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!

 

 

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!

 

 

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! 😅