Adventures Of Diesel, College Life

Lesson and Life Update

Boy, it’s been a while since I was last able to sit down and get my thoughts together on here! Life has been pretty hectic in the last month between moving, starting the new semester, and horses. However, now that the first two weeks of the new semester are over, I feel like I can actually take a quick breather and get back to doing what I love: blogging!

Last Monday marked the beginning of my third year here at good ‘ole UGA and my second year as an Animal Science major. This semester’s classes feature organic chemistry, physics, animal reproduction, and equine undergraduate research. Whew! It’s going to be a tough semester, but hopefully, I will make it through in one piece. Either way, I am ready to step up to the plate and give it my best shot!

Even though I am currently living and going to school in Athens, I have decided to keep both of the ponies at my trainer’s farm. Both of them are at the best place they could possibly be, so it definitely wasn’t a hard decision to make even though they are an hour away from me. I just have to make a little extra time and effort if I want to continue to ride and lesson as much as I have been. Let’s just say that in order to get a lesson in during the week, sunrise lessons have become a thing. 😊

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While getting up early is not my forte, I am actually loving being in the saddle right when the sun comes up. I actually look forward to my sunrise lesson each week, which if you know me, is probably a little surprising! 😂

Our lessons recently have been going extremely well with both he and I learning a lot each time out. I feel as though I am finally starting to figure him out rather than just going along with the motions, which has been a huge confidence booster for me. My trainer has also been pushing me a little out of my comfort zone each lesson by slowly inching up the jumps. Yes, that’s right, I said jumps! We are actually doing some courses now!

 

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Our first 2′ jump together at our lesson last week!

 

The video below is from my lesson two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the video of my lesson from last week wouldn’t load. 🙃 The main goal of our last few lessons has been to work on relaxation and pace on course. I sometimes let my anxiety creep its way into my riding resulting in me leaning and rushing at jumps. Thankfully, that habit is slowly disappearing each ride as I continue to gain confidence in both Dies and myself.

There are definitely a lot of things that I need to work on, but overall, I am really proud of our progress so far! I am also really proud of how far I have come both mentally and physically in the last few months. I am finally starting to feel at home in the saddle and like my old self again, and it is all thanks to my amazing trainer and my wonderful baby horse!

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College Life

10 Things That Happen When You’re A College Equestrian

Continuing to ride in college can be quite the challenge and not for the faint of heart. As we all know, horses have a way of consuming all of your time. But wait, doesn’t college do that too? Here is a list of 8 things that happen when you’re a college equestrian:

1. Coffee is the only reason you can still function. Let’s just face it, you could probably own Starbucks by now with the amount of money you have spent on coffee just in this past month. Between early morning rides, classes, long afternoons at the farm lessoning and feeding, and late night study sessions, you’ve probably just decided to live by the phrase “sleep is for the weak” and go ahead and chug that second coffee.

2. You make your own fashion statements. With your schedule filled to the brim, riding before class is often a necessity, and it isn’t always feasible to be able to shower and change before you have to make it to that early lecture. Rather than try and hide that slobber stained shirt or messy barn hair, you have decided to just embrace it instead. Surely nobody will care that you have hay in your hair, right?

3. Your closet is half breeches and sunshirts and half t-shirts and jeans. So much for variety! If you’re not wearing your riding clothes to class, you’ll most likely be caught wearing your favorite t-shirt and a pair of old jeans. It’s a good thing that most of your breeches can double as everyday wear because after all, who can afford nice, new clothes when you have a horse?

4. The barn becomes your classroom. Rather than just skipping out on pony time, you lug your heavy backpack out to the barn and start typing away at that essay while perched on the top of your tack trunk or the nearest bale of hay. By the time you are done with college, your horse should be able to graduate from college with you as many times as you’ve used him as a study buddy.

5. Your planner looks like a murder scene straight out of CSI: Miami. Horses take up a lot of time, so in order to continue riding in college, you’ve had to master the skill of time management. Your planner is overflowing with sticky notes, written messages, highlighter marks, and those alert stickers. Between juggling barn time, classes, work, big due dates, and a plethora of exams, it’s hard to believe that you can even make the time to breathe.

6. You never have money to go out with friends because you spend it all on your horse. At this point, it’s safe to say that your horse has a better wardrobe and eats better than you do. Plus, you’re pretty sure the only thing in your wallet right now is hay and those free peppermints you snag at every restaurant.

7. The dining hall is your new favorite treat destination. Since college and horses are bleeding your bank account dry, the dining hall has become your one-stop shop for horse treats. Why pay for an overpriced bag of treats when you can just snag a few apples and peppermints on your way out?

8. None of your college friends ever ask you for a ride. Since you are always on the move with no time to waste, your car becomes your mobile tack trunk and closet. With all of the saddles, bridles, treat bags, and saddle pads residing in your car, it’s surprising that you are even able to fit in there much less another person. The passenger seat? Yeah, it’s for my saddle. Oh, the back seat? Sorry, that’s where all of my saddle pads and horse blankets reside. Maybe you can fit in the trunk next to the bale of hay?

9. Friday night out on the town? More like Friday night in my bed. Unlike many of your college friends, you have to be at the show grounds at 5 am. Who has time for partying when you have a horse show to go to? The answer is: not you!

10. You wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite all of the hardships that come with continuing to ride in college, at the end of the day, it is completely worth it when you get to the barn and see your horse’s dopey face after a hard day or classes or that killer exam. Ponies can make anything better!

 

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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 – especially 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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College Life

Spring (?) Semester is Here!

Wake up in the morning feelin’ a little chilly. Grab my bookbag, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city… Actually, nevermind. It’s too darn cold.

I’m not going to lie – I was not so thrilled about trekking to class all the way across campus in freezing temperatures. I was even less thrilled when I stepped outside and realized that not only was it cold but WINDY! Walking to my first class of the day felt like I was embarking on a trek across Antartica. I know what you northerners are thinking, and yes, as a southerner, I can conclude that I am in fact a wimp when it comes to cold weather. My animals can attest to that. Just check out the picture below! 😬 They all love their warm blankies on cold winter days like this!

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Despite the subzero temps (ok, mid-thirties), the first day of spring semester gives me hope that this will be a great semester for me. After changing my major from neuroscience to animal science at the end of last semester, it was refreshing to sign up for classes that I actually wanted to take! I felt right at home in my first animal science class at UGA.

I decided at the end of last semester to stop doubting myself and pursue my dream of being a veterinarian. I decided to ignore all of the discouraging statistics surrounding vet school acceptances and follow my dream, which has been one of the best decisions I have made so far in my college career. If you are doubting your choice in major, take the leap and follow your heart!

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After attending all of my classes for the day and surviving the brutal cold, I came back to my apartment to lay out my planner using the syllabus from each class to mark important dates, plan out which days I will ride and go to the gym, and organize my work schedule. Life just isn’t complete without my cute Lily Pulitzer planner! I feel so lost without it. Now it’s time to crack down and get to studying!

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Happy studying everyone!

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