Thursday, September 22, 2011

Confidence Riding

This is Pantz, my sisters 21 yr old Appaloosa mare. She inherited her for a dollar about 5 years ago, the current owner was afraid of her. while my sis is a TB fan of dressage & previously enthusiast/avid eventer, she has enjoyed her very much. They did Competitive Drill Team for a few years and now she mainly trail rides, with me.
My sister moved Pantz to my barn "at the time, late last summer, it was  -way the heck -out in the country.
The mares below, enjoying a romp through  in the large field they had to start with there.

My sister does not live in the Portland area permanently I looked in on Pantz, as I did my mare and had the privelege of riding her anytime. This was the second time I had had Pantz at a  stable with mine, and it was really fun.

My sis and me would take the mares to all my favorite riding spots, it was so nice to have her there more often, and so convenient to ride together from the barn!

Late in the season last year,  while I  ponied my mare from Pantz, we had stopped by a nearby pond for a rest. I was about to head on home again with the mares. Suddenly- in less than the time it would take to breath in and out-I was heading right for the ground, off of Pantz. She had done a tuck and roll move and was no longer under me, but the ground was!
I looked up once to see the mares standing there...but my mare, was pushing Pantz to go. It was terrible to see them running off and to track them to find, they had done the unspeakable!

What happened the NEXT WEEK was part of the history that lead me to happily move to my current stable. Too many chances for harm, availed themselves-plus- I wanted closer boarding w/arena and other amenities.

So, it has been a whole year since I have ridden Pantz solo, on the trails. I really did not think about it too much. Lately though, my sister really wants to get her in shape for an upcoming beach trip we have planned for October.  I have endeavoured a few times to go over to her  "new"current facility and retrieve her to ride at mine. (that is another post-"Pantz's move") While I am very confident trailering and riding solo...the doubtful thoughts had begun to hit my mind, " What if something happens? What if she dumps me and gets away again?" It was disconcerting for me to have to face these thoughts. And you know...these things are always present. I, while being confident in my skills and also very safety conscience while solo riding; am able to come off any horse, at anytime and have accidents occur, just like anyone can. But, it was the fact that I came off-while standing still, that had me scared somewhat.

Pantz was so good for me, trailered over to place and waited in the arena, while I got my gear out~
(phone photo)
My sissy's place is only 4 miles away. Pantz, she loves our arena, it's so soft to roll in! I set her up with some hay and water, as I groomed and tacked. I did NOT allow her to say hello to her best bud-My mare, Wa- out back in I thought it would be upsetting for her. They never saw each other, yet did answer each others call, once. One thing I do know about this mare Pantz is- she takes over and will not listen if she is takes alot to get her back.

She was great and I only had to confirm who was the boss once or twice..she is such a bossy lead mare...she does challenge sometimes should you waver.
This is something I really caught onto this ride, being extra vigilant is Pantz's thing.... look at those ears below!

While my mare would be looking over the pond and the ducks and whatever else would be swimming around...Pantz here, is concerned about her back. It was very hard for her to keep her head straight at all...I call her  "Looky Lou". She always has her head craned around to make sure the Lions are at bay! It is really annoying, when You are trying to do something, or get on...she is terrible at being still. THAT is what we practice the most, when I ride her. and THAT is where she dumped me last a moment of still.

Pantz, vigilant mare In a still moment, before I mounted up to go forth...

She was happy to be out and took to the trail, eagerly so.
I was  amazed at how quickly she was ascending the first hill- looser rein and no leg (both things I have to employ with mine) when- she spooked! I was not ready..but it was not a bolt or spin, was one of my mare's spooks too....a crouching stump, hidden cougar! Tall grasses hiding a 2 ft stump...ever since last years cougars attack...both my mare and this one, are wary of the stumps!
I don't blame them.

Our ride(s) were very insightful to I rode along looser reined, Pantz did become more aware of things..spooking more often. Now this is opposite of my TB mare..the more contact Wa mare has with leg...the more wound tight she becomes. This mare it seems, becomes less relaxed and more aware, having to take care of things herself on a long rein-translation-LOTS OF SPOOKS!

I learned a great lesson from this mare Pantz...she is confident with leg on, boundaries set and a light and constant contact. She gave me such confidence between the two days I picked her up to ride! I practiced being a strong we cantered down a road...and I felt her pushing away from something as we neared..I put the outside leg on and actually looked to the other side of the stayed straight as if there were only the middle to travel, instead of jumping to the far side of the scarey object. In this out house, tucked into a campground...we went back to investigate.

I am happy to have had the alone times with this mare to ride and to connect with her. She has helped restore my confidence again.

I just love you  Pantz!


  1. very cool - glad that you were able to maintain the connection with her. I also came off from a standstill when Pie spun - there's no telling what will take you off.

  2. Hi Kate~
    It is true...I think riding is a series of ups and downs, setbacks and also many, many wonderful surprises in the form of connections-aha's-and dreams come true and real joy when we feel "we get something" about riding or our horses!
    We both have gotten "back on" in the past year...cheers to you!

  3. What an encouraging post! I really appreciate this - it's encouraging to all of us who read it!

  4. WOW that sounds like Indigo to a T. She spooks at the notorious horse eating stumps (and fallen tress/brush/pipes in ditches, random fence posts, anything that moves/does move at random). She also gets more wound when she gets upset and can be hard to calm down. However she used to need constant contact/leg which is very annoying I wanted her to be responsible for where she was going/what gait I set her at. Now she relaxes when I drop the reins and ask her to move and steer off my legs instead of my hands.

  5. such a pretty mare, too. Love your photos...

  6. I love the markings on Pantz. I saw riders when hiking this week and thought of you. (Also saw a bloody vertebrae and became alert for mountain lions.)

  7. She looks so good for being "aged" =) I always thought they'd slow down as they got older, but Bonnie is teaching me that is not the case.

    Love your pictures as always.

  8. I love this mare too. The more you ride her the more confident you will become. I've always felt that the more horses you ride the better rider you become. When you have to figure out how each one responds to different riding techniques you just naturally add more tools to your arsenal of how to deal with different horses and their quirks. Good riding.

  9. Great post, Kacy, and great ride on the Pantz mare. I feel bad that the girls couldn't get together. They love each other so much in that one photo!

    I love how the loose rein calms Wa and the collected rein and leg calms Pantz. That is so like horses - right? Entirely different! My boys are like Wa - must be a ottb thing.

  10. We older mares (Pantz and I) still have a lot of go in us!
    I really like her brow band.

  11. I have been SO bad about getting around to other blogs. But, wow! What a story! Sounds like Pantz is a great challenge in riding 2 different horses. I just love the "crouching tiger, hidden stump!"

  12. Horses never let you stop thinking!

  13. Hey Kacy...Pantz is really a sweetheart and I am sure she enjoyed her time with you. I wish she was boarded where you are. Kudos to you for being such a brave rider.

  14. What kind of saddle do you trail ride in? I see it is english, but is it a huntseat? And did you really run in to cougars once? I can't even imagine what a horse would do... The App mare sure is beautiful.

  15. She is a very pretty mare. They are all truly very different personalities!

  16. 21? Never would have guessed. She looks great!

  17. Val,
    She is a Cutie, though usually about 50-100 lbs underweight, a hard keeper.

    Margaret- that was a trial ride on my jump saddle w/ Pantz. It was my sisters first saddle back in the early 70's. I used it on Wa for ever till it did not for her, as her muscles came in. It's too tight on PAntz too..that rideshowed me that. There were fist sized dry spots in thewither pockets, instead of evenly wet.

    So, the saddle of choice trails wıll ANSUR Konklusion. It leftmuch more even marks.

  18. Every horse has something to teach us - you can never forget that!

    Pantz is a beautiful mare - I've always had a soft soft for appaloosas since my daughter had a crazy but gifted jumping pony when she was 12. Her markings were just like Pantz's.

    You've got lovely places to ride, too - where I live there are just road hacks, and a couple of fields where the farmer allows us to go in when the grain has been cut. Hopefully when I go to France next year I'll have lots of really good trail rides as well.

  19. Hi AHS! Sorry for not being around! Great post, as usual!

  20. Good for you for taking that first ride--it's always the hardest! I know, from this summer's events with Miss Maddie Mae. From there, it just gets easier...and more FUN!

  21. I read the whole post and the links. Wow. I've had a few experiences latelynand will be blogging about them soon, but nothing like yours. I truly appreciate your effort here in sharing your worries and experiences. It makes me feel reassured.


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