This story was submitted by Tasheena Erickson about her Tennessee Walking Horse cross mare named Percy (aka GiGi) after Percy’s first hunting trip.
I am so impressed with this horse. I had a lot of worries about taking Percy on this trip, but she proved to me numerous times how unique she really is.
Note that before this photo, Percy has only had the small saddle horn pouch on her saddle–everything else was new to her, but she took it like a champ!
We left the trailhead around 7am and returned around 6pm so this was potentially one of the longest rides she’s ever been on. When I first hopped on her, she was super hot and antsy–I’ve summed this up to just being overly excited, but it had me pretty nervous. However, the SECOND we hit that mountain trail, she was at home.
I discovered almost instantly that Percy NEEDS a breastcollar in the mountains. Where my dad hunts, the inclines are incredibly steep, and Percy’s saddle just didn’t want to stay in place. She has a different build than my last horse, so I hadn’t foreseen this being an issue. But she was a SAINT. She didn’t wig out any time her saddle slipped too far back or went a little sideways (which happened twice and I had to add, at the last minute, a hole in the cinch strap so I didn’t have that sideways problem again). I probably readjusted her saddle forward a good eight times going up due to steep inclines, and she just stood for me!
I also discovered that I’m rather short for my horse. I didn’t have a problem getting on her before, but with extra pant layers, things got interesting. But she stood next to rocks and logs for me and let me adjust my stirrups without taking off.
She walked through a half a dozen different streams, deep mud, went over frozen creeks (thin ice), up and down super rocky switchbacks, over fallen trees and only ONE time, towards the end of our trip did she decide that she didn’t want to cross a muddy stream. I hopped off to lead her across, and rather than following me, she decided to jump it and knock me over in the process. I will take blame for this because I was more focused on where I was stepping than what Percy was doing.
The only thing I don’t think Percy enjoyed was following my dad’s gelding. He’s a seasoned horse, and Percy was a little impatient here and there, wanting to charge ahead. I made her follow him, however. She didn’t care too much when we stopped to gaze at the mountain and did paw at the ground occasionally.
There is only one more incident worth mentioning: we had probably ridden a good 13 miles or more and were on a flat plain when Percy decided she had a bad side itch (I guess??). The next thing I knew, she was laying down with me on her. I hopped out of the saddle pretty quickly–I had no clue what the heck she was doing– and I watched as she just rolled over on her side a few times, then she stood back up, ready to go. Honestly, I wasn’t even mad. It just made me laugh because it was kind of ridiculous. I checked her for injuries, but she was fine, so I hopped back on her and we rode for a good 2-3 more hours.
Overall, Percy did a mighty fine job and I am a VERY happy horse owner.