as far as I know he’s never been ridden English. Does it really matter if I switch to English from a western saddle?  I mean every other horse I’ve tried my English saddles on they haven’t even blinked an eye at. Most of them almost feel relieved when I switch them. I’d like to ride in my dressage saddle, because that thing is the most comfortable saddle ever! But it’s a Wintec and I only have the medium gullet and I am just not sure if he is a medium boy. He’s thin, but he’s got a big barrel. (and speaking of being thin, the boy has been packing on the pounds and is looking less and less Ethiopian). Plus my English saddles are just so might lighter than my giant western saddle and I’m a big baby. Pistol is so tall it’s hard to throw all 400lbs of saddle up there sometimes!

I started walking him across the yard and he seemed a bit cautious. It didn’t help that Duke was screaming his lungs out like he was being slowly tortured instead of simply being left behind. But once we got on the road he was fine. He’s got a nice big walk and it’s kind of nice to be on a horse that is actually going someplace when he walks, unlike Piney’s slow barely moving walk. Once I had him warmed up I trotted him a bit. And again it’s nice to be on a horse that trots and you don’t have to keep encouraging, and asking to not break his gait. I briefly thought about asking him for a bit more, but the fear kicked in to high gear and I brought him back down to the walk. I don’t know what it is, about the canter. I can’t do it. I want to so bad, but I just can’t. I need to just man up and do it. We rode for awhile. We went down the road and then down a prairie trail, by a corn field. When I turned around he was aware that we were going home and his pace quickend. I had to remind him a few times that we don’t rush home and then he was fine. Until we got to the driveway. If I didn’t know what I was doing, he would have galloped to the barn. He did NOT want to listen to what I had to say. That’s when I got a bit nervous, but was still able to keep calm and let him know that we do NOT run across the yard, even if your best friend is screaming his guts out that you ditched him and that he was being eaten by wolves. (There were no wolves and he was perfectly safe at home). I pulled him into some circles and won a tiny battle but he was still an ass about getting back to the barn. We have work to do.
On our ride I was able to relax and enjoy the ride (before we got home that is). But in the back of my head I’m expecting something bad to happen with him. I know we need to build our relationship and trust. It’s coming along but it’s just coming slowly. Someone has put a lot of miles on that horse, he knows how to behave and is a good boy, but I just don’t know him. Obviously putting time on him is going to cure that.

He is a good boy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free hay!

I'm not sure if I’ve mentioned where I work before, but I work for a large family farm as an accounting assistant/receptionist. It is a farm run by a father and his 4 boys. They grow wheat, corn, soybeans, sugarbeets and potatoes. They don’t grow potatoes up in this area anymore because the ground just isn’t good for them, but they still grow them at their farm that is a bit further south. When they were growing them up here we took a field trip out to see them being harvested and we got to take home a HUGE bag of fresh potatoes. I thought that was the best day ever. That is until yesterday.

One of my bosses, the father, came into the office in the morning and I had asked him about sugarbeet pulp, since we started feeding it to Pistol because I want him to bulk up a bit. I asked if there was any way one could buy some beet pulp from the plant which is just down the road from our office. He said they do have it for sale but you have to buy it from someone else but he would get me the information. He then asked me if I had found hay. I said that we had found some small square bales, and that my husband’s father was having his land bailed and that we were planning on going out west to pick it up sometime this fall when we had some time. He then said well if you want them I have 8 round bales that I had saved for you. How awesome is that? I had been a little nervous about hay this winter, mostly because it was so dry around here this year that no one has hay for sale. And the stuff that is for sale is being snatched up and sent down south.  These 8 bales will definitely be put to good use! SO thankful for the free hay! They had 4 bales loaded up on a trailer of his for me, and even let me borrow one of the work pickup trucks. It was a Chevy, which was pretty hard for me to drive. Only because it was a Chevy, I wasn’t brought up to drive THAT kind of vehicle ;-)  We will pick up the remaining bales tonight after work!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

They grow up so fast.

My little kittehs aren't really kittehs anymore. They are starting to look like cats. Their soft fluffy-ness is gone, their blue eyes are gone but they are still sweet. As far as barn cats go they fail on the aspect that they absolutely love people. They even love my dogs...Not Tucker though. Tucker is positive the cats are food and doesn't quite get the fact that he needs to just leave them alone. The cocker spaniels think the cats are the greatest friends ever and I will often catch them grooming each other and snuggling. But i HAVE caught the cats torturing mice so that is a good thing so that makes up for the fact they love people and dogs. They hunt anything they can really which makes me happy that they are honing their skills as vicious killers. I look forward to the day when they leave me headless presents on the front steps.
But here are some pictures of my kittehs.
"OMG! She said WHAT?!?!"

What happened to my furry little kittehs?

Don't make eye contact!

I like to tell people they are a rare breed of cat from Russia.


Out on a kitty stroll through the yard.

They love to snuggle which almost makes me want to bring them to a family in town...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm still here.

Things have been going well for the most part lately. I have been having a lot of good days but obviously nothing gold can stay. It sounds horrible but if I don’t think about Piney my days go by a lot easier. Its not that I want to forget him or erase his memory, but If I don’t think about him I can handle each day better.

Last Friday I had a meltdown. The day started well enough, but after work I stopped by the vet to make a payment on my bill. Being in there made me pretty sad. Especially since I was dropping a ton of money on something I didn’t have anymore. Then when I got home I decided that I needed to get the horses wormed. They weren’t having any part of it. At. All. Duke was flying around the pasture like a kite, and Pistol decided to get head shy about the whole process. It made me miss my horse that probably would have wormed himself had he been born with opposable thumbs. He was such a rock star for anything you wanted to do with him. I don’t think I ever even put a halter on him to worm him.

 And then as a final straw I was going through the chest of drawers we have by the front entry way, and but had forgotten that is where I stashed Piney’s tail and the cast of his hoof. I caught a whiff of his smell and I lost it. I need to find a better hiding spot for that stuff until I am ready to deal with it properly. Not sure when that will be.

Most days I just go about my business, and things are fine. I miss Piney but I know that there is nothing I can do to get him back. I need to think about the good things and then move on, think about the future. I hate that my confidence in my riding is disappearing. Last night would have been a great night to saddle up and go for a ride. If I still had Piney I probably would have. But since I still don’t fully trust Pistol (even thought I really, really should) and I didn’t feel safe enough riding, especially since I was home alone. He’s also kind of foot sore, we went for a brief ride last week, and he was pretty ouchy on his toes. I’m waiting for my farrier to come out and trim him up. I hope it’s something as simple as him just needing a trim. The funniest part of that ride, even though I had to turn around, was that my barn cats followed me the whole way. I’ve had dogs join me on trail rides but NEVER 3 adorable kittens. Those little creeps better start sticking closer to home!

So that’s about it for now. Mostly I need to just get over it. I’m a better rider than I give myself credit for. Piney was my once in a lifetime horse. I lucked out with him and he was a saint when it came to riding. He needed me and I needed him and we were a great team. We had the same outlook on life with similar histories. Washed up has-beens. In our youth we were fine tuned at our events (his racing and my dancing). But we got older and we got hurt and we decided that a life of leisure was much more rewarding.  I’m hoping that the next OTTB that comes into my life has a similar outlook on life.