On short day rides from home, my pistol stays at home. On short day rides where we trailer, my pistol stays in the truck. On longer rides, it goes along.
Why? What good is a pistol at home or in the truck? Or on the trail, for that matter?
Because accidents happen. Should the unthinkable happen I REALLY do not want to put down a horse with a rock. Or a knife. On short rides I can go get the pistol if I need it. On longer rides I can't--so it goes with me.
I've been shooting all my life (which has been both long and full!) and shot on a pistol team for awhile in my younger years. I KNOW how to use my pistol--all of them. I would NEVER attempt to use it in self defense from a wild animal that was attacking me. First, it's not needed because there are better alternatives (can you say "run"?) and, second, the odds of winning that fight are just about zero.
This spring I'll start getting the horses used to the guns. I don't think any of our horses have ever been around them and I might want to hunt from my horse, someday. So, they need to be conditioned.
And, who knows? Someday I might want the noise maker to help scare something off. Not to shoot AT the something--but simply to scare it away. And I'd rather my horse not bolt and dump me an such an inopportune time!
"Don't just feed it! Ride it!" And the People said "AMEN!"