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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