Posts Tagged With: Grand Prix jumping

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

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.

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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

Redeemed and the Rattlesnake

It has been a pretty exciting week, friends – starting with last weekend!

So, do you remember in my last blog post, when I confessed that I had behaved rather poorly in my workout? And I said that I would just behave if I were to do my workout over again (so that I wouldn’t have to work on a circle forever and ever and ever)?

Well, because my Mommy is so loving and forgiving and redeeming, (are you reading this, Mommy?) in her infinite wisdom (don’t forget to bring the carrots!) she decided to give me another chance to prove that my mind was in the game the very next day, just like I had hoped for! We went down to the lower arena where my new friends were waiting in their field, just on the other side of the arena wall – egging me on and calling me over to hang out with them – and I was able to prove to Mommy that I was going to pay attention only to her and not to anything else! I gave my friends a brief hello and a quick apology for not being able to go out and play… and then I got right down to work.

It turns out that Mommy had a wonderful, fun-filled workout planned for us – as long as I behaved better than I had the day before.

And what was that “surprise” workout plan, you ask?

JUMPING! What else?! Of course, I did behave better than I had the day before because in my own infinite wisdom, I knew that Mommy had been wanting to jump again… and, knowing exactly how my Mommy thinks, I knew that she would use this learning experience as a chance to “reward” me with my favorite thing in the world! (Well, next to marshmallows, that is…) Anyway, her plan worked. Good plan, Mommy.

Okay, lets get to the even more exciting part: Mommy and I saw a rattlesnake!

After Mommy had hopped down off my back and we were leaving the arena, I heard a sound that I’d never heard before in my entire life – but one that was completely unmistakeable. The eerie, hissing, rattling sound of a rattlesnake!  Before Mommy had even realized what the sound was, I turned on my heels and I was OUTTA THERE! I did not need to stop and look at it. I already knew what it would look like – even though I’d never seen one – and I was pretty sure it looked like this:

Raaawwwwrrr! Hiiiissssss! I will eat you in one big bite!!!

Raaawwwwrrr! Hiiiissssss! I will eat you in one big bite!!!

After I broke free from Mommy’s grasp, I ran around to the other side of the arena before getting tangled up in my reins (don’t worry; I didn’t step on them and they didn’t break – they only hindered my escape!) and then Mommy came and got me. She made me walk back over to where the snake was (again, don’t worry; we didn’t get very close that time) and we both got a brief glimpse of what it looked like. I was right! It looked just like that photo, but a hundred times bigger and scarier and meaner and angrier! But the scariest part was that Princess, my kitty friend who likes to take naps in Mommy’s lap while she’s on my back, was sitting in the grass stalking the rattlesnake! I couldn’t take it. I bolted again – and that time, I almost took Mommy’s arm with me!

Mommy caught up to me just as I stepped through my reins again, and at that moment a woman came running out from the barn asking if Mommy and I were okay. Aside from me having almost ripped Mommy’s arm completely off of her body (sorry, Mommy… I didn’t mean to!), we were fine. Mommy told the lady that there was “a rattler over there” and that Princess was staring at it, about to get eaten in one single gulp. (Okay, maybe I added that last part in myself. But that was the gist of it.) The lady grabbed a couple rocks and threw them toward Princess to scare her away before running to alert the media that the biggest, scariest rattlesnake in existence was currently hissing and rattling right next to the arena!

The end result?

The rattlesnake was beheaded with a machete.

Boy, it sure was exciting! Not that I saw the beheading or anything. I’m not sure I could have handled that, to be honest with y’all.

Anyway, after we’d gone through our routine of cooling out, taking a shower, getting liniment on my legs, eating grass while drying off, getting groomed and then eating my grain mash, Mommy headed home… and I decided to have a nice, long roll in my shavings. There’s really nothing like a good roll to relax a horse after a hard workout and an exciting, near-death experience with a rattlesnake.

To my great embarrassment, however – and I was only embarrassed because my Aunt Bonnie and our friend, Shelley, were there watching me – I rolled a little too close to the side of my stall and got my right hind shoe stuck on the wire mesh. Trying my best to act nonchalant as I attempted to get up, I pulled as hard as I could and yanked the shoe right off! I didn’t hurt myself, though, and I only broke off a little piece of my hoof. I buried the shoe deep in the shavings so that Mommy wouldn’t see it, because I did not want to tell her what I had done. If Mommy asked me where my shoe was (because I knew she would see right away that I had lost one when she came back in the evening), I planned on playing dumb and telling her that I had no idea what happened or where it could have “fallen” off.

Well, as it turns out, I didn’t get off the hook that easily because my Aunt Bonnie told Mommy all about the incident!  But Mommy wasn’t mad; she just wanted to find my shoe so that I didn’t step on it and get a nail through my hoof. (And, Aunt Bonnie, if you’re reading this – don’t worry. I’m not mad at you for telling on me! I still love you very much. Just keep those treats coming and you can tell on me all you want!)

In the end, though, I guess it was actually a good thing that Aunt Bonnie told Mommy what happened, because Mommy new exactly where to look for my shoe and quickly found it where I’d hidden it.

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Mommy called my new friend, Tim the Horseshoer, and he came out in an incredibly timely manner to put my shoe back on. (Mommy called him on Sunday and he was there on Monday evening!) He even put some acrylic filler in the spot where I broke a little of my hoof wall off, which was pretty cool. He filled in the spot with wet acrylic stuff, let the acrylic dry and then sanded it down so that it looks and acts just like my actual hoof! If you don’t know it’s there, you can’t even tell.

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He’s a nice guy and he really treats me very well. I tried to be on my best behavior, and I wasn’t nervous with him at all because I can tell that he really loves me and cares about my well-being. He works with lots of Thoroughbreds and some really famous horses, too, so I know that he’s the perfect farrier for me! He told Mommy that he wanted to see me out there competing in the jumpers arena, and I seconded that wholeheartedly!

I only had my shoe off for about two days, but I was very happy to get it back on again because I wasn’t allowed to work while I was missing a shoe! And having two days off in a row is like torture when you have as much energy as I do! Although I have to give Mommy a lot of credit; even though she wouldn’t let me run around in the arena or anything like that, she made sure that I got out to graze for multiple hours each day. One morning, she was there for almost 5 hours! She and I got to watch the sunrise while I grazed, which was really beautiful.

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And, of course, my friend Olive hung out with us for a long time.

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Princess even came to hang out with us for a while, too!

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I really love having so many friends here in California.

Anyway, the morning after I got my shoe back on, Mommy came to the barn and turned me out in the arena. She said that I had been very well behaved the past two days, but that she knew how much energy I had – so she was going to give me to opportunity to get it all out in any way that I wanted to, instead of riding me and making me get right back to work.

I thought that was very nice of her.

So, how did I choose to expel my energy, you might ask?

I danced! I jumped and I spun and I kicked up my heels!

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I imagined that I was at one of Daddy’s rock-and-roll concerts and I jumped right into the “mosh pit!”

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I showed off how fancy I can be, just to hear Mommy tell me that I’m gorgeous!

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I ran and galloped and pretended that I was a racehorse again!

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And, of course, I paid homage to the mountains and the clouds, because they were watching my every dance move (and cheering me on)!

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Well, since then, it’s been work as usual… But that’s not so bad – I love working! I feel like I’m getting into better and better shape every day, which is a really good thing because Mommy and I need to get back to jumping five feet as soon as we can! I miss it, so I know she must miss it, too.

Anyway, friends, I think that’s about all I have to report today. I’ll have Mommy take some more photos of Robin and her baby soon so that you can see how much the little filly is growing. She sure is a cutie – and so is her Mama!

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And on that note, I’ll catch y’all later…

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | 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

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

Dressage for Jumping!

Friends, I know a lot of you Jumpers out there might thoroughly dislike Dressage. Trust me, I understand; it can be infuriating and sometimes, we just can’t understand why our humans make us do the silly things they make us do.

But you should know that it’s about more than just dancing and looking pretty. If you’re a Jumper and your human is making you do Dressage, well… they’re doing it for your own good.

I know, I know; right now, you think I’m crazy. How can Dressage be for your own good, when all you want to do is run fast and jump high?!

Well, you see, Dressage is meant to help you become instantly responsive to even the most subtle cues of the hand, seat and leg; the goal, as a human, is to ask you once, and have you respond immediately – and then hold it (whatever the command is that they asked you for) until they tell you to do something else.

The better you are at Dressage, the easier you and your human will be able to communicate in the Jumping Arena!

For instance, here is a video of me practicing a “Haunches In,” and then a “Shoulder In.”

Now, I’m not the best at either – and I’m better at the Shoulder In than the Haunches In. However,  I can do both effectively; when I’m finished, though, I have a good reminder in my head of the subtle difference in cues between my rider’s leg, hand, and seat.

Subsequently, when we jumped the next day, I was listening more carefully to my Mommy’s aides – and we had a really, REALLY great day!

In fact, we had such a great day, that we jumped the TOP HOLE of FIVE FOOT standards! It was fantastic!

So, if your human starts asking you to do Dressage as a Jumper, don’t despair – it might actually mean that you’re going to be better at jumping because of it!

However, if they tell you you’re going to start doing Dressage instead of jumping… well, if that happens, call me immediately!!!

For now, I’m off to eat some grass with my two best friends, Troy and William. Catch y’all later!

Jumping the top hole of five foot standards!

Jumping the top hole of five foot standards!

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

Natural Horsemanship, part 2: Age Appropriate Training Programs

In my last post, I spoke a little about my time as a racehorse – and about being lucky enough to receive a second chance when that career ended.

After leaving the racetrack, I had the great pleasure of living at Phyllis Dawson’s farm for a while, where I was allowed to be a baby for six months before beginning some light training as a “future jumping prospect.” When Ms. Phyllis decided that I was well-rested and ready to find a permanent home, I moved to Long Island, New York, to live with my “forever humans” – who you will know as “my Mommy and Daddy.”

At the time, I was only 3 and a half years old, which was still far too young to do any serious work under saddle. And, although you may think it’s because I am naturally very small, it actually goes for horses of any size and breed: no 3 and a half year old horse is old enough or physically mature enough to be ridden a lot, no matter what they look like, how big they already are… or how mentally mature they might seem. 

As I explained before, small horses (like me) don’t become physically mature until they’re around 5 and a half or 6 years old – while larger horses, like Warmbloods, continue to mature physically until they are 7 or 8 years old. But the same principles still apply: if you ride a horse too much while they are so young, you will interfere with the development of their bones (especially their spine, since it’s the last part of the skeleton to mature), as well as causing serious conformational problems and damaging ligaments, tendons, and joints.

With this in mind, my Mommy and Daddy developed a training program that was appropriate for my age and maturity level. The training program continued to grow and evolve as I continued to grow, and will undoubtedly do so for the rest of my life!

Age Appropriate Training at 3 and a half

At my first home in New York

In New York, age 3 and a half

Although it’s important not to work too hard under saddle when you’re just a baby, it’s also important to get exercise and start building up your strength and stamina. Having strong muscles (but not muscles that are over-tired) will help to support the growth of strong bones, as well. My humans kept that in mind when they developed a training program for my cute little 3 and a half year old self.

The training program was comprised of the following rules:

  1. No more than 4 days of work per week, total.
  2. No more than 2 consecutive days of workouts before having a day off to rest. (Turnout and hand-walking are acceptable on days off.)
  3. No more than 2 days per week of “under saddle” workouts, and never consecutively.
  4. Under saddle workouts should be light, keeping as much weight off my back as possible.
  5. Day off after being ridden.
  6. Free-lunging (or letting me walk, trot and canter on my own in a large, open space – like an enclosed arena) at least once per week – but more, if possible.
  7. Long-lining (not lunging, as lunging makes us work off-balance) no more than once per week, as small, repetitive circles can also cause damage to the joints.
  8. Light jumping over SMALL jumps (no bigger than 2 feet high) no more than once per month as a reward, and only during a light workout week.
  9. Free-jumping no more than once per month, and no higher than 3 feet.
  10. Day off after jumping, whether free-jumping or under saddle.
  11. Turn out as much as possible in a controlled environment, without too much extra room to run and hurt myself.

During this time, I learned things like moving away from pressure, moving off of the leg (leg yields, turn-on-the-haunches and turn-on-the-forehand), responding to my rider’s seat and hand, picking up the correct leads, stopping with as little pressure on the reins as possible… things like that. Believe it or not, a lot of those things can be taught from the ground! Subsequently, we did a great deal of groundwork, and – of course – we joined up as much as possible.

Age Appropriate Training at 4 and a half

The "jumping hackamore"

In Miami, age 4 and a half

Now, because the difference in age wasn’t that great, the training program didn’t change very much by the time I was 4 years old. However, since my muscle strength and stamina were increasing, Mommy did  make a few small changes to the rules by the time I was 4 and a half years old.

So, all of the rules stayed the same, except for the following changes:

  1. No more than 5 days per week of work, total.
  2. No more than 3 of those days under saddle, and no more than 2 consecutively.
  3. No more than 3 consecutive days of work before a day off. (It was usually 3 days on, one day off, 2 days on, one day off… and so on.)
  4. Jumping no more than twice per month, and no higher than 3 feet.
  5. Lots of exercises over ground poles.

By the time I was 4 years old, I was very good at doing flying lead changes, counter-cantering, collecting and extending at each gate, and I could even hold myself in a proper frame.

Age Appropriate Training at 5 years

At the age of 5, I was well on my way to being full grown – though not yet completely. My muscles were very strong and I never felt over-worked; I had reached my maximum height, and my bones had almost finished growing in density, as well. Pretty much the only thing left to finish growing was my spine, so my workout schedule didn’t change that much.

It consisted of the following rules:

  1. No more than 5 days of work per week, total.
  2. No more than 3 consecutive days of workouts before having a day off to rest. (Usually 3 days on, one day off, 3 days on, one day off, etc.)
  3. No more than 4 days per week of “under saddle” workouts.
  4. Long-lining (not lunging) no more than twice per week.
  5. Jumping no bigger than 3’3 feet high, no more than three times per month.
  6. Day off or long-lining after jumping.
  7. Turn out as much as possible in a controlled environment.

Age Appropriate Training at 5 and a half

Age 5 and a half, jumping like a pro!

Age 5 and a half, jumping like a pro!

When I was just a little more than 5 and a half years old, my Mommy and Daddy got the good news from the vet that my body was fully physically mature. Mommy knew that this meant we could start working out harder and jumping higher – but being as cautious as she is, she still wanted to take things slowly. She always says, “You’re going to be with me for the rest of your life, Icchy. Why would I want to rush anything?”

So, at 5 and a half, my training schedule consisted of these rules, which weren’t all that different from the last set of rules:

  1. No more than 4 consecutive days of workouts before having a day off to rest. (Usually 4 days on, one day off, 3 days on, one day off, etc.)
  2. No more than 5 days per week of “under saddle” workouts.
  3. Long-lining (not lunging) no more than twice per week.
  4. Jumping no more than once per week.
  5. Day off after a hard jumping day; light ride after a light jumping day.
  6. Turn out as much as possible in a controlled environment.

Now, the great thing about being full grown was that I got to try out new things… like going for record high jumps every couple months! I jumped 4’6 for the first time in December of last year, and then I jumped FIVE FEET in February, a month before I celebrated my 6th birthday!

Age Appropriate Training at 6 years

Age 6, rockin' like a rock star!

Age 6, rockin’ like a rock star!

Now that I’m 6 years old, I get to work a lot more and a lot harder. I get to jump twice per week sometimes, as long as one of the jumping days is very light. I get to jump bigger jumps on a more regular basis. But you know what? I still don’t work more than 4 consecutive days in a row before having a day off, except on very rare occasions.

Now, you might wonder why that is, right? I mean, if I’m 6 years old, finished growing, and have big, strong muscles – why can’t I just work 6 days in a row every week? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because my Mommy and Daddy don’t want me to get something called Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease.

You see, Osteoarthritis can happen to a horse of any age, no matter how old or young. If my workouts become too repetitive, or I’m not given enough time off to let my joints repair themselves… I’ll basically fall apart!

Here, allow me to explain in better detail…

Osteoarthritis

Now, I know I’ve talked before about degenerative joint disease, which is unfortunately pretty common among equine athletes of all ages… but I really want to talk about it again, because it is so common – and so easy to prevent!

Osteoarthritis (OA) is basically a term used to describe a series of changes inside of the joints, and it is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), which can easily lead to Bone Spurs… or worse.

Basically, DJD is a breakdown of the cartilage inside joints. The cartilage is the stuff the sits in the middle of the joint, allowing the bones to move freely without scraping against each other. It also helps to evenly spread out the force that is exerted on the joint.

The breaking-down of this cartilage can be caused by too much hard work, training on hard surfaces (or even on surfaces that are too soft), trauma to the joint, infection in the joint, poor hoof care, or poor nutrition – all things that can be prevented! (However, it can also be caused by some things that cannot be prevented, like being born with poor conformation or certain deformities.)

Anyway, when a horse (or even a human!) works out too hard without resting their muscles and joints, the cartilage inside the joint becomes inflamed, and doesn’t get proper nourishment or lubrication.

When the cartilage doesn’t get proper nourishment or lubrication – and it cannot effectively repair itself (like with rest and lots of walking) – it begins to thin.

If the cartilage continues to thin, it will eventually dry up and disappear completely.

If the cartilage disappears, the joint will no longer have any lubrication, and then you will basically have bone scraping against bone.

When that happens, it becomes very easy for Bone Spurs to develop.

Now, Bone Spurs can be a couple different things. First, they can be the sharp, bony projections inside the margin of the joint, which you can see in x-rays – and those ones are referred to by vets as “osteophytes.” As I said above, those develop when the cartilage of the joint wears out or thins. Bone Spurs can also be “enthesiophytes,” which is just another fancy term for the bony projections when they’re at the attachment of a tendon or ligament. Either way, Bone Spurs are bony projections, and they’re a symptom of damage… which is caused by any number of the things I listed before.

It’s actually a lot more complicated than all that, but I think you get the general idea. If you’re worked too hard at any age, and you’re not given enough time off, your joints are going to break down until you’re not able to work anymore.

And that’s all, folks!

Okay, there’s actually a lot more I want to talk about… like stone bruises and abscesses and the reason my Mommy long-lines me, instead of lunging me… But I’ll leave all of that for another day. This was a lot of information for you to take in again, I know; I hope that it has given you much more to think about! And I hope you’ll be able to communicate these things to your humans, so that you can have a happy life and an effective workout schedule!

So, on that note… I guess I’ll catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Natural Horsemanship, Part 1: Why Age Matters

Friends, today I’d like to talk to you about something that is very important to me: I want to tell you about the way my Mommy and Daddy have trained me, using what they call “Natural Horsemanship.”

Now, although there are many different ways to practice “Natural Horsemanship” (and many different extremes), the main idea involves a few very simple principles:

1. Humans learn “our language” in order to better communicate with us, and they ask us (instead of telling us) what they’d like us to do.
2. They never use pain of any kind as a training aide; they reject abusive methods and use LOVE and PATIENCE as their main training aides.
3. They take into account the physical development of our bodies (as well as the psychological development of our minds) in order to develop a training program that fits our needs.

Those of you who have followed along with my training from the beginning likely know most of my story, already… but my goal is to educate all of my four legged friends, so you can share this knowledge with your humans and create a better relationship with them. Because I’ve seen a lot of things in my young life – a lot of different so-called “training methods” used on my friends by other humans – and I have to say, Natural Horsemanship is the way to go.

So, I guess I’ll begin at the beginning.

My Career in Racing

I was born in Kentucky at a racing stable, and started under saddle way too young at only a year and a half. One thing many people don’t know about the Thoroughbred racing industry is that, as racehorses, we’re officially considered “a year old” on January 1st of the year following our birth, regardless of how old we really are. So, even though I was born on March 15, 2007, I became “one year old” on January 1, 2008. Why, you might ask? It makes it easier to group the racehorses by “age.”

As you can probably tell, the racing industry does not have the well-being of the horses in mind. (And if you don’t know why I say that, well… I’ll explain in a minute or two.)

Anyway, I was lucky enough not to get injured, which is VERY easy to do as a racehorse – because a horse galloping at race speed will place three times its body weight as force on the lower limb. I was also lucky enough to have run only two races – the first one in January of 2010, and the second in March of the same year. Being that I hated racing (partly because I was much too young to have any kind of a work ethic, and partly because I was always sore from working too hard for my age) I lost both races… and that was where my racing career ended.

For many racehorses, this is a fate worse than death. For many racehorses, failure on the track means being sent to auction, or worse: being sent to slaughter. But that’s another story for another day…

Rescued from the Racetrack

When my short career in racing ended, I was lucky enough to be rescued by a woman named Phyllis Dawson, who took me to her beautiful farm in Virginia, where I was put out to pasture with other horses my age and allowed to be a baby for an entire six months. Ms. Phyllis knew that I needed time to be a baby and rest my tired bones; she knew that I had worked far too hard for my young age, and that I needed time to rest and play, and to let my bones and muscles recover without having to carry the weight of a human.

It wasn’t until six months after being put out to pasture that I began doing some light work under saddle, when I was just a little older than 3 and a half. I didn’t do too much work – only a couple rides each week, and only very light rides each time.  I was happy, and realized that I had been given the kind of second chance that many horses never get. I was lucky to have fallen into the hands of people who understood what I needed, and who would see to it that I made it to the best possible home.

Physical and Mental Maturity in Horses

So, going back to what I said about the racing industry not taking into account the well being of the equine athletes: most of you probably already know that, as horses, we are not even close to being physically or mentally mature at the age of two! In fact, no horse in the history of existence has ever been fully physically mature before the age of five and a half and that is only the small horses! The bigger the horse, the longer it takes to become physically mature – and male horses take about six months longer to mature than female horses.

As an example, any of you Warmbloods out there – you’re naturally bigger and taller than the petite little 15.2 hand high Thoroughbreds, like me – so you won’t be physically mature until you’re at least 7 or 8 years old! Mental maturity is different for everyone, too; I know that I’m physically mature, but my humans tell me all the time that I still think and act like a baby!

Anyway, as we all know, there’s much more to “growing up” than actually growing upwards; by the time we are finished growing to our maximum height, our bones still have to grow in density – and the last part of our bodies to mature is the spine.

What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

There are a lot of different things that can happen to a young horse who is worked too hard, too soon. As I said before, racehorses who run at race speed place three times their own body weight as force on their lower limbs – so you can imagine how easy it would be for a two year old to injure themselves while running, or to develop long-term injuries and lameness. And that’s not even taking into account the other many dangers of racing, like tripping, getting trampled or kicked by other horses… things like that. It’s a scary business, and I never liked it.

But if horses are worked too much when they’re not yet physically mature – especially if the work involves carrying a human on their back – they can develop serious conformational problems like lordosis (another word for “swayback”), scoliosis, arthritis, and serious damage to tendons, ligaments… and joints (which I will explain in more detail tomorrow).

The bottom line is that horses should never be worked harder than is appropriate for their age and maturity level.

To Be Continued…

Okay, I know that this was a lot of information to take in at one time, so I’ll end it there for now… But I still have a lot more to say! 

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the training program that my humans have come up with for me, which has continually evolved over the past two and a half years, in order to fit my age, physical and mental maturity.

For now, friends, I hope that this has given you a lot to think about! I’m off to eat some grass with my friends, Troy and William; stay cool, and I’ll catch y’all tomorrow!

Catch y'all tomorrow!

Catch y’all tomorrow!

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

An evening of jumping

I know you must think that I say this a lot… but today was amazing!

Despite the fact that today was the first day in a long time that I didn’t see either my Mommy or my Daddy in the morning (which made me very sad at the time), it turned out to be one of the best days ever!

I had already had my dinner and was eating grass in the paddock with one of my best friends, William, when Mommy and Daddy showed up. I was thrilled to see them; I couldn’t wait to find out what we were going to do for our workout. I had a growing suspicion that it would involve jumps, since there was a new course of show jumps in the arena!

You see, on Saturday, my barn will be hosting a mini-event – a competition with dressage, cross-country and show jumping. So, in preparation, the old practice jumps were taken out of the arena and replaced with the bright, colorful show jumps! Although I won’t be competing in the event, I was excited to try out the jumps.

Sure enough, I was right; Mommy told me that she planned on jumping with me today! We had a nice, slow warm-up on the flat, working on lead changes and rollbacks. I did amazingly, if I do say so myself. Not that I’m arrogant or anything; I’m just really good at what I do. Plus, I was trying to be on my best behavior; jumping is an extra-special treat for me, since I’m only allowed to jump twice each week at the very most. And I knew that if I was really well behaved, Mommy would let me jump BIG, which is an even more extra-special treat, because I’m only allowed to jump big 2 or 3 times each month.

You know Mommy and her rules… right? I wasn’t allowed to jump more than once every 10 days or so until I was fully grown at 5 and a half. I also wasn’t allowed to jump higher than 3 feet until I was full grown, and 3 feet is tiny to me! I wasn’t allowed to work more than 2 or 3 days in a row before getting a day off, though now I’m allowed to work 4 days in a row before having a day off… and occasionally I will get to work more days in a row than that, but only if I’ve had a very light week. It’s not that my Mommy is trying to keep me from having fun by limiting my jumping days; she’s actually just trying to keep me safe and healthy, because she doesn’t want me to develop DJD, or degenerative joint disease. She knows that it’s easy for a hardworking young horse like me to get DJD if I don’t have enough time to rest!

Anyway, we had an amazing ride… and I even got to jump a course of jumps, with the highest jump set to four feet and nine inches! That’s just shy of my record height, which was five feet! The other jumps were anywhere from 3’6 to 4’3. It was so much fun! I made sure to jump extra big so that Mommy would know how much fun I was having!

Here, do you want to watch a video of our ride? Check this out:

Pretty cool, right? Yeah… I sure do love my life.

Mommy said that, tomorrow, she’s going to let me have an easy, light workout, without her on my back. Now, that normally means that she is going to long-line me… but seeing as how our new barn has a round pen, it could also mean free-lunging this time. I’ll be sure to let you know, either way!

For now, I’m going to go find a soft patch of grass and catch some sleep underneath the stars. Catch y’all later…

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

The good, the bad and the jumping!

Today was an amazing day; I had so much fun! I was on my absolute best behavior… especially because I was a little bit naughty yesterday.

You see, when my Mommy got to the barn in the early afternoon yesterday, I’d been in the middle of the nap – and the last thing I felt like doing was working. My Mommy even said that she could tell I didn’t want to work, and she would do her best to let me have an easy workout… as long as I did the same.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Just be on your best behavior, and you’ll get to be done quickly!” Right? And normally I know that, but I took the complete wrong approach; I tried to rush through my workout – and I got a little carried away.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; I tried to be good, in the beginning.

Trying so hard...

Trying so hard…

But after ten minutes or so, I wanted to be finished… and that’s when I began trying to rush through the rest of it. So, instead of being done quickly, I had to work longer and harder than either of us had wanted to. But, believe me, I protested. I bucked. I spun. I even reared up once, but the tone of Mommy’s voice told me that I’d better not try that one again…

Finally, I unclenched my teeth from around the bit, took a deep breath (and so did Mommy), and I decided to stop rebelling against the idea of working. What’s done was done, and I knew that all I could do at that point was behave, and get through the rest of the workout. Mommy was frustrated, I was frustrated… It was a moot workout by that point, because all we ended up working on was staying slow and collected; the entire plan had gone out the window, the minute I decided to be ornery.

Anyway, we worked through it and ended up finishing well. By that time, we were both tired, frustrated and disappointed – so Mommy gave me a shower and let me graze a little, and then she put me back into my stall for the rest of the day.

The weather called for intermittent rain and thunder storms all night, so Mommy said I had to stay in my stall for the night, too. I was a little upset about it, especially after being in all day, but I knew she was only trying to keep me safe. I do hate the rain, and the thought of staying outside all night in the rain was not appealing!

To my surprise, Mommy and Daddy came back again later in the night, a little before the sun went down. They took me out of my stall, groomed on me, and let me walk around and graze for a while. Mommy said she knew that I would be feeling restless and stiff – and she was right. I love how well she knows me, and I love that my humans always makes sure to do the right thing for me.

Hanging out and walking with my Daddy.

Hanging out and walking with my Daddy.

It had been raining for a while before Mommy and Daddy got there, and it stopped long enough for us to have a little time outside. When the rain stopped, though, we saw the most beautiful rainbow. It was glorious… even though I don’t see colors in the same way that humans do. It was still an incredible sight to see!

IMG_9447

Wow… Look at that! Nature sure is amazing…

I felt a lot better after getting to walk around and eat grass for a while. So, when Mommy and Daddy picked my feet and put me in my stall for the night, I was no longer upset about staying in… especially because it began to rain again, just as they were leaving!

Today, I made sure to get my nap in early this morning, so I would be fresh and ready to work when they arrived. Sure enough, I was well rested and we had a fantastic workout!

Mommy let me walk for a long time once we got down the hill to the jumping arena; we warmed up slow and stretched out for a while, because she knew that I was somewhat stiff from standing in my stall for so long. We had a long, stretchy flat workout with lots of walking breaks and a few flying lead changes in each direction. As we warmed up, Daddy was setting up the course; by the time he was finished, I was completely warmed up and my muscles felt nice and loose. So, Mommy and I warmed up over a few jumps, and then we jumped a course that was about 2’9 high. Mommy told me I did perfectly, and she asked Daddy to raise the jumps for us again.

Our next workout was a lot of fun; we changed the course a little and worked on doing rollbacks. It was fun and challenging, since the jumps ranged from 3’3 to 3’9, and the turns we took were pretty sharp! I knocked one or two of the poles down a couple times in a row, so Daddy gave Mommy and me some wise advice, and told us to try it again. We took his advice, and sure enough, we got it perfect that time! We make such a great team, the three of us! 

Flying with Mommy!

Flying with Mommy!

When we were finished with our workout, Mommy gave me a shower and let me graze for another half hour while I dried. By the time she put me back into my stall for the afternoon, I was already ready for another nap!

I was happy to find out that it isn’t supposed to rain tonight, so I’m spending another night under the stars with my friends.

Yep… I really love my life.

Catch y’all later!

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

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