Adventures Of Diesel

Bloghop: Favorites of 2018

After reading Amanda’s post, I just couldn’t resist not joining in on the fun!

Favorite Show Picture

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 9.46.11 AM.png

I honestly can’t pick just one! The top left picture was taken at the last show of this year, the bottom left is from our first show over fences together, the top right was taken right after I found out we had won reserve champion at our first show over fences, and the bottom right was from my second time flatting him at a show. There were so many great memories made in the show ring this year!

Favorite Non-Show Photo

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 10.26.45 AM.png

Well, I couldn’t choose just one again haha! There are just so many pictures that I love from this past year. 😅

Favorite Thing You Bought

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 2.52.15 PM

This one is easy: my Samshield helmet. I can’t tell you how much I love this helmet! It’s easy to clean, comfortable, nice and airy, and very sleek and stylish. I hate to say it, but it’s so much nicer than my old Charles Owen. 😬

Favorite Moment On Horseback

IMG_6881 2

Winning 3rd place out of a huge flat class at our second show together is definitely my favorite moment on horseback this year. It took a lot of hard work to get to that moment, and I will never forget how proud I was of Dies!

Favorite Moment Out of the Saddle

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 10.57.22 AM.png

Celebrating Dies’s 7th birthneigh is one of my favorite “out of the saddle” memories from this past year. I have to admit, I had a little too much fun planning his little party. 😂 Will he get another party this coming year? The answer is: absolutely!

Favorite “Between The Ears” Picture

IMG_3154

This picture may not look like much, but that day was such a great day. It was Diablo’s first time being back at the horse park after being retired from showing four years ago. We loaded him up on the trailer on the spur of the moment and had the best day hacking around in the Grand Prix arena at the Conyer’s Horse Park.

Favorite Horse Article

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 11.10.14 AM.png

This was my favorite article that I read this year. Everything said in this article describes my experience growing up with horses. My favorite quote from this article is: “Let them set goals and reach them. Let them set goals and fail miserably. Let them learn that, if they work incredibly hard, practice like hell, ride the best quality horse they can and take impeccable care of him, they’re sometimes going to get beat by someone with 10 times the money and one-tenth the drive.”

Favorite Horse Ridden Aside From Your Own

IMG_3496.jpg

My trainer’s lesson horse, Ty, was my favorite horse that I rode this year that wasn’t mine. I think I like him so much because he is just so different than my two guys. Isn’t he just the cutest?

Favorite Funny Picture of Your Horse

It’s not exactly a photo, but this is my favorite funny video of Diesel this year. He loves to “help” me pick and put new shavings in his stall. 😂

Favorite Horse Meme

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 11.01.54 AM.png

Finally, this is one of my favorite horse memes that I have seen this year. If this doesn’t describe life with green or naughty horses perfectly, then I don’t know what does. 😂

Adventures Of Diesel, The Life of Diablo

Rainy Days in Georgia

The weather here in Georgia over the last week has been less than ideal, to say the least. With an accumulated rainfall of around 7″, riding has not been feasible as the arena is quite literally like a small pond at the moment. 😬

Since riding was definitely not a possibility, I decided that my first day back home from college would be a grooming/organize-all-the-things day. I spent at least three hours, de-mudding the ponies, conditioning tails and manes, hand-grazing in between rain showers, cleaning tack, and reorganizing all of my junk in my two tack trunks.

If you can’t ride, you might as well be productive, right?

The face of a pony who enjoyed the mud a little too much.

 

IMG_3874
Enjoying snack after being de-mudded.

 

 

Screen-Shot-2018-12-17-at-1.44.08-PM
The angel who didn’t succumb to the temptation of going mudding out in his pasture.

 

IMG_3875.JPG

I ended up getting a lot done, and the ponies definitely looked so much better after a little elbow grease! At least they don’t look completely feral now. 😂

Unfortunately, the next day, we suffered a loss. Let’s have a moment of silence for Dies’s Amigo sheet that was sentenced to death by a bored, young horse. It fought a good fight. RIP Amigo sheet.

 

IMG_0870-1
The face of a guilty pony. 

Sigh. I guess this is just part of owning horses, but man, I definitely wasn’t planning on having to buy another blanket anytime soon – especially another sheet that doesn’t come with a warranty.

SmartPak, if you are reading this, please, please, please make a 100g sheet! We rowdy horse owners are begging you! 😅

 

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. 😊

IMG_3332

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!

 

IMG_3375
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!

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.18 PM

 

 

 

Reviews

Equifit ImpacTeq Half Pad | Product Review

It’s no secret that I am a saddle pad lover and hoarder. Despite my love for saddle pads, I am not a big collector of half pads. The only half pad I have ever owned up until now was a ThinLine as my custom saddle never needed any extra padding. But with Diablo getting older and not as fit as he used to be, his saddle has gotten a tad too wide for him. While I start to rebuild his topline and get him back in shape, a half pad will help fill in the gaps between him and the saddle to help it fit him better in the meantime. Plus, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to have a nice half pad for my trainer to use when she rides Diesel in her saddle. It’s a win-win situation. 😉

In my search for a good half pad, my curiosity got the best of me when I saw an Equifit half pad for sale on a Facebook group for a really good price. I just had to try it out!

I am a huge fan of Equifit’s line of protective boots. Their T-Foam EXP2 Open Front Boots have been a staple in my tack trunk for the past four years. Yes, that’s right, they have held up to weekly wear and tear for four years and are still going strong. Since I love their open front boots so much, deciding to purchase one of their half pads was a no-brainer.

According to Equifit, the ImpacTeq Half Pad is “designed to absorb extreme impact” and “provides the ultimate protection for both horse and rider”. They also claim that the ImpacTeq Technology allows the pad to contour to the horse’s back to provide a custom fit while “an open-cell non-newtonian foam transforms from soft to rigid upon impact”.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 11.56.11 PM.png

The half pad itself comes in a variety of colors including black/black, black/brown, black/navy, black/green, black/red, and black/black ostrich. If you want to take the pad into the hunter ring, don’t worry, Equifit makes a fleece cover for it. The pad itself retails for around $259 and the cover retails for $86. While it is pricey, I do feel that you are paying for an excellent quality product.

The first thing I noticed about my Equifit ImpacTeq Half Pad in black/black ostrich was how sleek and simple the exterior of the pad was. I am the type of person that prefers my half pad to not stand out or clash with the saddle pad I choose to put under it. The black/black ostrich combination looks sleek and sophisticated and adds a bit of flair to the pad without becoming overbearing. It looks beautiful and doesn’t distract from the horse, which I love!

IMG_2299.JPG

Not only does it look beautiful, but it fits my horse well! My biggest pet peeve when it comes to half pads are pads that lift the saddle way off of the horse’s back and cause it to perch atop the horse. I hate it with a fiery passion. When I first received the pad and pulled it out of the box, I was a little nervous that the thickness of the pad would do just that, but to my relief, it softened and contoured to my horse’s back allowing the saddle to rest as if the pad was not there. The pad seems a little stiff at first, but once it is on the horse, the horse’s body heat warms up the pad and softens the foam allowing for a more custom fit. I found that the exact same thing happens with their protective boots as well. If you are familiar with their boots, you know exactly how that feels.

While I didn’t notice any overly dramatic changes in Diablo’s movement, I did notice that he seemed a little looser through his back and warmed up a little quicker than he usually does without using the pad. He definitely seemed a little more comfortable than normal. The same thing can be said when I put it underneath my trainer’s saddle on Diesel. I can also say that I didn’t feel perched atop of my horse while riding in the pad. I actually felt that I maintained a close contact feel throughout the whole ride.

IMG_2825
Peep the Equifit ImpacTeq Half Pad underneath my saddle
IMG_2674
Diesel schooling in the Equifit ImpacTeq Half Pad

When the ride was over and I removed the pad, neither of them was overly sweaty underneath the pad which was a huge plus. It must be pretty breathable as Diablo has a tendency to sweat like a pig! He actually seemed quite cool despite the summer heat. Once off, all I did was wipe it down with a damp towel and it was good to go for the next ride. Plus, it has held up extremely well and looks brand new despite me buying it already used from its previous owner.

Overall, I can without a doubt say that Equifit’s ImpacTeq Half Pad is worth the money! If you are in the market for a half pad that is sleek, stylish, and has superb craftsmanship, definitely give this one a try!

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.18 PM

 

 

 

 

College Life

A Summer in the Saddle | A Little Bit of Everything Post

I can’t believe my first year as an animal science major and second year at UGA is already over! This past school year brought with it a lot of really cool experiences and taught me a lot both academically and personally. I got the opportunity to get down and dirty with some awesome animals at UGA’s teaching dairy, beef and sheep unit, and swine unit during my practicum class, attended a Temple Grandin seminar, started a new job at a small animal clinic, joined an absolutely amazing new barn family, and met some really great people along the way!

images-2

Despite all of all of the great things that came with this past school year, it definitely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I have to say, life definitely didn’t take it easy on me – especially this semester. A series of family health emergencies caused me to miss quite a few weeks of classes and left me struggling both emotionally and academically. My grades also took a hit as I struggled with my anxiety and depression throughout it all. However, with a lot of hard work, late nights, coffee, and, of course, some pony therapy, I was able to salvage my grades and make it onto the dean’s list with five As and one B!

Enough about school though – IT’S SUMMERTIME!  That means there will be a lot of pony-filled days in my future. To say I am excited would be a little bit of an understatement!

In preparation for me moving back home for the summer, we moved Diablo to Southern Sky Farm to live with his little brother, Dies. He settled right in like a champ and has been as happy as a lark. I’m so happy to have my two boys back together in one place again as now I can ride both of them more often!

IMG_2804.JPG
D trailering to his new summer home!
IMG_2825
D’s first ride at Southern Sky!
IMG_4809
D’s first ride at Southern Sky included a field ride!

As usual, my trainer has been doing an absolutely amazing job with Dies while I have been away. I got a chance to watch her jump him around a couple of days ago, and oh my gosh guys, he was amazing! He has gained so much confidence over fences that he was able to jump some larger jumps without even blinking an eye! That definitely wouldn’t have been possible a few months ago. There are definitely still a lot of things we need to work on, but for his first time jumping jumps this high, he was a rockstar!

IMG_2824.jpg
Diesel jumping 2’9ish!
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 8.52.23 PM.png
Diesel jumping 2’3ish!

IMG_6334

I have been able to flat him around twice since I have been back home, but sadly I didn’t get any video or pictures. However, I will be having my first lesson on him in two months tomorrow and I am hoping to get some pictures then!

I can’t wait to start lessoning regularly and get back to riding how I used to before college. As of right now, my goal is to do our first show together on June 9th! I hope that we can make that happen as I am really eager to get back to showing after a two-year hiatus! Fingers crossed!

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.18 PM

 

 

 

Adventures Of Diesel

HJ Fox Show | One Stride At A Time

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. With the semester coming to an end, a tidal wave of assignments and exams have made riding pretty much non-existent in my life for the past few weeks. It has also made finding time to post almost impossible!

Before I get into the details of the show, I have to share a picture and a video from when I got to come home and watch Dies school before the show last week! My awesome trainer has been working really hard on developing his adjustability and putting him over some bigger fences to raise his confidence. It was the first time I have seen him go over anything higher than 2 ft. Of course, my trainer is amazing and made him look like a seasoned pro. Enjoy the cuteness!

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 4.21.15 PM.png
Diesel jumping a “big boy” jump a couple of weeks ago!

 

HJ FOX SHOW | FRIDAY SCHOOLING

If I had to pick a theme for this show in one word, it would be “progress”. This weekend was full of so many triumphs and accomplishments for Diesel both in and out of the show ring.

Like any other horse, Diesel has his own quirks that, while endearing in a way, can be frustrating and discouraging to work through at times. Some of our worst enemies right now are his lack of confidence and tendency to become easily overwhelmed. Yes, they are pretty common quirks in younger horses, but boy, are they a doozy! They most often manifest at the beginning of the ride with him starting off very tense through his body and becoming hyper-alert to everything except his rider. In the saddle, it feels almost like you’re riding a fully stretched rubber band just waiting to snap under pressure.

However, he really surprised me this weekend with how well he coped with his insecurities in a busy show environment. There was a definite improvement from the last show. His transition from walking off the trailer to going into the covered arena to school on Friday was much smoother than it has been in the past. Last show, it took around 20 minutes of intense flat work to ease his mind, stop the unnecessary spooking, and get a more relaxed, supple pony. However, this time it only took him 10 minutes to get to that relaxed state of mind and get to work. I’d say that’s progress!

 

 

HJ FOX SHOW | BABY GREEN CHAMPION

Like last show, I was up bright and early at 5:30 in order to drive to the horse park, tack Dies up, and lunge him to get the early morning sillies out before meeting my trainer at the covered arena to warm up at 7:00 am sharp. This show I got to break out my new Back On Track Mesh Sheet that I got on sale from SmartPak, and let me tell you, I am a believer! After wearing the sheet all night, Dies came out of the stall nice and loose despite the weather taking a 40-degree dip overnight. Of course, I will have to do a full review with pictures, so stay tuned for that in a few days!

He was an absolute rock star on the flat and took home the first-place ribbon out of a large class comprising of 16 horses. He was visibly much more relaxed than he was at the last show, which translated into some really nice, flowy trot work. He is starting to settle much quicker than he used to, which definitely translates into a better performance on the flat. Both of his over fences rounds were really wonderful as well! He put in some great rounds that earned him a first-place ribbon for his first round and a third-place ribbon for his second round. Unlike the last show, he graced us with some flawless flying changes, which in of itself was a huge accomplishment for him! Go Dies!

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 12.45.40 AM

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 12.45.52 AM

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 1.11.30 AM

With a first on the flat and a first and a third over fences, he ended up taking home the champion ribbon for the whole division! I was such a proud horse mom!

 

Not only did he do extremely well in the baby green division, but he also knocked it out of the park in the schooling hunter division as well. He ended up placing second on the flat and second in his first over fences course out of 24 horses, which was absolutely amazing!

 

Dies also put in some really great trips on Sunday, but sadly, the new judge just didn’t seem to agree with me. He was an absolute angel both on the flat and over fences and put in some of the best trips he has had yet even though the ribbons didn’t quite reflect that. Oh well! That’s just how it is in hunterland sometimes! I couldn’t be any prouder of my pony and all that he has accomplished this past weekend!

The next show we have planned isn’t until July. However, that will give us plenty of time to improve and grow! I can’t wait to dive into summer!

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.18 PM

 

Reviews

My Current Favorites | Early 2018

If there’s one thing I love, it’s trying out new tack and horse-related products. I don’t usually get to splurge on high-end horse products very often due to my unfortunate limited bank account, but when I do get the chance, I go for the stuff I’ve been drooling over for a long time. If you’re looking for your next splurge-worthy list of items, look no further for I have made a list of my current favs!

Galloping Graphics

The search is over – Galloping Graphics is your one-stop shop for everything custom. Not only did Elizabeth do an AMAZING job with my new logo, but her shop carries some great items such as custom stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and beautiful custom graphics. I can’t put into words how much I love my new logo and the items in her shop! They are truly unique!

cropped-screen-shot-2018-02-28-at-9-50-03-pm3.png

SmartPak Air + Neoprene Girth

If there is something that I couldn’t live without, it would be this girth. I have one for both of my guys and won’t use anything else as an everyday girth. In fact, Diablo has had used his every day since I got it in 2016. They are so easy to clean with the removable neoprene lining, and both ponies seem to think they are pretty comfortable.

The Herbal Horse’s Healthy Hair Salve

I’m a little obsessed with The Herbal Horse’s products now that I have been using them for the past few weeks. However, their Healthy Hair salve really stood out to me due to its luxurious smell and the results I have had with it.

CWD French Noseband Bridle

This honestly has to be my favorite item that I have ever purchased off of eBay. I got lucky and snagged this gem for $200 – it retails for $500 brand new on CWD’s website. The best part is that it only had five rides on it when I purchased it! It has now become a part of Diesel’s show wardrobe and looks fabulous on him! Plus, the leather is so soft and supple that it feels like butter in your hands. I was really surprised that I actually liked the more narrow noseband as I gravitate towards wider noseband bridles. However, the noseband on this one really shows off Diesel’s features.

 

Saucy Piaffe Ergonomic Fancy Stitched Halter

I definitely splurged a lot on this purchase even though I snagged it while on sale. I have to say, it was definitely worth it though as the halter is just beautiful! Saucy Piaffe is so great that I have been a repeat customer of their’s for quite some time. All of their products are great!

Back On Track Quick Wraps

As a standing wrap girl, I told myself that I would never own a pair of these. But alas, the temptation was too strong after the baby horse decided that taking standing wraps off is fun. They are definitely pricey, but the ease of putting these on and taking them off makes it worth it.

IMG_1625
D sporting his brother’s BOT Quick Wraps

Dy’On Rubber Working Reins

I ended up buying these reins spur of the moment off of a Facebook group when I found them for a price I just couldn’t pass up on! These reins are usually pretty pricey, but I managed to snag them brand new for $40. They have flat buffalo leather fronts, which I have found makes them super durable. Plus, the rubber portion of the reins is probably the grippiest rubber I have ever felt on a pair of reins.

 

Back On Track Back Pad

This is one of several BOT products that have made my list. As it turns out, I am an avid fan of BOT. In fact, I own several of their products and use them all the time. I bought BOT’s back pad on a whim for $30 from a Facebook group in an effort to try and avoid forking out the money for one of their coveted mesh sheets. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to like the pad, but it has quickly become a staple in Diablo’s warm-up routine.

IMG_2207

Ogilvy Baby Pads

This is probably no surprise to anyone. I’m a saddle pad hoarder with an affinity for anything that is customizable.

 Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.18 PM