Posts Tagged With: working

Circles (and so on)

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to concentrate on the things that Mommy asks me to do. It’s not always my fault, though; there are lots of distractions out there in the big ol’ world – and I’m a very curious character!

Today when Mommy and I went down to the lower arena for our workout, there were two horses in the big paddock that’s next to that arena. Immediately I assumed that they were not horses, but aliens or monsters of some sort disguised as horses, because I’ve been here for a month now and I’ve never seen horses out in that big field. So, it was only natural that I was a little bit terrified of them at first.

Being the good, patient Mommy that she is, she allowed me to walk over to the wall to say hello to the  so-called “horses” and confirm that they were, in fact, only horses (and not aliens/monsters/shape-shifters).

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“Alright, as long as you’re SURE that you’re both JUST horses…”

Well, once I knew for certain that they were of my own species, I wanted very badly to go and hang out with them. How much fun they must be having in that big, open field with all that space to run around! They obviously wanted me to come out and play with them, too, because they kept running back and forth along the wall of the arena on that side. It was very exciting! I love making new friends – and here were two horses that wanted to be friends with me, too!

I have to be honest and admit that, in all of the excitement, I wasn’t paying any attention to Mommy at all. No matter where in the arena I was, I kept trying to turn and run back over to the horses in the field. I was being very fancy and enthusiastic about it, though; trotting sideways, cantering in place, spinning and trying to bolt back over to them…

When I finally realized that Mommy was getting frustrated with me for ignoring her and pretending she wasn’t there, it was already too late. I heard her say the dreaded words, “Well, I guess this is nothing that a million 20-meter circles can’t fix…” and I knew that I was in for it.

Any horse who has ever been “banished to a 20-meter circle” will probably be able to relate to what I’m about to say:

Circles. Are. BORING.

Now, any horse who has never been punished in such a way… well, you’re clearly just a goody-four-shoes and you need to get out and live a little. (Then again, I guess I’m not making a very good argument by telling you how boring it is to have to work on a 20-meter circle for an entire half-hour, right? In fact, if I had to do today’s workout over again, I would have paid more attention in the beginning so that I wouldn’t have to end up on a circle forever. But I promise you, that does not make me a goody-four-shoes!)

Yep, that’s right: I had to work on a 20-meter circle for the rest of my workout, which was a solid half-hour. Mommy doesn’t usually like to make me work on a circle for such a long time, because she knows that it can be hard on a horse’s joints to do such repetitive patterns for so long, but I have to hand it to her:  her (diabolical) plan worked. I started paying attention to her instead of the other horses, because I probably would have tripped and fallen on my face if I tried to trot or canter a circle without looking where I was going. And it’s pretty tough not to keep your head down and your eyes looking where you’re going when you’re constantly being asked to bend to the inside.

So, all’s well that ends well, and Mommy gave me lots of praise (and carrots) for finally being able to focus and put in some good quality work. Once I was all cooled down and Mommy had taken off my tack, I got to roll in my stall and take a long, cool drink of water from my automatic waterer.

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Then, I got a long shower and Mommy let me eat grass with my friends, Becky and Olive, until I was dry. A little more than an hour after I was done cooling out, Mommy gave me my grain mash. She likes to make my grain into a cold mash these days because she wants to make sure that I get enough water when it’s this hot out (even though I drink a lot and I have two mineral salt licks in my stall), but she also knows how much I love to be messy!

Mmmm, I love getting mash-face when I eat my breakfast!

Mmmm, I love getting mash-face when I eat my breakfast!

Oh, and I started my monthly ration of Psyllium yesterday. I have to report that I love Psyllium! The kind Mommy got me tastes like apples and molasses, and it makes my breakfast that much more delicious. I’m almost sad that I’ll only get it for one week out of each month!

Anyway, in other news… the new baby is still absolutely adorable and Robin is still a wonderful Mama.

Shhh... The baby is sleeeeeeping!

Ssshhhhh… The baby is sleeeeeeping!

I still haven’t met either of them, but Mommy has been taking pictures for me and she confessed to me that she’s been sharing my carrots with Robin. I don’t mind, though. Mommies need lots of vegetables to stay strong so they can protect their beautiful babies, and I’m more than happy to share my carrots with Robin! Maybe that means that she and I can be friends someday… I just hope Mommy made sure to tell Robin that the carrots were from me!

Alright, that’s about all I have to say. I think I’m going to go take a nap; this morning’s workout really took a lot out of me! Stay cool, friends. I’ll catch y’all later…

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

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