Yep, she did!

From the moment they called for the kids to come to the arena, she did not want to go.  She cried from the time she had to line up, waiting with the other kids for her turn.  We could see the little tears streaming slowly down her face.  But she kept walking forward, with her face mask helmet down over her head and her protective vest on tight.  I saw the volunteer bend down to talk to her and she moved forward to the bucking chute where the sheep was waiting.

Then she disappeared behind the chute and we all crossed our fingers and hoped that when the gate opened Jo would be up on the sheep’s back.  And so we waited.  Ally had told her to get in her jumping position (from her horseback riding lessons), put her arms around the sheep’s neck and hold on tight. Finally the announcer said “Next out of the chute is Jordyn Taylor!”.

And out she came, the sheep running into the arena.  Jordyn up on the sheep’s neck, little legs clasped around.  It lasted about ten feet and even fewer seconds.  Off she came, hard into the dirt.  Then the crying started in earnest.  We all cheered for her and told her how great she had done and how proud we were of her.  But she said she didn’t ride far enough and that she didn’t do well.

She had scraped up her arm.  She had scraped her side.  Not bad, but I knew it stung.  We all tried to console her but she was very disappointed in her debut.    Ally, Luke, Kendyll and Jo headed off to get ice cream (ice cream makes everything better).  Lauren and I prepared to head home.  As we came around the end of the arena we saw a big box with belt buckles.  The announcer was calling for all Mutton Busters to come back into the arena and get a group picture.  But more important-everyone no matter how long their ride would get a belt buckle.

We called Ally on the phone and told her to get Jordyn back to the arena.  And the little girl who had bravely jumped on the back of a sheep when she wanted to quit, stood proudly in line and received her buckle. I told her “you did a great job, Jo!” And she answered,  “Yep, I did, Granny.”

My pictures are not loading.  I have some good ones of this-so will upload as soon as I can.

Yep, I am!

I had an unexpected half day off today, following what I thought would be an involved Dental appointment (that wasn’t) I ended up with much of the afternoon unscheduled.  Rain had returned to Texas and the storms were rolling along off and on all afternoon.  It set the stage for getting some quiet time and chores done inside the house as all riding activities were cancelled.

Jordyn usually comes on Friday but she has her big debut at the Fort Bend County Fair in Mutton Busting tomorrow night and Ally did not want her over-tired.  What, Granny would make her over-tired?  Never.  I don’t know what I will have to report to you tomorrow.  Jo may go into the arena on the back of a sheep and ride her full eight seconds or she might balk at the last moment.  Either way I will be there with the camera ready. 

One time when Jordyn was about two and a half, my old boss had a great summer office party at the local airport.  When not playing in the giant bouncy house or eating Texas barbeque, he had arranged for helicopter rides out over the surrounding area and the Gulf.  It was all Jordyn could talk about.  Lauren and I kept telling her that we didn’t think she could go, that she was too small, but she just would turn and look at us and say, “Yep, I am, Granny!”  This went on over and over for two full days preceding the party.  When we got to the airport we got special permission for Jo to go in the helicopter on Luke’s lap.  Then we awaited our turn.  All Jo was focused on was the helicopter, each time it came and landed she was more enthusiastic. 

Finally, they called for Ally, Luke and Jordyn.  She got up to the helicopter and all was well until they started to place her inside.  Then it was “Granny, get me out, get me out!!”.  Needless to say, I held Jo as her parents took off in the sky.  I will never forget the “Yep, I am”.

So, tomorrow, I do not know if it will be another day of “Yep, I am” and then last minute bail out.  I am proud of her for trying and believing she can do this.  I will give you the update Sunday.

Rain is to continue all night and all day tomorrow.  I should have some nutty stall-bound horses by then.  But fortunately, Lauren and I got Rye Grass seed spread earlier this week so timing should be pretty good for our rain.  Also, it is almost time for the last cutting of hay where we will hope to put up 100 bales or so for winter.  So, the rain will give it an added push before the cut.

Lauren and I saw momma this afternoon and as we walked into the lobby we saw Jeff Davang.  The Davangs are long-time friends and yet we had no idea Jeff’s mom was at the same center as mine.  Jeff’s mom has been there about six months so that eases my mind.  Momma was so surprised to see me and just couldn’t believe I had come!  I was just there yesterday.  What a horrible disease this is-taking your memories and leaving fear and anxiety.

Keep Jordyn in your prayers as she goes into the big rodeo arena tomorrow.  Thanks and good night.

Mickey-Back in Action

Mickey is stepping out again!

For the first time since mid-June, Mickey has returned to Dev for training. A little bigger, a little more excited but hopefully coughing a little less, Mickey took the almost 100 mile trip to Dev’s this morning for his first lesson in over 90 days.  That is crazy.  I don’t think Mickey has ever been out of training for 90 days since the time he was a two-year old.

I had been a little anxious all morning waiting to hear how it all had gone.  Things seemed to be starting off well.  Mickey loaded in the trailer first try which was way easier than the usual angst with Feather.  And he rode quietly, even though they hit rush hour traffic on the Beltway and weren’t traveling over 10 miles per hour for a period. But Mickey is not Leo either and stood quietly in the trailer no matter what truck or car pushed past.

And the lesson was a success!  I think Dev was a little surprised to see “Western Mickey”, with his mane long and wild.  His body shape is more of halter horse than the sleek thoroughbred he has resembled in the past.  “Western Mickey” will have to have a major grooming session prior to the October show to get him back to “Show Mickey”.  Today he looks like he should be going out to work some cattle.

Lauren has really been reminiscing about her days with Mick.  I come home to find her re-watching her winning videos of the past season, over and over.  Last night she posted on Facebook, a video from the February show.  It was a good round for them and I think she is so eager to be back in the ring that she is yearning for it.  It has made her eager and hungry for the adrenline rush of the big fences (for us anyway).

Dev said he thought Mickey looked solid (people have called me solid before-not sure it is a big compliment-maybe better for a horse than me).  He said he looked healthy and well-rested.  Once they got in the ring, at the trot there was some coughing, but they pushed past it, and went on with business.  It seemed that Mickey, like Lauren, was eager to get back to his job.  He was very accurate with his jumping and looked great over fences, which he has not jumped at all in these past  few months.  They took him up to about three-foot.  It was enough for the first day back.  Enough for Dev to know that the little bay gelding was on a come back trip.

Actually, Mickey looked good enough and behaved well enough, that Lauren was the one that got the homework assignments.  The horse can only be as good as their rider is, and Lauren has been out of practice these last months as well.  While she has spent a lot of hours in the saddle between moving Feather along and keeping Mickey fit, she has not had the eyes of a trainer on her.  We all know that words coming from me, are just that, words.  So, Lauren has some work to do on her posture and sitting back and waiting before the jump.  These are not new concepts to Lauren but ones she always needs to be mindful of as she rides. 

We could probably cancel our date for the scan on Monday but I would rather go ahead with it.  If we do and all is fine-then that is done.  If I don’t do it and Mickey continues to have issues, we will always wonder what the scan would have shown.  My analysis at this point is Mickey has allergies that cause him to cough (and he will always have issues with these) and he had the Pythium fungal-like infection in his respiratory tract.  He has overcome the Pythium problem but will always have allergy issues.  I think the scan on Monday will be fine.  But I want to know for sure.

It is with enormous satisfaction that I received the message from Dev today after the lesson that it went well and Mickey did great.  It has been a long, hot summer waiting to see this horse back in action. 

As always, thanks for riding along!

Habits

Kena and Lula have a habit of sleeping after dinner.

They say it takes three weeks to build a new habit.  I have pondered this in many situations over the years.  Like when I decided to quit eating red meat.  It was hard but after three weeks, it really didn’t matter. Of course, I just managed to do this for Lent, but still. Then there was when I started swimming laps again, it was so hard to get myself to the pool but  after going twice a week for three weeks it just kicked in.  It became easier.  It became a habit. 

I have now had my mom here for over three weeks.  My schedule and routine (of which I am little obsessive compulsive) had to change.  It was really hard for me.  To be able to get to my mom’s every day I could-which I have now decided is every day but Tuesdays (Lauren goes on Tuesdays) and at the best time for her and I (the hour right before dinner), I had to adjust my work hours (thank goodness for the ability to do so).  But I had the most difficulty with adjusting my sleep schedule so that I got up an hour earlier each day.  I now get up at 4:00 am.  Yes, every day because horses are creatures of habit and creatures of habit with bad stomachs that act up when not treated in a routine manner. So, I feed them and the rest of the animals at the same time every morning.   I do go back to sleep on the weekends-I am not crazy.

All and all, the new routine is working fine.  I actually wake up on my own, no alarms, at the appointed hour.  My internal clock has re-set.  The day moves along quickly and I am usually at my mom’s close to 4:00 pm.  It gives her something to count on that I will come most days before her dinner.  We can visit and then I can walk her to dinner being sure she is set up in her spot in the dining room.

We have a new routine at the barn as well with Mickey back in the work rotation.  On the days Lauren has school, we ride in the evening.  Saddling up everyone but Kid.  She works one horse and I, the other.  Whichever one I ride Lauren will get on at the end and do a little more fast work or jumping.  Then I get Mimi going, doing some ground work.  Some man pulled off the road in his truck last night and watched us work the horses.  We got that a lot when we first moved to our little farm.  I could just imagine the conversations in those trucks.  “Hey, have you seen them jumping horses?”  “Isn’t that something!” 

Last night it was probably perplexing to the watcher, as I was lunging Mimi, moving her around in a circle at a walk and a trot. I was really pushing her, trying to get her to break into a canter.  I am sure I was quite comical as viewed from the road.  I had my whip in one hand, the lunge line in the other and was walking along behind the pony urging her forward.  When the horse gets good at this, (as my old boy Cupid was) you could stand still in the center of the circle and the horse would walk, trot and canter at your bidding.  Mimi and I are not even close to that kind of effortless work.  I think I get as much exercise as she does.  As I pushed her along to try to get her moving faster, I had to move faster as well.  It was successful, she cantered for the first time, but I got dizzy-going round in circles and a real workout.

The horses, just like me, are getting used to the new routine.  For Feather and the Mimi, getting them to understand that there is work to be done most days, is important.  Some days we do not get much further than saddling and have them stand in the arena but it is all part of their education and I think their acceptance of work. Spontaneity is not my best attribute.  In three weeks, lacking any vet decreeing otherwise, Mickey will head back to the show ring.  We will see if everyone is settled in the routine by then.  I can’t wait to see how far little Mimi has come.

Traditions

With my mother here we are starting new traditions.  I need to find out what time the Texans play (who would have ever thought that would matter) next Sunday so we can plan if it is a brunch or dinner get together day.  If the Texans play early than I know better than to invite Luke, Ally and family down for brunch-it isn’t going to happen.  But maybe if it is a later start time, we can all be together for an early brunch at the small restaurant near our house.  Previously, Sundays were pretty much spent at horse shows and if not at horse shows than doing chores with horses.

Now, with momma here, it is a good day to pick her up from the nursing home and take her out.  A week ago we did the brunch thing and this week I cooked.  Lauren and I, alone, have not been big on any kind of Sunday dinner.  I remember when we would visit Oklahoma when I was a child and my grandma would make fried chicken and cream gravy.  I will never forget it.  So, so good!  Yesterday, I made a chicken with wine and mushroom thing.  Lauren seemed surprised it was good.  She remarked, “I didn’t know you could cook”.  Guess I have kept that hidden pretty well.

It felt pretty good to sit down at the Sunday table (which we never use) with my mom and daughter.  We even said grace.  It would be nice to have that Sunday tradition with my grandchildren.  Maybe they will look back and recall how great granny’s food was, I would never try fried chicken and cream gravy, I could never do justice to that but maybe I still have a few good meals to serve.

Nellie at seven weeks.

In another type of tradition, Ryan and Amber’s family got a new Irish Wolfhound.  The third Wolfhound that has been in our family. Nellie, who Ryan is calling Nellie Belle came home from Steamboat to Denver this week.  This is our first female Wolfhound and at eight weeks and almost as big as their cocker spaniel, Nellie will be a big presence in the family. 

Nellie meeting her new brother, Bailey. She will be the “big” sister soon.

I am hoping they will have many, many great years with their new girl.  Great traditions come from memories.  Lots of great Irish Wolfhound memories in this house.  Congratulations to them and to Nellie-she couldn’t have gotten a better home. 

Nothing special but it was!

It was a good weekend at Six Meadow Farm maybe not because we did anything special but because we did not.  It was a weekend for chores and horses and family.

Friday I got momma to the doctor for the first time in Texas and she was pronounced healthy and doing well except for needing to eat a little more.  We can work on that.    Then I picked up Jordyn for a sleepover.  I don’t often express it, but am so grateful and humbled to be able to share my life with my grandchildren.  I look forward to Jo’s visit all week-long. 

Friday night, Jordyn was determined to ride the new pony Mimi.  It had not worked out the week before with schedules so we were going to do it first thing this week.  Lauren and I saddled up Mimi, Mickey and Feather with Jordyn knowledgeably helping brush and groom. All the horses were a little fresh and I was skeptical about letting Jo get on Mimi.  Remember, this is a young, and for all intents and purposes, unbroken horse.  Mimi also has a history of dropping her riders to the ground.  But Jordyn was determined.  I was determined to hold on to Mimi no matter what.  We went to the mounting block and Jo climbed aboard.  For a moment, I thought we might be in trouble and then Mimi seemed to make her mind up that she would cooperate with Jordyn.  So, off we went.  Mimi was a trooper.  Jordyn was very proud of herself.  It was a little inspiring to watch them (or would be if Jo had any idea how fast Mimi could have put her on the ground).

After that, Jo rode (sat on while we walked around) both Mickey and Feather.  Big stuff.  Mickey and Feather worked well for Lauren.

My email pinged as we went in with word from University of California that Mickey does not have the Impressive disease-he is HYPP/NN.  Amazing news.  I am so grateful that we will not have to fight the HYPP battle.

Saturday we went to the Equestrian Center to take a saddle to be checked, take some shots for Snowboy (Dev will give later) and to watch a few rounds of the show.  It felt odd not to be able to be there with Mickey.  Hopefully, he will be back soon.  The high point for Jordyn was to be able to see and then meet part of the family that is related to Harry DeLeyer the owner of Snowman, for whom the book the Eighty Dollar Champion was written.  Snowman, The Cinderella Horse, (a children’s book about the same horse) is Jo’s favorite book.  She studiously shook hands with young AJ DeLeyer and seemed a little in awe.  AJ told us his grandfather would be coming to Houston in January to do a motivational speech.  Count the Davis’ in-I would love to meet this man who won the national championship on a horse he bought from the butcher for $80.

Later Lauren and I visited Nanny.  She was so excited to see us.  I just want to go to see her face light up.

We rode Mickey and Feather out on the hay road.  I don’t want to jinx myself but he did not cough once.  We had several good long trots.  It was a beautiful evening. 

Really glad I did not walk through this on my way to feed this morning!

This morning we got up to heavy fog with sun starting to peek through.  Nature had been busy overnight spinning webs that shone in the morning light. 

Today, as we started getting the horses ready to ride, everyone was acting goofy.  Feather has never done well with tying but today she reared multiple times and was just acting dumb.  Mickey and Mimi were not incredibly agreeable either.   I rode Feather (who is much easier to ride since all Dev’s and Lauren’s work).  We picked up the right lead (her tough one) the first time!  Lauren had a good solid ride on Mickey and the coughing was minimal.  Bravo!

We rounded out the morning with Lauren getting on Mimi and taking her on her first trot.  Mimi is doing very well.

I went and picked up my mom and she came to watch her Broncos play my Texans.  We figured out she had lived over 50 years in Denver so she was cheering on Denver as I cheered for the Texans.  Texans won-yeah!  Denver needs to knock off the whole trying to kill our quarterback thing.

I made an old recipe of my sister’s that mom seemed to really enjoy.  It was a nice change to have a good Sunday dinner.  Might want to make it our new traditions.  So good have her here, in my life.

What would it be like?

What would it be like to wake up each day and not have any idea where you were?

The room looks familiar but it is not your home.

What would it be like to have a person bathe and dress you when you do not know who they are?

When you were always a very private. modest person and now must be naked with strangers.

What would it be like to spend your days with others who know even less than you?

Scanning each person who walks into the room to see if you might, possibly recognize them.

What would it be like to not be able to see well enough to read or find items in your own room?

When you had carefully organized things and had a spotless home for years.

What would it be like to not know if someone would be kind to you?

Especially when you are tiny and not even one hundred pounds.

What would it be like-all these things? 

Well, they are my momma’s world now.  I cannot imagine what it would be like.  How brave she is, how brave she must be.