Owning a young, baby warmblood is not for the faint of heart. It can be full of setbacks, bad days, and frustration. However, watching them grow up and learn to use their bodies to their full potential is so rewarding! Not to mention, working with them is so humbling and can teach you a lot about yourself in the process.
I bought baby Diesel the six-year-old Hanoverian on a spur of the moment decision after seeing his ad on Facebook. Who knows how it happened, but within a week after seeing the ad, the bill of sale was signed and he was officially mine! His purchase was such an exciting time for me as I had always dreamed of owning a fancy prospect that had the potential to be something special. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that I would own such a fantastic young horse.
However, owning this guy has not been all sunshine and rainbows – any horse owner can agree that horse ownership can be this way. It has had it’s ups and downs. I decided that today would be as good of a day as any to sit down and write about this special guy and chronicle his progress from over the last few months that I have owned him.
Purchasing Diesel was quite an experience for me as I had never purchased a horse out of state. We bought my first horse, Diablo, from a family down the road from me, so traveling six hours from home on a spur of the moment to go try Diesel was exciting and nerve-racking. Diesel was my first “big girl” purchase.
It can be hard to try and picture how young, green horses will turn out down the road. You never really know a horse until you are personally working with them and get a real feel for who they are as an individual. Purchasing Diesel was scary in the aspect that I had never owned a young, green horse before – let alone a young, green warmblood. I have ridden for quite a while now (9 years to be exact), but working with green horses is not something I have a lot of experience in. That is where a good trainer and lessons come in!
My first few months in green horse land taught me so much about this industry and myself. Diesel has humbled me and shown me that patience is the key to good horsemanship. I spent the first two months that I owned him working on groundwork to develop a good relationship and set boundaries while my trainer got to work under saddle. Owning a green horse will definitely teach you that this sport is more than just riding and requires patience.
I’m going to be honest with you guys here. Horse ownership is not always sunshine and rainbows, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you guys that my experience so far has been a fairytale because it hasn’t. I want to be real with you guys because social media has a way of making a person’s life seem so perfect and pristine when in reality, it isn’t. Mine definitely isn’t – I’m an imperfect rider and person in general.
To get to the point already: when school started back again this past fall, I made the difficult choice to put Diesel on the market to be sold. At the time, I was convinced that I was not a good enough rider for him and that I never would be. I don’t usually talk about mental health, but my lifelong struggle with anxiety was taking a toll on me and my relationship with riding. Anxiety is my worst enemy – I’m a severely anxious person by nature. It stops me from doing the things that I am passionate about and fills my mind with worries, doubts, and fear. I’m not afraid to admit it – my anxiety was hurting my relationship with Diesel and my relationship with riding. Then, something great happened.
My parents convinced me that putting Diesel in a full-time training program would be the best way to give him the experience that he needs while I am busy with school without having to sell my dream horse. So, I decided to take him off the market, put him in full training, and become the rider that he needs me to be.
I know that some people are more about the “do-it-yourself” mentality, but it has been my top priority to give him only positive experiences so that when he is ready, the transition from being ridden by a professional to an amateur will be easier on both of us and will set us up for success. This has been one of the best decisions for both me and him so far. There is no shame in seeking help – especially with impressionable young warmbloods.
I also have a lot of work to do on myself in order to give him the best ride possible. I have to admit – I am overweight and need to get in better shape. I have made it a priority to start going to the gym so that I can become stronger. Putting him in training is giving me the time to get myself ready, focus on school, and give him the time that he needs to mature.
On November 3, 2017, Diesel went to his first show in Alpharetta, Georgia with my trainer in the irons. Despite the chilly weather, Diesel had a fantastic first show! We decided to enter him into the schooling hunter division for both days, and he behaved like a gentleman. I was so impressed with how well he handled himself and the busy atmosphere. He even ended the weekend winning his first blue ribbon. Yay Diesel!
Since November, I have moved Diesel to a new farm where he has continued to be in training and is making great progress. It is so exciting to see how much more confident he has become and how far his training has progressed. He is going to be a very special guy!
I can’t wait to see how this handsome guy turns out. Hopefully, in a couple of months, we will be ready to get to work and I will have more posts about our progress together. I am so excited to share my adventures with this guy with all of you!