SA Jack of Hearts, aka Gamble came to us 7 weeks ago with a reputation for being strong and not a horse that just anyone could ride. We discovered that while he is a sweetheart on the ground, he has some serious trust issues. I’m not sure exactly what happened in the past, but he consistently avoids allowing someone to mount. He isn’t vindicative and doesn’t want to hurt you, but rather it feels like he is scared. Maybe scared of what will happen or of being disciplined. Regardless, it was quickly clear that Gamble needs a lot of ground work and trust. This afternoon I finally sat on his back.
Amanda rode JJ around the arena while I worked with Gamble. Once I got on, it didn’t feel like I was sitting on a stick of dynamite; it felt like I was sitting on a whole bundle of dynamite. We just worked on walking and listening without overloading him. About 10 minutes was enough to call it successful for the day. I’ll definitely be wearing my Point Two air vest as we continue to work together.
I know my seat looks awful and I’ll be making some tack adjustments but that wasn’t the priority for today. Despite his tension, I really don’t get the feeling he wants to hurt anyone, just that he is scared and not sure what to expect. This is definitely a horse where I need to be in the right frame of mind every time I sit in the saddle.