Posts Tagged With: show jumping

Welcome back, Icarus!

I know… I know how long it’s been since I’ve written. And I have no excuses – only apologies. But I’m back, friends – and I’ve missed y’all more than you know!

So, let’s see… Where do I even begin? It was a fairly rough winter for both Mommy and me. I didn’t know that Southern California winters could get cold enough for me to need a blanket at night! Not all winter, of course… but there were definitely some cold snaps! Even the spring has been riddled with rainy days, chilly nights, allergies and injuries… But I’m officially back to work, getting back into shape, and I’ll be ready to start hitting up some competitions this summer!

A Birthday Bash, or: Finally, Adulthood

In March I turned 8 years old, and I’m sure you know what that means… don’t you?

It means that I have to put away my “foalish” ways and act like a mature adult (even if I don’t feel like one!) But Mommy keeps telling everyone that her “little boy is growing up,” and I think that’s a pretty good indication that I’m successfully faking my way through “adulthood!”

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But that’s not to say that it’s all seriousness all the time, though. You know my Mommy… she loves to have fun and be silly, and she’d never deny me that joy!

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For my eighth birthday, Mommy baked me a carrot cake decorated with frosting and carrot sticks. It was delicious!

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And I have to admit that I’m glad Mommy didn’t get me a silly party hat this year, like she has every year prior. This time when she insisted on giving me a “party hat,” I told her I would just wear a normal, cool hat – because I was the life of the party, anyway!

Thankfully, she agreed – and I got to pick the hat that I wanted to wear.

So, naturally, I stole the one right off of Mommy’s head!

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Making Friends and Influencing… Kitties?

Since the last time we spoke, I’ve done so many fun things and met so many new friends.

Mommy and I have gone on some trail rides with new friends…

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…and we’ve even gone on trail rides alone!

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I became close friends with Miss Olive Kitty…

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And I have to admit… she’s kind of my girlfriend now. We’ve been going steady since the winter. We were friends for a while before that, but there was one particularly rainy week when our bond just rapidly grew. Olive and I were both pretty bummed about the weather. And I know that we need the rain, but rainy days – and especially rainy weeks – mean that we can’t work or even go outside to play. And in Southern California, rainy winter days are usually pretty chilly, too!

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I get to see Olive every day, and it makes me happy that she and Mommy get along, too. Because, you know, sometimes “the parent” and “the significant other” don’t get along all that well! But we three – we’re a happy little family.

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 I even got to start giving lessons to one of my friends, a girl named Madi! She’s much younger than Mommy, but she rides me just like Mommy does, and I love getting to jump and have fun with her! 

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Now, even though I’ve been having a blast and loving my life, not everything I’ve done has been fun. Sometimes, there are things we have to do that aren’t fun, but they’re still necessary.

Like getting my feet trimmed and having new shoes tacked on…

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And going to the dentist… (Or, in my case, having the dentist come to me!)


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Although, I have to say, I’m incredibly lucky because my farrier, Tim Shannon (from Tim’s Horseshoeing in Southern California) is the BEST farrier in the WORLD – and he’s really nice!

And my dentist – who is also my vet, Tiffany K. Porter, D.V.M. – is one of Mommy’s oldest friends, and she’s also really, really nice! And that definitely helps to make those “necessary evils” a lot less “evil.”

Getting Back in the Game 

Now, I haven’t been jumping all that much lately, because (in true “Icchy” form, of course) I’ve been repeatedly getting hurt and having to heal… even getting some “hay fever” type allergy attacks and having to take more time off… And every time I take time off, I have to take even more time to get back into shape. But Mommy and I have been back to our normal workout schedule for a while now, and we’re both getting pretty fit… So I think we’ll be jumping again very soon! And when we do, I’ll be sure to write and tell you all about it, maybe even with some photos and videos! (And don’t worry… I won’t take another year to do it!)

Well, friends, it’s been so nice talking to you again… I missed you. I really did. I’m sorry again that I was gone for so long, but I’ll talk to y’all soon… And that’s a promise!

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

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! 

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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!

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

Meeting the family (and an oxer with a spread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Halfway there," she said...

“Halfway there,” she said…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is good (so enjoy the ride)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life?

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

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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

The Adventures Never End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…and hanging out with friends…

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Watching romantic sunsets together…

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Goofing around…

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And just enjoying life in general.

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

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

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!

Trotting

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 Fearless Princess

One of the things that I love the most about California – as I know I’ve mentioned before – is how friendly and outgoing everyone is here, and how easy it is to make friends!

You see, I’ve always been able to make friends with humans pretty easily, being that I’m super lovable and sweet (and handsome and charming) (and modest!). Most of the horses I’ve met have ended up wanting to be my friends, too… except for the ones who had a major chip on their withers (which honestly haven’t been that many). I’ve even made friends with some dogs – like Annie, the dog I became friends with when I lived at my Aunt Joyce’s house in New York.

But all my life, I’ve always wanted to make friends with a kitty. There’s just something about them; they’re so regal and independent. If you win the hard-earned love and friendship of a kitty, you know you’ve done something worthwhile. (Not like winning the friendship of a dog, where all you have to do is glance in their general direction and you’ve won them over. Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m pretty much the same way. I love making friends with dogs – because my friendship is just as easy to win!)

Anyway, I’m sure most of you remember Rocky the Kitty, right? He was a kitty that I became friends with in Tennessee. He was shy and a little nervous at first, but we quickly became buddies. The only bad part about my friendship with Rocky was that he didn’t like to hug or cuddle – and I love to hug and cuddle. 

Then, when I moved out here to California, I became friends with a kitty named Olive and also with her barn-sister, a kitty named Becky. They’re both wonderful and love to hang out with Mommy and me. But I have finally met a kitty who takes the entire carrot-cake. She’s probably my best kitty friend in the whole world, and I’ve barely known her a single day!

Yesterday, while Mommy and I were working, we noticed that we had an audience.

Look, Mommy! There's Princess!

Look, Mommy! There’s Princess!

So, when it was time to take a break, we went over to say hello.

Princess gave me the warmest, friendliest hello of any kitty I’ve ever met before. She gave me a “kitty hug” before I’d even had a chance to introduce myself!

Well, hello there, Princess! It's nice to finally meet you up close!

Well, hello there, Princess! It’s nice to finally meet you up close!

Mommy leaned down to pet Princess and say hello, too, and then Princess did something completely unexpected.

She climbed right up into Mommy’s lap… on my back!

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I stood really still, because I didn’t want to scare her – but I should have known better. Any Princess who is brave enough to climb onto a horse’s back is clearly fearless!

As soon as she hopped up into the saddle, I could feel that weird, happy vibration that humans call “purring.” (I don’t know how those kitties do it, but I sure wish I could purr. There are lots of occasions when I would purr if I could, like when Daddy used to massage my ears… Or when I’m eating my grain!)

Anyway, Princess was apparently so happy to be sitting on my back that she decided to take a nap. That was fine with me, though, because it meant that I could take a longer break and just hang out, eating grass over the wall!

You just sleep as loooong as you want to, Princess!

You just sleep as loooong as you want to, Princess!

Mommy thought it was absolutely hysterical that Princess just jumped up into her lap while she was on my back, but I thought it was really cool. I knew that Princess and I would be best friends forever!

Now THAT is a happy kitty!

Now THAT is a happy kitty!

Eventually, Mommy told Princess that she’d either have to ride double with us while I finished my workout, or that she would have to get back down and watch from the sidelines. After a few more cuddles and a big hug (and head-scratchies from Mommy, which made Princess purr even louder), my newest kitty friend hopped back down onto the wall and wandered off to catch some mice, or sleep in the sunshine, or whatever it is that Princesses do in their free time.

Yep, I think I’m really going to love it here in California… In fact, I already do!

That’s about all I’ve got for you today, friends. I’ll continue to keep you updated on my California adventures; I’m sure there are many more to come. Catch y’all later!

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

California Culture

Well, I’ve been living in California for almost three weeks now, and I think it’s about time for me to report on what I’ve learned.

Important Facts About California:

  • This time of year, the nights get chilly (but not quite “Tennessee-cold”) and the days get hot rather quickly.
  • The sun actually does shine as much as “they” say it does, but so far it’s not as humid as Tennessee or Florida… or even New York. (I guess we’ll see what the summer brings!)
  • Psyllium, although I haven’t had any yet, is definitely a necessity here because there is a lot of sand – and Mommy told me that Psyllium will help to clean out the sand from inside my belly.
  • People (and horses and cats) are as warm and friendly as the weather here, which makes it really easy to make friends. I’ve made quite a few friends already; even the horses who were grumpy at first and swore they’d never be my friend have warmed up to me (and some of them even whinny at me when they see me coming!)
  • The Alfalfa hay here in California is like candy, it’s so delicious.
  • Palm trees look neat, but I can’t really form an opinion on them until I’ve had a chance to taste them… which I don’t think will ever happen, because they’re all really tall.

I guess there’s more, but that about sums up what I’ve learned thus far about the culture and the environment. I’ll share more of my findings as I learn more about this amazing state. (After all, I still haven’t gone out on a trail ride yet!)

The Most Important Ingredient

I’ve been getting into a pretty good routine here, but I know it’s probably going to change a few times. For now, though, I get to see Mommy twice a day (every day!) and I’ve already made a few friends, like I mentioned before. The best part is that I’ve made friends with a fairly wide range of species, including horses, cats and humans. And friends are the most important ingredient in the recipe of life… that is, aside from family!

My friends, Splash and Sally

The first friends I made, of course, were Ringo and Chip – but Chip actually moved on to a different barn to become a dressage superstar. From what he told me, he loves dressage and was pretty excited to pursue his passion. I’m happy for him, but I do miss him.

I didn’t get a chance to miss him for long, however, before a new friend moved in. This sweet, older mare named Splash now lives next to me in Chip’s old stall. (She’s the one who told me at first that she didn’t want to be my friend.) When I came over to say hello to her the day she moved in, she pinned her ears and squealed at me like I’d done something wrong. Of course, I’ve gotten that reaction from horses before (though not very often – I’m much too lovable for that), so I wasn’t really phased by it. I simply gave her a minute and then tried another tactic. I very casually told her how my Mommy loves to share my treats with my friends (and there are always lots of treats to be shared), so friendship with me definitely had a couple upsides.

After a moment’s contemplation, Splash said that she’d give me a trial period. But the first time Mommy came through with carrots for everyone, Splash realized that I hadn’t been fibbing – and I think it solidified our new friendship instantly. Now, after I’ve been out of my stall for a while, she even whinnies to me when I come back!

On the other side of Splash is a pretty little gray mare named Sally. I met Sally one day when she was running around in the arena and showing off how beautifully she moves. Mommy wanted to go for a walk, but I was too captivated by Sally; I just wanted to stay and watch her dance! Sally’s human is named Elizabeth. She and her Mommy, Shelley, are two of my other new friends. They’re both very sweet and always say hello when they see me. Shelley is also a trainer at my barn!

Khalid, I think you're my new best friend.

Khalid, I think you’re my new best friend.

Another friend that I’ve made is this older horse named Khalid. He’s not in the Mare Motel where Sally, Splash, Ringo and I live; he’s actually up the hill in one of the pipe corrals. I met him one day while Mommy and I were taking a walk around the property, as we do every so often (for exercise and a change of scenery). When I got to his corral, he came right over to the fence to say hello. I don’t know what it was about him, but he and I made an instant connection! We started grooming on one another and declared each other our new “besties.”

Khalid

Seriously, dude… Do you want me to take that off for you?

Khalid wears a big fly mask that I always want to take off for him. I’ve never actually asked him if he even likes wearing it – I just know that I don’t like to wear my fly mask (it makes my face itchy, even though it keeps the flies off of it), so one day I unfastened the velcro for him. He seemed to think it was pretty funny, and I bet he would have let me take the whole thing off for him… but Mommy told me to stop before I got that far. “Not everyone hates their fly mask the way you do, Icchy,” she said to me as she re-fastened the velcro. “Khalid might actually like having his on. It keeps the flies off of his face – and it’s like wearing sunglasses! You’d be a better friend if you left it on for him!”

I supposed that Mommy had a pretty good point, so the next time I saw Khalid I just shared my carrots with him instead of trying to take off his fly mask. (But that still doesn’t stop me from taking of my own fly mask whenever Mommy puts it on my face!)

Two more human friends I’ve made are Bernie and Lou. They are so nice! They always bring carrots and give everyone some as a special treat. I haven’t really made friends with their horses, Lady and Whisky, but I know I’m going to. Lady is also a retired racehorse – just like me! But she squeals at me when I try to come over to her and say hello, so I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. I know she’ll warm up to me one day soon, and then I’ll be able to make friends with Whisky, as well!

I love you, Aunt Bonnie!

I love you, Aunt Bonnie!

Anyway, I didn’t tell you about my Aunt Bonnie yet, or about her boy, Chief. My Aunt Bonnie is the one who spoils me the most (aside from my Mommy, of course). I love her! She’s always bringing me over treats and little buckets filled with the most delicious hay pellets. I mean, you’d think they’d be boring because they’re just hay made into pellets, right? Wrong! They’re scrumptious and I love eating them! Mommy said that they give me green lipstick, but I don’t mind – especially because Mommy said green lipstick looks good on me. (How could it not? Everything looks good on me!) I try to let my Aunt Bonnie know how much I appreciate her by giving her lots of kisses (without the lipstick). But I think she probably already knows that I love her. After all… she’s my Aunt Bonnie!

Hey, Chief!

And do you know what the best part is? My Aunt Bonnie’s boy, Chief, is another one of my good friends! We met one day when I was walking around with Mommy. We didn’t have to walk very far because Chief lives in the row of pipe corrals right next to the Mare Motel! It was another one of those instant connections; we met and began grooming on each other immediately. Chief is a big sweetheart and has lots of love and patience to go around. Do you know what Chief does? Among many other things, he gives lessons to children with disabilities. He keeps them safe and gives them confidence. He’s basically a superstar! That’s probably why we got along so well to begin with – we’re both superstars! (I know, I know… I’m supposed to try to be more modest… But come on, we all know it’s true!)

Now, I know I’ve told you about my kitty friend, Olive. (She’s the one who came over and hung out with me while I worked and then even stayed to graze with me afterward.) But I’ve made more than just one kitty friend; there are so many cats at this barn who love to be around us horses! That makes me pretty happy. Y’all know how much I love making friends, big and small.

So, aside from Olive, my next best-kitty-friend is Becky. She’s a pretty little Calico cat and she loves to hang out with me, whatever I’m doing. She even comes into my stall and cuddles with me sometimes while Mommy grooms on me. When she’s hanging out with me, I try to stand really still so I don’t accidentally step on her or scare her – but she seems to be very familiar with horses and knows when to get out of the way. She’s so fast! She can jump so high! And, from what I hear, she’s a really good hunter, too. Becky likes to rub her body and her tail against me, and Mommy told me that’s like giving a hug in kitty language. I love hugs; I’ll take all the hugs I can get!

My special little friend, Becky.

My special little friend, Becky.

There are a couple other kitties at the barn who I don’t know that well yet, but they still like to come and hang out with me. Sometimes they even watch me work in the mornings, which is awesome, because – as anyone who knows me knows – I love having an audience. It’s nice when my friends come and watch me work because it gives me a chance to show off a little bit – even when it’s just a group of my kitty friends. Having anyone there, though, gives me confidence and makes me want to work even harder than I already do!

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A lot of the time, on a hot, sunny day, I see the kitties sitting together on the patio of the show barn. They’re all such good friends; it makes me happy to see them enjoying their life. These lucky cats get to roam around the property during the day, making friends and hanging out with humans and horses and each other – and sometimes even catching the mice and rats who like to try to steal our grain. And then, at night, they get to sleep indoors, safe from all of the scary animals who lurk in the darkness at night, just waiting to catch a small kitty for a midnight snack. It’s clear that their humans give them the best of everything… just like my own humans do for me!

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Not All Fun And Games… But Mostly

Now, in case you were starting to think that my life mainly consists of hanging out and making friends… well, I guess that’s actually true. But I do still work very hard on a(n almost) daily basis. As many of you know, it’s my goal to become a “Grand Prix Jumper” someday in the very near future, and that means that I have to practice and get into the best shape of my life! Last year, I had a lot of time off because of a couple misplaced nails in my shoes, and then the winter in Tennessee was cold and rainy and snowy – so I arrived in California with very little muscle and even less stamina, because it had been so long since I’d had a consistent workout schedule. But that all changed the day I arrived in Sunny SoCal. It was time to get into shape and start really working toward my goals! Mommy said that she was out of shape too, though, so we would be able to get into shape together.

Mommy and I have both been working very hard. We don’t work more than 4 or 5 days each week, though – and never 5 days in a row – because Mommy feels that resting after a hard workout is just as important as the workout itself. She doesn’t want me to get degenerative joint disease, which is a real possibility for horses who work as hard as I do! So the days of rest give my muscles and joints a chance to repair themselves, which in turn makes me even stronger. Of course, “a day of rest” doesn’t mean that I just sit in my stall all day, bored and unfulfilled. Sometimes it means I get to go for a long walk around the property with Mommy, saying hello to all of the friends I’ve made.

All my friends

And it usually means that I get turned out in the arena, where I get to run and play and roll and buck as much as I want to! Mommy doesn’t chase me or make me run on my days off; I only run if I want to, but I almost always buck and roll and take some time to act silly!

Acting Silly

My workouts have been getting increasingly more difficult since landing here in California. We started out with light, easy workouts, just aiming to get back into the swing of things. At first, that was plenty; I was out of breath after a twenty minute workout… and so was Mommy. But we’ve been increasing the length and intensity of our workouts as we both get into better shape.

We work out at all different times of the day, too. Most of the time we ride mid-morning, but sometimes Mommy rides in the evening – and sometimes, we get up before the sun even peeks out over the hills of the canyon where we live!

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Because I’ve been working so hard and trying my best to focus and behave every time Mommy and I ride, I got rewarded by getting to jump a little bit! The jump was really small, though, and it made me frustrated because I miss jumping BIG jumps! I mean, I used to jump five feet high, before the “hot nail incidents,” so why can’t I just go back to jumping five feet again right now?!

Well, I found out the answer to that after jumping a little, tiny jump a few times in a row: I was sore! Even though the jump was small, I was using muscles that I hadn’t used in a while. Then I understood why Mommy was torturing me by making me jump something that seemed too small to be worth the effort. She knew I’d be sore the next day, and she wants to make sure that I work my way back up to those big jumps slowly. She even gave me a liniment bath afterward and wrapped my legs in standing wraps, which I was pretty happy about, because it helped keep my legs from “stocking up,” or getting swollen, when I went back to my stall.

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After another week’s worth of flat work, Mommy decided that I deserved another day of fun. So one morning, instead of riding me and doing our normal workout, Mommy turned me out in the arena and let me gallop around. Then, to my surprise, she set up a small jump and let me go over it by myself, without her on my back!

It’s been a long time since I’ve “free jumped,” and it was a lot of fun. Mommy actually ended up putting me on the lunge line, though, because she didn’t want me wasting too much energy by galloping all around the huge arena after each jump; she knew I’d be tired and sore enough just from jumping. I had so much fun! I even got to jump a small oxer! Mommy let me jump as many times as I wanted to, until I was so tired that I could only trot over the jump. I wanted to keep jumping, even at a trot, but Mommy said that it was probably enough for the day.

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Because I had worked so hard and I was so tired after free jumping, Mommy decided that I should walk on the hot-walker. Of course, she let me walk around in the arena first (and roll, because I was itchy and sweaty), but she wanted to make sure that I walked enough, so that I wouldn’t tie up or colic or get really, really sore.

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After walking on the hot-walker for a while, Mommy gave me a liniment bath and wrapped my legs in standing wraps again, too. Then we got to hang out and graze for a while before I went back to my stall and took a long nap! I’m usually pretty exhausted after my workouts, but it’s a good feeling because it means that I’m officially back in the game! 

Today I got two extra special treats. Not only did Mommy’s human parents come to see me, which was really exciting and fun, but they also brought me a scrumptious carrot cake cupcake with delicious cream cheese frosting that Mommy’s sister-in-law made for Easter! At first, I didn’t know what to make of it and I accidentally spat it out. But then I regretted that immediately! Mommy picked it up and took the dirt off of it before giving it back to me, and then I gobbled it up!

Easter Cupcake

Actually, those weren’t even the only two special treats that I got today. While Mommy and I were working in the lower arena, I was trying to be on my best behavior and show off a little for her parents (because, as I’ve said, I love having an audience). Since I was being such a good boy, Mommy decided that I would get to jump a little bit today, too! That made me very happy, not only because I love jumping, but because it meant I’d have a chance to show off a little bit more for “my audience!” We still only jumped a small jump – but it was still a lot of fun. And since I’d gotten to free jump a few days before, I didn’t feel the need to rush or get silly when I was jumping today! Mommy was very proud of me and I could tell that her human parents were, too!

Jumping!

Everything is Meaningful

Mommy said that the most important thing right now – in regard to jumping, anyway – is that I stay calm and listen to her, instead of getting excited and trying to rush over the jump or take control. She promised me that I’d get to move up to bigger jumps pretty soon, as long as I keep working hard on my flatwork and grid work, and focus on everything she asks me to do.

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She assured me that even the boring exercises have a purpose; if I try my best, even at the exercises that I don’t particularly enjoy, then I’ll be back into shape and ready to start jumping courses again in no time! Then again, I’m sure that “no time” means something different to her than what it means to me… I have to admit, though, I really don’t mind working hard when Mommy and I ride because she gives me lots of love and attention, and she allows me to have a lot of fun, too. I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to make as many friends as I have if she didn’t come to the barn to spend so much time with me and make sure that I’m not bored and lonely. She also promised that we’ll get to go out for a trail ride soon so that I don’t have to be in the arena all of the time. Although, I must say, having three arenas to work in makes the arena work much more interesting!

Anyway, I’m sure there’s more that I could tell you – as always – but I’m about ready to hit the shavings and get some sleep. So I’ll catch y’all later!

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Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

Winter riding clothes

It’s been nice having Mommy back home, and even nicer having days warm enough (and dry enough) to actually ride! Yesterday was rainy and wet, but the day before – and also  today – Mommy and I got to ride in the arena. We were both happy to be out in the open! We didn’t even care that it was cold; we were just so eager to get back to work.

Heading out to the arena!

Heading out to the arena!

Even though I’ve had a lot of pent-up energy from being stuck in the barn for days (due to inclement weather), I made sure to focus on everything Mommy asked me to do. I wanted to be on my best behavior, because I don’t know whether or not it’s going to rain again soon, and I’d rather put in a good, happy, fun ride than to go crazy and get Mommy upset.

When I’m well behaved, Mommy brings peppermint candies out with her and keeps them in the zipper pocket of her heavy jacket. When I do what she asks me to without a fuss, she gives me a peppermint and makes a big fuss about me.

The other day, she dropped one of the peppermints as she was trying to hand it to me. But I had been such a good boy that she simply couldn’t let the treat go to waste. So she dismounted and grabbed the peppermint candy for me. She wiped it off and told me she would give it to me if I posed for a photo.

Yeah, I know; I'm a little bit muddy... You know how I love to be covered in mud!

Yeah, I know; I’m a little bit muddy… I rolled RIGHT before Mommy got to the farm! 

Of course, I love posing for photos. Everyone knows that. But I got a treat for it, anyway!

After our ride today, Mommy told Daddy that I was perfect. I even did lead changes every two strides down the middle of the dressage area in the huge arena! I knew exactly what Mommy wanted me to do, and she told me it was like I was reading her mind. All she had to do was shift her weight and I hopped over to the other lead. She didn’t even have to count for me after the first time! I know for a fact that I made Mommy so proud!

I got to visit with my good friend, Baby George, after my workout. He told me that I did a good job; he’d been watching my entire workout while he grazed with his pony friend, Gideon.

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“Good job, Icchy!”

Baby George is awesome. He and I are becoming good friends. I like to hang out with him after I work, or when I’m grazing with one of my humans. He’s the only horse in the barn who always whinnies to me when he sees me coming! It makes me feel really special.

My friend, Baby George

My adorable friend, Baby George

Mommy shares pieces of my peppermint treats with Baby George sometimes, to reward him for letting her pet him and scratch his belly and things like that. I don’t even mind sharing my treats with him! He’s still a little shy, but he is now well aware of the joy of peppermint candies, so he’s learning to like humans much more all the time! Auntie Carrie is training him to be smart and friendly. I bet he’s going to be an amazing pony when he grows up!

Anyway, Mommy said this entire week is supposed to be warm, and that means that we’ll actually (hopefully) get in a whole week’s worth of workouts! (Whew, say that one three times fast!) I’ll let you know what happens… I’m hoping that there’s a jumping day on the horizon soon!

Stay warm, friends… catch y’all later!

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

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