Things Nilla Doesn’t Care About

After our recent dramatic lizard reactions, I took some commenters’ advice and bought some toy lizards. I didn’t figure Nilla would care, but they were at the $1 store, so I was fine with wasting $2 on the experiment. I set one of the lizards up on this jump. I didn’t end up jumping that night and then when I did ride, I was in my dressage saddle, so we made the jump into a little cross-rail, but this is the first lizard jump:


The lizard is sitting right in the center of the x in his picture. So no, Nilla does not care about toy lizards.

I put a second toy on another jump and this was also completely ignored:

I love Nilla’s game face going to the second lizard jump:

The lizard somehow ended up on the barrels the next evening much to Eugene’s delight:

Clearly lizard toys are terrifying.

I actually had my jumping saddle on that evening so we did some more lizard jumping. Eugene knocked the second lizard over, so it was on the ground in front of the jump. Nilla actually stuck her head down to look at it on approach, but then almost stepped on it, so it wasn’t really a concern.

We did get one nice picture when I actually look like I know how to ride. Funny how appropriate tack can help with that.

So the lizard toys didn’t work. I’m not really surprised since they’re not moving. I looked on amazon, but couldn’t find any mechanical/motorized lizard toys. I was talking to our seasonal trainer and she said I should just catch some of the local lizards and make a harness out of bailing twin and tie them to a jump then release them afterwards. I may try this although I’m really not sure about the whole bailing twine harness part. Anyone have any ideas?

15 thoughts on “Things Nilla Doesn’t Care About

  1. TeresaA

    I am not surprised. Maybe if you put the lizards in a small cage and made that part of the jump? Tying them seems a bit cruel.

  2. Olivia

    I was thinking about getting some kids bug cages, but I'm not sure if they'll be scary enough in a cage. I agree I don't really want to try to harness lizards

  3. Horseyhabit

    Maybe tie some fishing line to the toy lizards, & have someone on the side move them that way for you? Probably easier than trying to catch & harness live lizards! 😉

  4. Olivia

    She did the same refusal at 3 different jumps. All different types. One a log, one a tube, one a hanging log. The only connection was Lizards. No lizard? Jumped it. Lizards? Refusal.

  5. Olivia

    You might be underestimating how many lizards we have around here. We're basically tripping over them. That said, I'm sure I won't be able to find any when I go looking.

  6. Olivia

    She's never cared about them on the trail. But she's done this at two different XC schoolings where she's refused/run-out on jumps because lizards were sunning themselves on them and scattered when she came up to the jump.

  7. emma

    Ha OMG. Nilla clearly doesn't care haha. Nor Eugene! Certainly there has to be some sort of battery operated wiggly option out there?

  8. eggiewegs

    Just send Eugene over all of your xcountry fences first. He'll eat all of the lizards and then Nilla doesn't have to be scared. Maybe you could try dragging a lead rope or wiggling the tip of a lunge whip under her fences?

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