Adventures Of Diesel

A Day Of Ups and Downs: Dies’s Third Show

As much as I would love to be able to sit down and write about how fantastic the baby horse was yesterday, I’m afraid I can’t say he was a complete angel the entire time this time out. However, I guess you can’t expect perfection from baby green beans 100% of the time.¬†ūüė¨¬†Bad days are bound to happen – even to the most seasoned show horse.

Yesterday we trailered Dies and three other horses to a small schooling show at Wisteria Farm in Monroe, GA to get him out and about before the “real” horse shows coming up next month. Unlike the last two shows, Dies had to spend some of the day tied to the trailer since we decided not to rent a stall for the day. After all, he has to learn patience at some point. It was all fine and dandy until he ran out of hay. Let me tell you – this did NOT sit well with him at all. He decided that learning patience was not on his list of to-dos, but little does he know that patience is a part of every horse show!

Most of the day was spent with him pacing, “digging to China”, pitching temper tantrums both at the trailer and on the lunge line, screaming at the top of his lungs whenever his travel buddies would leave, and angrily eating his hay. I’m really not kidding about him angrily eating his hay. One of his favorite things to do when he doesn’t get his way is to show his displeasure by angrily grazing or tearing at his hay net. It’s quite comical.

Since he spent most of the time that he was tied to the trailer acting like a fool, he ended up snapping his leather halter in half and “running” free for a few minutes. By running I mean that he walked around the trailer with a confused look on his face that seemed to say “mom, I don’t think this is what I should be doing”. If you are looking for a durable halter, definitely don’t buy Dover’s cheap triple stitch halter. This is the second one that has snapped in half on me, and I would rather not have a loose horse! Of course, I can’t expect too much from a cheap leather halter. It looks like I am going to be on the search for a new barn halter for him. If you have any good ones, let me know below in the comments!

Since the show was running a tad late due to lots of entries, we opted to just stick him into the 2′ division instead of waiting for the 2’3 due to his temper tantrums and lack of entries in the 2’3.¬†Even though he was a brat on the ground, he performed like a rock star and put down two of his best trips to date and flatted beautifully. I was sure that he was going to explode under saddle, but to my surprise, he pulled it together for his classes and behaved like a champ – even when the horse in front of him in the warm-up arena bucked its rider off.

There was a definite improvement from the last show, which is so rewarding to see.¬†His jumping rounds are really starting to come together and are looking smoother and smoother each time out. Of course, height is not an issue – it’s just everything in between haha! Unlike the last show, his turns to the jump were much smoother with no drifting to the left, and his pace was much more rhythmic. The only blip was that he trotted before the second jump in one of the outside lines, but I would much rather see him go slow than run at the jumps. I know he can’t wait until he gets to jump the big boy jumps – these are just speed bumps to him!

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

His flat work has continued to improve as well. He is continuing to build fitness and is now getting strong enough to really hold himself together rather than relying on the rider’s hand to hold him. His transitions are getting quicker and smoother as well. We are continuing to build his confidence and fitness, and it is really starting to pay off. Overall, I was very impressed with his improvement and behavior under saddle! I couldn’t have asked him to be a better nugget for my trainer. She has done an excellent job with him so far! I was beaming with pride the whole time he was in the ring. I am just so blessed to own a horse as wonderful as him – even if he was a jerk on the ground yesterday.

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

All in all, I would definitely consider this show a success despite the rocky start. He kept me on my toes all day and almost drove me crazy, but I was incredibly proud of him for pulling it together in the ring and giving my trainer some great rides. Since he is not usually a brat on the ground, I am just going to attribute it to having to stand at the trailer without hay for hours. I can’t blame him for getting impatient, really. On the bright side, working through his bad behavior gave me a huge confidence boost. A few months ago, I would have been a nervous wreck if I had to handle him acting like a fool. He can be quite a handful sometimes, but I guess that just comes with the young horse territory!

I also wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who had a part in running Equifest! It definitely isn’t easy to host a horse show, but they pulled it off with great success. Everyone at the show was so friendly and made our experience a great one. If you are looking to attend a nice schooling show with friendly staff and a nice setup, definitely give Equifest at Wisteria Farm a try! Here is the link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/equifestatwisteriafarms/

Anyway, I can’t wait until his next show the weekend of March 10th! It will be his second “big boy” weekend show, so hopefully, he will be on his best behavior! I am really looking forward to the first full weekend show of the year!

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Adventures Of Diesel

A Spa Day

There’s nothing more I enjoy than spending some quality time with my guys. Grooming, bathing, and hand walking were on the list of to-dos today for Mr. Dies. With his third show coming up this weekend, he was in need of a good pre-show pampering session – especially since he was covered head to toe in dust and mud. His formally white socks were red from the Georgia clay, which surprisingly, is not appropriate for the show ring. ūüėā¬†Since today was Dies’s spa day, I decided I would share some of my grooming holy-grails to get those ponies gleaming – nobody likes a grungy pony!

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Unwashed vs washed!

If you know me, you know that I am the queen of personalization and monograms. Nothing makes me happier than a nice personalized grooming set! Some of my favorite brushes are the brushes that I purchased from Saucy Piaffe and the custom brushes I bought from The Artful Equine. Since my ponies are in two separate places, they each have their own set of brushes. I use the brushes I purchased from Saucy Piaffe for Diesel and my custom brushes from The Artful Equine for Diablo. I absolutely adore both sets, and they do an excellent job of leaving my ponies’ coats gleaming! These brushes, along with a little hard work, really make a difference in the health of their coats. You won’t catch me going back for generic brushes again!

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My custom brush set from The Artful Equine featuring custom portraits of Diablo and Diesel!
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Saucy Piaffe’s stock photo of their custom brushes! I will upload a picture of mine when I go back out to the farm! Dumb me forgot to snap a photo!

I am just now trying out Healthy Hair salve, Heal Quick salve, Shine Bright Coat Spray, and Be Calm salve from The Herbal Horse. I haven’t got a chance to use it yet as it just arrived at my apartment this afternoon, but I will definitely write up a full review on their products once I get a good feel for them. Just to give y’all a run-down, I plan to use the Be Calm salve to help them to relax during long grooming sessions, and the Healthy Hair salve on their manes and tails to help encourage thicker tail growth and strong hair. Finally, I am planning on incorporating their Shine Bright Coat Spray as the final step in my grooming routine to see if it helps their coat remain healthy and nourished. I can’t wait to actually get to put my hands on them and put them to the test.

As for bath time, I am an avid fan of Lucky Braid’s shampoo to get their coat nice and clean. It smells great and leaves his coat nice and shiny. It does an excellent job of getting Diesel’s thick tail super clean as well. If I’m running low on cash, Suave’s line of cheaper shampoos works almost just as well for a fraction of the price. I like to keep some Sauve on hand to wash legs after riding when I can’t justify breaking out the expensive stuff. However, for his white legs and Diablo’s white body, I bring out the heavy duty stuff – Wisk. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it is not harmful to them whatsoever. I’ve been using it on Diablo for shows for the past five years and his coat looks amazing. Yes, it is the washing detergent that you see in the cleaning aisle at the supermarket. Let me tell you, as the owner of a paint horse, this stuff is a complete lifesaver. Unlike Quik Silver or any of the “horse” purple shampoos, you don’t have to scrub until your hands bleed. A small amount of this stuff will literally save you 30 minutes of scrubbing. Just make sure that you rinse their coat thoroughly and follow with a coat conditioner or a conditioning spray. You will have a gleaming white pony or white socks in no time.

After I gave Diesel a nice long groom and a long sudsy bath on this nice 70-degree day, I took him for a nice hand walk and hand graze to help him to dry out. I love this part of my grooming routine as I really feel that it is a great way to bond with my guys. It may not seem that significant, but taking the time to hand graze your horse really helps build a bond. Some of my best memories are hand grazing Diablo on warm spring days.¬†Since I am not always able to see Diesel every day, I make the time to frequently take the time to just go out and hand graze him. I really enjoy just taking the time to spend some one on one time with my boys. It is quite relaxing for me and them. I always finish up their spa day with a nice coat of Farrier’s Fix hoof oil and a handful of well-deserved treats!

 

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What a handsome guy!

 

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Diesel drying off in his Amigo cooler.

 

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Hand grazing in front of our beautiful farm, Southern Sky Farm!
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“But mom, I want to stay inside and get pampered and eat lots of treats!”

 

Don’t fear, tomorrow will be Diablo’s designated spa day. Even though he is no longer showing, the old man won’t get left out.¬†ūüėȬ†He enjoys getting pampered too. Maybe a little more than Diesel!

Stay tuned for Diesel’s third show coming up this Saturday! I will make sure to update y’all on his progress this show – he will be moving up to the 2’3 division! He is getting closer and closer to the big boy jumps! I can’t wait to share his experience with all of you. Until then, happy riding, everyone!

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Adventures Of Diesel

Saturday Fun

Since I am a full-time student and work part-time at a vet clinic, I haven’t been able to make the hour-long¬†drive to see Diesel very often. However, when I do get to make the trip, it is always the absolute highlight of my week! Today was no exception!

I headed straight to the farm after I got off of work today to watch my trainer school baby Dies and swap out his blankets. His Amigo turnout took quite the beating this past month, so it is on its way to get repaired. He somehow managed to put several rips in it even though it is only two months old. Boys will be boys. Since he ripped his own blanket, he is currently outfitted in his brother’s SmartPak Ultimate High Neck Turnout that I managed to snag for $80 during their year-end sale. It’s about a size too big for Dies, but it’ll do for now. You just can’t beat SmartPak’s 10-year warranty – especially when you have a young rambunctious gelding! All of his blankets from here on out will be from SmartPak.

It was a busy day at the farm today with construction going on around the arena and the spreader trucks visiting. Not to mention, the cows that live beside the barn were extremely vocal! With all of this commotion going on, I was a bit anxious to see how Diesel was going to behave. After all, I couldn’t blame him if he was wild!

However, baby Dies was on his best behavior this afternoon! We tacked him up and took him up to the arena to take a look at the scary spreader trucks, and he stood like a rock the entire time they were there. That is a huge deal for him as he is such a scaredy cat by nature. After about ten minutes, he even lost interest in them and decided that checking my pockets for treats was a much better use of his time.

Speaking of treats, Diesel absolutely loves Stud Muffins Рespecially the peppermint ones! If you want to try them out, they are on sale on SmartPak right now!

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Dies decided to show off for me – he was absolutely fabulous for my trainer today under saddle! He trotted and cantered around so much more relaxed than the last time I watched him school at home – even with all of the commotion going on. He is beginning to understand how to support himself and not rely¬†on the rider’s hands to hold him up. He still has a lot of room for improvement, but I am just so pleased to see him actively learning. There is still a lot of work to do with his changes as we are still working on getting him to change every time when asked. He has great, easy changes, but he loves to be stubborn and act like he doesn’t know what you are talking about. Geldings, haha! He was also an absolute star over fences! His jumping is getting better each time I see him, and he is getting more comfortable with not-so-perfect distances. He looks so much more confident!¬†I am just over the moon with how great he is coming along! I couldn’t ask him to be any more fabulous than he was today.

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Watching him on days like today reminds me of how much I miss riding him! He is such a fun guy to ride. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not the only rider that is not confident 100% of the time, and it is ok to be afraid sometimes. While he is gaining confidence, I am gaining it too. I am hoping that I will be back in the saddle in the next few weeks – I can’t wait!

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Adventures Of Diesel

Adventures Of Baby Dies: Second Show

If you know me, you know that I am definitely NOT a morning person. There’s only one explanation as to why I was up before sunrise yesterday morning – it was horse show day for baby Dies!

We started off this new year by attending a small schooling show hosted by UGA’s IHSA team. It was super low key, which was great for building Dies’s confidence up. Like many young horses, he has a tendency to become a spooky mess when introduced to new situations. The nervousness has been improving over the last few months as we continue to expose him to new places, and it has been so rewarding to see how his confidence has improved with each new place he has visited.

In addition to improving his confidence with new experiences, I decided to try Diesel on SmartPak’s SmartCalm Ultra and U-Guard starting a month ago to see if that would help him to overcome his spookiness at home and away and make him more comfortable. He is a sensitive guy that tends to worry, so I was concerned that ulcers could become a problem – especially now that he is traveling more. I want to give him the best care that I possibly can. Yesterday was the real test to see if they were making any difference in his demeanor.

Dies made the journey here to Athens with two pony buddies in tow. It was quite a sight to see 16.1 hand Diesel beside his new tiny pony friends. He didn’t seem to mind the height difference haha! I hadn’t seen him in a couple of weeks since I have been back in school, so I was so happy to see his squishy little face!

Right after he walked off the trailer, I tacked him up and took him up to the ring to look around and explore. To my surprise, he was so calm and composed even with the “scary” new jump decor and loud shooting noises from next door. He was more concerned with begging for pets and all of my attention. He is such an attention hog. This was the calmest I have ever seen him both out and at home.

When you have seasoned show horses, you can sometimes take for granted the small things like being able to stand beside the arena without worrying about your horse every second. This was the first time since I have owned Dies that he stood quietly and relaxed. He is such a sensitive guy that he is always on high alert – even at home. However, yesterday he was relaxed enough to calmly graze by the arena – this was a first! I got pretty emotional as I was standing there with him because it was the first time that I was able to let my guard down at all with him and enjoy just being with my horse. I was so proud of him.

 

I’m sorry for the sub-par pictures, but they are all screenshots from videos. Hopefully, I will get some better pictures in the next few days. He was such a good boy for my trainer during the whole show! We entered him in the 2′ division again, and he didn’t blink an eye at any of the jumps and behaved so well. I honestly couldn’t have asked him to behave any better. There are many things that we have to work on in his training, but this show was all about building his confidence! If we can get him more comfortable in new situations, everything else will come. His biggest hurdle is his own anxiety.

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He ended up winning both of his flat classes and came out with a second in his last over fences class. I was thrilled! There are definitely a lot of things to work on, but I couldn’t have asked him to be any more well behaved in a new place with a new rider. He was such a good nugget! If the weather cooperates, his next outing will be on February 10th. I can’t wait!

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Adventures Of Diesel

The Journey With My Green Horse So Far

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.

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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.

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Diesel the day I went to try him!

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.

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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!

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