Friends, I found out today what the amazing surprise was that my Mommy has been planning for me! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Okay, so: remember yesterday, when I told you that I thought the surprise was a trail ride? Well, I was half-correct. Or, I was correct, but there was more!
Wait, wait, wait. Let me back up a second. Do you remember when I told you the other day that I was going to be moving to a new home soon? And then I told you the story about how I left my best friend, Cooper, in New York, and made my way down the Florida?
Right. Well, since I’m moving to a new barn soon – and because it’s so close to where my home is, now – my Mommy arranged to have me take a day trip to my new home! She and Daddy met a really nice human there named Jenny, and they all became friends. I hadn’t met Jenny until today, but she asked my Mommy if we all wanted to come over for a ride. Jenny is so nice, that she and her two kids and their dog came with a horse trailer to pick me up! I walked right onto the trailer without hesitating, because you know how I love to travel. I got a little nervous as we pulled away, though, because I heard Isis and Leo start to yell and whinny to me. They sounded very upset, and – briefly – I wondered if I was going to come back. But then I calmed down and realized that I was probably coming back soon, because Mommy wouldn’t make me leave without letting me say goodbye to my friends.
Anyway, we got to my new home, and it was beautiful. It was so big and there was so much grass! I was pretty nervous, though, because it’s been a long time since I left my barn and went on an outing. In fact, since I moved from my first barn in Tennessee to the one where I now live, I haven’t left the property even once! And it’s been almost a year!
So, needless to say, I was a bit wound up. I could see that Mommy was trying to stay calm, even though I was freaking out, screaming, and dragging her all over the property. (Mommy, if you’re reading this – I’m sorry!) She told me that I really tested her patience today… and I know it’s true.
Mommy decided to put me in the round pen and let me trot and canter a little to get out some of my nervous energy. She didn’t even have to chase me; I worked myself out until I felt better, and then I came right over to her.
We walked up to the barn, and she hooked me up in the cross ties to groom me and tack me up. I didn’t hold still; I pranced and pawed and screamed, and I even thought about trying to kick her when she asked me to pick up my feet so she could clean them… but then I thought better of it, and I didn’t. Once she got my saddle on, she went to get my bridle and I started pawing at the pavement in front of the cross ties. I was pawing so hard, Jenny got nervous that I would hurt myself and she untied me, and held me until Mommy came back over. By that time, I had worked myself up into hysterics again with my own senseless pawing – so Mommy thanked Jenny and took me back down to the round pen for one more little gallop.
I felt a lot better after my second gallop, so Mommy finished tacking me up and got on. And that’s when the real fun began!
There were seven other horses – including the horse my Daddy was riding, and the pony named Rocky, who helped me out a lot – and we all went to explore the property together!
One of the first things we did was to gallop up a really big hill. It was so much fun! The other horses started galloping, and I wanted really badly to follow – but as soon as I tried, I tripped, and then I got a little nervous. I wasn’t sure what to do, until Mommy told me to go – so I did! I galloped up the hill and felt like a king when I reached the top!
A little while later, we got to this field that was fenced off and had some cross-country jumps inside. Mommy always says she’s scared of cross country jumps when they’re big, but these ones were pretty small – so we eventually got to jump them. But first, Mommy cantered me around and around the field, asking me to collect and extend and do flying lead changes until I was tired and much calmer. Then, we walked some – and after that, I got to jump! It was so much fun! We jumped all the little jumps first, and then we jumped the bigger jumps, which were right next to the little ones.
Daddy’s horse was nice, but she didn’t really want to jump the jumps. Daddy kept trying, though, and he ended up getting her to go over them nicely. She is really pretty… I liked watching her, even though it made me jealous to see my Daddy looking so good on another horse. But it’s okay; she can totally still be my friend.
We went up another big hill, and came to this weird, scary old barn with a boat in it. No one else seemed to care that it was there, but I thought it was pretty scary.
We all had to get back down the other side of the hill, which was really steep. Mommy asked Rocky’s rider – Lily, Jenny’s daughter – if she’d mind going down the hill ahead of us, because Rocky and Lily are really good at helping to keep horses calm when they’re nervous out on the trail. And I sure was nervous! I must have bumped into Rocky about ten times, but he didn’t mind. He just kept a steady pace, and Lily even reached out to pet my nose and tell me I was being a good boy! That made me happy; I was trying really hard to be a good boy.
After that, we went out into a bigger field with even more cross country jumps! And then another one, and then another one! The last field was HUGE and had more jumps, which were also bigger. That one was the most fun because I got to gallop around really fast, and I only had to slow down and collect when Mommy wanted me to jump another one of the jumps.
Once Mommy and I had jumped almost all the jumps – big and small – in that big field, my new auntie Jenny told Mommy to jump me over something called a “Trakehner” jump, which I learned is a terrible, awful jump! The most awful jump in the whole wide world! You see, it’s a log – not a tall one, just a log – that’s sitting over a ditch with water running through it. And I can see the water. And I can hear the water. But you know what the kicker was? I had to go down a hill to jump it, and when I landed, I was going right back up a hill again! I felt like I was going to trip and fall in every time I went to jump it. I stopped the first time Mommy asked me to jump it, but then I swallowed my fear and leapt over it!
And then, of course, Mommy wanted me to jump it again… in the other direction. I did not want to do that. So, I stopped again. About four more times!
My auntie Jenny stayed near us on her horse, Trevor, and coached Mommy through it. I was really glad when Jenny suggested that my Mommy trot me up to it, instead of cantering, because it gave me time to look at it and get myself prepared. I will tell you one thing; I was not going to touch that jump!
Everyone cheered and hollered for us when we did it, and Mommy pulled a treat from her secret stash (in her back pocket) and gave it to me. I was so proud of myself!
We galloped up a couple more hills, and then we got to the best darn hill that I’ve ever galloped up! It was really steep, and really long! Trevor went first, and he hauled up that hill. He galloped so fast! Mommy was trying to hold me back, because I saw Trevor take off and I desperately wanted to follow, but finally I grabbed the bit and just took off after him. I felt bad, though, because as I did it, one of the other horses was about to go – and we cut them off, because I wouldn’t let Mommy stop me or even slow me down that time. Mommy yelled “Sorry!” to them as we passed, and then up we went!
About halfway up the hill, I didn’t think I could do it anymore – and I slowed down. But Mommy wasn’t having it; she kicked me on and told me that I wasn’t allowed to stop! “You’ve been overly energetic and giving me a hard time since you got off the trailer, Icchy; there’s no way I’m letting you get away with being tired now! So gallop!” she said to me.
And gallop is exactly what I did.
The rest of the ride was kind of a daze, because I was so tired and so amped up at the same time. I know we went back to the barn that will soon be my new home… I got to walk around in the big jumping arena… I got to have a shower in the wash rack… I got back on the trailer… and we came back to Kyalami Farm. Mommy let me graze for a while, and she put a lot of liniment on my legs and wrapped them in those big, fluffy pillow wraps. Then, she put me into my stall with a bunch of hay, and she and Daddy said goodnight.
It was the most fun and exciting day I’ve had since… well, possibly ever! It was definitely the hardest workout I’ve ever had; I’m already sore. It’s a good thing Mommy knows me so well, because she said that I’ll be getting at least two days off after today – and that I can have more, if I feel like I need it.
For now, though, all I need is to sleep! So I guess I’ll catch y’all later…