Adventures Of Diesel

Diesel’s First Show Season: A Review In Photos

Since the new show season is scheduled to begin really soon, I thought now would be the perfect time to summarize this past season, Diesel’s first full show season. However, instead of writing that out in a really long post, which I KNOW none of y’all want to sit through, I thought I would break out the pictures and do a show season in review photo extravaganza. So sit back, break out some popcorn, and enjoy! 😁

January: UGA IHSA Team Horse Show (Diesel’s Second Show Ever)

Diesel was such a good boy at this show! He really exceeded my expectations behavior wise as he was so calm and level headed. Undersaddle wise, not so much! I think the theme of this show is “can’t stop, won’t stop, and won’t turn left”. 😂 We did have to cut him some slack though since his behavior was phenomenal! If you want to read more about his first show, you can find it here.

 

February: Equifest Schooling Show

Diesel was NOT on his best behavior for me at this show. It was the first time he had to stand tied to the trailer for any length of time, and boy, he let us know that he was not a fan! He sure does look innocent in those pictures though! If you want to read a detailed recap of this show, you can find it here.

 

March: HJ Fox Show

Now, this was a fantastic show! Despite the horrible rainy weather on the first day, Diesel kept it all together and put in 110% effort for my trainer – resulting in his first ever champion ribbon. You can read the full show review here.

 

April: HJ Fox Show

This show was the first show where my trainer incorporated some lead changes! If you want to read the full show review, you can find it here.

 

 

June: Serenity Creek (Our First Show Together!)

This was by far my favorite show of the whole season. After month and months of hard work and dedication, we finally made it to the show ring! There were definitely a lot of happy tears shed at this show! If you want to read the full show report, you can find it here.

 

 

July: HJ Fox Show

This was, by far, Diesel’s best show at the horse park out of the entire season. He and I competed in a really competitive and large flat class and came out third, and he gave my trainer some really great rounds resulting in him getting two champions and a reserve! You can find the full show review here.

 

 

August: HJ Fox Show and Serenity Creek (Our First Time Competing Over Fences At A Show!)

Diesel won his first reserve champion neck ribbon at this HJ Fox show by coming in second in the hunter under saddle challenge class.

For some reason, I don’t have a show review posted about our first over fences show together. However, I will tell you that it was amazing! We went to the show just planning on trotting our courses, but he was so well behaved that we ended up cantering and brought home a reserve champion for our division! What made it so sweet was that my parents were there to see it in person!

 

October: HJ Fox Finale Show

Diesel did pretty well at this show, but it definitely was not his best! He spent the first half of the weekend as a fiery dragon but eventually calmed down enough to put in some really good courses on Sunday. At the time, we thought he might have just been a little grouchy because of the freezing cold weather and intermittent rain, but it turns out that he just really needed a chiropractic adjustment. Once he had his adjustment, he was back to his stretchy, happy self.

Again, I’m not quite sure why I didn’t write a show review for this one either. Although, if I had to guess, it was because I didn’t have enough photos to make it worthwhile. 😕 I am for sure going to get some better videos and photos next season!

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Post Season HJ Fox Banquet

Diesel ended up bringing home two awards from his first show season: overall champion of the baby green hunters and overall reserve champion of the schooling hunters! To say I am proud of him is a gross understatement.  All of the credit goes to my trainer. Really, she’s awesome! None of this would have been possible without her!

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I have to admit – I am a little sad that his first show season is already over! It was truly amazing to see the progress that this horse has made over the course of a year – both behaviorally and performance wise. He has become a completely different horse!

A huge thank you to my trainer, friends, and parents for helping make my dreams for this horse come true!!

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!