Just a few months after he was gelded, former stallion and branded mustang Wiley came to stay with us. Well, all was not good. Wiley, still feeling a little “studly,” was sure that he was the answer to every mare’s dream. He cocked his head, flicked his mane and pranced around the pasture.
After a while we foolishly decided to ride this hunk of burning love. After all, his owner had ridden him and it was somewhat successful. (Tell me, where is the logic there?) So Laura got on and he was ok. No major problems.
Next, my then 12-year-old son wanted to ride him. Keep in mind that was some time ago; we had little enough experience to think this would be a piece of cake, and just enough experience to get ourselves killed. Well, my boy got on and for a couple of strides he was ok. Then, BOOM! The horse exploded. Everything went well until Wiley ran up to the side of the barn and pitched my baby. It happened in slow motion and looked just like a Looney Tunes’ splat, hang, and drip. I could even hear the sound effects in my head.
Now, a horse had never looked so much like a can of dog food to me before. After realizing my son was fine and almost having a heart attack chasing the horse around the arena, the light suddenly came on:
“I don’t know what the heck I am doing!” I shouted. After hearing this, Laura and my boy burst into laughter.
So, since at that time “we did not know what the heck we were doing,” Wiley went home. Fortunately, Wiley had a great owner that loved him dearly and hoped and prayed that he would someday have a job.
Together we found Wiley a home with a horse trainer. The first week or so was wonderful and Wiley was making progress. But then the bottom fell out. The trainer called his owner and had nothing but horrible things to say about the boy. She said he was spoiled, fought her at every turn and was a husband killer. (Innocent until proven guilty!) She wanted him removed at once, so, having gained a lot more knowledge and experience, we offered to take him back.
Now, Wiley was an expert bluffer. He had bluffed his way out of all kinds of work; a little snort, a little rear and a buck like a maniac was his strategy. Apparently it worked; that is, until Wiley met Janice. Janice would have none of that. She just pushed him forward and we discovered that all Wiley had in his bag of tricks was bluffs.
Wiley was also extremely lazy and was only going to give as little as possible. That is, until he met Nicole. With her knowledge and skills that lazy boy was transitioning like a pro and she redefined the word work for him.
Even after all this improvement, Wiley was still a lot of horse. How would he ever be ready for kids? Enter Amelia. She helped Wiley learn to trust all riders, not just HIS rider.
Wiley had come a long way and was ready for some polish. Laura is currently putting all that high-headed prancing to good work, helping Wiley learn form and collection.
Each of these ladies taught Wiley a valuable lesson during their time with him. All four are extremely skilled horsewomen, but I believe their success came from a deeper place. None of them were willing to write Wiley off. They saw a good horse under all that bluff and they believed he could do more. Today he is very popular with the kids and has a work ethic to die for (but not to sacrifice your son for, ha ha!)
As for me, Wiley is teaching me that I can ride without fear. He has learned to relax and take care of his rider. God uses the humblest of creatures to bless us.