The Life of Diablo

An Open Letter to My First Horse | Throwback Post

While scrolling through Facebook tonight, I stumbled upon a post sharing something I wrote two years ago on a blogging site known as Pucker Mob. Reading it brought a smile to my face as it reminds me of all of the great memories that I share with my first horse and first love, Diablo. I couldn’t help but share it here with you all! Enjoy!

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An Open Letter to My First Horse

Horseback riding is such an all-consuming sport – in fact, it’s addicting. Riding is as addicting to a rider as heroine is to a drug addict or a cigarette is to a smoker. You just can’t get enough of it. The feeling of being in the saddle is so thrilling – especially when you’re competing at a show. This sport just takes over your life.

However, it isn’t just the sport itself that is addicting – it is the bond and partnerships you form with the horses who you have been blessed to ride. Over the past five years, God has blessed me with the opportunity to form a partnership with you that has changed me as both a rider and a person, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Thank you for teaching me that the color or quantity of ribbons you receive doesn’t define your success. Over the past five years that we have been together, there were plenty of shows where we didn’t place. At first, I was so frustrated and discouraged because it made me feel as though I wasn’t good enough – that we weren’t good enough. Then, I began to realize that you were teaching me one of the most valuable lessons you could have ever taught me – that ribbons don’t define your success. Success for me may not be a blue ribbon. It may just be jumping a clean round or getting that lead change we always seem to forget and that’s ok. You don’t have to be winning blue ribbons at every show to be successful. After all, we don’t pay hundreds of dollars just for the ribbons – we pay for the experience that comes from showing.

Thank you for teaching me to be tough and fearless while staying humble. There have been plenty of times where we have disagreed – whether that was on how many strides we should get down a line or if we should even jump the jump in the first place. Many of those disagreements ended up with me on the ground wondering where I went wrong, but those falls served an important purpose. By challenging me as a rider, you taught me how to be tough and get back in the saddle – even when I am afraid – and how to stay humble. After all, what is more humbling than eating dust?

Thank you for showing me that hard work pays off. In the beginning, I remember wondering if I was even cut out to be a rider. In fact, the first day I brought you home, you had me in tears when you broke your brand new bridle in the middle of the barn aisle! I spent so many hours in the saddle over the past five years learning your quirks and how to ride through every curveball you threw my way. However, by challenging me, you taught me that the best things in life never come easy.  All of the blood, sweat, and tears that I have shed in the saddle have paid off because I have been able to witness you blossom from a horse that I could barely canter without you running away with me to a horse that has taken me around a 3’ course without a blink of an eye. You have become a different horse in every way, shape, and form. You have truly become my once in a lifetime horse.

Most importantly, thank you for the irreplaceable friendship we have formed and the many years of love you have given me so far. You have always given me unconditional love no matter what, been my shoulder to cry on, and have brought a smile to my face every day. You have brought so much joy into my life through the little things you do such as the way you always pose for the camera or the funny way you look at me when you hear the treat bag crinkle behind you. There is no way that I could ever replace you or the joy that you have given me. I am so thankful for our partnership and friendship.

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The Life of Diablo

You Know It’s Winter When…

What’s that big hairy thing standing out in my pasture? A black and white mammoth? A rare Saskatchewan moose? Nope – it’s just my horse.

If you’re a horse owner, you are well aware of the winter woolies and all of the things that come with it. Winter coats are great for keeping your ponies nice and warm during the winter months, but, man, can it be a pain for us! Drying your horse’s sweat marks by hand after a ride in ten-degree weather is the perfect time for you to reflect on just how much you love horses – ask me how I know! To make it a little easier to keep them in work during the winter months, many riders, including myself, like to take a clipper to those winter woolies.

I took advantage of our single 60-degree day this past Thursday to give my Saskatchewan moose a much-needed bath and full clip. After five hours of clipping, a large pile of black and white hair the size of a medium dog was laying on the floor, and a “neighkid” pony was left standing in the wash rack. That was a long night!

While clipping the pony, I had a great idea. I should share a few of the things that I use when body clipping my horse. I am by no means a professional body clipper, but I end up clipping my guy a few times during the winter. They are never aesthetically perfect, but they definitely do the job!

Clipping Essentials

1. Andis AGC Super 2 Speed Clipper

If you don’t have a good set of clippers, clipping your horse will be next to impossible, so naturally, this is my first thing on my list of clipping must-haves. These babies do a great job of body clipping my moose despite how thick his coat can get. Not only are they powerful enough to get through a winter coat, but they are also super lightweight and quiet. I can’t tell you how much easier these are to hold compared to the traditional Oster ClipMasters. They have been a lifesaver – no more constant hand cramps! It also doesn’t hurt that they stay cool twice as long! You can buy a pair from SmartPak, your local feed store, or Tractor Supply.

2. A CLEAN and DRY Horse

Clipping a dirty horse is definitely doable, but say goodbye to those sharp clipper blades! A dirty coat will absolutely murder your blades leaving you with a streaky, uneven clip. When clipper blades cost this much, you definitely don’t want to shorten their life-span. Make sure that your pony is washed thoroughly from head to toe. I usually use Wisk for my white pony to get that deep dirt and stains out from his coat. It works like a charm and leaves his coat gleaming – just make sure you wash it all out. If it is cold out, I like to cover his body in a warm cooler and start with the head and legs before moving on to his body. I know some people go crazy about clipping wet horses, but I personally choose to clip him when his coat is dry. My clippers work best that way.

3. SHARP Blades

Of course, this should be a no-brainer, but always make sure that you have sharp blades on hand. Clipping with dull blades can be a pain as they leave clipper marks – ask me how I know. 😬 I like to use the T-84 blades for the body and #10 blades for the head and legs. The wide T-84 blades make knocking out the large, vast plains of the horse easier to cover while the #10 blade let’s me get into those narrow and hard to reach places. Let’s not forget – always have another set of both blades is extremely helpful when your current ones start to get hot.

4. Showsheen

I have a love-hate relationship with showsheen, but man is it great for clipping! Spraying a generous amount to your horse will have your clippers cutting through their thick coat like warm butter! If your concerned about it drying out your horse’s skin, just apply some spray on conditioner after your clip job is complete.

5. Clipper Oil and Andis Cool Care Plus

It is absolutely essential that you frequently oil your clippers throughout the entire clip job. Not oiling your clippers can lead to a half clipped horse when your clippers finally decide to stop working. Save your clippers from a sudden death by taking care of them! Also, make sure to use a coolant such as Andis Cool Care Plus to keep your blades from running hot – your horse will thank you.

6. An After-Clip Bath or Hot Toweling

Last but not least, make sure to give your pony a soothing bath or toweling after the job is done. Doing so helps to remove all of the oil and coolant that could have been left on your horse’s skin. All of these products could cause your pony to have an allergic reaction. It’s better to be on the safe side and give your pony’s skin some love.

7. Managing a Clipped Horse

After the deed is done, your naked mole rat will need some extra help to keep him warm now that all of their hair is gone. Please make sure that you have all of the blankets you need to ensure that they are nice and cozy. My guys have a rain sheet, a lightweight blanket (100g), and a medium weight blanket (200g). Here in GA, my ponies usually don’t need a heavyweight blanket, but if it gets cold enough, I do layer their lightweight sheet and their medium weight blanket for additional warmth. Your pony is now relying on you to keep them warm. Here are my favorite sheets and blankets that I entrust with keeping my ponies warm!

Rain Sheets:

Smartpak Ultimate High Neck Turnout Sheet (0g fill)

Amigo 1200D Bravo 12 Sheet (0g fill)

Lightweight Sheet:

Amigo 1200D Bravo 12 Sheet (100g fill)

Medium Weight Blankets:

Rhino SmartPak Collection Wug Turnout Blanket (200g fill)

Amigo Hero 6 Plus Turnout Blanket (200g fill)

*All of these blankets and sheets can be purchased on SmartPak’s website! You can even get them monogrammed – eek!

 

I hope this post will help you get started on your horse clipping adventure! Stay warm and happy riding!

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