Adventures Of Diesel

What Have I Learned? | Blog Hop

Over the past few days, I have read quite a few blog posts answering the question “What have I learned?”, which was first started by Sara. Reading all of these wonderful and inspiring posts from fellow bloggers really got me thinking about what I have learned in the past few months that have had the biggest impact on my riding.

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The theme of the past few months for me riding wise has been “it’s all in the details”. Diesel’s inexperience has really made me take a step back and work on fine-tuning my riding all over again. It has also taught me some things that I guess I never really thought much into before now:

  • Creating and maintaining a good quality canter is more important than trying to “find” a distance.
  • Continuing to work Diesel through bad behavior is more effective than stopping the exercise to regroup.
  • Your outside aids are just as important as your inside aids.
  • Working your horse on the bit does not mean you have to have strong rein contact. You can be soft and still maintain contact.
  • Softening your hand while working your horse in contact is a more effective reward for good behavior than just dropping the contact altogether.
  • Ride every step. You have to be the driver – not the passenger.

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While all of these things are great, I have saved the most important thing I have learned, and am still learning, for last. It is best summarized in this quote:

“Riding, like life, doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.” – unknown

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I have been a perfectionist for my entire life. One of the hardest but most important things that I have learned and am still learning every day is that it is okay not to be perfect all the time. Messing up and making mistakes is part of the learning process, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of that. The most important thing is enjoying the ride.

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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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