Wyatt Conquers His Fear

Wyatt was given an ultimatum this past weekend: start spending time with Nash or he goes to a new home. It may sound like a harsh thing to do to a 5 year old, but it isn’t fair to Nash to be completely ignored either. Of course, I said it slightly nicer than that explaining to Wyatt that every horse deserves a person and if he won’t be that person than Nash deserves to find someone who will.

Honestly, Wyatt had good reason to start ignoring Nash. Namely, he was scared of him. It began with a bareback ride wherein Dusty decided to ask Nash to trot and Wyatt hit the dirt through no fault of Nash’s as Wyatt just lost his balance. He got back on but was scared. Welcome to the world of riding, Wyatt. Sometimes it hurts.

Look how excited Wyatt is here to give Nash another try. Nash for his part looks less thrilled. 

This was followed a

week later by Nash biting a chunk out of his arm while being led in from the pasture. This was 100% Nash’s fault as Wyatt was doing everything right. Nash got a beating for that. You don’t bite. Period. So now Wyatt was scared to ride and scared to lead.

The final nail in that coffin happened the following week. I was pulling the horses out of the pasture and told Wyatt at least half a dozen times to not stand by the gate. He didn’t listen and as I pulled Nash out he got seriously all out trampled. Thankfully it was Nash and not one of the horses, but the kid now became scared to be anywhere near the pony.

Someday he will learn to have shorter reins. I’m glad we ditched the bit which solved the head tossing issue but still gives Wyatt basic steering and brake control.

It was the perfect storm and I let it ride out hoping he would get over it in time. Except he didn’t and was avoiding Nash at all costs which was unfair to the pony since 2/3rds of the occurrences were all Wyatt’s fault.

That led to my ultimatum. Start being around the guy or he leaves to find a child who wants to be his friend. It didn’t even have to include riding. Just groom him, pick his feet, bring him in from the pasture. Enjoy his company.

We had gone around the one side through the woods and up by the pond. I figured he would be done, but as we stopped in the barn yard he asked to go into the big pasture and ride in there too. 

It worked and renewed Wyatt’s interest in the little devil. Sunday night he wanted to ride. It was too late to tack up, so instead we had him ride Nash bareback out to the pasture after his dinner. Which led to him asking to ride Gem bareback out to pasture. Nash is the perfect kid’s pony when being ridden. It makes up for all his crap on the ground. When Wyatt was up there he paid very close attention to him and shifted himself to keep under Wyatt at all times. For her part, Gem was just very confused about the tiny monkey on her flailing all around and talking non stop. She was good and walked super slowly, but she kept looking at me like “WTH mom?!”

He was so excited after this little adventure that we made plans for a trail ride around the property Monday night. Wyatt really wanted me to ride Gem with him, but Nash uses Gem’s western cinch (it still boggles my mind he fits in her endurance pad and cinch) and I wasn’t about to take her out in my english gear after not being touched in almost 2 months and never being out on these trails. Plus, I wanted both of us there to walk with him and give him the most positive experience possible.

Three adorable butts

He had a blast. Nash was foot perfect the entire time even though he had never been on these trails before and his horse friends were in the barn eating without him. Wyatt felt much more secure in the western saddle and eventually stopped holding the horn and began to steer. I had him randomly stop Nash and ask him to walk on to make sure he had breaks and let Wyatt see that he listens and won’t run off with him. Wyatt has a lot to learn still and really needs to shorten his reins, but every outing that ends with him asking to go faster and explore off property trails is a good one.

The plan is to let him grow his confidence with rides at home while introducing him to the fun of exploring the world on horseback. If he continues to show interest, I’ll start riding Gem with him and fingers crossed we plan to hit up a hunter pace come fall with Dusty on the ground with the lead rope just in case.

A great end to a Monday

Then Tuesday night he asked to ride again! This time I knotted the reins on both sides and had him hold them just in front of the knots. This worked out a lot better and he was able to keep the reins short. He also barely touched the horn.

Wyatt even asked to trot. I got Nash going and Wyatt bounced and giggled. It can’t be comfortable for either of them. I have zero clue how to teach Wyatt to trot tho. Do I teach him to post? To two point? No idea. What I want to do is get Nash cantering so he can go fast without the bounce but I’m worried that will be too much for Wyatt to handle. Will have to do more thinking on that.

For now I’m happy he has regained his confidence and joy.


Wyatt Rides!

Finally, finally, the girth and bit decided to show up and Wyatt was about peeing himself with excitement to ride. He pulled Nashville in while I was finishing up riding and had him brushed and all four hooves picked out by the time I returned to the barn (with a little help from Dusty but honestly not much, he is pretty good at grooming.)

I hate buying a girth. I wrote about it here regarding Gem and it still sucks now. I can’t for the life of me pick the right length it seems and then it still varies between brands as some have more stretch than others. Anyway, I had tried Gem’s 24″ dressage girth and it was too short. Dusty was there and I asked him what size he would get. It looked to be about 6″ off so we agreed a 30″ would work.

Um, nope. It didn’t even come close to fitting.

I should have tried this before, but had figured there was no way Gem’s 48″ jump girth would come close to fitting the 12 hand Nashers.

Um, yup. It does.

It snugged up on the very top hole on each side and had a bit more wiggle than I’d like for hard work, but I’ll be damned if the thing didn’t fit well enough for Wyatt to ride at a walk. His saddle is tiny and has the shortest billets I have ever seen so that played a big part in it but still. No way it should have worked.

Once we figured that out, we tried the new bit and new to us bridle. The bit worked great (4 1/2″ D ring snaffle) but the pony size bridle was way too big. The throat latch strap was on the top most hole and I could fit two fists between it and his head. The nose band was on the last hole and was both low and too loose but again, good enough for Wyatt’s purposes for one night. Sigh. Some day I will learn to measure these things.

I’m not sure which is the cutest: the kiddo, the pony or that tiny little saddle

Eventually we had it together enough for him to get on. Poor little man was pretty scared. Last time he rode, Dusty had him trot bareback without a ground person to grab him and he hit the dirt hard. He got back on but hasn’t been too thrilled to try again. As soon as he got on he tightened up and started to panic.

I grabbed him though and told him I’d hold on and walk beside him until he was comfortable. He agreed but was still shaking.

As soon as Nash walked on, I asked Wyatt how to stop him and Wyatt pulled back on both reins and said whoa. Nash stopped immediately just as I knew he would.

Wyatt grinned and looked at me.

He then kicked him on and they walked off.

He stopped him again and grinned some more.

Now confident that he was in control, he let me let go and take pictures and video. My ground pole was still down and we used that to teach him steering. He was a bit abrupt and harder than he needed to be, he is 5 after all, but all in all he did a great job steering all on his own without my input to keep Nash lined up and going over the pole.



At one point he turned to face the pole and overshot to the left. He fixed it by turning back right and I heard him say “there we go Nash”. It made my heart melt.

By the time he was done he was grinning and telling me how he was going to train so he could win another blue ribbon at his next show.

It made my night.

Of course I then went online a ordered a 42″ girth, smaller bridle and new pad. Hubby can’t argue cause it is for the kiddo. It’s a sneaky way to get in some good horse shopping.

Remember…get your information submitted by 12 am 1/31/18 to be eligible for January’s Volunteer Challenge random drawing. So far I have $900 Facebook Pony with 8 points and 3 Day Adventures with Horses with 2 points.


Bareback Lesson. Nash Style

After I put Gemmie up, it was time to introduce Trainer and Nash. I had hoped to get Wyatt on him in a real lesson, but my Smartpak order for a pony sized girth and bit got delayed due to the snow twice and still hadn’t arrived by Sunday. Instead I talked to her about my issues with lunging him since that is a task he will absolutely have to perform at our house and she was game to tackle it with me.

Wyatt grabbed Nashville for us and I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous about what Trainer would think. He was pretty much the opposite of what she had wanted me to get for Wyatt and I was really hoping she wouldn’t hate him right off the bat. I needn’t have worried though. She LOVED him. She couldn’t say enough good things about his conformation and then when she watched him move her face split into a massive grin. The boy is FANCY.

But he is also a bit naughty and likes to test the waters to see what he actually has to do (everything according to me) and what is only a mere suggestion (everything according to him). She plopped him on the lunge line and grabbed my dressage whip since my lunge whip is still MIA after a certain 5 year used it to fight aliens. It wasn’t the best set up but it got the job done.

I’m not used to seeing a horse go along without looking like a giraffe. What is this posture?!

He did the same to her, but she is better at it and eventually got him moving out way better than I ever did. Watching him trot made me wish I was riding him instead. He did test her quite a bit and her end analysis is that he was never properly trained to lunge, but he is also a bit naughty and stubborn. Go figure.

After about 10 minutes she had me hop on him bareback to act as a back up aid system. Every time he tried to whip into the center to face her and thus avoid work, I’d stop him with my outside rein. If he tried to halt randomly, my legs were there to keep him moving. When she tried to halt him on voice, I’d be there to halt him as a back up.

And guys??

While Nashville may be a bit hard headed on the lunge, under “saddle” he is AMAZING. All it took was a tiny motion of my butt backwards and a very slight tightening of my ring fingers on the reins and he stopped. Instantly. None of this petering out, tightening my core all the way, hauling on the resin, seriously I mean halt you darn mare, bull crap. I thought halt and he did. I thought walk and he did.

Cutest face. Ever. 

What he lacks in ground work he more than makes up for under saddle. I CAN NOT FREAKING WAIT UNTIL THE GIRTH SHOWS UP!!!



Little Nashers

It took a couple of weeks for the dust to settle back down on the herd dynamics. Nash still isn’t quite fully in the mix of things, but Gem has stopped being a total witch to him and is letting him graze near them now. I was shocked at her response to him. She has never once shown any proclivity towards being alpha, but then again she never had a dog sized equine to boss around either. For his part, Nash is in love with them and whinnies in his tiny voice when he is the last man standing in the pasture which is every night because pony needs to learn to not rush the gate.

Who me?

Speaking of manners. Nashville has been getting some lessons on ground work. He isn’t bad by any means, but I have gotten spoiled with having the Dynamic Duo for eight years now. They know exactly what is expected of them and what lines they can’t cross. Nash needs to figure out what I’m willing to tolerate and what I’m not and I keep reminding myself that it will take time. Stopping while being led is one thing that drives me crazy. I’ll let you know when you may graze. Otherwise keep up! I’ve been doing a lot of simple things while leading him in and out of the barn such as halting randomly, backing him up, turning various body parts away from me. He picked it up quickly and is very easy to lead now.

Tiny kissable nose 

He has been really great with Wyatt so far. He can lead him (though it hasn’t crossed over as well that he has to listen to him too), groom him, and dismount all on his own. Mounting isn’t happening yet and I’m cool with that for now.

I have failed at getting a complete tack set situated so it’s been lead line bareback rides so far which Wyatt has excelled at. It may not sound like a big deal, but Wyatt was always too scared to do it on Gem and now he hops on up and asks to go over ground poles and jumps and all over creation. He laughs when he starts to lose balance and in general is learning a lot about balance and self control. All great skills for a 5 year old to learn.

I’ve managed to grab a really nice 14″ jump saddle which is seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. It fits Wyatt well with a bit of room for growth too. It was used, local and a great price. I then snagged a used pony bridle off the Tack Hunter app and we are almost all set. The bit and girth are making their way to my house as we speak and were the only new items I purchased. I love used tack!

No clue what brand the saddle is but it is in perfect condition with beautiful leather. 

I’m a bit nervous about how he will be under saddle and am hoping I didn’t make a big mistake and buy some psycho crazed pony that will scare the crap out of Wyatt. I plan to use my own saddle on him once the bit and girth arrive and put a few rides on him myself to assess his brain and bad habits. I was told he is lazy but honestly I haven’t seen that at all. We will see what happens hopefully this weekend if it comes in time!

Don’t listen to a word she says. 

In the meantime I’ve been working Nash after my Gem rides. One thing I’m a bit pissed off being lied to about is lunging (another reason I’m worried about how he will be under saddle since the seller lied about this although I have plenty of videos of him being ridden by small children so maybe it will be ok?). Wyatt takes lunge line lessons so my first question to every prospective seller was about lunging. I was told he was good.

Yeah that’s a big nope.

The first time I tried he seemed either very confused or just very good at playing the game to get out of work. He would turn and face me every time I asked him to move on and if I moved my own body he would just shift to face me again. Hmmm…

I grabbed my dressage whip and got to work getting him to understand that I mean walk when I say walk and that turning to face me was not the answer I wanted. He got a bit pissy about it, but after 20 minutes or so he was walking on going left. Rinse and repeat going right. By the end of 45 minutes he was walking on when asked and only stopping to face me when I said halt.

The walking on was in a straight line only. Boy doesn’t bend at all. Worse than Gemmie by a hundred fold.

That was Sunday. On Wednesday I pulled him back out after riding Gem and was curious to find out if he remembered what I taught him and where we would begin. Turns out he is a quick study as he walked on right away on the first ask. I still couldn’t get him to bend or move out on the circle but at least he was moving every time I asked and even offered up a few trot steps. I’m going to have to do a lot more reading on teaching how to lunge as my knowledge is pretty limited. Thankfully he seems to eat up praise and is learning fast.

So that is where we currently stand with him. Wyatt still asks to ride often and seems to be enjoying him a lot and I’m learning what it is like to have a new to me horse all over again. It’s been interesting so far and has shown me how much I rely on Gem knowing what I mean and how life works with us. It has made me really appreciate her a lot more!

Don’t forget that tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the 2018 Volunteer Challenge. Lots of prizes to be won!

Farm life, Riding/Horses

Wyatt Meets Nashville

Friday was a screwy day. I was expecting the shipper to come in later in the day but Thursday night he called me to say he’d be there around 9 am. I had to leave for the OR by 10 and was really nervous about getting Nash and leaving right away hoping he’d still be alive when I got home later that night.

Thankfully my Aunt and Uncle, the ones who taught me how to ride, moved down here last year and were eager to help out. They came that morning and stayed all day watching over him. I couldn’t thank them enough.

I had two surgeries to do and true to form with this OR my start time kept getting bumped back. The first case went amazing but the second fell apart a bit. It turned out good in the end, but it took all my training and skills to figure out. By the time I finally left it was 5:15 and getting dark.

Dusty was getting out at the same time so he grabbed Wyatt and I went straight home. My Aunt and Uncle were still there and my parents had come as well. It was late and it was dark.

I got home just before Dusty and Wyatt and I asked Wyatt for a favor. I told him something odd had showed up in the barn and I needed his help figuring it out. We walked into the barn and I pointed out the stall. Wyatt couldn’t see over and neither could Nash, so I picked him up and he just about lost his crap right there.

He was so excited!!

We took Nash out and Wyatt immediately asked to walk him then wanted to ride. We wandered down to the arena, threw the lights on for the first time and Wyatt climbed right up. Bareback. He giggled and laughed as we went around and then asked if he could jump. We went over a ground pole and then a small cross rail that Nash just stepped over and Wyatt was on cloud nine.

Eventually we convinced him to get down but only because everyone was leaving. He then brushed him out and picked his feet and asked to go on again. So we did.

Saturday morning he got up and ran outside to grab Nash. He walked him around then got his helmet to ride. Dusty took him all over the one pasture, up and down hill and Nash didn’t put a foot wrong. When he got stubborn and stopped, Wyatt pony club kicked and told him to walk on and he did. They even trotted some.

The best thing is how brave Wyatt is. I went back and forth with Trainer on what to get. She thought a 14h, older, been there done that horse would be best as he could have many, many years growing into it. But I knew Wyatt’s biggest issue was height and perceived speed and I was concerned that a 14h horse wouldn’t be much better than Gem at 15h. Nash has proven to be exactly what I wanted: a great confidence booster and something Wyatt would be comfortable handling and riding from the start. So far that is exactly what has been happening. He has been walking him around, brushing him, picking his feet and happily climbing up and down on his own. When he nearly fell off he just laughed.

Who knows if his interest will remain this high or what will happen, but I’m very happy I got Nashville. He will teach Wyatt a lot even if he decides he doesn’t want to ride much. And when he does outgrow him, I plan to break him to drive.

Wyatt has kept both his full name and barn name as Nashville and Nash. I call him Little Nashers. After the holidays I’ll need to find a nice used pony bridle and saddle. Wyatt has already decided his colors will be neon green and black (his favorites) so I need to get looking for saddle pad and bonnet in those.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!