Posts Tagged With: winter

Heaven in a Hay Roll!

Y’all, I just have to go on a little rant about how awesome my life is. I’m in heaven! It may be freezing outside, but life couldn’t be better.

Just when I was beginning to wonder what my friends and I were going to do when the grass in our paddock was all eaten up, my Auntie Carrie brought us a GIGANTIC HAY ROLL! I’ve never seen a stack of hay this big before. It’s amazing!

Hey, Mommy! Look at what I have!

Hey, Mommy! Look at what I have!

When Mommy arrived at the barn the day the hay roll got here, she came out to the paddock to bring me in for some quality time. I walked over to the gate, eager to show her the best part of my day. Once she put my halter on, I turned and brought her over to the biggest pile of hay in the world… and took a huge bite! She laughed and said she was happy for me… but not nearly as happy as was!

Yum! I love my life!

Yum! I love my life!

When it’s cold outside, and especially when it’s cold and windy and there’s no shelter, it’s really important that we horses have a way to keep warm – aside from wearing our winter jackets. Eating is a great way to help us keep our body temperatures up, but in the winter when there’s no grass, we need a little assistance from our humans. That’s why my Auntie Carrie got a hay roll for each paddock! I love my life and I love my home. I also love being in the paddock with Lewis, Doc, Rudy and Canuck. It’s like having my own little herd! We’re all friends, and I just do what everyone else tells me to do. We all take turns eating the giant hay roll, and when we’re full, we take a nap in the sunshine with our warm blankets on.

I could just stand and eat at the hay all day long.

photo-45

Yup, I’m in heaven.

Since it’s been below freezing for the past several days, Mommy and I haven’t been able to do any work. In fact, Mommy has barely been out to see me at all! Now, don’t get me wrong; she or Daddy (or both of them) come to see me every day, but lately they haven’t been staying very long. Mommy showed up in the middle of the day yesterday, and she didn’t even bring me out of the paddock! She just picked my feet as I was eating my hay pile in the paddock, gave me kisses and hugs and then ran back to the warm truck. I don’t blame her, though; the wind was pretty strong, and she doesn’t even have a layer of fur underneath her human clothes, like I have underneath my blanket!

I can’t wait for the weather to warm up again so that Mommy and I can do some more work. I love getting to hang out with my friends and eat hay all day, but I love working even more. So, Old Man Winter, if you’re reading this… how about a vacation? You look like you need one…

I guess that’s about all I have to say for now, friends. I’m heading inside for the night, and I think my dinner grain will be ready soon. So I’m going to eat dinner, munch on some hay, and fall asleep in the warm, cozy barn next to all my friends. I hope y’all stay warm and have a great weekend!

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

Homecoming and concussions

Okay, before you panic… don’t worry, no one has a concussion. But I did give my Daddy a concussion once, way back when we lived in New York. Why do I mention this now, you wonder? Well, the memory just popped into my head… and I’ll tell you why.

With the weather being how it is – and being cooped up in the small paddocks for a couple days – I have a lot of energy. I just can’t sit still! There’s not enough room to gallop in those little paddocks! And I know I’m not technically allowed to gallop, but I just have so much energy that I can’t help it! I need to run!

Anyway, yesterday morning, when Mommy turned me out, I bucked and jumped and squealed and kicked… and then, imagining that I was a big, wild horse getting ready to fight for my freedom, I reared up and pawed at the sky!

I know, I'm so majestic.

I know, I’m so majestic.

And then, of course, I took off bucking again.

As I was cantering around the paddock, doing rollbacks and being silly to get out some of my energy, I couldn’t help but realize that the small paddock is about the same size as the arena I used to ride in when I lived at my friend Cooper’s barn. So, thinking back to those days when I lived in NY, I took a gallop straight at the fence of the paddock, and then stopped as quickly as I could before I ran into it. And that’s when the memory popped into my head.

You see, there was a big storm in New York, and lots of trees blew over into the street. Well, a couple days after the storm, Daddy was riding me in Cooper’s arena – Mommy was giving us a lesson. Out in the street, a bunch of big trucks were cleaning up the fallen trees, throwing them into these big grinders that turned them into shavings. For the most part, I really didn’t mind. But as Daddy and I cantered around the arena, there was a big, LOUD noise from the street as another tree was dropped clumsily into the grinder thing. For some reason, this particular noise caught me off guard, and I spooked and took off! I was still only a little 4-year-old back then, so I completely forgot that my Daddy was on my back. I ran down the canter of the arena, straight toward the fence at the opposite end; Daddy thought I was going to jump out, so when he realized he didn’t have time to stop me, he got into his half seat and prepared himself for the big leap.

But… I didn’t jump out. I was going to, but I panicked at the last second and, instead, I ducked to the left, accidentally tossing Daddy over my head… and into the fence. Now, Mommy and Daddy both always wear helmets when they ride, and it’s a good thing, too – because Daddy hit the fence head first, and then fell and hit his head again on the big water bucket that was near the arena’s gate.

As soon as I realized I’d thrown him, I stopped and trotted over to where he was laying in the dirt. Mommy ran over to him and asked if he was okay, and he said, “I will get back on, just give me a second! I didn’t bail that time!” Mommy and I exchanged a puzzled look, and then Mommy asked him again, “James, are you alright? You hit your head pretty hard.”

Daddy looked at her again and said, “What time is it? I didn’t bail that time, he threw me. I didn’t jump off. I didn’t bail. Give me a minute, I’ll get back on.”

Mommy realized then that Daddy probably had a mild concussion, and she told him to sit for a minute while she ran to get him some water and a cold, wet cloth to clean his face.

Finally, when Daddy had a drink and had cleaned up a little bit, he asked Mommy what happened, and she told him. Daddy insisted that he didn’t have a concussion… but Mommy and I both knew better. Even so, Daddy insisted that he needed to get back on and finish riding, and Mommy let him.

Needless to say, I was on my best behavior from that point on. I can’t even explain to you how guilty I felt for throwing and hurting my Daddy, and I made sure to block out all of the scary noises for the rest of that ride.

When Mommy rode me yesterday, I was feeling jumpy and spooky like that day when I threw Daddy – but I still had that memory in my head, so I tried my best to focus on Mommy and what she was asking me to do, instead of on the wind and all the scary noises it was making. All in all, we had a really good ride.

I’m in the little paddock again today, since it’s been snowing lightly, but the sun is supposed to come out later (according to the weatherman in Mommy’s phone, who is very rarely right about his predictions), so I hope that Mommy and I will get to ride.

But you know what the GREAT NEWS is, even if I don’t get to ride later? My Daddy comes home today!

I can’t wait to see him. He said that he’s going to come see me as soon as he gets back to Tennessee. He’s going to get off the plane, get into the truck, and come straight to the barn because he misses me that much! And I miss him that much, too! So Daddy, if you’re reading this – have a safe trip home, and I’ll see you this evening!

See you soon, Daddy!

See you soon, Daddy!

And as for the rest of you… I’ll catch y’all tomorrow! Stay warm, friends!

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

Another rainy day…

Well, I got to work yesterday, but only for about twenty minutes. Mommy rode me bareback and I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t very well behaved. In my own defense, it’s always difficult for me to behave when I have to work first thing in the morning, especially when my other friends are all headed out to the paddocks! I was trying my best to concentrate, but I just kept getting a little carried away…

Instead of making me work longer, Mommy decided that she wouldn’t push me to work when I wasn’t in the right mindset. (Have I told you how much I love her?) So, once we had warmed up, she asked me to pay attention long enough to do a few nice lead changes, and then she gave me a pat on the shoulder and told me I could be done.

I sure do love my Mommy!

I sure do love my Mommy! She always does what’s best for me!

But… even though I didn’t want to work, I still had a lot of energy… so I ended up going for a long gallop in the field later in the day. Leo even joined me this time! Unfortunately, my timing was terrible, and the gallop took place just before Daddy was going to bring us in for our dinner grain. So, needless to say, he had to walk me for twenty minutes until I cooled down, and then I had to wait an extra hour for my dinner.

Today, Mommy said that Daddy will ride me later if the weather holds up. It rained last night, and everything is pretty wet, but if it doesn’t rain anymore today then I think the arena will be just fine for riding. I guess we’ll see. Either way, I’ll let you know! I hope it doesn’t rain, because I love it when my Daddy rides me!

Alright, friends, I’m out of here. I see Daddy coming this way with some hay for us, so I’m going to go stand by the gate and wait for him. Maybe if I look extra cute, he’ll give me extra hay! Catch y’all later!

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Snowy days and sunshine

Wow, did you guys get a snowstorm yesterday, too?! It was crazy! It was snowing when I woke up in the morning, and it didn’t stop until there was a good inch or two on the ground. It snowed even more than it had the night before!

Look at all that snow!

Look at all that snow!

Mommy groomed me and put on my medium-weight pink blanket before putting me out into one of the small paddocks. It was still snowing, but only lightly by that time. I stood by the fence and waited until the rest of my friends were ready to come outside, too.

Waiting for the rest of my friends to come out, too!

Waiting for the rest of my friends to come outside!

Jelly Bean and Jube Jube came into the paddock next to me, and we hung out waiting for Isis ad Leo to make their way out, as well.

Chillin' with my little friend, Jube Jube.

Chillin’ with my little friend, Jube Jube.

Isis went into the paddock on the other side of me. She and I were both really excited about the snow, so we trotted around and then raced each other back and forth along the fence line. Of course, I let her win… I didn’t want her to feel bad if she lost.

Isis and I raced each other! But we didn't run very fast... we were just having fun.

Isis and I were having a lot of fun!

It was so much fun to play in the snow! It reminded me of New York!

I couldn't help myself... I just love playing in the snow!

I couldn’t help myself… I just love playing in the snow!

Even though it was still chilly outside, the snow was already beginning to melt by the time Leo got out to his paddock. Mommy said that the sun would be out soon, and that the snow wouldn’t last too long once it got sunny. I made sure to take advantage of my time in the snow while it lasted!

Extended trot! Rockin' out!

Extended trot! Rockin’ out!

Sure enough, by mid-morning the sun was out, and by noon all of the snow had melted! By the early afternoon, you wouldn’t have even known it had snowed at all, because everything was pretty much dry. There were still patches of mud here and there, but even the arena had drained. It’s crazy how the weather here does that!

Daddy moved us all out of the little paddocks and into the big fields so we would have more grass to eat, and Mommy even took me out for a short ride. She rode me bareback again, and we had a lot of fun… we even hopped over a couple little jumps!

By the time we were finished with our ride, the sun was so warm that we didn’t even need our blankets anymore. It was a great day.

This morning, my Mommy and Daddy came early to hang out with me and groom on me and play with me in the field.

Chillin' with my humans. What a gorgeous day!

Chillin’ with my humans. What a gorgeous day!

I get the day off today, and I’m actually pretty happy about that because it’s the perfect day to hang out and graze with my best friend, Leo!

Leo is keeping watch while I roll in the grass, then we're going to go graze.

Leo is keeping watch while I roll in the grass, then we’re going to go graze.

I hope y’all have a fun, warm day to relax, too! I’m going to go eat some grass now, but I’ll catch you tomorrow!

Have a good day! Eat lots of grass! Soak up the sunshine!

Eat lots of grass! Soak up the sunshine! Have a great day! 

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

Bareback and bein’ silly

Well, as luck would have it, the weather report was wrong again! It didn’t rain or snow today, although it did snow a bit overnight. When I woke up this morning, there was a thin layer of soft, white “powder” on everything. I have to say, it was a very pretty sight.

Wow, everything is frozen!

Wow, everything is frozen!

It was nothing like a northeastern blizzard, but snow is still snow!

It was nothing like a northeastern blizzard, but snow is still snow!

My Mommy waited until the afternoon to ride me, since the highest temperature for the day was supposed to be 30 degrees. That’s below freezing! Luckily, there was a lot of sunshine and not much of a breeze, so we were able to take advantage of what little warmth there was. Of course, just like a good Mommy, she put my quarter sheet on so that I wouldn’t get too cold while we rode.

Since I worked so hard yesterday, Mommy and I just had a light workout today… bareback! (Well, with a saddle pad and bareback pad, that is. It would have been much too cold without them, and there wouldn’t have been anything to attach my quarter sheet to!) I got to wear my Christmas quarter sheet today. Mommy said it’s my “fun” quarter sheet, since it’s so cute and brightly colored. But I have a feeling she just wanted to feel like it was Christmas again!

Well, bareback with a bareback pad, that is...

Bareback! 

Daddy hung out for a while and watched while Mommy and I worked. He took a few photos while we warmed up, and while we worked on some lead changes. We didn’t do too much – just enough to loosen up, expel some energy and get in some good, quality practice!

There we are, working on lead changes in a figure-8!

There we are, working on lead changes in a figure-8!

Mommy also let me stretch out and extend my canter down the long sides a couple times. I LOVE doing that… almost as much as I love jumping!

Extending the canter, but not quite galloping...

Extending the canter, but not quite galloping…

When Mommy and I were done with our workout, Daddy came into the arena to have some fun with us. We love being goofy together! Daddy and I like to play a game where he runs around and I chase him; we played that for a little while in the arena, and Mommy was laughing so hard that she almost fell off my back! Daddy thought it was hilarious, too. He told me that I’m the coolest horse in the world, and both he and Mommy said that I’m their best friend. Which is awesome, because they’re my best friends, too.

You know, aside from Leo.

Anyway, after that, the three of us hung out and soaked up some sunshine, just enjoying spending time together.

Taking a nap n the sunshine, hanging out with my Mommy and Daddy.

Chillin’ in the sunshine, hanging out with my Mommy and Daddy.

By the time we were all finished, it was getting pretty chilly, so Daddy let me wear his warm hat.

Wow, this hat is SO WARM! I love it!

Wow, this hat is SO WARM! I love it!

It was also getting pretty late, so I got to go into my stall to eat some warm, steamed hay while I waited an hour for my dinner grain.

It was another perfect day. I love being silly with my humans; they’re a lot of fun, and they believe that young horses like me should get to play and have silly days, especially because I work very hard and always try to be on my best behavior.

Well… almost always, that is. Because sometimes I just can’t help myself! You know that!

I don’t know what the weather will bring tomorrow, aside from the fact that it’s probably going to be pretty cold again. So I hope y’all stay warm, and I’ll let you know what tomorrow brings for me! Catch ya later…

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A race to beat the rain: the jumping edition

Today, I got to work out in the morning again, because my Mommy was certain that it was going to rain. She came to the barn about an hour after I’d finished my breakfast – same time as yesterday – and we got ready to ride.  It wasn’t exactly cold this morning – not cold enough for me to wear a quarter sheet or for Mommy to wear a jacket – but it was misty and damp, and when the wind started to blow, it did feel a little brisk.

Mommy wanted to jump a Swedish oxer today. She said that we could maybe jump as big as 4 feet high today, if I behaved. But… I have to admit, I didn’t behave all that well. I was hyper, and a little too excited to be jumping again!

Woops... I guess I got a little carried away!

Woops… I guess I got a little carried away!

So we mostly worked on staying calm and keeping a steady, relaxed pace to the jump. Sometimes when I’m hyper, I tend to rush the last few strides to the jump; Mommy had to work a little harder than normal to keep my pace even. I knocked the jump pole down a couple times before I finally calmed down and listened to my Mommy as she said, “Easy… Slowly…” and gave me quiet encouragement.

Mommy is saying, "Good boy, Icchy!"

Mommy is saying, “Good boy, Icchy!”

Finally, when the middle of the Swedish oxer was set about 3 feet and 3 inches high, I calmed down and jumped it perfectly a couple times from each direction. Mommy made a big fuss over me and told me what a good boy I was!

Yay! We finally did it perfectly!

Yay! We finally did it perfectly!

After that, the air was wet and I could feel droplets spraying me from the grey clouds that covered the entire sky. Mommy decided that we probably didn’t have too much more time before it began to rain, so she said that I could be finished. We always like to end on a good note, so that she and I both feel good about our ride.

It never ended up actually raining, but it was misty and damp all day. I got to spend a lot of time eating grass in the side paddock with my best friend, Leo. We still haven’t been into our favorite big field since it turned into a lake, though. The lake is gone, but the field itself is still very muddy. Daddy said we might get to go into it soon. Until then, I’ll take whatever paddock has grass!

Eating grass with my best friend, Leo!

Eating grass with my best friend, Leo!

After spending the day in the paddock with Leo, I got to come back into a cozy, clean stall with a bunch of steamed hay just waiting to be eaten. Mommy even came back at the end of the day to say goodnight, and we took a couple pictures together. We love posing for pictures together!

Mommy and me, posing for a picture together!

Mommy and me, posing for a picture together!

I get to have the day off tomorrow since I worked four days in a row. I’m not especially tired or anything, but you know my Mommy and her rules! So I guess I’ll see y’all tomorrow. Have a great night, friends!

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

Rainy days are for friends

Last winter, I lived in the warm and sunny Miami, Florida. Even though I lived in New York before that, and Virginia before that, spending last winter in Miami is probably the reason why I don’t feel like I’m used to all of the rain we’ve been getting lately. I think I can actually count the number of days that it rained in Miami last winter on all four hooves.

It’s not that it was pouring today or anything, but the skies were gray and cloudy and the air was damp. It would drizzle now and then – enough so that we had to stay in the little paddocks with the shelters – and once or twice it rained a little harder for a while. Needless to say, I didn’t get to work today. My Mommy said that was okay, though, because she was planning to give me today off either way.

For the most part, today was uneventful. Leo and I got to share the big field that’s connected to a little paddock with a shelter, but neither of us really felt like going into the shelter. Leo actually likes to stand in the rain, and I just like to hang out with Leo. Our friends Isis, Moekie, and Jelly Bean and Jube Jube each had their own little paddock and their own shelters, too. My Daddy came out a couple different times during the day to bring us all hay, which he put into the shelters for us. Since it wasn’t raining at that time, my Daddy put some hay outside for me to eat while Leo ate his inside the shelter.

I think Leo got lonely, because he came outside and walked over to where I was eating my hay. Now, Leo doesn’t like to share his hay, so when he eats in the shelter, I stay away because I don’t want him to try to bite me or kick me. But Leo asked me if I’d mind sharing my hay with him. I thought about it for a minute, and then I decided that it was fine. I mean, he is my best friend, after all. So I told him it was fine, and we shared a pile of steamed hay outside on the grass.

Sharing some hay with my best friend, Leo

Sharing some hay with my best friend, Leo

I love having a best friend to share hay with on rainy days. I’ve had a lot of best friends in my life (remind me to tell you sometime about my best friend in New York, a Palomino named Cooper), but I’ve never had a best friend like Leo. He’s the best best friend I’ve ever had.

Oh, did you guys hear a lot of fireworks last night? We heard a bunch of them, but they didn’t really scare us. I mean, if my friends had been scared, I’d probably have been scared, too. But we weren’t, we just kept eating our hay and ignored all the loud noises.

Anyway, the humans always say that they have “New Year’s Resolutions,” and I figured that I might as well have some, too. Here they are:

1. I resolve to jump higher than I’ve ever jumped before…
2. I resolve to gallop faster than I’ve ever galloped before…
3. I resolve not to get so carried away while jumping courses…
4. I resolve to compete and WIN the competitions I enter…
5. I resolve not to buck as often anymore… at least, not with a human on my back…
6. I resolve to come up with new cute and silly faces that will convince my humans to give me more treats.

Oh, and my Mommy said that I should also resolve to stop untying shoes and stealing hats… but I’m not too sure about those ones yet. Untying people’s shoes is really fun! I’d love to hear what your “New Year’s Resolutions” are, too! Whatever they are, work hard at them and I’m sure they’ll come true. Happy New Year, friends.

Cross your hooves for me that tomorrow is sunny, because I really want to work! Catch y’all later…

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

Reminiscing in the rain…

Well, it’s raining again today, and that means that we’re all in the small paddocks again. At least I’m next to Leo. But I won’t get to work today, because it was raining all night, and it’s supposed to rain all day – so that means the arena will be too soggy and wet for my Daddy and me to ride together. It seems like it’s been raining a lot lately. I guess it’s better than snow, though. Speaking of snow… You know that rainy days make me feel nostalgic, and I was thinking about the time I lost my shoe in the snow, back at my first home in New York.

The arena at that barn wasn’t always covered in snow. At least, not at first. But I started to really like working in the snow, especially since I was starting to really like working in general. So, one day after a small snowstorm, my Mommy and I went into the arena for a nice, light workout. As we were cantering around, I took a step that was a little too big, and I stepped on the corner of my front shoe with my back foot. I didn’t realize it immediately, but when that happened, I pulled my own shoe right off my hoof!

Once I brought this to my Mommy and Daddy’s attention, they went out into the snow on their own human feet and started to look for my shoe. For the life of them, they just couldn’t find it! So, my Mommy called a guy (she called him a “farrier,” but when I was just a little 3 year old baby, I thought she meant that he was some sort of magical fairy!) to come out and put new shoes on me. She told me that she was going to get me special shoes for the snow. She said that, although I didn’t lose my shoe just because of the snow, the weather report called for a couple more big snowstorms soon and she wanted me to be safe.

So, I met this guy and he was really nice. He told me I was a good boy for standing so still while he tickled my feet and trimmed my toenails. He was wearing funny leather chaps over his jeans, and I tried to get the buckle undone while he worked on my feet. He said that he didn’t mind. He said that most of the baby horses he knew were not as good as I was about getting new shoes. But I loved it.

It turned out that my special snow shoes were actually just shoes, but they had this sort of rubber bubble tube in between my hoof and the shoe. The fairy guy said that the rubber bubble tubes would push the snow out from my feet, so the snow couldn’t get under my shoes and pull them off. He said it was fine for me to wear those shoes even if it wasn’t snowing, too. He gave me a carrot and my Mommy gave him a piece of paper as payment, and then he said goodbye. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. I hoped I would, because I liked him. But he had to go home to his family of horses in New Jersey.

Well, my Mommy was right when she said that there was going to be a big snowstorm. It happened two days later, and we were both very glad that I had my snowshoes. You won’t believe this, but the snow came all the way up to my knees! Needless to say, we could only walk around in the arena with the snow that deep. It was kind of funny. My Daddy even got on and walked me around!

Walking with my Daddy in the snow!

Walking with my Daddy in the snow!

My new snow shoes were great for the snow… but it turned out that my strides were way longer than a normal baby horse my size. So, when I was in my in-and-out the next day, I accidentally stepped on my shoe again. This time it didn’t come all the way off… but it bent the corner up really far, and it was uncomfortable to stand on. My Mommy called the fairy guy again and told him what happened, but he said he wouldn’t be able to come fix it for a few more days! He said he could give my Mommy the name of another fairy guy who would be able to come and pull the shoe off, but my Mommy said that it wasn’t necessary… because my daddy said that he would pull off my bent shoe! I always knew that my Daddy was strong, but I never knew he was strong enough to pull off my shoe with his bare hands. And that’s what he did! I felt bad because he hurt his finger and it began to bleed a little bit, but he told me that it was a small price to pay to make sure I was comfortable.

My Daddy loves me so much.

Well, the fairy guy came out a few days later and put another new shoe on with another rubber bubble tube for the snow, and we were all set!

Even though there was so much snow, it only took a couple days of sunshine and one day of rain to wash it all away. After one more day of sunshine, the mud was mostly dried up… so my Mommy and Daddy decided that they would give me another surprise and take me for another trail ride in the park! But the real surprise was that my Daddy was going to get to ride, too. The woman who was my friend Bucky’s Mommy said that my Daddy could ride Bucky out in the park whenever he wanted, so that I could go on a trail ride with both my humans. It was so much fun! I don’t know if I have any photos of Daddy and Bucky, because my Daddy was the one holding the camera. My Mommy needed to keep both her hands on my reins, since I was still a baby and got a little nervous in the park now and then. But I remember that it was so much more fun to go out in the park with both my humans and my friend, Bucky! Bucky was an old horse, so he knew a lot of great stories and he knew his way around the park really well. I was happy, and I loved my Mommy and Daddy more and more every day.

Walking in the park!

Walking in the park!

Oh, and you know the best part? After the winter, when the snow was done and the mud was dry, my Mommy and Daddy found the first shoe that I lost! They kept it and hung it up on my stall door as a keepsake.

I have so many amazing memories with my Mommy and Daddy. One day, I’ll have shared them all with you. Just make sure to check back every day, because I have a LOT of stories left to tell!

Oh, here comes my Daddy with the hay! Time to go eat. Stay dry, y’all, and don’t let the mud suck off your shoes!

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

Working in the winter

Well, I’m sorry that I haven’t written yet today. I was having a nice, relaxing day in the pasture with my best friend Leo, and my human came as the sun started to get lower in the sky and the air started to get colder. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to work – I’m always happy to work – but I would have enjoyed the workout more if it had been in the brightest sunshine of the day. But I have to give my human Mommy credit, because she always seems to know exactly what I need, even if she isn’t willing to let the rest of her human-duties revolve around my schedule.

Since I had two days off due to the rain, I was feeling very stiff, and my human took that into consideration. She let me stretch for a long time at the beginning of the ride, letting me stick my head up in the air or put my head all the way down to stretch my back out. When we started trotting, she didn’t make me come into a frame like I usually do – in fact, she didn’t really even touch the reins, she just let me stretch out and trot at my own pace, with my head held comfortably as I worked out of my stiffness. She was nice enough to do the same thing while we cantered, allowing me to find my own pace and stretch out however I wanted to, so I figured it was only fair for me to let her know when I was feeling warmed up. When I was no longer feeling stiff, and my muscles were nice and loose, I showed her what a good horse I am by putting myself into a frame and doing what the humans call “engaging my hind end,” all on my own! She was so pleased with me that she let me have a little bit of fun with some flying lead changes.

When the arena was almost fully covered in shadow and the wind became much colder, my human Mommy told me that we could be done, and she asked my human Daddy to bring me that silly green “cooler” that she makes me wear. I fluctuate between feeling like I look ridiculous, and feeling like a medieval jousting horse – but I have to say, I really appreciated it tonight. After working for about twenty minutes or so, my muscles were nice and warm… which also meant that, once I stopped working and began my “cool down” by walking, the wind felt extra cold against my body. So having a warm, fuzzy “cooler” on me made all the difference. I was able to let my muscles cool down slowly, without shivering from the cold, which usually makes my muscles feel very tense and achey, and sometimes it even makes me feel like I can’t move so well anymore. The humans call that “tying up,” which I guess makes sense, because it feels like someone has tied up my muscles in a big knot.

We walked with my new favorite “cooler” on for a long time, and then we stopped so that my human Daddy could take a couple pictures of us – probably because I am super handsome and look really good in green. Well, I look really good in any color. Not to be immodest or anything. Anyway, after my humans made such a fuss over me and took so many photos, I wanted to see exactly what I looked like, so I marched up to the window of the barn and took a long look at myself.

My reflection in the window

Yup, I really do look good in green.

Actually, seeing myself in that cooler made me remember the first time I ever wore it, back when I was a little three-year-old at my first barn in New York. A couple days after my humans and I “joined up” together, there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. My human Mommy said that if we didn’t get used to the snow, I would end up having the entire winter off. At the time, that sounded fine to me – though I would hate it, now – but my humans thought that it was important for me to  keep working so I would grow up to be big, handsome, strong and… well, exactly who I am, today!

My first time working in the snow was weird, I’ll tell you that much. My humans wrapped nice, warm polos on all of my legs to keep them warm and also to protect me from getting hurt, but it still felt weird because my hooves didn’t even touch the ground underneath. It was almost like I was floating on… snow. At first, I picked my feet up really high, trying to avoid stepping in the snow…

Icchy in the snow

But after I got used to it, I decided that it was really fun, and I got a little bit carried away. I took off running and bucking like the little baby horse that I was, and I actually forgot that I had a small human on my back.

Icchy in the snow

She didn’t seem to mind, though, she was actually laughing along with me! She told me that I was “cute” and that I was allowed to “be a baby,” that we weren’t there to be serious but to have fun and get some exercise while we played together. I thought that was special, and I was glad once again that I had such wonderful humans.

Anyway, the point of this story was that, after we worked out in the snow, my humans put that warm, green “cooler” on me for the first time – and I loved it! That was also the first time my human Daddy ever rode me, but just to walk with me while we cooled our muscles down.

Icchy in his cooler

Icchy in his cooler

Well, I do love those memories, but let’s get back to the present: tonight after my workout and our impromptu photo-shoot, I got a long grooming session and then I got to go in my stall with some warm, steamed hay and my warmest winter blanket. My humans gave me lots of treats (peppermints and molasses-cookies), lots of hugs and kisses on my face. And now, it’s time for me to go and eat my dinner grain… and then I’m going to curl up on my soft bed of shavings and take a snooze.

Catch you tomorrow! Stay warm, friends!

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

When I finally learned about “join up”

Well, the rain has let up a bit, but everything is still pretty soggy. My human brought me out a big pile of hay and put it inside my rain shelter for me. So, I figured I’d write a little more while I eat my hay. My best friend, Leo, is in the paddock next to me, but he’s inside his shelter as well, so I don’t really have anything better to do. And besides, I think I’m getting the hang of this whole “blogging” thing. It’s fun telling my side of the story.

So, remember in my last entry, when I told you that my humans wanted to do something called “join up” with me? I never got the chance to tell you about that! As it turns out, “join up” is something that a guy named Monty Roberts came up with, and it’s basically where the humans prove their loyalty to you by showing you that they actually speak your language. It’s really rather cool, if you ask me… and why wouldn’t you ask me? This is my blog, after all.

Anyway, the day I jumped out of the paddock, my female human came running into the barn and threw her arms around my neck. I was a little startled, thinking maybe she was going to strangle me or something, but I relaxed when I heard her say, “I knew you would be an amazing jumper, Icarus!! I knew it the first time I rode you!” I smiled, proud of myself again – until she added, “But you have to promise me that you’ll NEVER jump out of the paddock EVER again, okay? You could have hurt yourself, and I would never want anything bad like that to happen to you.”

I nodded, and nuzzled her neck so she would know that I understood.

“Good,” she said, getting my message. “So, today, we’re going to prove to you that you can trust us… if we haven’t proven that, already.” She put my halter on me, took off my blanket, groomed me until I was nice and shiny and relaxed, and then both of my humans and I walked out to the same little paddock that I had jumped out of earlier that day. My female human took me inside the paddock and asked the male human to stand outside the gate, just in case I “got any ideas” about trying to jump out again. The female human unclipped my lead rope from my halter and walked to the middle of the paddock, where there was a whip lying on the freshly-shoveled ground.

Unsure of what she meant to do with that whip, I turned and trotted away from her. I realized that this was exactly what she wanted me to do when she said, “Good boy!” She put the whip back down and started to open her hands up like they were claws, looking me straight in the eye. I wasn’t sure why, but this made me a little nervous, so I started to canter. I could only make circles around the human, because the paddock was just a big circle. Suddenly, my human stepped out in front of me, blocking my path, but still looking me straight in the eye. I stopped and spun around, continuing to canter in the other direction. I figured that’s what she wanted me to do when she went back to the middle of the paddock and allowed me to keep cantering.

Suddenly, I realized exactly what it was that my female human was doing. She was showing me that she had the control, that she was a two-legged human who could scare me with just a single look – but that she meant me no harm. She had shown me the whip because she wanted me to know that humans can use whips – but she’d put it down, as if to tell me that she wouldn’t ever use one on me. I wished that I knew how to speak in the human language, so I could tell her that I understood, but since I only know one language, I decided to tell her in my own way. I put my head down so that my nose was almost on the ground and started chewing, as if to say, “Look, I’m vulnerable, I’m eating – that means I trust you.” I heard her mutter something sweet and calm under her breath, so I took a chance and turned to look at her while I cantered. As soon as I looked at her, she broke eye contact and turned away from me.

I couldn’t believe it. My human really DID speak my language! How could she know that turning away from me was an invitation for me to come toward her? Well, I thought that maybe it was a fluke, so I slowed to a walk and tentatively took a couple steps toward her. When I saw that she stood perfectly still, I kept walking until I reached her shoulder, and touched it gently with my nose to let her know I was next to her. Only then did she turn around and give me a gentle stroke on my face, right between my eyes, where she knew I couldn’t see her hand. She patted my neck and said, “You’re such a good boy, Icarus. Now you know that you can trust me, and I know I can trust you… right?” I nuzzled up to her and gave her a wet kiss on the face, so she’d know that my answer was “yes!”

The female human switched places with the male human, who started the whole “join up” process over from the beginning. Since I knew what was going on that time, it took me less time to create the same bond with him, and before I knew it, I was nuzzling his neck while he pet me all over my furry little body. I promised him that I’d never run away from him again, and that I’d always choose him over my horse friends if I ever felt torn.

It was a pretty awesome day, I have to say. Now, two years later, I have an even stronger and more amazing bond with both my humans. We’re practically inseparable, and I even know what their automobile sounds like when they pull into the driveway at my barn here in Tennessee. They love me more than anything in the world, and I love them just as much. I even follow them around without a lead line, because I only want to be near them.

Speaking of which… I’m going to see if I can get them to come over here and give me some treats. Thanks for listening to my story! I promise I’ll tell you more about my humans tomorrow… For now, I think that’s an apple I see in my male human’s hand!

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

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