I would be remiss if I did not post that today is Ike’s brother’s 16th birthday. My dearest Cigar is my retired OTTB (off the track Thoroughbred). He raced under the name HiHoSky for 51 starts with $42K in earnings…of which I was no part. He finished his racing career at Charlestown, WVA and then tried his hand at point-to-point races at Morven Park in Leesburg, VA. Not sure how he ended up at the farm where I was taking lessons, but he joined the family in November 2005. His heart was never really in dressage and truth be told, I think he was hoping to pop out of the trailer at the track rather than a stodgy dressage show. If he could talk, I’m sure he’d have asked me how I expected him to win with his nose on vertical when most of his life had been stretching it out as far as possible.
We battled our way to First Level before an unhealed knee fracture forced his retirement. We really did battle the past 7 years. He’s given me a bloody nose, a black eye, a finger that is no longer straight, bruises in the shape of hoof prints on both feet, a bruised butt, a knot on my shin from a kick, whiplash, a sprained wrist, a sprained ankle, and a total lack of ego in the saddle. But so help me, I love my boy. He has given me great confidence in myself that I can cope with and overcome big obstacles.
Cigar was not without his battle wounds as well. He had a major hip injury that kept him out of work for 6 months, two emergency vet visits for stitches to his right shoulder (he likes to roughhouse a bit tooooo much with other horses), an abscess, hock issues and arthritis in both hocks from all the racing, an odd founder-like episode, sprains and strains, and the career ending knee fracture. Let us hope his younger brother is not as accident prone.
He now lives on the same farm as Ike and lives the life of Riley. No demands on his time. Mares to flirt with and his buddy Dude to keep him company. Mom hands out love and treats just because he nickers hello. Cigar is a talker unlike his silent brother Ike. His most endearing trait is giving kisses on demand…if I pucker and ask for a kiss, he will swipe his muzzle on my face.He and his barn buddies enjoyed cold carrots and peppermints to celebrate. After the celebration, I got in a 20-25 minute ride. Started off the ride in two-point because Ike was a bit fussy – we believe the saddle is getting too snug as Ike starts to muscle up and develop a topline. I got him through and using his back; the rest of the ride was excellent. Canter transitions were spot on…13 days left.