Throughout the years, Barrett Diehl has ridden countless horses and had a wonderful time getting to know each of them for differing amounts of time. Each horse allows us to obtain a different perspective for the next ride and with each ride we have the opportunity to grow and learn. Throughout all the rides and horses, certain horses stick with us longer than others.
So here’s a short list of some of the horses I had the pleasure of spending an extended amount of time with:
Dawn’s Peak – Topper – 1998 Thoroughbred
Topper, Jockey Club name Dawn’s Ruler, was the horse that really took me places. A barn favorite wherever he went. He wasn’t Mr. Personality but he had the oldest gentlest soul ever. Not a lot of physical talent but a heart of gold and was super smart. He jumped with his knees pointed to the ground most times but always jumped just a bit higher so he didn’t have to pick them up. I never felt unsafe and always knew he would get me back home.
He was the first horse who really let me feel what winning felt like. He was very good at dressage so we tended to be first after that phase. He was quite brave so I never worried about cross country. I only ever had to worry about if he would keep all the show jumps up. Like I said he never really liked to pick up his legs and would just jump higher to avoid it. But he tended to jump “by braille” always jumping juuuust high enough and would sometimes touch the rails ever so slightly. He never bucked or reared with me ever; not once. I was so sure of it that by the time we had been partners for 7 years I could pull him out of the pasture after having some time off and ride him bareback with a halter and not worry he would do anything wrong to put me in danger of falling off.
We won an Intermediate level horse trials together and went to the AEC’s at Preliminary where we were tied for first after Dressage but ultimately finished lower in the placings due to an unlucky stop on cross country.
Topper is currently with a lovely family in Pennsylvania living out his years taking his Adult Amateur around Beginner Novice events and winning everything he’s entered into.
Medialia d’Oro – Joe – 2005 Trakehner
Joe was a trained hunter turned Eventer. Loved to run and jump in the open. Was a big goof that anyone could ride. You literally pointed him a jump and you knew he was going to go over it. Had a big presence and my goals for him were to take him up through the levels of Eventing but our partnership was cut short when his owner decided to downsize and he had to be sold. He now does lower level Eventing with his new owner in Texas.
Natural Perfection – Keara – 2005 Morgan
When I first met Keara she was not keen on doing anything that wasn’t her idea. She didn’t like going forward when you asked and wasn’t the most confident jumper. But with time and patience she became one of my favorite rides.
She was rescued by an organization and then fostered and ultimately bought by her now owner, Lynne Webb and ridden by Jessica Dziekan. Her full story can be found here.
She had a rough start and by the time Lynne got her she was told that the horse might not ever be able to be ridden. Keara was a handful, she had calmed down by the time I met her but still had her opinions. One of which is she would buck if asked her to do something she didn’t want to do, and generally that was going forward. We worked on this, along with jumping small jumps, even poles for a time until her confidence was up.
I would split my time between teaching Jessica on Keara and riding her myself. Our partnership grew and before long we were showing. I recall that she won every event I put her in. She still has some choice words when she is asked to go faster but her confidence in jumping has been amazing can clean up in the jumper ring with her rider, Jessica.
I still see and ride her when I visit Texas.
Berry Dean – Berry – 2008 Paint
Berry is one of those success stories that we all love to hear. He was a rescue, starved and untouched for a long time before someone found him. He went to a friend who knew that he was a special horse. That friend contacted one of my clients saying it would be a good fit for her but he needed a little more training. That is where I came in. Berry had the best brain and such a good and kind heart. He tried so hard to make everyone happy and you could tell he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.
Berry went from starving to winning his first Starter event I ever entered him into. He had presence when you rode him and you could tell he was special. He was also calm and very easy to handle so even my students showed him and did well. The time came when his owner made the hard decision to downsize and a perfect home is all I would take for him.
That perfect home did indeed come along and now he lives happily with his new owner.
Tru – 2011 Thoroughbred
Tru, Jockey Club name Willie Run, came into the picture when I purchased him in 2017 – a goofball and Mr. Personality with a lot of athletic ability. He has a lot of confidence issues that we are working to overcome. With patience and understanding he is blossoming into quite a nice mount and will compete with him.
Gary – 2008 Thoroughbred
Gary, Jockey Club name Clifden Johnny, was the first horse I bought when I moved to Texas. Instead of Eventing he told me he wanted to be a low level jumper or a hunter. He was very slow and was never in a hurry. He was so in tune to my leg and seat that I could ride him bridleless with ease very early on in our partnership. He now lives with his owner in Arizona.
Chanel – 2011 Saddlebred
Chanel was a horse that came to me through my vet. She had a client who needed someone to help her with a horse she owned but was not confident. I gave it a shot not knowing what to expect. In the beginning I didn’t know if this partnership would ever work out. Chanel was a handful and still very green and her owner had become scared of her but so desperately wanted to make it work.
Through consistent work and sheer determination from her owner we went from Chanel having more unruly days than calm, to the point where her owner can ride her out in the open and cantered her in the open for the first time ever under my guidance.
It’s a story of not giving up and the payoff is so worth it.