Adventures Of Diesel

A Day Of Ups and Downs: Dies’s Third Show

As much as I would love to be able to sit down and write about how fantastic the baby horse was yesterday, I’m afraid I can’t say he was a complete angel the entire time this time out. However, I guess you can’t expect perfection from baby green beans 100% of the time. 😬 Bad days are bound to happen – even to the most seasoned show horse.

Yesterday we trailered Dies and three other horses to a small schooling show at Wisteria Farm in Monroe, GA to get him out and about before the “real” horse shows coming up next month. Unlike the last two shows, Dies had to spend some of the day tied to the trailer since we decided not to rent a stall for the day. After all, he has to learn patience at some point. It was all fine and dandy until he ran out of hay. Let me tell you – this did NOT sit well with him at all. He decided that learning patience was not on his list of to-dos, but little does he know that patience is a part of every horse show!

Most of the day was spent with him pacing, “digging to China”, pitching temper tantrums both at the trailer and on the lunge line, screaming at the top of his lungs whenever his travel buddies would leave, and angrily eating his hay. I’m really not kidding about him angrily eating his hay. One of his favorite things to do when he doesn’t get his way is to show his displeasure by angrily grazing or tearing at his hay net. It’s quite comical.

Since he spent most of the time that he was tied to the trailer acting like a fool, he ended up snapping his leather halter in half and “running” free for a few minutes. By running I mean that he walked around the trailer with a confused look on his face that seemed to say “mom, I don’t think this is what I should be doing”. If you are looking for a durable halter, definitely don’t buy Dover’s cheap triple stitch halter. This is the second one that has snapped in half on me, and I would rather not have a loose horse! Of course, I can’t expect too much from a cheap leather halter. It looks like I am going to be on the search for a new barn halter for him. If you have any good ones, let me know below in the comments!

Since the show was running a tad late due to lots of entries, we opted to just stick him into the 2′ division instead of waiting for the 2’3 due to his temper tantrums and lack of entries in the 2’3. Even though he was a brat on the ground, he performed like a rock star and put down two of his best trips to date and flatted beautifully. I was sure that he was going to explode under saddle, but to my surprise, he pulled it together for his classes and behaved like a champ – even when the horse in front of him in the warm-up arena bucked its rider off.

There was a definite improvement from the last show, which is so rewarding to see. His jumping rounds are really starting to come together and are looking smoother and smoother each time out. Of course, height is not an issue – it’s just everything in between haha! Unlike the last show, his turns to the jump were much smoother with no drifting to the left, and his pace was much more rhythmic. The only blip was that he trotted before the second jump in one of the outside lines, but I would much rather see him go slow than run at the jumps. I know he can’t wait until he gets to jump the big boy jumps – these are just speed bumps to him!

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

His flat work has continued to improve as well. He is continuing to build fitness and is now getting strong enough to really hold himself together rather than relying on the rider’s hand to hold him. His transitions are getting quicker and smoother as well. We are continuing to build his confidence and fitness, and it is really starting to pay off. Overall, I was very impressed with his improvement and behavior under saddle! I couldn’t have asked him to be a better nugget for my trainer. She has done an excellent job with him so far! I was beaming with pride the whole time he was in the ring. I am just so blessed to own a horse as wonderful as him – even if he was a jerk on the ground yesterday.

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

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PC: Equifest at Wisteria Farms

 

All in all, I would definitely consider this show a success despite the rocky start. He kept me on my toes all day and almost drove me crazy, but I was incredibly proud of him for pulling it together in the ring and giving my trainer some great rides. Since he is not usually a brat on the ground, I am just going to attribute it to having to stand at the trailer without hay for hours. I can’t blame him for getting impatient, really. On the bright side, working through his bad behavior gave me a huge confidence boost. A few months ago, I would have been a nervous wreck if I had to handle him acting like a fool. He can be quite a handful sometimes, but I guess that just comes with the young horse territory!

I also wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who had a part in running Equifest! It definitely isn’t easy to host a horse show, but they pulled it off with great success. Everyone at the show was so friendly and made our experience a great one. If you are looking to attend a nice schooling show with friendly staff and a nice setup, definitely give Equifest at Wisteria Farm a try! Here is the link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/equifestatwisteriafarms/

Anyway, I can’t wait until his next show the weekend of March 10th! It will be his second “big boy” weekend show, so hopefully, he will be on his best behavior! I am really looking forward to the first full weekend show of the year!

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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

A Spa Day

There’s nothing more I enjoy than spending some quality time with my guys. Grooming, bathing, and hand walking were on the list of to-dos today for Mr. Dies. With his third show coming up this weekend, he was in need of a good pre-show pampering session – especially since he was covered head to toe in dust and mud. His formally white socks were red from the Georgia clay, which surprisingly, is not appropriate for the show ring. 😂 Since today was Dies’s spa day, I decided I would share some of my grooming holy-grails to get those ponies gleaming – nobody likes a grungy pony!

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Unwashed vs washed!

If you know me, you know that I am the queen of personalization and monograms. Nothing makes me happier than a nice personalized grooming set! Some of my favorite brushes are the brushes that I purchased from Saucy Piaffe and the custom brushes I bought from The Artful Equine. Since my ponies are in two separate places, they each have their own set of brushes. I use the brushes I purchased from Saucy Piaffe for Diesel and my custom brushes from The Artful Equine for Diablo. I absolutely adore both sets, and they do an excellent job of leaving my ponies’ coats gleaming! These brushes, along with a little hard work, really make a difference in the health of their coats. You won’t catch me going back for generic brushes again!

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My custom brush set from The Artful Equine featuring custom portraits of Diablo and Diesel!
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Saucy Piaffe’s stock photo of their custom brushes! I will upload a picture of mine when I go back out to the farm! Dumb me forgot to snap a photo!

I am just now trying out Healthy Hair salve, Heal Quick salve, Shine Bright Coat Spray, and Be Calm salve from The Herbal Horse. I haven’t got a chance to use it yet as it just arrived at my apartment this afternoon, but I will definitely write up a full review on their products once I get a good feel for them. Just to give y’all a run-down, I plan to use the Be Calm salve to help them to relax during long grooming sessions, and the Healthy Hair salve on their manes and tails to help encourage thicker tail growth and strong hair. Finally, I am planning on incorporating their Shine Bright Coat Spray as the final step in my grooming routine to see if it helps their coat remain healthy and nourished. I can’t wait to actually get to put my hands on them and put them to the test.

As for bath time, I am an avid fan of Lucky Braid’s shampoo to get their coat nice and clean. It smells great and leaves his coat nice and shiny. It does an excellent job of getting Diesel’s thick tail super clean as well. If I’m running low on cash, Suave’s line of cheaper shampoos works almost just as well for a fraction of the price. I like to keep some Sauve on hand to wash legs after riding when I can’t justify breaking out the expensive stuff. However, for his white legs and Diablo’s white body, I bring out the heavy duty stuff – Wisk. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it is not harmful to them whatsoever. I’ve been using it on Diablo for shows for the past five years and his coat looks amazing. Yes, it is the washing detergent that you see in the cleaning aisle at the supermarket. Let me tell you, as the owner of a paint horse, this stuff is a complete lifesaver. Unlike Quik Silver or any of the “horse” purple shampoos, you don’t have to scrub until your hands bleed. A small amount of this stuff will literally save you 30 minutes of scrubbing. Just make sure that you rinse their coat thoroughly and follow with a coat conditioner or a conditioning spray. You will have a gleaming white pony or white socks in no time.

After I gave Diesel a nice long groom and a long sudsy bath on this nice 70-degree day, I took him for a nice hand walk and hand graze to help him to dry out. I love this part of my grooming routine as I really feel that it is a great way to bond with my guys. It may not seem that significant, but taking the time to hand graze your horse really helps build a bond. Some of my best memories are hand grazing Diablo on warm spring days. Since I am not always able to see Diesel every day, I make the time to frequently take the time to just go out and hand graze him. I really enjoy just taking the time to spend some one on one time with my boys. It is quite relaxing for me and them. I always finish up their spa day with a nice coat of Farrier’s Fix hoof oil and a handful of well-deserved treats!

 

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What a handsome guy!

 

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Diesel drying off in his Amigo cooler.

 

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Hand grazing in front of our beautiful farm, Southern Sky Farm!
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“But mom, I want to stay inside and get pampered and eat lots of treats!”

 

Don’t fear, tomorrow will be Diablo’s designated spa day. Even though he is no longer showing, the old man won’t get left out. 😉 He enjoys getting pampered too. Maybe a little more than Diesel!

Stay tuned for Diesel’s third show coming up this Saturday! I will make sure to update y’all on his progress this show – he will be moving up to the 2’3 division! He is getting closer and closer to the big boy jumps! I can’t wait to share his experience with all of you. Until then, happy riding, everyone!

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Reviews

SmartPak Blanket and Sheet Review

Who doesn’t love SmartPak? Their outstanding customer service, knowledgeable and friendly staff, fast shipping, and convenient supplement system makes them extremely popular in the equestrian community. After all, who doesn’t love a company that takes care of their customers?

My journey with SmartPak began in 2011 when I purchased my first month of supplements for Diablo. Let’s just say that it was love at first sight. Ever since that day, I have been an avid SmartPak user. In fact, both of my horses receive SmartPak supplements every month like clockwork and a SmartPak box can be found at my front door almost every other week. However, this post isn’t going to be about their supplements or other products, even though I think they’re awesome. I’m here to write about their line of blankets and sheets. After all, I do have a slight addiction to blanket shopping.

SmartPak Deluxe High Neck Turnout Sheet

I took the plunge into SmartPak’s blanket and sheet line this past November when I purchased their high neck turnout sheet for Diablo to expand his wardrobe in preparation for clipping season. I wasn’t ready to break the bank on a sheet when I had to buy a full, new wardrobe for Diablo’s baby brother. The SmartPak Deluxe High Neck Turnout Sheet caught my eye while I was browsing the site and before I knew it, it was being shipped to my house.

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D sporting his SmartPak Sheet in a size 78 and BOT Quick Wraps

Fit: The sheet itself looks absolutely stunning on the horse and fits true to size in my opinion. The shoulder of the blanket is just wide enough with the cut that it allows the horse to have a full range of motion while staying snug against the body to prevent frequent snagging. If you have a horse with wide shoulders, this sheet could be the one for you – I haven’t experienced any rubs or slippage even though Diablo has wider shoulders. The material that it is made of seems to be very durable as it is made of 1200D rip-stop material. It’s high neck design also keeps Diablo dry, even in the pouring rain, and does not rub his withers like other blankets tend to do. The waterproofing of the sheet is top-notch, and he always comes in dry and warm. The stitching also seems to be quite durable and sturdy, which as we know, is getting to be pretty rare nowadays. I ordered my sheet with a red monogram on the left flank, and it looks very nice on Diablo’s black sheet.

Hardware: It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of the closures on Amigo’s Wug blankets. However, I feel that the hardware on the entire blanket is sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear while also making putting the sheet on a breeze. The quick-clip closures on the front of the sheet are relatively easy to snap in cold weather, and I haven’t had any problem with any of the snaps sticking or the straps lengthening during use.

Warranty: The deluxe sheet is covered by SmatPak’s 100% Happiness Guarantee. Despite what many people think, only the ultimate blankets are covered under their 10-year warranty.

Price: $136.76 (includes 5% USEF discount and 10% SmartPerks discount)

Rating: 9/10 – If this sheet was also covered under the 10-year warranty, I would give it a 10/10! Overall, the sheet is absolutely amazing for the price and value. I will definitely be purchasing one for Dies.

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D sporting his SmartPak sheet in a size 78 and BOT Quick Wraps

SmartPak Ultimate High Neck Turnout Blanket

I managed to snag this blanket on clearance for a whopping $90 during SmartPak’s end-of-the-year sale! How could I possibly pass up on such a great deal? It has quickly become Diesel’s main blanket since his Amigo Hero has taken quite a beating. It’s no secret that young, rambunctious horses can give their blankets a run for their money. Sadly, the Amigo Hero blanket that I bought him a month ago has been torn seven times in the last month and is currently being repaired in hopes that it may last the rest of the season. Let’s just say that 600D is not strong enough to withstand the tornado that is a baby horse – lesson learned.

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Diesel modeling his SmartPak blanket in a size 78

Fit: Since I bought this blanket when it was on clearance, I was limited to purchasing a size 78. I originally thought that it would be too big on Diesel as he normally wears a 75 in Amigo blankets, so I was expecting it to just become a spare to switch between both of my boys. However, the 78 fit Diesel quite well. That leads me to believe that this style runs a little on the smaller side. However, the sizing doesn’t seem to affect the shoulder area of the blanket as the cut still allows the horse to move without causing shoulder rubs and seems to provide enough give to keep the horse’s movement from being hindered. Plus, the high neck is wonderful for keeping the horse dry while grazing in the rain – Diesel has come in dry after each wear. It also is a plus that the high neck relieves wither pressure. Like the sheet, the stitching and binding seem to be very sturdy and is done very neatly. I saw some reviews on the website where people have had problems with the stitching unraveling, but I haven’t had a problem with that so far. Also, the entire blanket is very well made and seems to be extremely durable with 1050D fabric. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will hold up to Diesel’s antics. Last but not least, the color I received, midnight blue, is absolutely stunning. However, it seems that they no longer have that color available, which is a huge bummer. 

Hardware: The hardware is the exact same as the sheet above with the quick-clip closures on the front. Like the sheet, I haven’t had any problems with any of the snaps sticking or becoming jammed or the surcingles lengthening over time. They seem to be holding up so far.

Warranty: All of SmartPak’s ultimate blankets are covered under their 10-year warranty unless you get embroidery on anywhere other than the surcingles, which is a complete bummer. I was extremely disappointed to find out that I couldn’t get it monogrammed without voiding the warranty. Despite that, the promise of a 10-year warranty on a blanket worn by a young, rambunctious horse is just too good to pass up. If you have a blanket destroyer or just a young horse, I definitely recommend you purchase it! Their customer service is awesome, so exchanging it is a breeze.

Price: $179.59 (includes 5% USEF discount and 10% SmartPerks discount)

Rating: 9/10 – Overall, I would say that the blanket is a definite competitor in the blanket market. Its quality is up there with Amigo blankets, but the 10-year warranty just puts it over the top! If you are looking for a nice, sturdy blanket, this is the one for you! I will definitely purchase it again in the future, and I will be buying several more ultimate sheets and blankets to complete Diesel’s wardrobe. I only docked a point because it doesn’t seem to fit true to size.

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Diesel modeling his SmartPak blanket in a size 78 – too cute not to post!

The overall verdict: SmartPak knocks it out of the park again! Both the sheet and the blanket have exceeded my expectations so far, and they are both holding on strong. I definitely recommend that you give their blanket line a chance! After all, who could beat owning a blanket with a 10-year warranty? SmartPak, keep up the good work!

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