Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Trust

When you have a horse who has good judgement and who looks out for your welfare just as much as his own, he's worth his weight in gold.  I'd even go so far as to call him priceless.

In my last post, I wrote about Rock refusing to go on a trail ride and me accepting his refusal, figuring that he had good reason.  I later discovered that he had digested a bunch of horse hair that I had left on the ground after grooming the horses, so he probably didn't want to go out on the trails for a long walk with a tummy ache.

I gave him two days to recover and made sure that his manure was back to normal before riding him again.  He started out sleepy and grumpy...

The other horses were still eating their breakfasts...

Mounting was a bit of a struggle...

...because I got new riding boots...

 ...that have super fat toes.  I took Mrs. Shoes recommendation to try Ariat Fat Babies.  I already know that I like the quality and the fit of Ariat boots everywhere except in the toes, so I preferred to try a different style with the same company over an unknown.  My right foot is so deformed that it's a miracle if a shoe or boot has even a close fit.  I bought these online with one full size larger than my usual size, hoping to give my toes plenty of room without slippage at the heel.  So far, so good.  They fit fine.  The toes do have plenty of room on top for curled knuckles and up front, but the right boot did rub on the side of my toes.  However, after spending an hour in them, they stretched out and felt better.

I love the design.  It's pink and teal.  I've always wanted teal colored boots, but the styles and size I need never come in that color.  I almost got a purple pair, but talked myself out of it since I already have a purple pair of cowgirl boots with a high shaft.

Black with just a hint of color is nice.  I can wear these with anything.  They are comfortable to both walk in and ride in.  My main concern was their sole...

While they are called riding boots, the soles were a little too gummy and my boot got stuck in the leather stirrup when Rock pulled his usual stunt of walking off without me in the saddle yet.  I'm hoping that is just because they are new, and once I get some dirt on them, they'll lose some traction.  Also, because the toes are fatter, it's more difficult to get my right stirrup onto my boot after mounting.  I think the boots will work out.  I just need to develop new habits and learn what is necessary to get these boots in and out of the stirrups.  If I can't, there's always the option of getting different, wider stirrups.

Back to my story about trust...  Rock and I were approaching a "Y" shaped intersection that you can kind of see up ahead in the picture below...

I prefer to take the trail to the right, loop around up a hill, and come back on the trail to the left.  If we go in the other direction, we have to go downhill, and Rock can sometimes act like a dork going downhill.  I was cuing him to take the trail on the right, but he was veering left and being stubborn about it.  I wondered what bush he was fixated on that he wanted to eat.  I wasn't thinking about what it was he might be avoiding on the right.

Suddenly, I heard a rattle, looked down, and there was this rattlesnake right below my right stirrup quickly curling up and getting ready to strike at Rock's legs.  I let out the most blood-curdling scream that was fueled by both fear that my best buddy in the whole wide world was about to be bit and pure rage over my lousy luck.  Rock gently jumped forward out of striking range and then slowly and casually walked away from the rattling snake while I was still screaming.  He was so good about not panicking despite the fact that I had clearly lost it myself, and he was careful not to dislodge me from his back.

He spent the next several minutes of our ride trying to calm me down and assure me that he was alright.  I felt like such an idiot, because once again, he was trying to tell me something important by refusing to go to the right.  One more step to the right, and he would have stepped on the snake.  I normally keep a close eye out for rattlesnakes, but I got lulled into a sense of security because it was such a nice, quiet day and Rock has a gentle walk that tends to make you sleepy.  When I blew up the picture above, I could actually see the rattlesnake lying on the trail up ahead.  I must have had my eyes fixed on the horizon when we were riding, because I didn't see it at all until it rattled right beneath my foot.

Rock balked and alerted on something on the way home, and I was like, "You want to stop?  Okay, we're stopping.  You know more than me."

He stood still with his head in the air and his ears pointed ahead for a couple of minutes, and I just waited until he said everything was cool.  To me, it looked like he was alerting on the trash truck in the distance, but he sees those trucks all the time, so it had to be something else.  My senses are so dull now that I may as well let my horse call the shots.  Most trainers would rip me apart for that, but until Rock proves to me that his judgment can't be trusted, I'm going to trust him.

Here I am surveying the ground before dismounting...

This is turning out to be the worst rattlesnake season we've had yet.

7 comments:

Linda said...

Dear Lord!!! I would have been screaming, too. Golden horses are rare and hard to come by--you can't lose Rock! I think it's all a partnership--sometimes he'll look to you, sometimes you'll look to him. It's beautiful, really. A good trainer would probably encourage you to follow your instincts and grow into that relationship of trust with Rock. He has earned it.

TeresaA said...

Rock is worth his weight in gold. He obviously takes his job very seriously.

Camryn said...

Go-od boy Rock, awesome boy Rock. Yup, he's priceless all right.

Crystal said...

have those fat baby boots too and I was told they are not a riding boot but I have rode n mine too sometimes. If you can fit the boot up and down and normal ways in the stirrup it should be big enough. They are pretty, I have burgundy pair now I use for town boots they are so comfy I can walk in them all day

Mrs Shoes said...

Nice kicks Nuz.
As Crystal mentions, they aren't necessarily CALLED a riding boot, but I wear mine everywhere, including riding, to the grocery store & everywhere in between. My last western saddle had wooden stirrups & the rubber soles gave me some grip, now I ride english more & the irons have a tread across them. When I do get a new pair of boots (3-5 years, depending how hard I've been on them), I walk through some puddles & let them mostly dry on my feet. After that, I find they fit to a tee.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The store I bought mine from actually had the word "riding boot" in the title.

Mrs Shoes said...

I had to leave abruptly yesterday & didn't finish your story - wow, I just read the part about Rock calmly hopping out of striking range & calming you with his calm. He's an awesome horse!