Adventures Of Diesel, The Life of Diablo

The Best Yet | HJ Fox Show

I know, I know. I’m a little late to the game posting this, but between prepping for the upcoming semester and work, I just haven’t quite had the time to sit down and get to writing. That is going to change, however, as I have a few exciting new posts in the works that will be published within the next few days! For now, let’s just start with a recap of our last show!

Friday

The weekend started off with me making a last minute decision to load Diablo up on the trailer with his little bro and take him to school in the horse park’s oh-so-wonderful Olympic stadium. I mean, if you’re already taking one horse, you might as well take the other too! 😊

It has been quite a while since I have taken Diablo to school off-property since his semi-retirement. However, like the good boy he is, he jumped right off the trailer and was ready to go – no prep required. I jumped right on, rode him down to the stadium, and had an absolutely fabulous ride! We even managed to sneak in a jump over the tiny trainer’s medal log. It definitely wasn’t anything close to beautiful, but for an old man that hasn’t jumped anything in over a year, it wasn’t half bad!

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Of course, after we had our fun and got his baby brother bathed and all tucked in for the night, we loaded Diablo back up on the trailer and took him back home. While I had so much fun getting to school my old guy, it was a little bittersweet for me. I can’t say that I didn’t shed a tear thinking about how we were competing in this same arena together a few years ago. It’s days like that that make me really wish I could go back in time and relive it all over again. Oh, how I miss showing my old guy!

Saturday

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Saturday started out a bit rough in the baby green division for Dies. While he ended up blowing away the competition in his flat class, we experienced some technical difficulties over fences.  He wasn’t badly behaved per se. He just really showed his greenness by pulling my trainer down the lines and trying to convince us that he had never heard of a flying change before. Despite that, he did relatively well handling being ridden in a brand new arena and not having a lunging session that morning.

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He did, however, make up for his not-so-stellar rounds in the baby green division by completely rocking the schooling hunter division later that day! He flatted beautifully pulling a first place in a competitive class and two third places out of around fourteen 2′ and 2’6 horses – earning him a champion ribbon for the division! He was stellar!

Sunday

Sunday was definitely Dies’s day as he came out so relaxed and focused. My trainer put in some absolutely gorgeous rounds on him in the baby greens and for the classic! In fact, her classic round was pretty much the epitome of perfection and ended up receiving a fourth place out of 26 horses! I am so sad that I forgot to video it! Like the day before, he flatted beautifully and received a first place out of twelve horses. While his rounds were beautiful, he only came out with a third over one o/f classes as his lead changes weren’t 100%. There were a few that he had to skip-change, which definitely cost him points in the consistency department. However, I definitely believe they were some of his best rounds to date minus the changes. It did earn him a reserve champion nonetheless!

Later that day, we decided to enter the schooling hunter division again to continue to work on developing his changes on course and finesse some things we can’t do at home. His rounds were even better than the ones he put down that morning! He just kept getting better and better! Amazingly, he ended up winning both of his o/f courses out of around sixteen 2′ and 2’6 horses!

Another spur-of-the-moment decision landed me in the saddle to flat him in his schooling hunter flat. He was being so perfect for my trainer that I decided to take the leap of faith and show him again! I even managed to put my big girl pants on and trust him enough to ride him to and from the arena. That definitely wouldn’t have even been a possibility a few months ago! As you can see from the photos below, I definitely wasn’t quite prepared to show, but at least my sunshirt was white! 😂

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I had an absolute blast as he was a complete saint for me! He was so soft and supple despite how packed the arena was. Even though this was my first “real” show in about two years and our second time in the show ring together, we managed to pull out a third place out of a very large and competitive class!

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I just can’t put into words how happy this guy makes me! He is definitely a dream come true for me, and I can’t wait to see what the future has to hold for us!

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Adventures Of Diesel, The Life of Diablo

A Visit From The Chiropractor

I’m late to the game writing this post as I’ve been on vacation for the past week. While I’ve been away soaking up the sun in Florida, the boys have been enjoying a life of leisure with a well-deserved week off from work as my trainer has been in Tryon with a few of her other students. However, before I left for my trip, the boys got a visit from our awesome local chiropractor, Dr. Amy Mushrush, because you know, it’s just money! 🙄

I’m not new to the whole chiropractor thing. In fact, Diablo has been adjusted multiple times in the past when he was in full work, and I have even had myself done as well. I know many people are skeptical about chiropractors and the benefits of utilizing chiropractic care in horses, but let me tell you, I am a firm believer that it is a necessary part of maintaining performance horses in addition to joint supplements. Yes, it can be pricey, but I personally feel it is worth the money as I can see and feel a real difference. While I feel that it is necessary, I definitely don’t think it is necessary every month. I think the frequency should be based on the individual horse as some need it more than others.

To give you a little more insight into the process, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about both Diesel and Diablo’s adjustments separately and break them down for you all that may be interested in incorporating chiropractic care into your routine. I will make sure to include what problems we have been encountering, how the chiropractor adjusted them, and the results.

Diablo

Diablo was the first to be adjusted as he is an old pro when it comes to being adjusted. However, I have to admit that I am a bad horse mom and haven’t had him adjusted in a little over a year as he is no longer in hard work. I know, I know, I’m just terrible! 😉

If you’ve never personally met Diablo, you wouldn’t know that he can generally be very tight throughout his back and is usually out of align in his pelvis. This is probably a result of both his older age and his long history with lameness issues. It is obvious to see when you trot him off as he develops an asymmetrical swing in the hind end at the trot accompanied by an asymmetrical stance and a crooked tail set when he is out of align. When under saddle, you can tell he is out of align as he tends to become stiff and reluctant to bend around the leg. I equate it to riding a stiff 2X4.

 

Unfortunately, he can be sort of hard to adjust as his mystery allergic reaction that runs the length of his back makes him sensitive to touch in that area during peak allergy season. Even though he is on medication for it, it can get a little ouchy if he has been rolling frequently. However, the chiropractor did a wonderful job working around it to keep him willing and comfortable throughout the entire adjustment. As you can see from his report that I have attached below, she spent the majority of his adjustment focusing on realigning his pelvis and was successful in achieving a symmetrical hind end swing and stance by the end. The result: a relaxed pony that is no longer stiff and unwilling to bend.

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Diesel

Unlike his brother, this was Diesel’s first time being adjusted. I haven’t really felt the need to have him adjusted before now, but now that his workload has become quite strenuous, I felt that it was time to start getting him adjusted to keep him in top shape.

Within the past month, my trainer and I noticed that his stifles had begun to give out at the trot and he was having difficulty picking up his left lead. After her pre-adjustment examination, the chiropractor determined that he was sore in his SI region and hocks, which was causing him to overcompensate with other regions of his body resulting in the reluctance to pick up the left lead and the minor stifle issue. After a few adjustments and a quick massage, he was good to go again. There will definitely be more adjustments, cold hosing of legs, and liniment baths after hard workouts in his future!

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I have to brag on him a little as he was a complete angel throughout his entire adjustment. Within a couple of seconds after her first adjustment, he was licking and chewing with a soft eye. He definitely enjoyed all the attention, pats, and treats like a true attention hog. In fact, he didn’t want to go back into his stall afterward!

After I left, my trainer rode Dies once before she left and reported that there was no more falling out behind and difficulty picking up the left lead. Thank goodness! Hopefully, the adjustment and his mini vacation will do wonders for him. 😊

A huge thank you to Dr. Amy Mushrush at Mushrush Performance for doing an excellent job with both of my boys! If you are looking for an awesome chiropractor in Georgia, she is absolutely the best!

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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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