Mickey-What we know now

The morning sun shining on Mickey as we wait for the vet.

Mickey is improved!  His scope was markedly better than the previous one in July.  The swelling has been reduced in the airway.  The inflammation was also significantly better.  He did not seem to have any lower airway, lung or other respiratory issues (i.e a chronic pneumonia).  I believe the management of the allergens (removal of as many things as possible, change of feed, change of environment) has counted for some of the improvement.  The pythium is gone (adios-farewell) and with it, it’s symptoms have gone. 

Is Mickey still coughing?  The answer is still yes.  But we have another factor that may be playing a part.  Mickey’s pedigree includes the great but tragic Quarter Horse, Impressive.  Impressive was an Oklahoma bred (as was Mickey) World Champion Halter Horse.

World Champ Impressive-responsible for Mickey being sick?

Impressive was a much sought after stallion.  Everyone wanted to reproduce the traits that had made him successful.  Unfortunately, as more and more descendents came of age, so did a disease attributed to the great stallion.  A genetic mutation that has been implicated in the rare but burgeoning – and sometimes fatal – muscular disorder known as hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This particular defect is a dominant condition, meaning that at least half of the affected horses’ offspring will be affected as well. In the words of one prominent Quarter Horse trainer, this discovery was “one of the most devastating things that has ever hit the horse industry.”

I knew all about HYPP as a quarter horse owner, all my mares were tested to be sure they did not carry this disease.  I knew from Mickey’s pedigree that he was “Impressive-bred”.  Many people did.  We joked that Impressive’s less than stellar personality was a lot like Mickey’s.  But until I posted a recent picture of Mickey, after he has gained almost two hundred pounds and joked again about how he was channeling his inner “Impressive” did anyone think about Impressive-Mickey and HYPP.  No vet would have looked at Mickey (who traditionally has looked like a small thoroughbred not a bulky halter horse) and thought wow, he looks like Impressive. But Dr. Criner picked up the link.  So, Mickey is being tested.  He may carry one of the genes, both of the positive genes or none at all.  It is possible he has the heterozygous gene (the one gene).  In horses that carry only one gene, the HYPP may be dormant, sometimes not appearing until late in life.  But the stress of illness, can bring the gene to forefront.  It can cause paralysis and maybe causing the collapse we are seeing in his airway.  It may be what has caused his droopy lip all these years and the twitching we see from time to time.

We will wait for a confirmation.  We will start to build Mickey up on his work schedule.  Lauren and I wanted to show him Thursday (just over the low jumps-we were ready to go) but Dr. Hildreth said no.  If he is HYPP positive, we hope we can manage it with diet and medications. We are scheduling with Texas A&M Vet school, a dynamic endoscope that is done while Mickey is worked.  We should be able to do this in the next couple of weeks. We will be looking for a dorsal displacement of the soft palate.   If we find this, there is a surgery which is quite successful to fix it.  If nothing else, I see this little paint horse making quite a vet write-up one day.  A cough, with a history of a serious lung infection,  allergies,  a pythium diagnosis, to perhaps a HYPP diagnosis, to a potential surgery.  Don’t care about all that, I just want my Mickey back.

I am pretty sure Lauren had Mickey saddled up this afternoon.  We will see how he tolerates the work. In the meantime, we will make a run for finals.  We might just do it.

The Wait is On-Mickey Returns to the Vet

Still praying for Mickey and Lauren returning to the ring. Still…

Tomorrow we pull out bright and early, to take Mickey for his return laryngoscope.  I don’t expect any real change, but would like to be surprised. Based upon his cough, I do not expect to be.  Dr. Criner also suggested the testing of another disease that could be causing these same problems so we won’t have all the answers tomorrow.

I sent about 25 strands of Mickey’s tail with the hair follicle overnight mail to the University of California.  They will be testing for a genetically inherited disease.  While not good news, if Mickey is positive for this, it will give us something to work with and perhaps get Mickey back in the show ring.  I will update tomorrow with results from the scope and later in the week as the genetic testing is concluded.

I took Mickey for a ride yesterday.  It was overcast and pretty dismal.  Lauren was at the boyfriend’s.  But it lifted my spirits to just be out on the back of this horse.  Feather and Mimi tried to follow along with us.  They got caught at the first fence and it took some work for them to figure out to go back to the barn and around to the pasture.  When they did, Feather came blasting out to find Mickey, full throttle.  I did not realize the mare had so much speed.  The poor little pony, Mimi,  was chugging faithfully along behind, not beginning to keep up but churning her short legs as fast as she could.  As Mickey and I disappeared from sight, the two girls ran back to the barn to see if he had magically appeared there.  When we came around the bend again, out to the back pasture they raced.  We played this fun game two or three times.  We would walk along the hay road and the girls would race to the barn and back.  Probably if we play the game again, I should put some splint boots on the girls to support their legs with the running.  Mickey just did some trotting and cantering but the girls got full cardio-vascular workouts.  I don’t understand why it takes Lauren so long to work the horses.  I managed to work all three of them, pretty hard in 45 minutes. 

I got Mick back to the barn, hosed down the girls, prepared their dinners and headed in a happier person.  Oh, what about Mr. Kid, you ask, well he just stood at the barn and watched the silly girls running up and down pasture.  He thought it was pretty dumb.

In mom news-I got her to let me call Jim yesterday.  They talked to each other for the first time since she left Denver at the end of August. Neither one could hear very well and were talking over each other but mom’s face lit up when Jim told her he loved her and missed her.  Hopefully, this will be a start of them talking to each other again.  It did my heart good to see her smile.

In a Fog

The fog surrounds the farm.

Things have caught up with me, this week, this weekend.  I try to see my mother every day.  It isn’t hard to see her it is difficult to carve more time out of already full days.  I don’t know if her place is supposed to do her laundry but we took it all home.  I think she changes clothes eight times a day.  There were several loads-hanging, folding, and taking it all back.

Jordyn came down on Friday.  It was pouring rain.  But I had promised she could try to ride Mimi so we saddled her up in her stall, out of the rain, and Jo sat on her quietly for quite some time.  It reminded me of me, as a little girl, just wanting to be around the horses.  I was looking forward to Saturday when I hoped the weather would clear off and Jordyn could actually ride in the ring.

Saturday dawned overcast and still raining off and on.  Ally called and wanted to pick up Jo early so she could spend some time with her dad (he has been working nights).  Both Jo and I were disappointed with abrupt change in plans.  I try to help out the kids and wish I could help with Amber’s as well but sometimes I feel just like another baby-sitter when my plans are not taken into account.  It was a quiet Saturday afternoon after Jo left.  No one rode.

I was keeping in touch with Caitlyn as she rode the finals of the Talent Search and Maclay Regionals.  It was not to be her year.  Her rides were not what she had practiced, not what she wished and not what she expected.  Still she needs to hold on to how hard she worked to make it as far as she has!  She is a top junior rider and her ride will come. Another day to shine, Catey, another day will be yours!

I am struggling with all the roles I am playing now.  So much responsibility for my mom.  Struggling with all the family dynamics as well.

It is also so odd to not be going to horse shows as the fall show season is now in full swing.  I miss my friends and the horse show routine.  Normally, Mickey would be polishing his rounds and headed to finals in just six weeks.

Dr. Criner may have made a major catch on what is going on with Mickey.  I spent this afternoon snatching hair follicles out of Mickey’s tail.  They will be winging their way off to University of California-Davis for a genetic study.  We may have the answer and some solution for what is happening with Mickey.  More when we get some answers.

I love my family and try so hard to do the best for them.  Days like today I just feel lost and inadequate.

Another Day

Sun with its peaceful, shimmering rays-after the storm

What’s going on?  Well, here are some updates-

We took momma out to dinner with Lauren, Ally, Jordyn and baby Kendyll.  I think the industrialized food is getting to her because she thought Texas Roadhouse had the best steak she had ever eaten (and she has eaten some good steaks).  She was so happy to be out with the family and enjoy some time away from her place.  She had her nails painted a bright fuchsia and seemed a little more relaxed.  Jim has written her a couple of letters and she looks forward to me reading them to her.  When I talked to Jim on the phone yesterday he said that he and his son Jay would be coming to Texas in the next month or so.  For the first time, she agreed that would be nice and especially can’t wait to see Jay.

Ally and Lauren are both a little overwhelmed with their school classes.  Finally, got a little difficult for them.  I think they had been coasting along pretty well so far.  It is good to see them challenged.

Rain finally broke over our little farm and brought some much-needed moisture to our pastures.  Mickey seems to be breathing a  little better in the aftermath of the storm.  The rain knocked the dust down and the wind blew the humidity out so it was a pretty pleasant evening.  Roland had come the night before and we were anticipating problems with little Mimi.  Caroline had told me she was fine for her farrier but I was reluctant to believe it.  We had Roland a little amped up, telling him the pony had broken a rib with the other farrier, and overall was a little loco.  Mimi came out of her stall, sized up the situation and stood still for her pedicure.  We kept telling Roland that the next foot would be the bad one, so he kept bracing for the worst.  Never happened.  She was great.

I think Lauren is falling a little in love with the pony.  Not really what I had in mind.  I want to train the pony and sell the pony.  I do not want Lauren emotionally involved.  Oh, well as we know God has plans we do not see.

Jordyn is coming tonight and will try inaugural ride (or flight) on the pony.  She will be geared up with helmet and saddle.  I think Mimi will do just fine-but I will never be more than a few steps away, just in case.

This weekend will be quiet, more rain is expected, and that is fine.  It should give all of us a chance to slow down a little bit and relax.  No horse shows for us for the next few weeks.  Caitlyn is off to St. Louis to ride the Maclay Regional Finals.  Sending out positive vibes for her and Ky. 

Mickey sees the vet on Tuesday.  We are dreading it. He just does not seem to be any better. 

Thanks for riding along and keep us in your prayers!

Mortality

Okay, this is going to sound stupid but I have never really thought about my mother dying.  I know she is 88-years old.  But honestly, somewhere after my sister and father died, it seemed my mother and I would just continue on along.  Her siblings passed away-all of them.  Her three sisters that she was closest to; Nova, Betty and Bill (yes, she had a sister named Bill) died several years ago.  And again, it was just like she and I would continue on.  Until what, I cannot say.  Somehow it felt like I couldn’t possibly die because losing another daughter would be way too hard on my mom.  And she couldn’t die, well, just because I guess I never confronted it before.

Yesterday, I got over to visit her and found her with all the other woman, sitting in the main lobby.  When the front door opens, all their heads swivel towards the door to see if perhaps their very own visitor has come to see them.  Mom even complained of her neck hurting which I believe is from the constant turning and looking over her shoulder to the door. The longing on her face palatable.  It is not unlike going to the daycare to pick up your toddler.  Each child anxiously looks toward the door in hope it is their parent who has finally come to pick them up. 

I went to sit with her.  I had seen her the last four days in a row.  Probably the first four day stretch in a row I had spent with her since we went on vacation together to Steamboat in 2002.  So, it wasn’t that I hadn’t seen her in a long while.  But she looked startling different.  First, she was dressed in a goofy outfit.  She had on black ankle socks with black little shoes.  She was wearing white summer capris and a hot pink shirt that was on backwards.  And she was just so anxious.  She did not remember I had been there the last few days or that we went out to brunch on Sunday.

When she stood up for me to hug her goodbye I noticed how small and frail she is.  I realize that I look like a Chicago Bears fullback in the pictures with my mom.  I am not that big.  I may be a little big but she is also extremely small. 

I guess it was then that it hit me that she is really not well.  And she is really fragile.  I don’t know how much time I have with her.  It was the first time I really thought she could die anytime.  Made me scared.  When did this all happen, I wanted to shout?  When did my mother disappear? 

I guess I am glad I have not confronted this before.  I am happy she is here for whatever time she has. 

Postscript-In an ironic turn (based upon her outfit du jour) she had been given an award for the “best dressed” resident-who was “pretty in pink”.  Either they did not see her outfit today or based upon some of the others, it still rated high enough to buy her the title.

OTTB Joey-Three Month Update

Joey after three months in Caroline Care!

It has been three months since six-year old off the track thoroughbred (OTTB) Joey (RV’s Smokin Joe) came home from Sarah’s to his new home with Caroline. 

Here are some stats:

  • He was under 1100 pounds when he came to Caroline’s June 10th
  • By mid-summer he was almost 1200 pounds
  • Recent visit with the vet, tagged him at over 1300 pounds

It is easy to see where the weight went.  He has developed a nice shoulder and hip.  His ribs no longer show.  Along with the good food are plenty of vitamins and supplements that are making him healthy,  his coat glossy and his tail grow.

On the work front, he is steady and workmanlike for the most part.  Although there have been some days that as my daddy would have said, he was really feeling his grain!  He can get strong and Caroline is getting a hands on education in working with an off the track thoroughbred.  Thoroughbreds are trained to run into the bit-so constant pressure on the bit gets you no where.  The old “give and take” method is the best for getting them slowed down and collected.  And not unlike, my old racehorse Kid, Joey requires NO leg to get him going or keep him moving. Friend Mary Lou took him for a ride and had to consciously remember to keep her legs off him.  Problem with that of course, is, when you get scared that the horse is moving out from under you or moving too fast, first thing you want to do is clamp down your legs.  Boy, not on this horse!

Joey has had a couple of bumps in his progress with some leg issues and a mild colic.  Thankfully, Caroline caught both early and Joey is recovering well.  I am very excited to see where this big guy might go when he finally gets into the ring.  When we took pony Mimi from Caroline, we ceremoniously handed over Leo’s beautiful OTTB pad.  I know that Joey will proudly display the OTTB pad at his first show!

With a little research, it was discovered that Joey was running on the track as recently as spring 2011, so not long ago.  He was winning and making a little money.  Makes you wonder what went so wrong (leg issues?, money issues?) that Joey was in such sad shape a year later.  Makes me more than a little crazy.  I am very proud of how well Joey is doing but wish he never had to go so far down.  He is a beautiful, intelligent, talented boy and I am glad he continues to blossom under “Caroline Care”.

Making the Finals (a story of Triumph)

Once upon a time, (as all good stories should start) there was a little girl.  This little girl, named Caitlyn, needed to find something to believe in, something to love.    Her parents decided to try different sports to find something little Cate could excel at and enjoy.  So, Cate endured soccer, gymnastics and dance.  She was more likely to stop and pick flowers than defend a goal.  She was more interested in living life than dancing around it.  And then one day it all changed.  Caitlyn was invited to go horseback riding with her brother and some friends.  Not owning any horse gear, she wore her Barbie bike helmet and went off for another day of “trying something new”.

Eight-year old Caitlyn with Kahlua-the day that changed a life

Caitlyn came home infatuated with horses.  She wanted to eat, sleep and dream horses.   For Caitlyn, horses and riding made her a better student, one could argue a better person. The horses gave her a focus for her loving nature.  It didn’t take long until Caitlyn spent most Saturdays at Whipple Tree Farm. I remember her as a little girl (a couple of years younger than Lauren) always wanting to ride another horse.  It did not matter if she had already ridden three or four that morning; she was looking to ride more come Saturday afternoon.

And as the years went on, Caitlyn, while being able to do well in any show ring, hunter, jumper or equitation, started to excel at the Equitation events.  These rounds, either over fences or on the flat, are judged on how well the rider rides.  Sounds simple, but it is anything but that.  Most of us riders, know proper form, shoulders back, heels down, hands quiet, knees tight, but when the horse starts jumping or moving, maintaining that position is a whole new task.  And so Caitlyn practiced and practiced some more.  A few years of winning back to back equitation championships in the various schooling associations, Caitlyn wanted to try the next step, the USEF rated shows. 

Caitlyn changed trainers, changed horses and moved to the big time.   The top equitation honors in the United States are won each year at the Maclay Nationals, The Washington Invitational Horse Show (WIHS), the Pessoa Medal and the USEF Talent Search.  It quickly became apparent that to succeed at these high levels meant an outstanding horse partner, a strategy for accumulating points to make the finals (which shows to attend when) and more hard work than Caitlyn ever imagined.

None of it came easily.  The first horse slated for Caitlyn did not work out at all and series of try-out rides ensued.  It is difficult enough to get a great ride on a horse you know inside out, but with riding a host of different mounts, Caitlyn was at a disadvantage.  Added to this issue was the ever present chance of getting hurt, being thrown from that horse you did not know.  And one dark day, I got the message that Caitlyn had been thrown at the Katy Equestrian Center.  They were still awaiting more information, but Caitlyn’s neck was broken.  I remember being in shock, frightened and concerned for Cate’s future- of just her chance to be Caitlyn again, much less to be a top equestrian. 

Mere weeks after her injury, Caitlyn was back in the saddle.  She had come back physically intact from the injury, but I had to wonder how she would do mentally.  Jumping a huge fence is a daunting task and not for the faint of heart or one with a lack of confidence.  I saw Cate compete shortly after her return to the show ring and she certainly looked one hundred percent.

About this time, she met her new horse partner, Ky, named after the state (Kentucky) where she first saw him.  A big, strappy bay with a lot confidence and even more jump, Ky was the ideal mate to take Caitlyn to the next stages of competition.  And the clock was running.  To compete in any of the regional or national equitation events, the rider must be classified as a “junior” rider, while specifics vary, it generally means under age 18.  Caitlyn will turn 18 in October.  So this was the year to make the final run at the big events on the junior equitation circuit.  Each season, points count only for that season so each rider must ride and re-qualify each year.

Getting horse, rider and trainer to each event scheduled throughout the US is a study in logistics.  Is it best to attend the big shows and hope to make the cut or attend smaller shows closer to home and hope there are enough participants to run the class?  And if multiple weekends are involved away from home, what about school, projects and daily activities?  Likewise, moving a horse from Texas to Kentucky or Missouri is not as simple as the rider jumping on a plane.  During the summer months, high temperatures on the road are hard on horses.  And injuries, stress and strain from travel are always an issue on horse’s less than sturdy physiques.  But Caitlyn, fueled and supported by her trainer and mother, succeeded at the task of running after the national titles.

In what can only be classified as brilliant riding, planning and a bit of luck (I am Irish, you know so got to count that in), Caitlyn has achieved her goals in qualifying for finals as follows:

  • Qualified for Zone 7 Equitation Finals (six states-Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and Missouri)
  • Pessoa National Equitation Finals
  • Washington International Horse Show-Equitation National Finals (based upon today’s ranking of 6th in the West Division-this could change)
  • Maclay Regional Finals (winners will go on to Nationals)
  • United States Equestrian Federation Talent Search(West Coast)

    Caitlyn and Ky-looking like experts!

No matter the results of any of these finals (although I will keep you posted) Caitlyn has triumphed in an extremely elite world.  She has turned her love of riding, her discipline and her training into success against the obstacles stacked in her way.  Caitlyn will emerge from her junior riding career a seasoned equestrian ready to represent the NCAA from her choice of university programs.  I am proud to have known her along the way as she has made this journey.  And certainly not for the first time, nor just as certainly not for the last, I say “Bravo, Caitlyn”!

Show n Tell

Yesterday, before dawn we headed to the equestrian center , Lauren and I along with Jordyn and Arianna.  It would be the start of a long, hot day.  

Jordyn and Abby got ready for Leadline first.  They were both absolutely darling and excited to get on their ponies and head to the ring.  Ally, Luke and baby Kendyll (appropriately outfitted in a horsey twin set) showed up just in time to watch.  Jordyn was really happy to see them.  The judge asked the girls for a walk, to demonstrate the jumping position and to reverse at the walk.   Both complied and looked sharp with their helmets, boots, braids and bows.

Amazingly, both girls were judged as a tie in the class and both ended up winning nice blue ribbons and a silver plate.  It is kind of a silly class yet makes all of us happy to see the little ones starting out on their ponies!

Lauren and Feather were off to do the “Green as Grass” class again.  They actually did four rounds over fences (so about 32 jumps) which was a new record for the mare.  Feather seemed to be remembering last show when she got spooked by the outside rail (of course, Dev and Lauren were blaming that on me) and Feather started all her rounds side-passing across the arena instead of nicely entering at a trot.  But once she got going, she was steadier than last time, pulled more correct lead changes, was straighter and had better pace. 

I enjoy writing my blog and appreciate those of you who comment from time to time but I have no way to know who actually reads the stories.  We were acquaintances with the judge, someone I deeply respect, who we met through her Corgi.  Sneaky (our Corgi) had an a short-lived affair with her dog, Nordic, that had produced no puppies.  Lauren was going down the hated outside wall when a lady sitting with the judge, abruptly stood up and scared Feather even more.  I heard the judge say, “Its alright Feather!”   I knew they had not announced Feather’s name so was a little confused.  Turns out the judge reads the blog!  It is awesome to learn I have followers out there that I do not even know about!

Somewhere around round three, Feather was getting tired with the heat and decided to refuse the outside jump near me (wasn’t my fault!).  It took Lauren a few tries and some gentle persuasiveness to get her back over the fence and headed to the next.  Actually, this week was not as good as her first show but we did double the rounds and asked more of her.  I was afraid we would have a little backwards before we got forwards momentum and we did.  But as Dev kept reminding me-it was Feather’s second show.  I need to calm down and let the mare have some time to learn.

We were not excited about going in for the flat class.  There were over 15 riders and some very nice horses.  We were both concerned about the outside wall and if Feather would just be too fussy (the flat is judged on the horse’s way of going, quietness, appropriateness as a hunter, ability to execute changes in gait from walk to trot and trot to canter and back to the walk).  Head throwing, not staying in a nice balanced frame and moving too fast or too slow are all negatives in this class.  But Feather did well.  Walked in, followed another horse straight down the outside line and executed all the commands as well as could be expected.  Maybe we should see if we can get a horse for Feather to follow through a jump course!  That could work.

No ribbons for our attempts over fences-we are still chasing the first over fence ribbon, but Feather moved up from last show to a sixth place out of 17 horses this week.  I was really proud of both of them.  In the end, Feather will be a jumper not the hunter we are showing her as today, moving fast, landing from the jump, turning and moving on.  But for a while, we must continue in the hunter ring so she can learn the basics.  Both Dev and my friend Gaylyn were urging patience and pride.  Patience in all we still needed to teach but pride in all she had accomplished so quickly.

I can’t wait for the next show and next.  Each time we are a little better and more goes well. 

After getting everyone home and Feather back to her pasturemates, Lauren and I spent the afternoon with mom.  It was a good day.  Made even better by the promise of our first break in the relentless summer heat this morning.

 

The Chairs

Family belongings are a tricky thing.  The things in your own house are picked out somewhere along the line.  Unless you are super rich, whatever is in your home is probably a compromise of sorts.  You never can afford to buy what you really love.  So expecting your family to want your cast-off, old things is a little bit of stretch as well.

Moving my mom this last week, we had a few items left to place.  In those items were two wing-back chairs.  These chairs show up in pictures of me as a baby.  I remember them in our home in Chicago.  Then they came to Denver with my mom and dad in 1974. they have been slip-covered and re-stuffed but they have always been a part of my family’s home.

I asked Amber what of my mom’s remaining things she might want.  She and her husband Ryan had inherited several items when mom first moved out of her condo.  I did not want to impose mom’s furniture stylings on their home.  A lot of the furniture (although good quality wood) was European styled and not what the young professionals are looking for in furnishing their home.  Amber asked if I would be insulted if they did not use or keep all the furniture.  Certainly not, I replied.  But the chairs are different.

While I do not remember curling up on my dad’s lap in the wing-back  chairs, I know I did.  I have pictures.  But I do remember countless times, folding my legs under me and reading while sitting in these chairs.  I remember them flanking the big fireplaces in both Chicago and Denver. Snowstorms rattled the rafters, but I sat safely in the chair.  Guests, so often in our home, gravitated towards the comfortable chairs. 

My parents never owned recliners, just the wing-backs with foot stools.  It worked for them.  The chairs were in the heart of our home.  We discussed school issues, read and watched tv.  They were always the first place I sat when I came “home”.

I am glad Amber wanted the chairs and I hope they serve a like purpose for her family. The chairs are home for me and I hope they will be for her family as well.

Showtime (again)

Kendyll sporting the horse show tee shirt. Aunt Ordee (Lauren) rides with Devereaux Sport Horses. So, Geaux (GO)-alright I will quit explaining.

It is a show weekend.  At this time last year, Mickey was sitting first (and would win the season) in Greater Houston Open Jumpers.  Leo was sitting second or third for the season and would end up fifth for the year in GHHJA along with picking up a couple of year end awards in the Gulf Coast Association as well.  Mickey is sick now.  Leo is gone to other green pastures.  It is unlikely there will be any awards at all this year.

A year ago, Feather wasn’t even a dot on our radar.  We didn’t even know that she existed.  Certainly, the existence or thought of Mimi wasn’t running through our heads.

Likewise, on the home front, Ally wasn’t pregnant with Kendyll yet.  My mother still seemed to know who I was-at least until I saw her at Christmas time.  My cousins Sharyl and Conner were alive.  Life changes.  We try to adapt.

Looking at it in this light, my own issues with my horses are pretty insignificant.  But they are illustrative of how we meander through life thinking the status quo will be maintained.  We think our family will be here to share our future times.  We think our family is complete and are blessed with a new baby.  We think our horses will run forever and they get stopped short of our goals.

This weekend, Feather will be Lauren’s only entry in the horse show.  Where Lauren was jumping 3’6″ and beyond last year at lightening speed, she will enter the ring in the lowest of classes (2’3″) and hope for a slow, steady, cautious ride.  I don’t mean to suggest it will be any less work for her or the horse.  Each class (and stage of the horse’s progression) takes its own delicate hand to master.  Feather did well at her first show.  Hopefully, each show builds on the success of the last.  But just like last night when I took Mimi in the ring for round two of training, she should have been better but she was actually behaving worse than her first day.  My old horse Mariah was a model of the rule of diminishing returns.  For the first couple days in any week of training, she improved, then come day three or four, she would be digress.  Then we would start over again, improving, growing a little more. But overall, the horses move forward, mature and get better.

Jordyn will be on hand to ride her Snowney in the Leadline class.  I expect him to be as dependable as ever.  In fact, he is really the only thing in my horse world that has stayed the same during this long year of change.

The horse show weekends are not the same without the excitement and adrenaline provided by Mickey jumping a course. However, I do not necessarily miss Leo jumping a course in his hair raising, crazy way.  Nor do I worry so much about Lauren being hurt-although it could happen.  My trailer is clearly better off for Leo moving on.  So are my nerves.

I will still hope for a good round amongst the three Feather and Lauren will complete at the show.  I will enjoy being with our show friends and the camaraderie shared while waiting for classes to be called in 100 degree barn.  It is showtime and I am ready for new beginnings.