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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Adventures Of Diesel

Back In The Saddle Again

If you have been following along with my posts, you know that I have not been on Diesel since I put him into full training this past October. My last ride on him before he went to training was not a pretty one, to say the least. After being bucked off, my confidence was shot and he was quickly losing his confidence in me. That’s when I knew that weekly lessons just weren’t cutting it anymore.  I have no shame about admitting when I am in over my head and this time was no exception.

Being bucked off did quite a number on my confidence, so the last few months I have been struggling with regaining all of the confidence that I have lost. It definitely hasn’t been easy. With a full college schedule, my dad being in the hospital, and Diablo struggling with soundness issues, riding was put on the back burner. It wasn’t until this past week that I was able to get back in the saddle regularly for the first time in months.

If you know Diablo, you know that he is NOT an easy ride – even when in regular work. Riding him after a long break can even insight fear in professionals. That being said, after owning him for five years, I have just learned to laugh through his little bucks and crow hopping episodes. He definitely gave me a run for my money my first time back, but it was such a confidence booster for me to just be back in the saddle again. He always knows how to make me laugh and challenge me. I really missed riding my goofy cow!

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Riding this past week for the first time in a few months definitely opened my eyes to how unfit I have gotten. I am ashamed to admit that I have gained quite a bit of weight since my last time regularly in the saddle. Your girl has to get back in the saddle and the gym!

After riding Diablo last week and attending the show yesterday, I finally decided that today was the day that I was going to get back on Diesel. Even though I can confidently ride through Diablo’s antics, getting back on Diesel sparked a little fear in my heart. I couldn’t help but be a little anxious as I pulled up the barn – I am not as fit as I was and his bucks are nothing to laugh about. However, I am so glad that I got back on today.

Riding Dies today made me the happiest I have been in a long time, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I walked him around the arena. I couldn’t hold back my tears of happiness when I picked up the trot and trotted my boy around for what seemed like the first time in forever. He was such a good nugget and packed me around like a seasoned pro, which made me cry even harder.

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I am just blown away by how great of a job my trainer has done with him. Even though I have watched him from the ground while my trainer has ridden, I hadn’t realized just how much he has improved and grown-up until I got in the saddle. I felt a huge difference in him both mentally and physically. It was amazing to feel how much fitter he has gotten and how much more relaxed he is under saddle. He felt like a completely different horse than the nervous baby horse I tried last April. I was so incredibly proud of my baby Dies – he has come such a long way! It makes me really wonder how I got so lucky to own such a spectacular baby horse!

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Today gave me hope that he and I will be able to get back to making progress together. Now that I finally faced my fear of getting back on him after the fall, I am planning on resuming weekly lessons in an effort to get back the rest of the confidence that I have lost. I can’t wait to get back in the saddle for good and start enjoying my spectacular baby horse again.

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