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.


  1. Baby steps... keep taking them. You're doing great, and Piney (well, his ghost inside Pistol) will take care you!

  2. I think giving yourself something concrete to work on with him will really help you--like making him show a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t going home. Instead of just thinking, "I'm going to dieeeee!!", you can be thinking, "Alright, Pistol. What do I need to be doing right now to get you to walk like a gentleman?"

    But, hey. You're on him and you're trying. Good for you!!

  3. I'm so glad you took him out.

    One step at a time. When I first got Allie she actually scared me because she was so green and had a rearing problem. I went out and bought an eventing vest and it helped my confidence like you wouldn't believe! I don't wear it much at all anymore (when we start jumping I will) but I really recommend getting one so you can ease your mind a little.

  4. It takes time - just add time and distance, slowly and not all at once, and before you know it, you'll be able to go just about anywhere.

  5. Well done going on a solo ride! Take your time - it will all work out great. :D