Duncan McFarlane and Helen McNaught's barn cat Lucky isn't the only barn cat with a curious little story. We here at Sprieser Sporthorse have our own little feline weirdo: Icky, short for Ichibod Crane The Nearly-Headless Cat. And here is her story.
Have you ever seen the movie Top Gun? (If not, that's just plain wrong; go watch it right now.) There's this great scene where Wolfman is telling Maverick about how his team got their butts kicked in a training exercise. He says: "We went like this, he went like that. I said to Hollywood, 'Where'd he go?' Hollywood says, 'Where'd WHO go?!?' ''
Billy had at least some idea of all the pieces, but they certainly weren't finished. Cleo had only just shown her first Prix St. Georges about a week before I bought her. Tres, too, had done a few PSG tests and had the passage down but no piaffe and no ones. Ella came to me at five, knowing only how to go, stop and steer.
And now Midge joins the list, one I've known since he was barely under saddle: the fifth horse I've finished to Grand Prix. I turn 28 in about two weeks. How 'bout them apples?
In my trailer, bound for Saugerties: my big green upright trunk (since I don't have a tack stall for just the one horse), complete with grooming stuff, bathing stuff, tack cleaning stuff. Fly sheet, scrim sheet, stable sheet (54* nights! woohoo!). Hay, grain, shavings. Wheelbarrow, fork, step stool, braiding stuff. A little cooler filled with sandwiches, homemade watermelon applesauce (amazing!), water.
In Amy's trailer, bound for Morven: standing saddle racks, bridle hooks. Grooming, bathing, tack cleaning. Sheets. Table, chairs, tack room banners. Hay, grain, shavings, etc.
After three weeks away from the farm, between the Olympics, boot camp and the national championships, it's back to work time, big time. Naturally, that means 16-hour days in high temps with even higher humidity. Welcome home!
I was the fat kid from my birth until… well, right now actually. I hated gym class, was sucky at sports and slept through high school health class. So when I said, "Oh jeez, I need a fitness plan for my horses," I went for the big guns.
Enter Dr. Stephanie Davis, my small-but-mighty (and adorable) savior.
Visualization is a big part of my pre-show preparation, and it's very detailed. I don't just imagine "A Enter collected canter, X halt salute." I dream up every half-halt, every flick of the wrist. For Saturday's ride, I added one little word to every corner, every movement, every brief pause in the test: fight.
Not fight with Midge, of course, but fight for every point. And fight we did, climbing our way back up to place third on Saturday and fourth overall by just tenths of a point.
Back to business. The first day of the show starts tomorrow, with our Intermediaire II class in the afternoon, which meant today was my last chance to school and to do whatever I needed to do to make Midge his best for Thursday.
When I was nine, I wanted to go to the Olympics for figure skating. (And swimming. No big deal.) I loved skating and took regular lessons. One day at school, playing football with other fourth graders, I got tackled, and I broke my femur. I spent a month in the hospital in traction, three months in a body cast, and emerged crippled, atrophied and unable to walk. It was November, and I grew up outside Chicago, so swimming as rehab was out.