New Horse Diary


Halter Success

Today, we mark it in the calendar: Jake finally got a halter and a lead rope on Max. As spring slipped into summer, Jake got busy with mowing and various odd jobs so we didn’t make a lot of progress with Max. He was gentle enough, but just wasn’t much on being handled unless you were feeding him. We were kind of stumped.

Enter Wild Horse Ministries. They were in our area last week so we went to enjoy their show. Paul Daily, the founder of their ministry, is often called The Horse Whisperer. But what makes their presentation unique is not just the simple gentle training method that Paul uses, but it’s how he weaves the gospel through the whole thing.

Jake led Max to the best grassy spot in our yard.

One ear listening to Jake. One listening to me.

As you watch Paul take a young untrained horse and lovingly show that horse that he can trust him, it’s easy to see the correlation to how God works with us. Paul shows the horse that he’ll work with him just the way he is. That he’s not going to bully or force him into submission, but that he wants the horse to WANT to work with him. He keeps his eye on the horse, and needs to have that horse’s full attention so the horse can learn. He uses the lead rope as a cue to the horse. When the horse is doing the right things, he lets the rope relax, when the horse is rebelling, he has to pull that rope taut for the horse’s own good.

Combing the tangles out of his mane.

I've waited a long time to get to comb his mane.

It’s really amazing. Within two hours he had a little three year old filly, who they had just gotten a halter on an hour or so earlier, doing everything he asked of it, even allowing him to put a saddle on her and go for a ride! Although I was certain that ol’ fella wasn’t going to get on that filly unless he was darn sure she was cooperative, it still kind of took my breath away. We know how stubborn and strong a horse can be, and at times during the presentation, that little filly bucked and reared up in protest. She could have tossed him out of the ring.

Palomino learning to work with a lead rope.

Jake took Max to the best grassy spot in the yard and Max loved it.

But she trusted him, and he trusted her. And now her life is going to be changed. She’ll get to enjoy people loving on her, grooming her, and going for great rides together. It will be more than just watching each other over a fence. They’re going to have a real relationship. One-on-one.

Palomino horse &

Baab joined Max in the yard to supervise.

You can read more about Wild Horse Ministries on their website. We will definitely look forward to seeing them again when they come our way. Meanwhile you can check to see if they’ll be in your area. Right now they are still hitting some other areas of KY, but I see they’ll be making their way through Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas before the end of the year.

They definitely inspired us in more ways than one.

He has a name!

After much discussion and deliberation (and watching a Disney movie), we finally decided on a new name for our horse!

It’s not Double Stuff and it’s not Samson . . . think about the horse in the newest Disney movie on DVD, think about what a mess our horses mane is and the name of that movie . . .


The Great Adventure: Day Four from Nancy Carter on Vimeo.

It’s Maximus!

Like the Disney horse, he’s strong, handsome, protective, and full of spunk. And his mane won’t always be so tangled. He’s getting a little more friendly and trusting each day.



The Great Adventure: Day Two


Guess what we saw when we looked out the door this afternoon?

It looks like these two are set to be good friends.

Jake said that feeding them went really well. He continues to work on building trust and just being able to touch him gently as he eats.

We’re very pleased that the new horse respects the electric fence and hasn’t made any attempts to get out.

It’s been another good day!

The Great Adventure: Day One

Most of the time when a family adopts an animal, it’s smaller than you. Even though our English Mastiff was a little smaller than my husband or I when we got her. But when you adopt a 4 year old horse, you are starting out with a mighty powerful creature . . . and that can (wisely) give you cause for pause.

We’ve had horses for about 6 or 7 years now, but fortunately for us, all of them except for one came to us very well-trained. So we knew that this was going to be a big adventure since we were adopting a very green 4 year old horse.

We’ve read and understood the basic concepts of natural horsemanship, and some of the ground rules for owning a horse. Jake (my 14 year old) will be doing most of the actual work with the horse, but the rest of us are going to be very involved too.

Pretty good for the end of our first day!

I’ll be trying to journal the different things we do with our (thus far unnamed) horse and how he progresses. We’ve been reading different websites online for ideas of how to work with our horse and a friend loaned us her copy of Bringing up Baby by John Lyons. I really like how it’s laid out with 20 different groundwork lessons.

Our initial goals are:

  1. To earn our horse’s trust.
  2. To get to know him.
  3. To show him that we are the herd leaders.
  4. To develop him into a reliable, accepting partner.

For the first day, we were really just trying to let him get to know us, his surroundings, and the other horses and pets, while settling in at our place. Friends had told us to give him his space, focus on being a calm leader so we earn his trust, and to let him see how our other horses respond to us so that he will become curious and actually approach us!

Our plan was to keep him in the barn all night, but he managed to knock down our gate and get out into the pasture with our other horses. Although we weren’t happy that our gate was broken, we were pleased to see that he was staying in the electric fence!

And wow, just look at him run!

After they finished burning off some energy, we put the new guy back into the barn, tucked him in for the night, and replaced the gate again. All in all, it was a successful first day.

God Provides

Something has been missing in our pasture since Billy’s been gone. As much as we love the visiting horses and Baab, we still wanted another horse to call our own.

Standing in the pasture

Tucker, King, Baab, & Mickey

We looked in the classifieds and online, but none of those horses seemed quite right. Finally another horse-loving homeschool family posted a message about a FREE HORSE on our group’s message board. It said:

We have a 4 year old gelding, a palomino, very green – yours for the taking if you can come and pick him up. Call me if you are interested.

I didn’t really get my hopes up about it at first. In fact, I actually forgot about it for a little bit. But another homeschool friend reminded me about the listing and asked if we had gone to look at him yet so I thought I should probably give it a try.

I set up an appointment for us to go look at him and off we went with me praying that God would clearly show us if this was the horse for us or not.

He was pretty aloof when we visited him at his pasture. He was there with his sister, a brown palomino, and she was more friendly than he was. He watched her every move, and once Jake got her interested in some alfalfa cubes, he decided to come on over too. We watched him run and tried to get an idea of his disposition, and by the time our visit was over, we all agreed that he needed a lot of work, but that we wanted to try.

Working on the barn

Adding a gate to the barn

We stopped to buy a few supplies on our way home and then Tony & the boys set about adding another gate at the back of our barn so that we would have a way of separating our new horse from the other horses until they get used to each other.

Getting ready to load the horse

So thankful for friends with a trailer!

But there was a problem, we don’t have a horse trailer, AND I’ve never driven a truck pulling a horse trailer!

But God provided¬† yet again. Some wonderful friends offered to come with us to pick up the horse and to load him and deliver him for us in their trailer. That’s not a small gesture. They have 6 kids, the family we were getting the horse from lived about 30 minutes away, and we knew that it might be a challenge to get the horse loaded. Yet, everyone looked on it as a fun adventure. She was there with her 6 kids, I had 2 of mine, the family that gave us the horse had their 3 there, and they had another family visiting with 5 kids! That’s 16 kids, 4 moms, and 1 dad taking part in this adventure. It took a some patience and teamwork, but we safely got the horse loaded and were off towards home.

Unloading the horse from the trailer

Welcome to your new barn!

You can not imagine the absolute JOY it brought me when they unloaded that horse at our barn. I have been humming the theme song from Mr. Ed FOR DAYS!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one’ll talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this: “I’m Mister Ed.”

Jon would actually like to name our horse Mr. Ed because we like watching that show and Mr. Ed is a Palomino, but I think our horse needs a more sporty name. We’ve got some different ones that we’re considering, but we’re going to take our time and get to know him before settling on a name.

What do you think he looks like?

Isn't he handsome?

He needs some grooming, and he did get a scratch on his head from carrying on when we took his sister away from the trailer, but I think he has the potential to be what horse people call “flashy”. He kind of looks like a unicorn or something with his light coat and mane. And, wow, you should see him run. He has the most gorgeous movement. I’ll try to see if I can upload a video to show you all soon.

Pretty good for the end of our first day!

Spring is a time for new beginnings and we feel very blessed to be starting off spring with a new friend in the pasture. It’s going to be a fun adventure of learning how to work with a green horse. I’m pretty sure that God is going to be teaching us quite a bit about patience in the process, and that’s okay. Good things are worth waiting for.

God provides.