Posts Tagged With: equestrian sports

Summer Camp Shenanigans

If you don’t already know, shenanigans can be defined as “silly or high-spirited behavior.” And that, friends, is what today was all about!

But let me back up and start at the beginning…

Yesterday our friend, Shelley, asked Mommy if we would be willing to do a jumping demonstration for her summer camp kids. Mommy said that the decision would ultimately be up to me, but of course I’m always happy to show off – especially jumping, and especially for a large audience full of amazing little kids who are learning to be equestrians! (Plus, jumping day always means marshmallows… And you know how much I love marshmallows!)

So today, Mommy and I got to have a great deal of “silly and high-spirited fun” while jumping over a big ol’ triple oxer, showing off for the summer camp kids and counselors!

Of course, we warmed up over smaller oxers first… But the real fun started when the oxer got up to 3 feet and 6 inches – because the spread (which just means the width of the jump) was 4 feet and 9 inches! 

3'6 oxer with a 4'9 spread

3’6 with a 4’9 spread? Come on, Mom… this is easy!

After jumping the oxer successfully at that height, Mommy asked our friend, Jan – who was also video taping us – to raise up the back pole a hole at a time until we were jumping 4 feet high with a 4-foot-9-inch spread! (Thanks, Jan!)

Jumping big oxers like that is a lot of fun… but do you know what makes it even more fun?

Having an audience to cheer for me when I clear the jump!

And do you know what might even be better than marshmallows as a reward for doing well?

Lots and lots of HUGS from my wonderful little friends!

I love getting hugs! They're the BEST!

I love getting hugs! They’re the BEST!

Of course, even though I do love hugs – and they might really be as good of a reward as marshmallows…. Mommy still gave me lots of marshmallows, too!

Mmmm... My favorite jumping day treat! Thanks, Mommy!

Mmmm… My favorite jumping day treat! Thanks, Mommy!

All in all, today was an awesome day. It might even be my favorite day in August – and the month has only just begun! I’m just saying that something super-duper-spectacular is going to have to happen in order to move up higher in the rankings than this wonderful, amazing day.

Thanks to all of my new friends who came out to support me and cheer for me during my jumping demonstration! Y’all made it a fun, silly and exciting day for me – and I hope it was the same for you!

My awesome friends who cheered me on during the jumping demonstration! Thanks, y’all!

Well, that’s about all I have to share for today… Stay cool in this heat, friends – and I’ll catch y’all later!

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

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!

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

Life is good (so enjoy the ride)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life?

Although I do work very hard, the work I do is mostly fun – and I get to hang out with my Mommy and all of my friends just as much, if not more. I’m never lonely because there’s always a friend or two somewhere nearby.

Icchy and Olive

And now, thanks to my wonderful Aunt Bonnie and my best friend, Chief, I have a toy in my stall that I can play with when I’m hanging out and waiting for Mommy to come back! Aunt Bonnie brought a big orange cone for Chief, but he didn’t seem to want it… And, because Chief knows how much I love to play with the cone in the arena, he asked his Mommy to give it me!

I like to play with my cone during the day when I’m bored, after Mommy and I have already worked, before she comes back for an evening visit… But it’s also fun to play with my cone at night before I hit the shavings!

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I’ll be forever grateful to Chief and his Mommy, my Aunt Bonnie. They spoil me so much!

Honestly, I’m probably the most spoiled horse in the history of horses. My Mommy loves to spoil me, too – and so does her Mommy! In fact, last weekend, my Mommy and her Mommy went on a shopping trip just to buy me pretty things! (They said that their favorite tack store was going out of business and having a sale, but I know that was really just another excuse to buy me lots of cool presents.)

I got a cool, stylish new fly mask and a brand new lead rope…

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And I even got a tail bag! 

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This is the first tail bag that I’ve ever had, and I really love it. But I didn’t know what to make of it at first! Right after Mommy put it on me, I tried to swat away some flies with my tail – and I seriously thought that someone was smacking me with something! I kept testing it out, and I kept getting spooked when I’d hit myself in the side with the tail bag. For the life of me, I could not understand why someone would smack me just for swatting away flies… and I had no idea who was doing it, either – because I could see Mommy standing right next to me! Of course, she was laughing, and I did not find the situation very funny.

Finally, Mommy grabbed the tail bag and pulled it as close to my face as she could to show me that it was actually attached to my tail. When I found out that I had been spooking at my own tail, I felt pretty silly – but that feeling didn’t last too long. The wheels in my head began to turn, and I realized something very important: the tail bag was much longer than my actual tail. You might be wondering why that matters – and I will gladly tell you. With a tail bag much longer than my actual tail, I can swat away flies that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach! I can even swat them off of my shoulders if I aim well enough! It’s absolutely heavenly… especially because I have great aim!

Anyway, the presents didn’t stop there.

Mommy and her Mommy also bought me some brand new saddle pads. Our unanimous favorite is the one with cute little owls on it! Mommy loves owls. I’ve never seen one in real life, but if they’re as cute in real life as they are on the saddle pad, then I definitely want to be their friend.

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In addition to the favorite owl pad, I got a bright blue saddle pad, a bright pink one and one with a black-and-white pattern on it to match the fancy saddle bag that Mommy got before she and I moved out here.

Mommy also got me five different pairs of boots, all of which I love (but some of which I love more than others).

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IMG_1495Those aren’t all of them, but those ones are my favorites. (And, of course, I won’t wear a different boot on each leg while I work, like I do sometimes with colorful polos… I’ll probably only wear matching sets. But you never know!) It just figures that the boots I love the most are the ones Mommy wants to save only for special occasions… like jumping day!

Speaking of jumping day… (…I bet you already know what I’m going to say…)

That’s right, you guessed it: I got to jump on Friday! (And yes, I wore my brand new boots and one of my brand new saddle pads!) But I knew it was jumping day before I was even tacked up… because Mommy gave me marshmallows, my super-special jumping day treat!

After warming up on the flat and then over some small jumps, Mommy and I worked through a line that consisted of three jumps. The first two jumps didn’t have a stride in between (which is called a “bounce”). That means that I land from the first jump and immediately jump the second one. The second to third jump had one single stride in between. So it was a “bounce to a one-stride” line. It was only a little bit tricky, but a lot of fun.

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Every time we jumped through the line successfully, Mommy would raise the jumps up a little higher. Eventually, the last jump was set to three and a half feet, which is the highest I’d jumped since getting to California and getting back into shape. Once that last jump was set at 3’6, it was definitely much more difficult… but nothing that Mommy and I couldn’t handle.

When Mommy had determined that I’d jumped through the line enough times – and praised me profusely for being such a good boy – she decided that I deserved another reward. Mommy knows how much I love to jump really high, so my reward was getting to jump a four-foot-high oxer! 

Mommy moved two of the jumps from the line together to make an oxer and took the last jump out completely. As we cantered around the turn and started our approach to the jump, I could feel Mommy’s heart pounding and realized that she was a little bit nervous! Even though I wasn’t nervous at all, I understood why Mommy was. It had been about a year since we’d jumped anything nearly that big, and Mommy must have been feeling a lot of emotions.

First of all, I know she was nervous just because it’s been so long since she has jumped that big, too, but she was also probably really scared that I’d hurt myself and have to take time off again. I didn’t want her to be nervous that I would refuse the jump or knock it down, in addition to all of the other things she was feeling, so I made sure to canter up to it with confidence. I wanted her to know that I would take care of her, but I also wanted her to know that I was ready for this!

It was a piece of carrot cake. I didn’t even have to try very hard to jump over it!

Mommy told me later that she asked me to go a little too fast on the approach because she was nervous, and she also joked that she was “hiding” in my mane while we were in the air! I assured her that she did a very good job during her first time jumping four feet since last summer… and she assured me of the same thing! She told me about a thousand times how proud of me she was… and, of course, I got more marshmallows afterward as a special treat.

Anyway, I know I sometimes complain about the hard work that I have to do in order to get back into shape (…especially about the exercises from that “101 Jumping Exercises” book that Mommy loves to practice), but I really do have to admit that the hard work is paying off! Mommy said that if I keep working this hard and doing such a great job, she thinks we will be jumping five feet again in a matter of mere months! I know that we can do it. I can hardly wait!

So, I guess that’s about all I have to share with you tonight. Not because there’s not more – there’s always more – but I’ll have to share the rest with you another time. For now, friends, I have to hit the shavings and get some sleep. But I’ll write again very soon, and when I do, I’ll be sure to tell you all about the first trail ride we went on since moving to California! Until then, remember to work hard, listen to your humans and always ask for one more treat (because you just might get it if you ask for it)! I’ll catch y’all later…

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

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

My newest friends

Okay, I know it’s been a while, but there’s been a lot going on! I’m a busy horse these days, you know. I’ve been making friends all over the place!

A few nights ago, Mommy showed up at the barn super late in the evening with a friend of hers. It was so late, I’d already eaten my dinner grain and half of my night hay, and I was taking a nap when they arrived! Mommy said her friend’s name was Ashley, and that she’d known Ashley for a long time. I could tell that Ashley was a horsewoman, because she walked right up to me and began petting my face and scratching behind my ears! Ashley lives in Washington D.C. and came to Nashville just to meet me! 

My new friend, Ashley!

My new friend, Ashley!

Mommy and I worked in the dressage arena, even though it was really dark; that arena has lights that are almost as bright as daytime. I loved showing off for Ashley because she always clapped and cheered me on when I did something well! (And even sometimes when I didn’t!)

And last night, I met another one of Mommy’s friends. Apparently, she’s known this guy even longer than she’s known my friend, Ashley!

My new friend, Anthony!

My new friend, Anthony!

His name is Anthony, and he immediately won me over when he gave me some treats!

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Mmm, molasses cookies – my favorite!!

Anthony lives in California and also in Dallas. I’ve never been to either of those places, but Anthony said that I’d probably like them both. And you know what? He came to Nashville just to see me! 

Anyway, I thought that Anthony was going to watch Mommy and me ride, but as it turned out, he was there to take a riding lesson, himself!

That's Jenna giving Anthony a lesson on Sonny!

That’s Jenna giving Anthony a lesson on Sonny!

He did a great job, and he’s going to take another lesson tomorrow.

I had today off, though I didn’t mind it one bit. I got to go outside into a paddock with lots of grass while Anthony had his riding lesson, and I was happy to come in when they were done. It was hot today! And the flies were biting me non-stop!

Wow, this grass looks delicious!

Wow, this grass looks delicious!

You see, the reason I had today off is because I banged my ankle when I was being silly in my stall, and it was swollen today when Mommy got there. She wanted me to go out for a little while in order to help with the circulation, but she didn’t want me to stay out too long because she knew I would probably end up hurting myself… again. When I went back inside, Mommy told me that I’d better not have any more bumps or bruises when she came back again to check on me! She told me that if I didn’t, and I was all in one sound piece, I would get to actually do some work tomorrow!

That’s about all I have to say for today, friends. Stay out of the heat and make sure you have lots of water to drink! I’ll catch y’all later!

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

Not all jumping days need marshmallows

Although I didn’t actually get any marshmallows yesterday, I did get to jump! And you know what I realized? Not all jumping days need marshmallows. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten to jump; now jumping is a treat for me!

We had a long warm up to start, and Mommy gave me lots of walking breaks. Even though the sky was covered in clouds, it was still pretty warm and humid. We stretched out for a while at the walk and the trot, too, before Mommy asked me to come into a frame. Plus, there was a lot for me to look at – and Mommy knew that I needed to take my time.

There is always a lot to look at these days!

There is always a lot to look at these days!

Even though I’m still in good shape physically – I still have great stamina and cardio and all that – my muscles are out of shape. Important muscles. The muscles I need to hold myself in the correct body frame, the muscles I need to jump… Unfortunately, because I had two months off, I’ll have to spend almost as much time getting back into shape.

You see, when a working horse like me has an injury or a setback, it can be devastating. At least mentally, if not physically. Because when you’ve already lived through it – having to take time off for an injury, that is, and having to come back from it – you know from experience how difficult it is. It’s difficult to stay sane, not being able to work; it’s also tough knowing that coming back from the injury – to where I was before it happened – is going to take about as long as the healing of the injury itself! You have to really try to stay positive, and it’s always a bit of trial and error on the part of my humans, figuring out how to “keep me sound,” or keep me from injuring myself again.

So, my advice to you is not to get hurt! 

Anyway, we had a great workout yesterday. I behaved like a gentleman on the flat.

Warming up at the canter.

Warming up at the canter.

We worked over ground poles for a while, and it was a good thing, too; I was being pretty silly, and I kept jumping over the poles like they were big jumps! So we went over the ground poles again and again and again (and again and again!) until I finally calmed down and cantered over them like a normal horse.

When we were done with the ground poles, Mommy and I worked over a bounce line for a while. She was trying to get me to jump through it with a forward, even pace, but still come back to her and stop afterward.

Working through the bounce!

Working through the bounce!

I got the “going through it at an even, forward pace” part, but I couldn’t contain myself enough to stop immediately after she asked me to on the other side. So, we kept working over it until I got it right.

It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun! And I have to say, my butt muscles are pretty sore today!

As we were cooling down after our workout, I suddenly noticed that there was a bunch of farm equipment just outside the arena. When I took a good look at it, it was scary!!! So naturally, while Mommy was relaxed (with her feet out of her stirrups and taking a drink), I spooked. I took off at a gallop! Her drink spilled all over the place, and she reined me in. Then – because she’s Mommy – she made me open the gate, walk out of the arena and inspect every single scary thing out there!

Checking out the scary stuff!

Checking out the scary stuff!

We finished cooling out, and then I got a long, cold shower. It felt good since it was so hot out and I had worked so hard. icchyshower

I got to go out into my paddock after that to eat grass for the rest of the day.

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Mommy came back in the evening to wrap my leg and make sure I had a clean stall and plenty of hay, and my best friend, Rocky the Kitty, hung out with me for a while, too.

Chillin' with Rocky.

Chillin’ with Rocky the Kitty.

I got today off, but Mommy still showed up this morning to groom me and turn me out into my paddock. I spent the entire day eating grass, until the bugs started to attack me, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I decided that the best way to let everyone know that I wanted to come in was, well… to gallop! So that’s what I did, and sure enough, it worked. Jenna brought me inside, and I was happy to chill beneath my fan and munch on hay until dinnertime.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work! I can’t wait to see what Mommy has in mind… I have a feeling we’ll be working on ground poles a lot more these days… Oh well, we have to start somewhere!

Catch y’all later!

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

Work hard, earn the reward…

It’s been a week of hard workouts, and I’ve been doing my best, because I want to get the reward that I was promised.

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Of course, there have been times when I’ve gotten a bit silly, and I couldn’t help but misbehave…

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But I think Mommy understands, because she forgave me. She knows that I just have a hard time containing myself sometimes, especially when poles are involved! And yes, those were supposed to be ground poles…

We even took a long walk after our workout today; I was nervous, walking so far away from all of my friends, but I just paid attention to Mommy and acted as brave as I could.

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And you know, it was pretty nice, after all. It wasn’t even all that scary. Too bad we didn’t have time to stop and graze for a while.

I still get to go into my paddock during the days, though, and I love it. I’ve missed getting to eat grass all day, every day.

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Anyway, if all goes as planned, I’ll be receiving my reward tomorrow during our workout.

Do you have any guesses as to what it might be?

I’ll give you a hint: Mommy said she might just buy me marshmallows…

I bet you know. But if you don’t know, tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you!

Catch y’all later!

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

Earning my keep

That’s right, friends: yesterday, Daddy told me that I have to start earning my keep. That means I don’t get any more long vacations (not that staying in my stall is a vacation, but you know what I mean), and I can’t afford to have any more injuries EVER AGAIN. I have to train hard, get in shape, start competing and prove to the world that the underdog can win.

Mommy and I had another great workout today. There was a lot of noise, because some construction is going on near the arena. I was a little tense at first, but Mommy asked me to walk over to where the noises were and take a look for myself. When I saw that it was humans making the noises, I knew it was nothing to worry about.

Hmmm... I'm not so sure about all this racket...

Hmmm… I’m not so sure about all this racket…

After I got a good look at them, I went about my job without many more distractions.

Well, I did get a little excited at one point and take off bucking… but we don’t need to go into details about that.

We worked on some shoulder-in and haunches-in exercises, but Mommy wouldn’t let me do any flying lead changes. I got a little excited and anticipated them (and by that, I mean I tried to run faster and rush into one, when she wasn’t even asking me to), so we didn’t get to do a single one. I just want so badly to be back in shape and doing all the things I was doing before I got hurt. I want to jump again!!

We worked for about twenty minutes, and then we went for a little walk in the grass. There are a lot of improvements happening at the barn, so there’s a lot to look at.

Look at all this grass!

Look at all this grass!

Although we didn’t work for long, the workout was a tough one. Afterward, Mommy gave me a shower and then a liniment bath; I hate liniment, as I’m sure you’ll remember, so I was not happy about that. I danced and pawed in the wash-racks, just to make sure she knew it, too.

But, being the kind and all-knowing Mommy that she is, she took me down to the round pen to let me roll in the sand and itch my tingly body! It felt great! I even met a couple really cool kids who gave me treats and kisses!

I can’t wait to work again tomorrow! I’ll let you know how it goes. But in the meantime, my Mommy drew this cool picture for Daddy, because both of my humans love me so much that they can’t stop thinking about me and how perfect I am, even in the middle of the night when they should be sleeping. (*Ahem…* Mommy, I know you’re reading this… Go to sleep!)

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Yup, that’s me!

And that’s about all I have to say for tonight. Catch y’all later!

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

Working man, take three (or: Let’s try this again)

Friends, this was quite possibly one of the best days of my life.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the day that I jumped five feet for the first time, but it’s up there.

Why, you ask?

What happened today, you ask?

Today, Mommy and I were officially “back to work!”

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We were supposed to work yesterday, but when Mommy and Daddy got to the barn in the morning, it was pouring down rain. So Mommy and I didn’t get to ride yesterday, but I did get to be silly in the round pen. I was so excited not to be lame anymore that I galloped and bucked and jumped and kicked and squealed! It was fantastic! The only thing better would have been working under saddle, which I got to do today!

And it was GREAT!

We warmed up slowly with lots of walking breaks (and, of course, lots of breaks to go see Daddy, who had a TON of treats in his pockets). Mommy wanted me to take my time and stretch out because it’s been so long since I was under saddle. I was so excited to work, though, that I held myself in a frame without Mommy even asking me to!

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We worked on some lateral movements, like “leg yields,” and I tried my best, even though I was out of practice. It comes back pretty easily, though… some humans say that it’s “just like riding a horse!”

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By the time we were ready to canter, my muscles were loose and warmed up, and I felt like a million BUCKS! Mommy had to half-halt multiple times to slow me down, and I tried my best to listen… but I had SO much energy, that I couldn’t help speeding back up now and then!

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We worked through it, though, and Mommy even let me do a few flying lead changes across the diagonal!

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After a little while, Daddy suggested that Mommy let me stretch out at a hand gallop, and do what we like to call “GO GO.” (That’s where Mommy asks me to collect my canter, and then allows me to move up into a hand gallop, cueing me by saying… yes, you guessed it: “Go, go Icchy!”)

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I could tell Mommy was enjoying herself, because she was laughing out loud. I have to say, though, I was pretty happy as well!

So happy, in fact, that I got a little carried away… and when Mommy asked me to collect again, I sped up and started bucking!

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Mommy had been expecting that, though. When Daddy suggested we “Go go,” Mommy even said to him, “He’s going to get carried away and start bucking! I just know it!” And sure enough, she was right.

Mommy pointed me straight at the fence, and I stopped.

The rest of the ride, we worked on collecting and staying collected, because after that, I only wanted to EXTEND!

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Eventually, we worked it out. I came back to her, we collected and then extended, and all was once again well in the arena.

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So, even though I got a little carried away now and then, we had a great ride overall. Mommy gave me lots of praise… and Daddy gave me lots of treats!

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After Mommy and I were completely finished with our workout, Daddy led me up the hill and untacked me in the round pen. At first, I was nervous that they were going to chase me around and make me work again, but then I remembered that Mommy and Daddy would never do something like that.

When I realized that they put me in there so I could stretch and roll after my first hard workout in almost a month, I was so happy! I was exhausted and sweaty, and there was nothing in the world that sounded better than a good roll in the scratchy sand!

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I stretched and walked around for another fifteen minutes or so, and then Daddy brought me up to the barn for a shower, some fly spray, some more treats and LOTS of hay! It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

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Now that I’ve told y’all about my amazing day… I want to take a moment to give a shout out to my friend Bruce and his Mommy, Marlena, and my friend Troy and his Mommy, Kate. Bruce and Troy are two of my best friends in the whole world, and they’ve been away at a big competition this weekend. I can’t wait to see them again and hear about how well they did!

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Alright, friends. That’s about all I have to say for today. I hope that everyone is having a great weekend. Catch y’all tomorrow!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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.

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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.

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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

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