Adventures Of Diesel

Jump. Halt. Repeat.

The weather here in Georgia has been absolutely ridiculous the past couple of weeks! Every time I try to schedule a lesson, the sky opens up and our arena becomes an unrideable mess. Unfortunately, that trend is expected to continue this week with rain forecasted to last all week long. Sigh. It looks like I won’t be riding anytime soon.

I did, however, manage to sneak in a lesson while we had one rare sunny day and let me tell you guys, I had one of those holy grail lessons where everything just clicked! *insert happy dance here*

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In the few lessons that I have had recently, we have really been working on creating and maintaining a soft, adjustable horse on course in addition to developing my feel for the type of ride Diesel needs. He requires a completely different ride than what I have ever been used to, so the learning curve has been a steep one. This is especially true when it comes to his jumping style and technique on course. His big, open stride has caused me to have to readjust my eye from the small, choppy strides I have been used to for so long, which has resulted in some trial and error distance wise. One thing I have noticed that I need to work on is my ability to commit to a distance and support him all the way to the base. I tend to throw my reins at him and have a Jesus take the wheel moment when I see a really bad distance or none at all rather than pick my hands up, sit up, and ride. It may not be a huge deal right now since the fences are so tiny, but once the fences become higher, I need to be able to give him the guidance and direction he needs.

I guess this all comes down to confidence for me rather than lack of knowledge. I mean, I KNOW that I need to land off of a jump, sit up, keep my contact, keep my leg on, and regain rhythm before the next jump in order to get the distance I need. My brain just decides to freeze up on me instead! I think I just need to remind my myself that asking Diesel to listen to me is not going to result in a baby horse tantrum like it used to. Diesel now understands what I’m asking him to do and wants me to take charge and give him directions. I just need to remember that!

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“Mom, crossrails suck. Higher please!”

In order to work on that, we kept the jumps at crossrails and spent the majority of the lesson working on jumping into the lines with an established, quiet canter, sitting back and waiting for the add stride, and halting at the end to get him soft and responsive – paying special attention to our rhythm and straightness. While halting after each line isn’t quite as fun as doing the whole course uninterrupted, it has been so, so, so useful for teaching Diesel to stay soft through the line and listen to my aids rather than just dragging me down the line and carrying me through the turn – especially when I need him to shorten his stride for the add.

The magic happened when we jumped into the inside line a little enthusiastically. Instead of panicking when I couldn’t see a distance, I just sat up, closed my leg, kept cmy contact, and fully committed to making the add stride happen no matter what. No collapsing my chest and dropping my reins at the base of the jump in fear of being unseated and no Jesus take the wheel maneuvers. And guess what? It totally worked out! After that, something just clicked inside my brain and I magically remembered how to ride for the distance I needed instead of what I saw. I totally had an “I’m the captain now” moment. 😂

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Since we were doing so well over the crossrails, we finished up the lesson by moving the jumps up to verticals and doing the exact same thing: jumping into the lines with an established, quiet canter, sitting back and waiting for the add stride, and halting at the end. He definitely was a little more eager to get down the lines when he saw that the jumps were a little bigger, but we managed to hold it together and end on a high note. Overall, I was really pleased with how the whole lesson went. We had some really great moments and he behaved so well!

 

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So tell me, how have your rides been lately? Have you had any light bulb moments? Let me know down in the comments!

 

 

Adventures Of Diesel

Stop The Leaning | Lesson Update

This whole week turned out to be a cold but rain-free week here in Georgia. We took full advantage of the dry weather and had an absolute blast by fitting in three lessons this week! Yes, you read that right! We had THREE lessons this week!

Although I wasn’t quite jumping for joy at the thought of lessoning in the cold, I would definitely take cold over raining and day of the week! All of this rainy weather has had me down in the dumps and out of the saddle, which has definitely set us back a little bit in the whole scheme of things. Thinking on the goal I set for myself in my New Years post, I decided to try and get back in the game the best way I know how – taking lessons!

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Diesel says BRRR!

All three of our lessons this week had the same goal in mind: learn to be patient to the fences. That sounds like a really simple fix. I mean, I just need to sit back and wait, right? Well, yeah, but that’s super hard to do in practice – at least it is for me.

I have the tendency to collapse my chest and lean forward on the approach to fences, which then influences Dies to fall onto his forehand, get strung out, and causes us to turn a perfect distance into a disaster. He is so sensitive to my body cues that it it becomes like a domino effect of sorts. The more I lean forward, the more he falls onto his forehand, and the faster we get. That definitely isn’t a new concept to me, but for some reason, my body just doesn’t want to accept this as truth and just will not cooperate.

We started on the journey to eradicating this bad habit by first focusing on improving the quality of our canter because, like my trainer always says, jumping is just flatwork with obstacles.

One thing we did that I felt had a really seemed to help me most was playing around with how my position influences Dies’s canter by practicing shifting my weight to turn (rather than using just my leg and hand aids) on a figure eight. It sounds relatively easy, but let me tell you, it was a definite wake up call for me. It got my brain really working and actually made me start using my seat a little more rather than just becoming so dependent on my leg and hand aids. And guess what? It actually did help us to be more precise with our turns on course.

 

I do feel that we made some good progress concerning our canter! Is it perfect? Heck no it isn’t, but it definitely felt more in line with the type of canter we need over fences. He felt so light and adjustable rather than strung out and unorganised like we can be sometimes. It turns out that my trainer wasn’t kidding. Sitting up, adding more supporting leg, and bending my elbows while raising my hands slightly was the key all along. Who knew? 😅

 

While the leaning is not 100% better, it did improve a bit when we took a step back to work on that canter. I will say that it felt like I was sitting back a lot more than what it actually looks like in the videos. 😅 Sigh, at least it is a step in the right direction!

 

 

Reviews

Noelle Floyd Subscription Box | September & December Boxes

By now, I am sure many of you have heard of the Noelle Floyd subscription box designed to pamper equestrians. A few awesome equestrian bloggers reviewed the first box that was released in September (The Hunky Hanoverian , Horse Glam and The Hunt to name a few), and after reading their reviews, I just had to try the box out for myself.

The price is $60 per box, but NF claims that each box contains products with total retail of $100+. That sounds pretty great, right?

When I purchased my subscription, I ended up receiving both the September and December boxes, so I decided to review both in one post. I will start off with the September box and then move into the December box. Once I have reviewed the contents of both, I will make the final decision on whether I think it is worth the money to buy a subscription or not. Let’s get started! 🙂

The September Box

1. Dreamers and Schemers Socks (Retail Value: $17.95)

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This was hands down my favorite item in the whole box! D&S socks are the bomb.com, and this pair is no exception. I love that the polka dots are actually knitted into the socks rather than just a print, and the saying “stay grounded” that is on the bottom is just plain cute. Overall, I would give these a 10/10.

 

2. Scentuals De-Stress & Balance Aromatherapy Roll-On Oil (Retail Value: $12.23 each)

 

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Ok, so I am not normally on the essential oils train but I actually love these rollerballs. I use them almost daily, and I am pretty convinced that the De-Stress rollerball is the reason I have been sleeping so well. I use it every night before bed and let me tell you, I have been sleeping so well! Overall, I would give these a 9/10.

3. Scentuals Grapefruit and Turmeric Hand Repair Cream (Retail Value: $7.63)

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Sadly, I was not a fan of this product. Don’t get me wrong, I love some good lotion, but I just can’t get past the strong turmeric smell of this one. It also doesn’t help that it is a bit greasy. Its only saving grace is that it is quite moisturizing and helped my chapped hands. It isn’t terrible, but it just isn’t something that I will be reaching for again. Overall, I would give it a 4/10.

4. Equestrian Wellness Essential Helmet Spray (Retail value: $14)

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I actually really liked this spray. The scent is not too overpowering and it does a really good job of keeping my helmet liner fresh in between washings. I just spritz a little on the liner before putting my helmet back in my ringside bag and it’s good to go for the next ride. There’s not much else to say about it other than that. 😬 Overall, I would give it an 8/10.

5. Ruespari Thin Surcingle Belt (Retail Value: $75)

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Some of you all are going to hate me, but I actually didn’t like the belt. 🙈 After reading other reviews, I was a bit worried that mine might not fit (I’m no stick you know) but lo and behold, it did. I will disclose that it was a bit snugger than I would like though. My biggest complaint: I just plain don’t like how thin it is. All of my favorite belts (Ellany and Tailored Sportsman) are all 2″ to fit the belt loops on my Tailored Sportsman breeches. I’m not quite sure the exact width, but I know for a fact it isn’t 2″. It also doesn’t help that the belt is not as stretchy as I would like for a surcingle belt. I keep asking myself this question: Why in the heck is this belt priced at $75? I can go out and buy one of these types of belts for $40 right now! I guess you’re just paying for the name at this point. Overall, I would give this belt a 3/10.

6. $50 Credit To The NF. Shop

Even though I haven’t used mine yet, this actually really made the box for me. Who doesn’t love a good gift card? Not me!

The total value of the box ended up being $189.04 with the credit included – 3x the initial price of the box ($60). 

The December Box

1. Savvy Muscle Cream (Retail Value: $28)

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Heh, I actually ended up using this straight out of the box as the old man (Diablo) decided that I was getting a little too comfortable and proceeded to reintroduce me to the ground today. I guess that’s what I get for thinking I could ride around on a loose rein on a windy day. 🤷‍♀️ Anyway, to get to the point, I like this product. The scent is not offensive (it has a minty type smell) and feels nice and cooling on the skin. The cream is also not super thick or greasy, so the application is not messy or unpleasant. I actually do think this helped a bit with my soreness a bit, but it definitely can’t do the wonderous things Advil can do. I also just have to mention that I like the wording on the can: for rusty humans. It’s fitting, right? Overall, I give this product an 8/10.

2. Equestrian Wellness Campfire Story Candle (Retail Value: $32)

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I was actually super excited to open the box and find a candle inside. If you have read some of my other blog posts, you know that I am addicted to Grey Horse Candle Co. Those candles are the bomb! This candle, however, was a miss for me in the scent department. I hate the smoky scent of it, which was disappointing. I really wanted to like it. On the plus side, the candle itself is actually really well made and the label was very well thought out design wise. Overall, I give this product a 1/10.

3. Bibimbap Lip Treatment (Retail: $26 $12)

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I must be missing something here. Is this not just lip balm? The words lip treatment makes it sound really fancy, but I am pretty sure this is just lip balm. Either way, I really like it. The scent is really nice (lemongrass is one of my favorite scents), it feels smooth and soothing on the lips, and it does moisturize them really well. It’s really good lip balm but it’s totally not worth the orginal $26 price tag. Overall, I would give it a 9/10.

4. Platinum Bar EQ (Retail Value: $3.10 per bar)

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I was kind of confused when I saw this one. My first thought was: they sent me a granola bar? Well, boy, was I wrong about that one. This is, in fact, a granola bar for horses. Ok, well, it isn’t actually a granola bar, but that is what it looks like to me. It is really a horse “treat” made by the makers of Platinum horse supplements. If I’m reading the description right, it says that each of these bars is equivalent to feeding one serving of their Platinum Performance Equine Wellness supplement. The real question here is: why would I want to feed my horse an expensive “treat” bar twice a day when I can just dump a scoop of the supplement in their feed? I don’t know. It just seems kind of pointless to me. Did I forget to mention that a box of 22 of these puppies (11 days worth) is $66? I can get a 10 lb tub of this stuff (34 days worth) for $60. Yeah, no thanks. Overall, I give this a 1/10 only because Diesel seemed to like it. I just don’t see the point.

5. $70 Off A One Year Subscription of NF. Insider

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I’m not quite sure that I will ever use this since even with the discount code, their subscription still costs $80, but the sentiment was nice! If any of you have a NF. Insider subscription, please let me know if it is worth the money or not. I am curious to know!

The total value of this box ended up being $145.10 with the coupon for NF. Insider included – a little over 2x the value of the initial $60 you spent on the box. 


My overall verdict on the NF subscription boxes: If you like wellness and beauty items, this box might peak your interest. If you like horse-related items, then you might want to try Cavali Club instead.

I thought the boxes themselves were ok overall. However, I did feel that the first one was better than the second – especially when it came to the added coupon/credit.

Although not everything was a win for me, I can’t completely blame the misses on NF as everything comes down to personal preference. That’s just kind of the risk you take whenever you order these types of subscription boxes. That being said, I honestly like these type of boxes because you can try some really neat stuff that you normally might never pick up on its own, which I did with these boxes.

I have two critiques for NF. The first would be that I wish the second box would have included another item rather than the coupon code for NF. Insider. That $70 could have been used to buy another big ticket item or two smaller items that could have really put the box over the top. As it stands, the box was not up to standards for me. The second is that I wish they would have included a little note saying which rider chose what item and why in the box itself. I know that they gave you the link to the webpage that said all of that, but I think that having it right there in the box would have added a special touch to it that many people would have appreciated. I know I would have. Just providing a link seems a little lazy to me, but that’s just my opinion.

The final question remains: Will I continue my subscription? For now, yes I will. I am extremely curious to see how NF improves from here. I am crossing my fingers that the next box will knock it out of the park for me and not another wild miss! Let’s just say that if the next box was as big of a miss as the December box was for me, then I will not continue to subscribe.


 

What about you guys? Would you subscribe? Let me know down in the comments!

 

Adventures Of Diesel

2019 Goals

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Happy New Year, everyone! Now that 2019 is finally here, it’s time to start thinking about what I want to accomplish this year. I promise I will keep it short and sweet for your sanity. 😁

Riding Goals

1. Gain More Confidence In The Saddle: This is a big one for me as I have struggled with my confidence so much this past year. I am hoping to continue to gain confidence in myself and my horse so that we can continue to progress and reach our goals.

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2. Lesson At Least Once A Week: While this may sound a bit unimpressive to some, finding the time to get out to the farm and ride was a huge struggle for me this past year. (thanks college…🙃) I really would like to change that this year by committing to lessoning at least once a week. I have so much that I want to accomplish this year with Diesel, but in order to do that, I have got to be more committed to staying in a consistent program – especially since Diesel is still a green bean.

3. Compete Consistently At 2′: Now that Diesel has got his first year of competing under his belt, the next big goal is to make our real debut in the show ring this year! My main goal is to ease back into the show ring by doing a full season doing the low adult hunters.

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4. Compete At A Rated Show: I have been dying to go to a rated show for years, and I am hoping to finally get to compete in one this year! I have a couple of shows in mind that I would really like to do (the Atlanta Classics and Tryon specifically), but there is no pressure to get there right away. I have my fingers crossed that we will be ready to do one by this fall.

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Personal Goals

1. Get In Shape: It’s no secret that I am quite, um, fluffy. 😅 If I am going to be serious about getting back in the show ring consistently, then I have got to get myself back into shape. Mainly, I have got to start eating healthier and incorporating more structured exercise into my everyday life. I really struggle with staying consistent when it comes to diet and exercise. I’d like to blame it on college life, but really, I just struggle with staying motivated. Instead of going crazy and trying to totally do a 180 on my non-existent exercise habits, I am going to try and start small with a goal of going to the gym 2-3 times a week. I think that is doable.

 

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me every day 😅

 

2. Do One Thing A Month That Is Outside My Comfort Zone

3. Blog At Least Once A Week: Again, I struggle with consistency here. 😬 I would love to say twice a week, but I’m just going to start small – I think once a week is definitely doable.

So there are my seven goals for this year! I have my fingers crossed that this will be a great year full of lots of fun and success! So, tell me, what are your goals for this year? 😊

Adventures Of Diesel, The Life of Diablo

Blogger Gift Exchange

This was my first year participating in Tracy’s blogger gift exchange, and I have to say, I had an absolute blast! Picking out gifts for fellow equestrians is so much more fun than picking out gifts for non-horsey people. 😁

This year, the recipient of my gift was Amanda over at The $900 Facebook Pony. I have been a long-time reader of her blog, so I was very excited when I found out that she was the recipient of my gift this year. If you haven’t read her blog yet, you are definitely missing out! She is an amazing horsewoman, and her horses, Henry and Presto, are just too cute!

Even though my gift arrived a few weeks ago, I got a bit distracted with all of the holiday festivities and ended up being a little late posting about the wonderful gifts I received!

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Seriously, guys, how cute is that corgi pouch?!

My secret Santa this year was Rhiannon from The Horse Is Not Black – a new-to-me blog that I am now adding to my follow list! 😊 She sent me some awesome Dreamers & Schemers socks, some chapstick from Riding Warehouse, Mrs. Pastures Horse Treats (which the boys have already devoured), and a super cute corgi pouch from Just In Case on Etsy!

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Rhiannon, you seriously knocked it out of the park! You must have been reading my mind as I was just looking at buying those Dreamers & Schemers socks – they have been in my cart for ages! Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts!!

And I wanted to say a huge thank you to Tracy at The Printable Pony for organizing this awesome gift exchange! I can’t wait until next year!

 

 

Adventures Of Diesel

Bloghop: Favorites of 2018

After reading Amanda’s post, I just couldn’t resist not joining in on the fun!

Favorite Show Picture

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I honestly can’t pick just one! The top left picture was taken at the last show of this year, the bottom left is from our first show over fences together, the top right was taken right after I found out we had won reserve champion at our first show over fences, and the bottom right was from my second time flatting him at a show. There were so many great memories made in the show ring this year!

Favorite Non-Show Photo

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Well, I couldn’t choose just one again haha! There are just so many pictures that I love from this past year. 😅

Favorite Thing You Bought

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This one is easy: my Samshield helmet. I can’t tell you how much I love this helmet! It’s easy to clean, comfortable, nice and airy, and very sleek and stylish. I hate to say it, but it’s so much nicer than my old Charles Owen. 😬

Favorite Moment On Horseback

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Winning 3rd place out of a huge flat class at our second show together is definitely my favorite moment on horseback this year. It took a lot of hard work to get to that moment, and I will never forget how proud I was of Dies!

Favorite Moment Out of the Saddle

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Celebrating Dies’s 7th birthneigh is one of my favorite “out of the saddle” memories from this past year. I have to admit, I had a little too much fun planning his little party. 😂 Will he get another party this coming year? The answer is: absolutely!

Favorite “Between The Ears” Picture

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This picture may not look like much, but that day was such a great day. It was Diablo’s first time being back at the horse park after being retired from showing four years ago. We loaded him up on the trailer on the spur of the moment and had the best day hacking around in the Grand Prix arena at the Conyer’s Horse Park.

Favorite Horse Article

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This was my favorite article that I read this year. Everything said in this article describes my experience growing up with horses. My favorite quote from this article is: “Let them set goals and reach them. Let them set goals and fail miserably. Let them learn that, if they work incredibly hard, practice like hell, ride the best quality horse they can and take impeccable care of him, they’re sometimes going to get beat by someone with 10 times the money and one-tenth the drive.”

Favorite Horse Ridden Aside From Your Own

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My trainer’s lesson horse, Ty, was my favorite horse that I rode this year that wasn’t mine. I think I like him so much because he is just so different than my two guys. Isn’t he just the cutest?

Favorite Funny Picture of Your Horse

It’s not exactly a photo, but this is my favorite funny video of Diesel this year. He loves to “help” me pick and put new shavings in his stall. 😂

Favorite Horse Meme

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Finally, this is one of my favorite horse memes that I have seen this year. If this doesn’t describe life with green or naughty horses perfectly, then I don’t know what does. 😂

Adventures Of Diesel, The Life of Diablo

Rainy Days in Georgia

The weather here in Georgia over the last week has been less than ideal, to say the least. With an accumulated rainfall of around 7″, riding has not been feasible as the arena is quite literally like a small pond at the moment. 😬

Since riding was definitely not a possibility, I decided that my first day back home from college would be a grooming/organize-all-the-things day. I spent at least three hours, de-mudding the ponies, conditioning tails and manes, hand-grazing in between rain showers, cleaning tack, and reorganizing all of my junk in my two tack trunks.

If you can’t ride, you might as well be productive, right?

The face of a pony who enjoyed the mud a little too much.

 

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Enjoying snack after being de-mudded.

 

 

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The angel who didn’t succumb to the temptation of going mudding out in his pasture.

 

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I ended up getting a lot done, and the ponies definitely looked so much better after a little elbow grease! At least they don’t look completely feral now. 😂

Unfortunately, the next day, we suffered a loss. Let’s have a moment of silence for Dies’s Amigo sheet that was sentenced to death by a bored, young horse. It fought a good fight. RIP Amigo sheet.

 

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The face of a guilty pony. 

Sigh. I guess this is just part of owning horses, but man, I definitely wasn’t planning on having to buy another blanket anytime soon – especially another sheet that doesn’t come with a warranty.

SmartPak, if you are reading this, please, please, please make a 100g sheet! We rowdy horse owners are begging you! 😅