Working in the winter

Well, I’m sorry that I haven’t written yet today. I was having a nice, relaxing day in the pasture with my best friend Leo, and my human came as the sun started to get lower in the sky and the air started to get colder. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to work – I’m always happy to work – but I would have enjoyed the workout more if it had been in the brightest sunshine of the day. But I have to give my human Mommy credit, because she always seems to know exactly what I need, even if she isn’t willing to let the rest of her human-duties revolve around my schedule.

Since I had two days off due to the rain, I was feeling very stiff, and my human took that into consideration. She let me stretch for a long time at the beginning of the ride, letting me stick my head up in the air or put my head all the way down to stretch my back out. When we started trotting, she didn’t make me come into a frame like I usually do – in fact, she didn’t really even touch the reins, she just let me stretch out and trot at my own pace, with my head held comfortably as I worked out of my stiffness. She was nice enough to do the same thing while we cantered, allowing me to find my own pace and stretch out however I wanted to, so I figured it was only fair for me to let her know when I was feeling warmed up. When I was no longer feeling stiff, and my muscles were nice and loose, I showed her what a good horse I am by putting myself into a frame and doing what the humans call “engaging my hind end,” all on my own! She was so pleased with me that she let me have a little bit of fun with some flying lead changes.

When the arena was almost fully covered in shadow and the wind became much colder, my human Mommy told me that we could be done, and she asked my human Daddy to bring me that silly green “cooler” that she makes me wear. I fluctuate between feeling like I look ridiculous, and feeling like a medieval jousting horse – but I have to say, I really appreciated it tonight. After working for about twenty minutes or so, my muscles were nice and warm… which also meant that, once I stopped working and began my “cool down” by walking, the wind felt extra cold against my body. So having a warm, fuzzy “cooler” on me made all the difference. I was able to let my muscles cool down slowly, without shivering from the cold, which usually makes my muscles feel very tense and achey, and sometimes it even makes me feel like I can’t move so well anymore. The humans call that “tying up,” which I guess makes sense, because it feels like someone has tied up my muscles in a big knot.

We walked with my new favorite “cooler” on for a long time, and then we stopped so that my human Daddy could take a couple pictures of us – probably because I am super handsome and look really good in green. Well, I look really good in any color. Not to be immodest or anything. Anyway, after my humans made such a fuss over me and took so many photos, I wanted to see exactly what I looked like, so I marched up to the window of the barn and took a long look at myself.

My reflection in the window

Yup, I really do look good in green.

Actually, seeing myself in that cooler made me remember the first time I ever wore it, back when I was a little three-year-old at my first barn in New York. A couple days after my humans and I “joined up” together, there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. My human Mommy said that if we didn’t get used to the snow, I would end up having the entire winter off. At the time, that sounded fine to me – though I would hate it, now – but my humans thought that it was important for me to  keep working so I would grow up to be big, handsome, strong and… well, exactly who I am, today!

My first time working in the snow was weird, I’ll tell you that much. My humans wrapped nice, warm polos on all of my legs to keep them warm and also to protect me from getting hurt, but it still felt weird because my hooves didn’t even touch the ground underneath. It was almost like I was floating on… snow. At first, I picked my feet up really high, trying to avoid stepping in the snow…

Icchy in the snow

But after I got used to it, I decided that it was really fun, and I got a little bit carried away. I took off running and bucking like the little baby horse that I was, and I actually forgot that I had a small human on my back.

Icchy in the snow

She didn’t seem to mind, though, she was actually laughing along with me! She told me that I was “cute” and that I was allowed to “be a baby,” that we weren’t there to be serious but to have fun and get some exercise while we played together. I thought that was special, and I was glad once again that I had such wonderful humans.

Anyway, the point of this story was that, after we worked out in the snow, my humans put that warm, green “cooler” on me for the first time – and I loved it! That was also the first time my human Daddy ever rode me, but just to walk with me while we cooled our muscles down.

Icchy in his cooler

Icchy in his cooler

Well, I do love those memories, but let’s get back to the present: tonight after my workout and our impromptu photo-shoot, I got a long grooming session and then I got to go in my stall with some warm, steamed hay and my warmest winter blanket. My humans gave me lots of treats (peppermints and molasses-cookies), lots of hugs and kisses on my face. And now, it’s time for me to go and eat my dinner grain… and then I’m going to curl up on my soft bed of shavings and take a snooze.

Catch you tomorrow! Stay warm, friends!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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