Memories and Nostalgia

Meeting the family (and an oxer with a spread)

This month has been full of fun and exciting surprises. So many things have happened, and I want to tell you about them all! I don’t even know where to begin… so I’ll just begin with my favorite part: getting to meet more of my Mommy’s family.

For years, I’ve been hearing about my Mommy’s human siblings – and a little while back, I got to meet one of Mommy’s brothers – Josh – and his wife, Hannah (…as well as a bunch of other family members). It was a lot of fun to meet all of them!

More recently, I also got to meet Mommy’s other brother, D, and his two daughters, Liliana and her little sister, Angelina. Those girls are two of my favorite little humans ever! I felt like I’d known them their entire lives, though, because Mommy has been telling me all about them for as long as I can remember. It was amazing getting to meet them in person for the first time! And they even wore purple because they know that it’s my favorite color!

Liliana told me that she’s been eagerly waiting to meet me, too, and I was so flattered to hear that. She’s incredibly smart and knew a lot about horses already. She asked lots of really good questions, too, which Mommy and I love. It was clear that Liliana wanted to learn as much as she could about horses – and we were happy to answer all of her questions!

After introducing us,  Mommy explained to Liliana and Angelina how to behave and act around horses (no yelling or running, always let us know where you are and watch out for your own feet, because we might not see them… things like that).

Then, Mommy grabbed my grooming kit and we all went over to the hitching post so that Mommy could show the girls how to use the brushes. It was so much fun having both of the girls grooming on me at the same time! They learned quickly and did a great job – with my Mommy and their Daddy supervising (and taking lots of photos).

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Mommy and the girls tacked me up in the most colorful outfit they could put together; four different polos and my new owl saddle pad. I loved it! Mommy knows how much I love to dress in bright colors. D and his girls watched while Mommy and I had a sunset workout. Every time we came around the turn, they cheered my name and clapped to show me what a good job I was doing. It was awesome! (Needless to say, I was on my best behavior… so they clapped a lot!) After we were done with our “serious” work, I begged Mommy to let me walk the girls around… and she said yes!  Mommy’s brother, D, said that it was the first time his girls had ridden a horse! We were all very excited. First, Mommy let Angelina sit in the saddle in front of her so that she could keep a hold of her and make sure she was safe while we walked around. Even though I knew that Mommy would hold on tightly to Angelina, I walked as slowly and carefully as I could. IMG_2422 I was glad to hear Angelina say that she was having fun, because I was, too! When Angelina’s turn was over, her Daddy helped her out of the saddle – and then Mommy hopped down out of the saddle, too. She fastened the helmet snugly on Liliana’s head – and then explained to her the meaning of a “leg-up” (where Mommy grabs hold of Liliana’s left ankle and helps her up while Liliana jumps as high as she can and swings her right leg over my back) before attempting to give her a leg-up into the saddle. Liliana is very athletic, so she did a good job – even though I’m much taller than her!

Liliana already knew how to turn and stop using the reins, so Mommy just explained to her how to sit correctly with her back straight and her heels down, and how to get me to walk by using pressure from her heels… and we were off! IMG_2378 We ended our rides when it began to get dark outside, and then Mommy, D and the girls untacked me, gave me a quick shower and lots of carrots! Mommy doesn’t like to put me back into my stall when I’m still wet, so she had me walk on the hot walker for a little while. She told me that I needed to walk for a little while longer before having dinner, anyway – since I always have to wait at least an hour after my workout before I eat, in order to prevent tummy aches – so I didn’t mind. When I’m walking on the hot walker by myself, I usually just zone out and dream about jumping in a Grand Prix someday with Mommy…

Liliana and Angelina helped Mommy get my dinner grain ready, and when I was dry I got to go back to my stall and eat. I was sad to say goodbye to them when they had to leave, but Mommy assured me that I would see them again sometime. All in all, I think that was my favorite day (and night) of the entire month. IMG_2405 The next morning, Mommy and I had an early ride – and then she left for San Diego with her human parents, not to return again until… the next night. I know, I know; that’s not a very long time. But it was a long time to me! Luckily, my Aunt Bonnie was there to feed me my dinner and let me walk on the hot walker with my friends.

When Mommy finally came back home from San Diego, she let me out of my stall to run around and play in the arena. I had a lot of energy! We didn’t have a proper workout that night, though, because it was already supposed to be my day off.

The next morning, however, we worked over some raised ground poles – and it was way harder than it seemed! But Mommy said that it’s a good exercise for me to practice, just like all of our ground pole patterns and exercises.

Mommy also said that she and Daddy had a discussion about my training schedule, and they decided that I was ready to move up to hourlong workouts each time – just like before the “hot nail incidents!” Mommy and I have been gradually increasing the duration and difficulty level of my workouts in an attempt to get me back into the same kind of shape that I was in before – on my way to the Grand Prix… and I guess this means that I’m right on track!

Since moving to California and getting back into the swing of things, I was on a “three-days-on, one-day-off, two-days-on, one-day-off” (3/1/2/1) schedule, with mixed durations. Sometimes I would work for a solid hour, sometimes for a half hour, and sometimes for more or less time (depending on factors such as how well I behaved, or how hard I had worked the day before, etc). Now, I’ll be on a “4/1/3/1” schedule, working for an hour each time!

Anyway, enough of that technical mumbo-jumbo… Let’s get to the good part: my second favorite day this month, when Mommy and I jumped a 3’9 oxer with a 3′ spread! And I was even wearing an English Jumping Hackamore, too!

Now, although it wasn’t the biggest or the widest oxer I’ve jumped, it’s the first time I’ve jumped an oxer with a considerable spread since getting back into shape. And although I don’t usually like jumping in a jumping hackamore (because I don’t like the way the curb chain feels on my chin when I stretch out over the jump), I didn’t mind it this time. Probably because I was so happy just to be jumping… And I was excited to be jumping a big, wide jump like that, too!

Anyway, I haven’t jumped since then – but according to Mommy, we will be jumping again very soon…

did get new shoes from my friend, Tim the Horseshoer, though!

"Halfway there," she said...

“Halfway there,” she said…

Mr. Tim said that these new shoes have a “flight rating” that will allow me to jump up to five-and-a-half-feet high with a six-foot-spread. I’m not quite there again yet, but I know it’s going to be pretty soon…

Even though I used to get nervous while getting my feet trimmed and my new shoes put on (at least for the past year or so), I feel very calm and safe with my friend, Mr. Tim. And my feet feel better and better every time he gets done putting on my new shoes! My legs don’t get as sore after workouts anymore, either…

Can you tell that I love my friend, Tim the Horseshoer?

Well, although there’s much more to talk about, I think I’ll save the rest for next time. It’s getting late in the day, and Mommy said that we were going to be working this evening – so I’d better go get prepared for a workout!

I hope you’re all are staying cool in this heat, friends. I’ll catch y’all later!

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

Trail Ride Adventures in California

Boy, it sure has been a long time! Where have y’all been?!

Okay, okay, I know… It’s me who’s been remiss. It’s just that my life is busier and more exciting than it’s ever been… and, according to Mommy, the excitement is going to keep on coming!

Now, I know in my last blog I said I’d tell you all about my first trail ride in California… But since it’s been a couple weeks already, I can actually tell you now about my first two trail rides! Of course, I’ll begin with Trail Ride #1… But first, let me tell you a little bit about my history with trail riding.

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Looking at Blydenburgh Lake on Long Island with Mommy.

Anyone who has known me for a while knows that I love going out on trail rides. When we lived on Long Island, Mommy and I used to go on trail rides in Blydenburgh Park quite often with my Auntie Joyce and my best friend, Cooper. That park was amazing! It had a huge lake and lots of hills – and sometimes there were even fallen trees that I got to jump over!

I did enjoy my trail rides in the park – but I have to admit that I was extremely nervous the first few times. I remember when Mommy and Daddy took me out in Blydenburgh Park for the very first time. They walked with me on the ground so I would feel like I had a “herd,” but I was still so scared! After a few more times being out in the park, however, I calmed down and learned that it was relaxing and a lot of fun to go on trail rides.

When we moved to Tennessee, I got to go out on the trail a few times, too. Even though I was a “seasoned trail horse” by that time, I was still nervous the first time I went out because it was a different property – an entirely different state – and the scenery was all completely new to me.

California Trail Ride Adventure #1

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Out on the trail with my new friend, Atlanta.

During my first trail ride here in California, it was the same thing: I was nervous because I’d never been out on those trails, I didn’t know where I was or where we were going… and I could feel that Mommy was a bit nervous, as well. (Although, if you ask her, she’ll tell you that she was nervous because she knew that I’d be nervous.) California has scenery that’s like no other place I’ve seen before – and y’all know that I’ve been to quite a few places in my seven years of life!

The only thing that calmed me down on that first California trail ride was the fact that I had company. Recently, I made a new friend named Atlanta, a beautiful Trakehner horse. Atlanta is very comfortable on the trails; she seems like she really enjoys it. Aside from the fact that I was making her a little nervous with how nervous I was, she didn’t seem to mind the new trails or scenery at all.

Some of the trails we traveled went uphill. When we got to the top of those hills, we were on a trail with a steep drop off of one side. Those were the times when I could feel that I was making Mommy (and Atlanta and her mommy, Megan) extremely nervous! I would dance and prance and sometimes even spin or back up – all within a couple feet of what could be called a cliff, for all intents and purposes. I didn’t mean to; it’s just that I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the new sights, sounds and smells. And I knew that there must have been rattlesnakes out there somewhere, because I had seen one myself at the ranch not that long before!

Anyway, we didn’t stay out too long before Mommy asked Megan and Atlanta if we could turn back and head for home. Mommy said that I had behaved valiantly – especially considering how long it had been since my last trail ride (which wasn’t even really a trail ride at all), and how new and different everything is in California compared to the other places that I’ve lived.

California Trail Ride Adventure #2

The very next weekend, Mommy and Megan and Atlanta and I went out on another trail ride. Mommy decided that, this time, it would be a good idea for me to get out as much energy as possible before heading out onto the trails. So, after Mommy groomed me and tacked me up, she let me go into the arena and run around to “get my sillies out,” as she likes to say. Then she and I put in a solid workout in the lower arena. We worked on collecting and extending while staying in a frame and did a lot of lateral exercises; Mommy said that she wanted to make sure I was moving off of her leg properly, in case I got any funny ideas about acting silly while atop a cliff out on the trails.

I have to say, I was pretty exhausted when we headed out into the hills… but we only walked on our trail ride, so it turned out to be pretty relaxing. And I actually was able to relax and enjoy myself much more that time! The combination of having been out there once before and having gotten out all of my excess energy made it easy for me to “just chill.”

Okay, I was still a little nervous at times… but I was able to walk calmly most of the way, and Atlanta and I even got to stop and enjoy the view in a couple places!

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Wow, Atlanta… would you look at those hills? What a view!

All in all, our California Trail Ride Adventure #2 was a huge success.

When we got back to the ranch, Mommy gave me a long shower followed by a liniment bath. Although I normally don’t like liniment (due to the fact that I have sensitive skin and liniment makes my skin tingle), I thoroughly enjoyed it this time! I was already sore and completely exhausted from having such a long workout that day; I was probably out and about for a total of 2 hours – maybe even a little bit more! The liniment helped keep the circulation of blood flowing through my body and legs and kept me from getting really, really sore. I even got two days off afterward!

The week after our successful trail ride, Mommy and I did a lot of flatwork and exercises over ground poles to prepare for our next jumping day…

And in my next blog, I’ll tell you all about why I got to jump twice in one week! (Anyone who knows my Mommy knows that jumping twice in one week is a “no-no” in her book… so you know that this is going to be interesting.)

On that note, friends, I’ll catch y’all later!

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

The Adventures Never End

Friends, I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve written; I can assure you that it has not been for any lack of excitement around here! Actually, there has been more excitement than I’ve known what to do with. I have a lot to tell you and a lot to catch you up on… but first, I have to tell you about what happened the other evening when Mommy came out to give me my dinner grain!

As usual, I watched Mommy drive up and get out of her car. I waited (im)patiently for her to come over and say hello… but, to my surprise, she didn’t! She and Kimberly, Splash’s Mommy, were standing by the fence, staring at the horses in the neighboring ranch. When I saw some movement from the ground of the paddock by the hay feeder, I put my head over the top of my stall to get a better view of what was going on. I saw Mommy climb through the fence and run over there, and that’s when I realized that there was a horse down with his legs stuck in the fence of his pipe corral! He couldn’t get up!

Mommy went to the horse and tried to calm him down so he wouldn’t thrash around and hurt himself, and then she looked him over to make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt. I saw her get up and run all the way to the other end of the neighbor’s property where it looked like there was a little barn or a house, and I could hear her yelling for someone to help.

When she came running back alone, I knew that meant that no one was home over there. Before I could even make the suggestion to her, I heard Mommy say that she was going to go try to find the guys who work at our barn to help get the horse free. She asked Kimberly to go and keep the horse calm so that he didn’t injure himself by thrashing around, and then Mommy hopped back into her car and disappeared quickly out of sight.

When Mommy’s car returned, she was followed by Cassie, one of the guys who works at our ranch, and his brother. They all hopped the fence and ran over to where Kimberly and the horse were. Cassie had a knife and some rope, and I could see that they were going to try to get the horse free, even though the owners of that ranch were nowhere to be found.

Just a minute later, though, a big truck came driving up on that side of the fence and a guy and a lady hopped out. Everyone looked both calm and a little frantic at the same time. I strained my eyes to see farther (and by that, I really mean that I lifted my head – because, as you probably already know, that’s how we horses see things that are far away), and I realized that the horse also had his head caught under the raised hay-feeder!

Although this isn’t a photo of our neighbor’s property, their hay-feeder looked sort of like this:

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…and the horse’s head was caught underneath, with his neck resting on the bar on the bottom. It must have been so uncomfortable for that poor guy!

The first thing the “Rescue Team” did was to put a halter on the horse (Mommy got that part done), and then Mommy held the horse’s head up while two people moved the hay feeder carefully away from the horse’s head. It’s a good thing Cassie brought a knife, too, because the hay feeder was tied to the pipe corral fence with bailing twine, and they had to use the knife to cut it in order to move the feeder. Then, Cassie and his brother wrapped some ropes underneath the armpit of the horse’s front legs and more rope around his back legs, and together, Mommy and the two guys rolled the horse over onto his other side, with the other lady helping to make sure that the horse’s legs got out from under the pipe corral fence while they rolled him over.

Later, when Mommy finally was able to come over to me and give me my dinner grain, she told me that the horse had some big gashes from trying to free himself, but that he was otherwise unharmed. I was relieved to hear that! The only bad part was that the poor guy has COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and that he was having a hard time breathing. The lady and the guy who work at the other barn were going to give the poor, sweet horse a shower and then clean his wounds and let him get some rest.

As Mommy was telling me all this, we saw the lady leading the horse out of the wash area. The horse was stumbling badly, and then we heard the lady start to yell to her co-worker. I don’t think he could hear her, because he didn’t come running. Mommy, however, did. She ran over and climbed the fence again just in time to see the horse fall down – hard. I saw the lady point up toward the barn at the other end of the property, and Mommy took off in that direction again. I assumed that the lady had asked Mommy to get the guy that she had been yelling for; sure enough, Mommy and that same guy came running back down toward the lady and the fallen horse.

The guy shoved something in the horse’s mouth – which Mommy told me later was a medicated inhaler – and then the horse lifted his head as though he was going to try to get up. He didn’t, though; I could see his sides heaving all the way from my stall. The poor thing had clearly blacked out from lack of oxygen! Once she knew the horse was okay and that she wasn’t needed anymore, Mommy came walking back over to me. She said that those nice people were going to let the horse lay there and catch his breath for as long as he needed to, and then they were going to continue taking care of his wounds. I was glad for the horse that he had people who cared so much about him.

When I didn’t see that horse for a couple days after that, I began to grow worried; but, as it turned out, the people had just been keeping him up in the barn so that he could recover from this traumatic incident. When I saw them walking him back out to his paddock, I wanted to cheer! Instead, I just shoved my nose into Mommy’s pocket and sniffed for carrots or treats.

So, that about sums up that bit of excitement… but there has been plenty more going on aside from that! Let’s see… Where do I even begin?

Well, the last time we spoke, I had just encountered my first rattle snake, right? Yes, I remember now… I was incredibly brave. I think it was Mommy who ran away scared, wasn’t it? Since then, I’ve done lots and lots of things. For instance…

Mommy has been stepping up the intensity of our workouts. She has this horrid little book – ummm, I mean… this awesome little book with A HUNDRED AND ONE exercises to prepare a horse for jumping, and she’s been pulling ideas from it constantly! That’s right. OVER A HUNDRED EXERCISES. And Mommy clearly thinks these exercises are great. Not that I don’t, of course… At least she doesn’t make me do more than one or two different ones each day. One if I have to practice harder before I can get it right, and two if I seem to pick up on one or both fairly quickly.

We did a pattern of circles with some lead changes thrown in…

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And we did cloverleaf patterns with tiny little circles in each direction at the trot and canter…

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And then one day we did some other squiggly pattern with lead changes thrown in…

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And we even did a crazy little circle pattern that took me the entire second half of our workout to perfect. First, we went over two poles on a circle to the inside, and then turned to the outside for a circle… and back over two poles on a circle to the inside… and so on. (If you still don’t understand what the pattern is – don’t worry. Neither did I!)

All of these exercises have been hard work, but I have to admit that they’re actually kind of fun. They really make me think hard about what Mommy is asking me to do, and they force me to pay better attention. Mommy said that she feels I’m behaving much better in general lately – and I guess she thinks it’s because of that!

Anyway, it hasn’t all been work without play… I got to jump a little one-stride line a few weeks ago, and it was pretty fun. We got up to about three feet high on the second jump, which was plenty for me. It’s a lot harder than you would think, going from one jump to the next with only a stride in between!

I also got to meet a bunch of Mommy’s family one weekend. I got to meet some of her second cousins, as well as one of her great-aunts and one of her great-uncles. And they were all pretty great!

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I even got lots of hugs, which was the best part! You know how much I love hugs.

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And a couple days after that, I got to meet Mommy’s brother and sister-in-law!

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Mommy’s sister-in-law is pregnant with a baby human, so – naturally – she wanted to go over and say hello to the baby horse!

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But, of course, she was much more excited to meet me than any of the other horses… because, you know… I’m a celebrity and all that.

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It was truly wonderful getting to meet Mommy’s human family – and not only because they all gave me a ton of treats! I love making new friends, especially when they’re humans who mean so very much to my Mommy.

The week following the excitement of meeting the family, I got to jump again! That time, though, we worked our way up to a vertical that was three and a half feet high! Now, as y’all know, that’s basically child’s play to me… Except for the fact that I’m still not in my top performance shape, so it was actually just a little bit difficult at first. But then it got easier and easier. I begged Mommy to let me jump higher, but she said that 3’6 was plenty high enough for that day.

Aside from all of that excitement, Mommy and I have just been hanging out together…

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…and hanging out with friends…

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Watching romantic sunsets together…

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Goofing around…

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And just enjoying life in general.

That’s about all the excitement that I have to share with you today, friends. I promise I’ll try not to wait so long before I write again! Stay cool, and I’ll catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A little encouragement goes a LONG way!

This is just too exciting not to post. I don’t mean to brag (even though I know I brag all the time, because, well… I’m awesome!), but my human and I were featured on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program‘s Facebook page! They posted a photo of us jumping five feet on their Facebook page to show people that small horses can still do anything that big horses can do, as long as they have a good human and a big heart!

 

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Friends, this just goes to show you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. When I left the racetrack all those many years ago, I was certain that my failures on the track would mean a one-way ticket to the livestock auction, which would almost definitely mean death for a scrawny little guy like me! But I was rescued by a wonderful woman named Phyllis Dawson, and soon after that, I was adopted by my Mommy and Daddy. Even though I wasn’t adopted through the “New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program,” I still feel like I was absolutely one of the lucky ones. And I have all the respect in the world for “New Vocations,” because they’re dedicated to helping all of my friends and relatives find a new life after they are done racing.

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. Most of the horses arriving at New Vocations are injured and thin, suffering the normal occupational hazards of racing. Without a useful skill to offer, their previous option was often a one-way ticket to the local livestock auction.

New Vocations provides a safety net for these horses, matching them with qualified individuals and following up on their rehabilitation and vocational training to ensure a successful transition. Our focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose.

Nearly 5,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception. These horses have come from 30 different racetracks and have been adopted by families throughout the country.”

Thank you, New Vocations, for giving me such amazing and heartfelt encouragement. Mommy and I are ecstatic, and we really appreciate all the work you do to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds after their racing careers are over!

Well, that’s about all I have to say for now, y’all. Thanks for sharing in my excitement, friends, and remember: you can do anything if you put your mind to it! And don’t forget to tell your humans about New Vocations, so they can spread the word to any of their human friends who are looking to change the life of a lucky horse in need of a second chance.

Catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rollercoaster, revisited

Wow, has it been that long already? I guess there’s just been too much going on, I can’t keep up with all of it!

So, you remember my new friend Anthony, right? Well, he came back to the barn again for a second riding lesson the next day, and he actually learned how to canter! In fact, he did such a great job in his lesson that my Mommy and I decided that he could sit on my back and trot around a little bit after our workout – that very same day! 

That's my friend Anthony and me trotting around!

That’s my friend Anthony and me trotting around!

Anthony did a really good job. He even asked me to come into a frame without realizing it!

Are you asking me to come into a frame? Because I will, gladly!

Are you asking me to come into a frame? Because I will, gladly!

We had a lot of fun, especially when we got to the part where we posed for photos. You know how much I love posing for photos!

Smile and say, "Apples!"

Smile and say, “molasses cookies!”

The day after Anthony left, I had a surprise visit from the dentist. Mommy made sure to tell him how much of a lightweight I am when it comes to sedatives, so he gave me half of a dose – and it was plenty! I liked him, though; he’s a really nice old man, and he treated me really well. One of the girls at the barn held me while I got my teeth floated, because you know my Mommy needed to take lots of pictures. (Luckily, I was too drugged-up with that sedative to care much or be too embarrassed by her!)

Is this real life? I feel dizzy...

Is this real life? I feel dizzy…

It took me a while to come out of my haze, but Mommy stayed with me the entire time and made sure I was alright.

Just five more minutes, Mommy... I'm so sleepy...

Just five more minutes, Mommy… I’m so sleepy…

Anyway, the other day, I was in the paddock next to Pokey and Ella’s paddock when they both left to go to their lessons, leaving me completely alone.

Well, I kind of panicked. I started running around like crazy, which was not a smart idea, seeing as how all of the paddocks are on a hill. One of the people at the barn saw me running and brought me into my stall, where I calmed down, but I was sweaty and hot and my legs were already sore, even though I had been wearing my turn-out boots.

Needless to say, the next day, all of my legs were very swollen. Mommy thought I was just stocked up at first, but she said she was just going to prepare herself for the worst. She cold-hosed my legs, and then she let me stretch and get my sillies out in the round pen to see if the swelling would go down. I shouldn’t have been running in a paddock that’s on a slanted hill like that; I’ve learned my lesson, but I can’t promise that I won’t do it again!

The swelling in my legs has been gradually going away, but I’ve had to have even more time off since then, and it’s driving me crazy. Mommy has been by twice each day to cold-hose my legs and wrap them in standing wraps. It was way too hot today to go outside, but I heard a rumor that I’ll be going into the little medical paddocks again, since they’re much smaller… and that means it’s much harder for me to gallop in them! I’m not happy about it, though; I’d rather be eating grass all day. I guess I should have heeded Mommy’s warning when she told me that I’d better not gallop in the paddock!

I have a feeling I’ll be getting tomorrow off, too, but if it’s as hot tomorrow as it was today, I won’t mind one bit.

I guess that’s all I have to say for today, friends. I’ll catch y’all later… Stay cool and drink lots of water!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Days in the sun

Friends, the past few days, I’ve been getting into a pretty awesome routine. I’ve been getting to go outside in the grass paddock next to my barn, and that’s where I spend the majority of my days now. It feels good to be out on the grass again; I want to make sure that I am always on my best behavior, because I don’t want to have my grass-paddock-privileges revoked any time soon!

All decked out in my UV fly-sheet, fly mask and boots!

All decked out in my UV fly-sheet, fly mask and boots!

Speaking of being on my best behavior…

Yesterday, when Mommy showed up to the barn, I was hesitant to come out of my stall. I didn’t want her to see what I had done to my back leg, and I just knew she would see it immediately.

She did.

It’s not that I did anything that terrible to my leg, you see; all I did was give myself a little knick on the inside of my back left leg when I was rolling in the shavings the night before. But… the tiny little cut made my WHOLE ENTIRE LEG swell up to be HUGE, and I knew Mommy wouldn’t be happy about it.

Mommy cleaned the cut out really well and cold-hosed my leg to make the swelling go down. She didn’t seem too worried about it, though, because I wasn’t too worried about it. My leg itself didn’t hurt, and Mommy could see that the cut wasn’t big or deep. So, she dressed the wound, wrapped he cut, put my boots and fly mask on and turned me out in the grass paddock.

“Walk around as much as you can while you eat,” she told me. “That will help the circulation in your leg, and the swelling will go down.”

I always try my best to do what Mommy tells me to do.

Mommy stuck around for a while to hang out with me. She just sat on the fence and watched me eat grass, and it was nice knowing that she was right there. After a little while, I heard her meowing like a cat, and I was about to walk over and ask what she was doing – when I saw Rocky the Kitty come running down the hill toward us!

Here comes Rocky the Kitty!

Here comes Rocky the Kitty!

He’d heard her calling to him, and answered right away!

Rocky hung out with us for quite a while. He and Mommy just sat in the shade, chatting and enjoying the beautiful day while I chomped away happily on the grass.

Just chillin' with Rocky the Kitty.

Just chillin’ with Rocky the Kitty.

Rocky the Kitty is such a cool cat. I’m glad that he’s my best friend.

My best friend!

My best friend! Rocky totally ROCKS!

I spent the rest of the day outside in the grass before coming in for the night. Mommy came back later and wrapped my back legs in standing wraps to help with the swelling – which had already begun to go down, just like Mommy thought it would. She  asked me if I would please make sure that my leg was completely better by the next day – meaning today – because she really wanted to ride. I said I would do my best…

And sure enough, when Mommy got here this morning, my leg was fine! The little cut was still a bit swollen, but the swelling in the rest of my leg had gone away entirely. Mommy was so relieved – and so was I!

We had a tough flat workout, but it was still a lot of fun. And it was a beautiful day!

Cooling down after my workout with Mommy!

Cooling down after my workout with Mommy!

I never mind working hard, but I can tell that I’m going to be pretty sore for a while. It’s amazing that my muscles can be so out of shape after only having two months off! It’s not that I get out of breath or anything; my stamina is still fantastic. It’s just that my neck and back muscles aren’t used to being in a nice frame… so there will definitely be a period of adjustment. That’s okay, though; at least I’m back in the game!

Alright, friends, I’m going to go eat as much grass as I can before I have to come in for dinner. I hope y’all are enjoying some beautiful days in the sun!

Another wonderful day in the sun!

Another wonderful day in the sun!

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

Best friends (come in all shapes and sizes)

Okay, so, I know y’all have heard me talk about my human, and how she’s my best friends in the whole world… And those of you who have known me a while have probably also heard me talk about Leo, my best friend at my last barn. And since I’ve moved to my new barn, I’ve told you a lot about Zii, William, Troy, and Bruce, some of the friends I’ve made here.

But there is one friend that I’ve made at my new barn who is completely different than any of my other friends. I know you’ve heard me talk about him, too… His name is Rocky the Kitty. (Not to be confused with Rocky the Pony!)

Yup, that's Rocky the Kitty!

Yup, that’s Rocky the Kitty! What a Rockstar.

I met Rocky the Kitty shortly after I moved to my new barn, the place I now call home. I noticed that Rocky the Kitty was always lounging around somewhere – on the table, in a tree, on the John Deere Tractor – and I liked him instantly for that reason.

Um, Rocky? You're on camera...

Um, Rocky? You’re on camera…

What a laid back barn cat! Now, I have heard rumors that he isn’t so great at catching mice, which is what a barn cat’s job is supposed to be… but you know what I always say: live and let live! I mean, if given the choice, I’d much rather have my humans provide food for me, too, than to have to go out and catch my own.

Granted, it’s a lot easier catching grass than it is catching mice… Not that I’ve ever tried to catch a mouse, that is.

Anyway, when we first met, Rocky the Kitty was a bit wary of me. You have to understand, he’s around horses all day; he’s heard all the best lines about “Wanting to hang out sometime,” and “It’s okay that I’m bigger and stronger than you, we can be equals in our friendship,” and all that. But to my knowledge, none of the other horses ever really followed through.

What a cool kitty.

“Not that same line again, please. I’ve heard it all before.”

Well, over the past few months since I’ve been at this barn – and in particular, the last two months while I was “out of commission,” so to speak – my humans have been stopping by anywhere from 1 to 3 times each day. The days that they come by more often, there’s usually a visit (or two) where we’re the only ones at the barn.

During those times, Rocky the Kitty began coming over and hanging around in our general vicinity. He’d say hello and whatnot, but he would mostly just keep to himself… while staying pretty close by.

"Hey Icchy. I'm just passing through."

“Hey Icchy. I’m just passing through.”

Gradually, he began to come closer and spend more time actually hanging out with us! He tried to be sneaky about it at first – like how he hides in the bushes sometimes – but we all welcomed him into our little family with open arms!

You don't have to hide, Rocky! Come hang out with us!

You don’t have to hide, Rocky! Come hang out with us!

Once Rocky the Kitty and I became friends, we grew pretty close, pretty quickly. He always comes running over whenever he sees me out of my stall, and he just chills with my humans and me. He even follows us around, if we’re on the move!

Hey there, Rocky! Want to hang out?

“Hey Icarus, let’s go play!”

I had the day off today, just like I thought I would. Mommy came to the barn in the morning to get me out of my stall, take off my standing wraps, let me stretch my legs and let me eat some grass. Rocky the Kitty came with us and we made our way out to my favorite patch of grass.

Chillin' with my best friend.

Chillin’ with my best friend.

Rocky hung out and waited patiently on the tractor until I was ready to move to another patch of grass.

"Almost ready to move on, Icchy?"

“Almost ready to move on, Icchy? This scenery is getting old!”

So, after eating that grass for a while, we decided to move a little further and check out another patch with lots of clover. Rocky said that he was just going to chill on the mounting block and sing for a little while. He really likes to sing. And he’s really good at it, too!

"...Cuz I've got cat class and I've got cat styyyyle!"

“…Cuz I’ve got cat class and I’ve got cat styyyyle!”

I made sure to tell him what a great singer he is. I think we all need a bit of affirmation now and then, you know? And that’s really what being a friend is all about – offering your friends support and encouragement!

Great song, Rocky!

Great song, Rocky!

Well, that and sticking up for each other against bullies. I know I’m bigger than Rocky, but he has claws and he’s always willing to stick them out to protect me!

"That's right, Icchy! Show me where the bullies are and I'll protect you!"

“That’s right, Icchy! Show me where the bullies are and I’ll protect you!”

Anyway, after he was tired of singing, we just hung out in silence and watched the birds go by.

Well, Rocky the Kitty watched the birds go by. I just ate as much grass and clover as I could!

Best friends!

Best friends!

All in all, it was a pretty awesome morning, just hanging out with Mommy and my best friend, Rocky the Kitty. I stayed in my stall all day because it was supposed to rain, but Mommy came back in the evening, as per her usual.

When she put me in the round pen to “get out my sillies,” I really didn’t have any “sillies” that needed out. I was relaxed and tired, but I also knew that something even better was coming for me, soon…

Okay, Mommy. I'm done. Let's go!

Okay, Mommy. I’m done. Let’s go!

And do you know what it was, that was so much better than being turned out in the round pen?

Being turned out in a GRASS PADDOCK!

That’s right, friends. I got to go out in a grass paddock for a couple hours tonight! I was by myself, but the paddock was HUGE and had LOTS of really, really sweet clover. Plus, there were horses in the paddocks near me, so I didn’t even feel worried or alone.

Look at all this grass! How am I going to eat it ALL in only a couple hours?!

Look at all this grass! How am I going to eat it ALL in only a couple hours?!

Mommy stuck around for a while to supervise me, just to make sure that I wasn’t going to gallop around and be too silly for my own good, like I sometimes do when I’m excited. But I knew better this time. I trotted and cantered a little, but then I just put my head down and got to eating!

Once they saw that I was going to relax and stay calm, Mommy knew they could leave me alone and let the new barn manager, Jenna, bring me back inside when I was finished eating the grass. They waved goodbye as they were leaving, and Mommy said that she’ll be here in the morning to ride!

Bye, Mommy! Bye, Daddy!

Bye, Mommy! Bye, Daddy!

Jenna brought me in a couple hours later, took off my boots and checked me over to make sure I was still in one piece. Now I think I’m ready to hit the shavings and get some shut eye! I have to have lots of energy tomorrow morning when Mommy gets here for my workout, because I want her to know that I’m back in the game! I’ll be sure to let y’all know how it goes!

And I think I see Rocky the Kitty sleeping on the ledge outside my stall – so I won’t even feel alone tonight, being the only horse in the barn. (Goodnight, Rocky! Thanks for being my best friend.)

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cheeky does not mean Naughty

Okay, I know I’m pretty cheeky – ask anyone – but I have to admit that I’ve been more than cheeky this weekend; I’ve been kind of naughty. And cheeky does not mean the same thing as naughty.

Cheeky is trying to get a bite of the plants in the planter when Mommy’s back is turned, and accidentally pulling the whole plant out. And then dropping it and looking away, like, “It wasn’t me.”

That's cheeky.

That’s cheeky.

Of course, Daddy put the plants back, and as much of the soil as he could fit back into the planter. (Daddy, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for the mess!)

Do you know what else is cheeky? Cheeky is getting to go into a dry paddock for the first time, as I told you before… and finding a way to let myself out!  (…and then proceeding to go on a joy-gallop around the property until Bruce’s Mommy, Marlena, caught me and brought me back in to my own stall!)

Cheeky is also saying hi to Bruce, and then taking a big ol’ drink of his water before walking away!

Thanks, Bruce! I appreciate it!

Thanks, Bruce! I appreciate it!

Daddy filled his water back up, though. (Thanks, Daddy… I don’t know what I’d do without you!)

Naughty, however… Naughty is getting upset because I bumped my head; rearing up, spinning around, kicking out like a Fancy Lippizaner Horse… and accidentally kicking Daddy in the hand. (Daddy… I’m so, so sorry. I promise I’ll never do it again!)

Naughty is also bucking and bucking and rearing and bucking when Mommy tried to have a nice, calm, quiet ride in the dressage arena yesterday.

I promise, I'll be a good boy from now on...

I promise, I’ll be a good boy from now on…

Cheeky is chasing Lily around in the arena, because she didn’t believe my Daddy that I actually would! I like Lily, though. She and her pony, Rocky, are my friends. (Remember Rocky?)

Trotting after Lily!

Trotting after Lily!

Naughty, though… Naughty is bucking Mommy clear out of the saddle on my first day back to jumping in over two months! She said that she got a couple little cuts on her face, a scrape on her elbow… and dirt in her braces!

YEEEE-HAAAW!

YEEEE-HAAAW!

(Mommy, if you’re reading this – and I know you are – I’m sorry I threw you off into the dirt today. I really didn’t mean to… I sort of thought that you just never fell off. Especially because I tried really hard to get you off my back yesterday, as I’m sure you’re aware… and you stuck like glue. Until I knocked the wind out of you, and you jumped off and grew to be, like, ten feet tall and really scary. But anyway, Mommy, I hope you’re not hurting or sore, because I know I sure am!)

I went for a long gallop around the arena when Mommy fell off, and I probably shouldn’t have, because then Mommy got back on and schooled me into the ground. I was exhausted… but not too exhausted to keep acting cheeky! I couldn’t help it; I was just too excited to be jumping again, after all this time! 

We worked through it, though, and there came a point when I had to give in. I just didn’t have the energy to “keep up with the cheek,” as Mommy says.

That's what we're talking about, right Mommy?

That’s what we’re talking about, right Mommy?

My Uncle Jody and his daughter, Skylar, showed up at the barn to watch me jump a little, too.

Uncle Jody and Skylar got the best seats in the house!

Uncle Jody and Skylar got the best seats in the house!

And then, Mommy and I cantered into (and out of) a five-stride line beautifully; the best we did all day! Granted, it was only about 2’3… but hey, we have to start somewhere, right? It’s been two months! And even before I landed, Mommy was already crying out, “ATTABOY, ICCHY!” It felt great to hear some real praise! (I guess maybe I should behave more often, huh?)

We are definitely back!

We are definitely back!

Well, anyway, I got a long shower and a liniment bath after my hard workout, and although I usually hate cold showers and liniment, it felt great today. I was hot and exhausted! 

Chillin' in the wash-rack!

Chillin’ in the wash-rack!

Skylar helped Mommy to hose me down… and then, since we were the only ones up at the barn, Mommy and Skylar started spraying each other with the hose, too! They were giggling and it sounded like they enjoyed it. They just stood there, spraying each other! I rolled my eyes and sighed, because they’re crazy. Skylar even said, “I can’t understand why you don’t like this, Icchy – it’s so much fun!”

I just stood there and napped in the cross ties while they had their fill; I mean, like I said – it was really, really hot today. And after such a long, hard workout, the cold water did feel good…

Anyway, I got to go outside again today, for the rest of the afternoon… but I didn’t escape this time. I knew better. I could hear my Mommy’s voice in my head saying, “Enough with the cheek, Icchy… I’m serious!”

And when Mommy and Daddy came back in the evening, they wrapped all of my legs in pillow wraps so that I’d feel less sore tonight. And I have to say, it really helps. Because I worked hard today. While Mommy wrapped my legs, my best friend in the whole wide world, Rocky the Kitty, hung out with me and checked out the beautiful scenery.

That's Rocky the Kitty, my best friend.

That’s Rocky the Kitty, my best friend.

Rocky the Kitty is awesome. He follows me around and we just chill, wherever we go. He likes to lounge around in trees sometimes, but tonight he just stuck by my side.

Chillin'!

Chillin’!

After my legs were wrapped and Daddy fluffed up the bedding in my stall, I got to go home and eat my hay.

That's my lucky blue wrap.

That’s my lucky blue wrap.

And now, I think I’m going to sleep. It’s nice, falling asleep to the sound of the rain. I’m pretty sure I get the day off tomorrow, too, so maybe I’ll sleep in for once…

Have a great Monday, friends! Catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A long time comin’

Alright, this is just getting ridiculous. The days move by so slowly while I’m living them, but then I look behind me and it’s been more than a week since I’ve written! It feels like so much has happened, even though my life is the most uneventful that it’s ever been.

Needless to say, I’m still lame. And it’s awful. I sit in my stall all day and all night, and I just eat hay and hope that Mommy and/or Daddy comes back again.

Hanging out with Daddy and our friend, Holly.

Hanging out with Daddy and our friend, Holly.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s inhumane to keep a horse in a stall all day and all night, with only an hour or two hour breaks here and there, right? Well, let me just say from experience that my Mommy has a very good point when she says that I need to stay in, instead of going out with my friends, or even going out into a pasture by myself. (Not to mention the fact that the vet specifically said “Stall rest, with hand walking and grazing… and you can let him get the sillies out in the round pen.”)

Don’t get me wrong; Mommy knows as well as anyone does just how important and good it is for a fit, healthy horse to be able to move around and stretch and eat grass and socialize. But she also has experience with her own crazy Thoroughbred (that’s me) being lame and uncontrollable with excess energy!

You see, because the laminae inside my foot is bruised (again), it will actually inhibit healing if I work too much or go too crazy… and especially if I pound my hooves down onto a hard surface. Since I’m only supposed to have a very limited amount of work, and I can’t help misbehaving whenever I get the chance, and I’m not allowed to be turned out until my hoof is healed (but I act stupid when I’m turned out, anyway), Mommy decided that it would be in my best interest to follow the vet’s orders precisely, and force me into “Stall Rest” with “Hand Walking” and “Grazing” and “Getting The Sillies Out In The Round Pen.”

It was actually a pretty smart decision on her part, like I said before. It’s just that I feel like I’m going out of my mind.

When Mommy lets me graze and we walk around searching out the best grass, I get really excited and sometimes pull a little too hard against her to get to my next destination. And then there was the time, a few days ago, when we were grazing, and I “spooked” and took off before anyone had time to catch me!

Woo hoo! Free at last!

Woo hoo! Free at last!

(Would you believe me if I told you that was the second time this week that I escaped? Nah, I didn’t think you would. I guess I’ll save that story for another day.)

My Uncle Jody came out to the barn again this past weekend with his daughter, Skylar. I was so happy to get to visit with them again, but I was sad that I wouldn’t get to have as much fun with Skylar as I did before. Still, Skylar got to sit on my back as Mommy walked me around in the round pen, and then she helped Mommy chase me around for my daily dose of exercise!

Mommy and Skylar!

Mommy and Skylar!

Anyway, even though I get to go into the round pen each day to get out my sillies, sometimes I get carried away and I just gallop. Those are the days that I’m sore and twice as lame the next day. (I was also lame the day after I galloped in the pasture, when Mommy wanted me to graze next to Cav and Isis. Remember that?) But at least I get to stretch and play for a little while every day.

IMG_7734

It really does make me feel much better to get out and stretch my legs. And it’s a good time to look around and see what’s going on that I would be missing if I were still in my stall.

IMG_1622

And the good news is that I’m doing a little better every day. The stall rest is driving me nutso, but it really is helping my foot – and I can see that, so I won’t complain too much. I must admit, though, I do get a little envious when I see my friends going out to work. Today I saw Bruce with his mommy, Marlena, and their friend, Bridgid. They were all heading out to the arena for Bruce’s workout, and I wished so much that I could go with them.

Bruce, Marlena and Bridgid!

Bruce, Marlena and Bridgid!

I’m happy that my friends still get to work, though, because I know it won’t be long until I’m out there working, too. I know I keep saying that, but this time I definitely mean it!

So, I guess that’s all I have to say for now. I promise I won’t abandon you for so long ever again! Just please, friends, keep your hooves crossed for me that I get to go back to work soon and resume my normal life. I haven’t jumped in over two months, and I’m starting to feel an identity crisis coming on. I just don’t think I can take much more of this! I may have to find a Show Jumpers Anonymous meeting to go to, because I’m wondering whether I ever actually jumped at all, or if it was all just in my head…

Anyway, I’ll catch y’all later.

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

Life is a Roller Coaster

And you know what? I’m getting kind of tired of this roller coaster. Not that I don’t like it when life moves fast and changes a lot, because I do; life is anything but moving fast these days, and I’m so bored that I think I’m becoming depressed.

I’m not really sure what that means, because I’ve never been depressed before. But I have to stay in my stall all day and all night, and I never get to go out with my friends anymore, and I barely ever get to eat grass, and I can’t work with Mommy or Daddy, and all I can do is walk and walk and walk and I just feel like I’m going crazy!

I’m so lonely, I barely ever get to talk to other horses, except for Zii and William (who are in the stalls on either side of me), or the random friend I see now and then in the cross ties of the barn.

Saying hi to my friend, Rocky the Pony!

Saying hi to my friend, Rocky the Pony!

But wait, it’s been so long, you probably don’t even know what happened yet!

Well, last Thursday, the farrier came out to trim my feet and reset my shoes. I was a really good boy this time. (Okay, Mommy stood in front of me and played “Got your lip” to distract me… and it worked.) But either way, I was on my best behavior and tried really hard not to move or jerk away my legs. The farrier and his assistant took their time, and I was exhausted and cranky by the end of it… but we made it through, and I got to graze for a while as my reward.

Okay, here’s where the bad news comes in… On Friday, I was in a lot of pain again. Now, my front right leg has been swelling again (it may have had something to do with the fact that I went nuts when Mommy and Daddy turned me out last time, and in the morning my leg was really swollen and hot…) and Daddy was convinced that I was just limping because my right leg hurt me still. But Mommy pointed out that my right leg was no longer swollen and hot, and that it didn’t look like the limp was coming from the right leg anyway.

Well, Saturday, my friend Dr. Kara was there checking on Jack Frost, a pony, and she said she would check me out, too. She confirmed what my Mommy already thought – that I was limping on my left front leg, not my right front leg. So, she checked my feet with the hoof testers (deja vu, anyone?) and found that I was really sore on one nail in particular. She pulled out that nail, which definitely helped to make it feel better, but I’m still in pain… and still lame. Or lame again.

It’s terrible, I know. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself… Mommy doesn’t know, either. I wish life didn’t always have to be so hard.

Getting comfort from my Mommy...

Getting comfort from my Mommy…

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say right now. It’s raining today, which means that my limited “outdoor activity” will be even more limited today, and that’s a bummer. But I guess that’s just life.

Someday, I know I’ll be jumping again. And not just jumping, but jumping big. I just have to be patient a little while longer.

Catch y’all later.

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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