Posts Tagged With: nostalgia

From New York to Florida…

You know, all this talk of moving to a new barn brings back a lot of memories. I’ve moved to a lot of new barns in my young life so far. Not that I mind; actually, I like it very much. I like meeting new horses and people and getting to experience new barns and arenas. From what I understand, that’s how my life will be when I’m showing on the Grand Prix circuit, too. I’m looking forward to it.

There was one barn in particular that it was hard for me to leave. It was the first time I had a real best friend… Do you remember when I told you about my best friend, Cooper? Well, I loved my best friend very much, and I remember distinctly the day that I had to leave him behind.

I knew that things were going to change; I had known it for a while, really. You see, my Daddy had already been gone for an entire month – the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing him – and Mommy had been packing things for weeks. There was practically nothing left in my tack box save the bare minimum. I had only lived at Cooper’s barn for about six months; the longest I’ve ever lived in one barn is the one I’m at now, with Leo lives. But after that, it was Cooper’s.

Anyway, on the day of my departure, I knew something was different: Mommy came to the barn and groomed me, then put me back in my stall – and just stayed there, waiting around. A little while later, this lady pulled up and parked on the street… She had a big truck and a huge horse trailer. I mean, in retrospect I guess it wasn’t that huge, but it was the biggest horse trailer I’d ever seen at that point in my life. She and Mommy struggled to get my tack box and grain onto the trailer (that tack box is metal and it’s heavy) and then they came back for me. I hesitated when I walked up to the trailer, before I stepped onto the ramp. I looked back at the barn and whinnied one last goodbye to all my friends, and then I walked into the trailer without looking back.

Mommy said goodbye to me, and she told me she would meet me in Florida. Then, as she was saying goodbye to the lady who was going to drive me to Florida, I heard the lady ask my Mommy if she was leaving immediately.

“I was going to leave early tomorrow morning,” my Mommy said.

“Well, I would suggest leaving no later than tonight,” the lady replied. “There’s a big snowstorm coming through, and you’re likely to get caught in it if you don’t hurry on up and get going!”

After that, I was very worried about my Mommy. She ended up driving all through the night – but she missed the snowstorm and made it to Florida in time to see me off the trailer at my new barn!

The lady who drove me had stopped several times along the way to pick up horses who were also moving to Florida. All of us got off the trailer at my latest home, and the rest of the bunch got to graze while I went to investigate my new stall. Well, I got to graze and stretch my legs for a while before that, but you know what I mean. Mommy and Daddy were both there, and a couple girls that I hadn’t met, who I knew must work at the barn. I was excited to see what the place looked like, but it was nighttime – so it was too dark to see much of it.

When I was all settled into my new home, the lady had to put the other horses back onto the trailer and be on her way. One by one, they all loaded up – and most of them without much of a fuss. But then she started to lead the last horse onto the trailer – and he began rearing and backing up very quickly, pulling the poor little lady with him as he did. He looked like he was terrified, and I remembered that he was the same horse who took a while to load when we picked him up from his home. It took the lady almost an hour to load him into the trailer… and then, when he was finally on, he started kicking – and he almost kicked the lady in the head! He backed up against the partition in the trailer – which the lady was trying quickly to close, so the horse could no longer escape – and the force of it threw her against the back wall.

When she finally got him on and latched in, the girls who worked at the new barn gave the lady calming drugs for the horse, which she fed to him. But before the drugs had time to calm him down, he began kicking again… only this time, he kicked so hard that he actually bent the metal of the trailer! He was very powerful… and very, very scared.

The poor guy cut his hoof very badly, and the lady ended up having to take him to a horse hospital nearby as soon as she left.

And all this time, I was just hanging out in my stall, sleepy after my long journey. But I did hope that he would be alright.

Needless to say, the barn in Florida was beautiful!

Everything is so green!

Everything is so green!

Although, it didn’t turn out to be so nice in the long run. But that’s a story for a different day! For now, I’m going to hit the shavings. I didn’t get to work today, since it rained all day… but being cooped up in the small paddocks still takes a lot out of a horse. So, I’m off to sleep. I’ll catch y’all tomorrow!

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

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…

Okay, there actually was sunshine today. Lots of it! I didn’t even have to wear my blanket for most of the day because it was so warm and sunny out. But I sure do miss my Mommy. Somehow, it makes me miss her even more when I know that she’s so near, but that I can’t see her.

Mommy, if you’re reading this, I hope you get better soon – because it really feels like there ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone.

When my Daddy took me out of my paddock today, I was skeptical and doubtful that he remembered what he promised me yesterday. I decided not to remind him; I wanted to see if he would remember on his own. Sure enough, he did! When he put my saddle pad on me, it really could have gone either way – because I almost always wear a saddle pad under my surcingle when I long line, too. But as soon as I saw him grab my saddle from the tack room, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. He remembered! And he was going to keep his promise!

Getting ready for a ride with my Daddy!

Getting ready for a ride with my Daddy! I love him so much! 

We had a great ride today. Daddy knows exactly what to do when he rides me because Mommy taught him how to ride, and she has taught him to be her assistant trainer when she’s gone (or sick). She began giving him riding lessons before they adopted me, but most of his training has actually been with me over the past two years. He and I have been learning together, and it’s been pretty wonderful the entire time.

Riding with my Daddy!

Riding with my Daddy!

Actually, that reminds me of a funny story…

Back when I was three years old, at my first barn in New York, my Mommy used to have to go away for a few days at a time on business trips for her job. Before my Daddy felt comfortable riding me on his own without my Mommy there, he used to have to come up with creative ways to get me exercise while he was in charge of my training. The first time my Mommy ever went away, my Daddy came up with a game that was meant to get me exercise and teach me ground manners at the same time. So, he would put my halter and lead rope on, and ask me to walk with him down the long side of the arena. In the corner of the arena, there was a tree; when we reached the tree, we would make a small circle around it and then walk back to where we began. After doing this a couple times, my Daddy would ask me to trot next to him, circle the tree at a trot, and trot back. Whenever I would get a little carried away (and I got carried away quite often), we would start the exercise over from a walk until I behaved perfectly. It makes me happy to think of how far my Daddy and I have come. It wasn’t long until he was riding me on his own… and now look at all we’re able to do together!

Anyway, after my workout today, Daddy gave me some carrots as a reward for being such a good boy.

Mmmm... Carrots!!

Mmmm… Carrots!!

He spoils me rotten! Just like Mommy taught him to. And I sure do love carrots!

Yum! I love carrots!

Yum! Keep those carrots coming

It was a great day with my Daddy… but I really do hope that my Mommy can come back soon to ride me. I miss her. All the sunshine in the world couldn’t possibly replace my Mommy.

Friends, do me a favor and keep your hooves crossed that my Mommy gets healthy soon and comes back to ride me! Thanks… I’ll catch y’all tomorrow!

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

A stroll down memory lane

Well, even though it’s chilly today, the sun is warm and I’ve been enjoying a mid-morning snooze in the field with my best friend, Leo. Sometimes he naps along with me, but usually he grazes nearby and keeps a lookout for any predators. (So far, we haven’t encountered any!)

That's me laying down, and my best friend Leo keeping watch nearby.

That’s me laying down, and my best friend Leo keeping watch nearby.

The warm sunshine, the crisp winter air, the little breeze that rustles the last of the leaves on the trees – this pleasant moment actually brings back another memory from my first home in New York, only a couple weeks after my humans adopted me.

The barn where I lived had a long driveway, and at the bottom of the driveway was the entrance to a big park with a lake in the middle. I often saw other horses and their humans walking around in the park, and I have to admit that I was more than just a little curious – but I was also nervous at the same time, because I had no idea what I would find in that park.

Well, on one particularly warm day, after most of the snow had melted from the latest snowstorm, my humans decided they wanted to take me for a walk in the park. Since they obviously understood me very well already, they knew that I would be nervous to walk alone, so my human Mommy tacked me up and got on my back, while my human Daddy walked next to us with a lead rope in his hand (just in case). My friends from my barn whinnied to me as I left, telling me to be careful and not to be gone too long.

It was a lot of fun to look around at the new sights and smell all of the new smells, especially because I could still see my barn behind me.

That is, until we turned a corner, and I realized that I could no longer see my barn, nor hear my friends.

I stopped dead in my tracks, listening as hard as I could, straining my ears to hear their whinnies. But I couldn’t hear them anymore. We were out of earshot, and out of sight. And suddenly, I felt like the trees around me were closing in, and… I panicked. I reared up and spun around, screaming as loud as I could, hoping that my friends could hear me, even though I couldn’t hear them. I completely forgot that both of my humans were there, and I threw a huge buck and tried to take off down the path, back toward my barn. But when I felt the tugging on my reins, pulling against the sweet-iron and copper snaffle bit inside my mouth, I remembered that there was a small human on my back, and another human standing next to me. I stopped and stood trembling, listening to my humans as they spoke softly to me, trying to comfort me. My human Daddy put his hand on my neck, and I felt the calm reassurance that was running through his veins, and it began to calm me down.

My human Mommy asked, “Icchy, do you think we can walk a little farther? We’re both here with you, and I really think that you’ll like the park, when you see a little more of it…”

I thought about it for a moment. I was still extremely tempted to bolt back to the barn, but decided that I would try to trudge on a bit longer, just for the sake of my humans who had always been very nice to me.

So, still trembling a little, I turned and continued walking down the trail. After a while, I began to calm down, but every little sound or rustle in the bushes made me jump a little.

Then, we turned another corner and came to a little stream that ran across our path. There was a bridge over the stream, but for some reason, my human asked me to walk in  the water, instead. I hesitated, knowing that the water would most likely be very cold. But my human Mommy kept urging me forward with her legs (annoyingly), until I finally gave in and put one foot into the stream. I was right: the water was freezing!! I jerked my foot back out, and heard both of my humans laugh. It didn’t sound like they were making fun of me, I think they just thought I was funny. So, taking this as a little bit of encouragement, I decided to try again.

This time, I took two steps forward so that both of my front feet were in the water. I waited for a moment, getting used to the chill of the rushing stream, and finally stepped all four of my feet in and stood for a moment. Both of my humans began gushing praise over me, patting me, kissing me, telling me what a “good baby horse” I was. And then (thankfully!) my human Mommy asked me to turn around and step out of the water.

Here I am, standing in the stream - just like my Mommy asked me to!

Here I am, standing in the stream – just like my Mommy asked me to!

I was pretty proud of myself, and when I realized that we were heading back toward home, I understood that the park could be a fun place to go with my humans. Hopefully someday I would be able to come out with some other horses – but for the time being, I was happy that both of my humans had decided to come with me.

Walking back toward my barn after my first experience in the park.

Walking back toward my barn after my first experience in the park.

Yeah, my humans and I have some pretty fun memories. I can’t believe it’s been two years since they adopted me. It feels like they’ve been mine forever.

My human Mommy told me earlier that we would be jumping later today. I’m so excited! You know how much I love to jump… It’s been about a week since the last time I jumped, and I can’t wait! I’m sure that I’ll have some time this evening to tell you all about it, while I’m eating my hay and waiting for my dinner grain. But for now, I think I’ll lay down and take another nap in the sunshine.

See y’all later…



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

Happy Beginnings

I’m a pretty happy horse. I have everything I could ever want, and then some. I get to do what I love, and I have humans who love me more than anything else in the world. All in all, I’d have to say my life is perfect.

My life wasn’t always this happy, though. I used to be a racehorse, and although I love running fast, I hated racing. All I could ever think about was jumping… and that’s probably why I didn’t win either of the two races I ran when I was just two and three years old. I’m one of the lucky ones, though, because a nice lady saw me and realized that I wasn’t made for racing. And, instead of sending me to the slaughter house, like so many other ex-racehorses, she took me to her farm in Virginia where I could rest my tired young bones, play with other baby horses my own age, and wait for the perfect human to come along and give me the life I always dreamed of – one where I could jump and play and be whoever I am.

After living in a nice, big pasture for six months with a bunch of other playful babies like me, the nice lady who took me in started talking about finding me a new home. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, or if I’d have to go back to running races, so I tried to behave the best I could and show the humans around me how much I loved to jump, in hopes that someone would adopt me who loved jumping, too.

Even though I was “up for adoption,” not a lot of people came to look at me. The other horses who were ready to find new homes had a lot of people trying them out, but they were all much bigger than I was, and they told me they’d lived their entire lives on that farm. Their dad was a famous horse who did eventing – whatever that meant – and sometimes they laughed and told me that I’d never find a human because I was too small, too scrawny, too skinny and too weak. I began to worry that no one would want me, and I’d have to go back to the track, after all.

Then, one day in the middle of winter when I was three years old, the lady who took me in said that someone was coming to look at me. She told me to be on my best behavior, because the person who was coming to visit saw my picture on a website and sounded very interested. So, even though my hair was long and shaggy, and my feet were a little sore from standing outside on the frozen ground with no shoes, I held my head up high and gave my best smile as I walked into the indoor arena where the new person was apparently waiting. When I walked in, I saw her getting off another horse, and my heart sank a little. But then I saw her smile, and I walked right up to her and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. She put her arms around my neck and said, “I’ve been waiting for you, you know.” That made me feel much better, and I couldn’t wait to show her all of the things I’d learned since I left the racetrack – especially how much I loved to jump.

The girl who came to look at me didn’t care that I was small, because she was small, too. She didn’t care that I was young and didn’t know much, because she said she wanted to teach me things “the right way,” and I guessed that meant that other people had done things wrong before. Which I agreed with, because I was forced to race when I didn’t like to race, and when I was too young to be doing such hard work. She told me that she loved jumping and wanted a horse who loved jumping, too, and I was so excited! After she let me warm up a little bit, she pointed me at a little jump in the middle of the arena, and I jumped over it as high as I could so she would know that I loved jumping, just like she did. She said that I left the ground “like an explosion,” which no one had ever said before, but she sounded so happy that I knew she meant it in a good way.

And then, she said something that no one had ever said before. “I don’t want to do too much, because I can tell that he’s a little foot-sore. But I’d like to put a deposit down on him, and pay for him to have shoes and a stall until he’s no longer sore, and then I’ll come back and ride him again before I take him home.” She got off my back and put her arms around my neck again. I did my best to hug her back, and I wished I could tell her that I loved her, and I couldn’t wait to start my new life with her. Since I didn’t have arms to hug her with, I gave her another kiss on the cheek, instead. She laughed and said, “It’s only our first date and you’re already kissing me? I knew I liked you!”

That night, for the first time in my life, I actually got to sleep in a nice, warm, cozy stall. I was so happy that the girl wanted me as much as I wanted her. I figured that I probably wouldn’t see her again for a couple weeks, until I had shoes on and my feet weren’t sore anymore – but she came back three or four times to see me and spend time with me, even though she couldn’t ride me! And then, for the first time in my life (again), a fairy-man came out and trimmed my toenails and put metal shoes on my feet. I never would have guessed that having metal nailed to my feet would feel good, but it actually felt great! I no longer winced every time I took a step on hard ground, because my feet didn’t even touch the ground anymore! And I felt like I was floating, not just because of the shoes, but because I knew that I was going to go home with the best human ever.

Kissing my new human on our first date

Kissing my new human on our first date

My new human came back again to ride me one more time, and she brought a new blanket, a new halter, a new bridle, some colorful leg wraps, some new brushes and a whole bunch of treats for me. She also brought a vet with her who checked me out and made sure I was healthy and didn’t have any problems or anything. I stood as tall and as proud as I could, just to make sure he gave me a good report card – but my new human was all smiles, so I wasn’t too worried.

Well, to make a long story shorter, my new human bought me and put me on a trailer, which took me to New York, where I started my new life as a “future Grand Prix jumper.” Since then, I’ve lived in Florida and moved to Tennessee, where I now live. I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story, but that will have to wait. I hear the grain buckets rattling, so it’s time for me to go. Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon! I want to tell you how I jumped out of the paddock (twice), and about the first time I ever got to walk in a river! And now… it’s time for my dinner grain.

Yep. I sure do love my life.

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

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