Posts Tagged With: oxer

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).

IMG_2444

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

Jumping days and sleeping under the stars

Friends, I’m sorry that I haven’t written in such a long time… I can’t believe it’s already been three days! A lot has happened in the past three days, although I know that’s no excuse to abandon y’all. I’ll try to recapture everything that has happened, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed anything…

Monday was a rainy, dreary day, just as the day before it had been. Mommy and Daddy came to visit me in the morning, and we all crossed our hooves (or, in their case, they crossed their fingers) that the rain would stop long enough for us to get in a good workout! Even a quick workout would be nice; I just needed to get out my energy!

Well, sure enough, the rain died down to a soft drizzle, and my Mommy decided that we should get out there and at least stretch our legs. But we were afraid that we might get caught in a downpour, and she didn’t want to risk getting our saddle soaked… so she put on my bridle and hopped on me, bareback!

Walking down to the arena with Mommy.

Walking down to the arena with Mommy.

We went down to the jumping arena to see how the footing was, and we weren’t surprised to find that it was wet. We were surprised, however, to find that it wasn’t very slippery, even though it had been raining for the past few days! So, after we walked around for a while, Mommy and I trotted and cantered a little bit. Not much… just a little bit. We even worked on some shoulder-in and haunches-in exercises at the trot, and Mommy told me I was brilliant!

Practicing our dressage in the rain!

Practicing our dressage in the rain!

After a little while, we decided to walk up the hill and see how the footing was in dressage arena. Again… it was perfectly fine, even though it was wet. It felt pretty cool to be able to ride in two different arenas – even in the rain!

We worked on a few flying lead changes in the dressage arena, and again, Mommy said I did brilliantly. I didn’t even mind that it was drizzling, because Mommy and I were having so much fun!

Working on flying lead changes in the Dressage arena!

Working on flying lead changes in the Dressage arena!

We didn’t work for very long; I didn’t mind that we had a short, easy workout, because I was happy that I got to stretch my legs and get out some of my energy.

Mommy and Daddy groomed on me and made sure I was cozy and dry, and then they said goodbye… but they came back later in the evening to check on me! I was outside in my paddock, grazing with my friends, when they came back; Daddy told me that they wanted to make sure I was alright outside, since it was still raining on and off. Of course, I told them that they were embarrassing me with all of their fussing, and that I was fine. I just wanted to hang out with my friends, William and Zii!

Guys, come on... You're embarrassing me!

Guys, come on… You’re embarrassing me!

Then again, I secretly loved all of the attention they were giving me, but I couldn’t tell them that – not in front of my friends!

Anyway, the next day, Mommy told me that it was jumping day! I was excited, and I wanted to make sure that I was on my best behavior. First, we worked on jumping a whole course. I have to admit, I got a little bit cheeky… I mean, it’s not that I was bad or anything; I was just excited, so I got a little quick now and then. You know, pulling at the reins and whatnot. So, Mommy made me work on collecting and staying slow over the jumps, and then she asked me to do a couple rollbacks from one jump to another, at a collected canter – that was Daddy’s idea – and I did it perfectly. After that, we worked on an exercise that was really fun, but really tough! We did a bounce (two jumps without a stride in between) to a one stride, with an oxer at the end.

I know, I know… what’s so tough about that? Well, every time I jumped it successfully, my Daddy would spread the oxer wider and wider, until we jumped it with a five foot spread! Of course, it wasn’t the first time I’d jumped an oxer with that wide of a spread, and it certainly wasn’t the highest oxer with a five-foot-spread that I’d jumped (because I’ve jumped an oxer set at 4’2 with a five foot spread before)… but it was a lot of fun, and you know how much I love a challenge! 

Jumping an oxer with a five foot spread! We're flying!!

Jumping an oxer with a five foot spread! We’re flying!!

To my very happy surprise, I actually got to spend the entire rest of the day and the entire night outside in the paddock with my friends! Though, I was sad to find that Zii had moved on to a different paddock… but I did make a new friend named Troy! He and William and I hung out all day and all night, just eating grass and getting to know one another!

Today, I got an extra special reward for having done such a great job yesterday: my Daddy rode me!

Just the boys today!

Just the boys today!

We had a really good, light workout, and he even jumped me over a couple small jumps. We didn’t do anything serious, of course; Mommy only let us jump a little bit since we didn’t jump very big yesterday, and she made sure we didn’t jump too many times today, either. We just jumped through the bounce-to-the-one-stride-line a couple times. Oh, but don’t worry; the last jump was no longer set at a five-foot spread. It was just a small, simple vertical. We did a great job; Daddy and I always do well together!

Exercising with my Daddy!

Exercising with my Daddy!

I got to have a shower and lots of treats when I was done with my workout, and then I got to relax inside my stall. I really didn’t mind being inside for the rest of the day; it was pretty hot out today, and my stall was nice and cool. Plus, I was very tired, and took the opportunity to have a much needed nap!

It’s a beautiful night though; I’m happy to be outside again, getting ready to sleep under the stars with my two friends, William and Troy. I’ll get to have tomorrow off, since I’ve worked more than my allowed number of days in a row. I don’t mind, though, because I had a ton of pent up energy from the move and all that, so I really did need to get it all out. Now I’m as happy as can be, with my new friends and my new routine. I love my new home; I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

For the immediate future, though, I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that it holds a long, peaceful sleep! Catch y’all later…

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

A brief history of oxers

Okay, this post isn’t really going to be about the history of oxers. It’s actually going to be about my history with jumping oxers – just like I said in my post yesterday. But, since all of you history-buffs out there probably only clicked onto this blog to read about the history of the oxer, I will give you a brief overview.

Oxen are big, strong animals, and they need to have big, strong, double fences in between their paddocks to keep them from breaking through. Since an oxer is a “double jump,” whoever had the job of naming the jumps decided to name it after those ox-fences. (Was that brief enough?) And if any of you history-buffs out there have any more information about that, feel free to leave it in a comment at the bottom of this post!

So, like I said, this is a story about the first time I jumped over an oxer. I was already 4 years old and living at my second barn in New York. (That’s the barn where my friend Cooper lived; remind me to tell you the story of how I actually got to that barn! It’s another good one!) My Mommy had a job teaching lessons at another stable nearby, and at that stable she made a friend. Her friend also taught lessons, and he wanted to meet me. So he came to my new barn one day to watch me work, and because he saw how amazing I was, he really wanted to have a small role in my training. When my Mommy told him that we were going to jump an oxer for the first time, he decided to set up a one-stride line – a small vertical and then one stride to the oxer –  to help me figure out where to take off from. You see, when you jump an oxer, the take-off point is a little different than when you jump a vertical, because the oxer is wider than a normal jump. Anyway, this friend of my Mommy’s was really excited by how awesome I was, so he kept raising the oxer a little at a time… and, as it turned out, the first time I jumped an oxer was also the first time I ever jumped 3 feet high!

The first 3-foot-tall oxer I ever jumped!

The first 3-foot-tall oxer I ever jumped!

Now, you know my Mommy and her rules, right? So you can guess that she was a little worried about me jumping so high when I was only 4 years old, because I wasn’t completely full grown yet. Well, she gave me a tingly liniment bath afterward and – of course – wrapped my legs in pillow wraps, too. She was worried that I might be a little sore… but I wasn’t! Jumping that oxer was nothing to me!

We kept up with our schedule of only jumping once every couple weeks, and a couple months later, my Mommy decided that it would be okay for me to jump another 3-foot-tall oxer. But she wanted to make it a little more interesting, so she laid a tarp underneath it… and spread the oxer out until it was 4 feet wide! That oxer was actually a triple-oxer, with three jumps put together instead of two. It was so much fun, a “piece of cake!” But it was a huge accomplishment for me at that age.

A 3-foot-tall oxer with a 4-foot-wide spread!

A 3-foot-tall oxer with a 4-foot-wide spread!

Over the years, the oxers have just gotten bigger…

Jumping an oxer that is 3 feet and 6 inches high

Jumping an oxer that is 3 feet and 6 inches high

…and bigger…

Jumping a 4'6 oxer!

Jumping a 4’6 oxer!

…and the spreads just keep getting wider!

Yeah, I totally rock!

Yeah, I totally rock!

One day, when I’m a Grand Prix jumper, I’ll be jumping oxers that are 5 feet and 3 inches high with a 6 and a half foot spread! My Mommy said that I’m not quite ready for that yet… but she’s totally wrong, I know I could do it. I mean, I can do anything. Everybody knows that! After all, I am The Flight of Icarus, and I can fly as close to the sun as I want!

Well, I had a relaxing day off today. I grazed with my best friend, Leo, and we ran around a little in the paddock. I even had a chance to take a nap, although the sun didn’t come out at all today and it was pretty cold. I like napping in the sun much more than I like napping in the cold!

Taking a nap while Leo keeps watch.

Taking a nap while Leo keeps watch.

Anyway, I have some big dreams to dream tonight, so I’d better get to it. I’ll be dreaming about those 5’3″ Grand Prix oxers… What will you be dreaming about tonight? Whatever it is, I hope it comes true!

Goodnight, friends!

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

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