Getting Ready

Out for a nice walk, eating some grass and not yanking Lauren's arm off!  Bonus!

Out for a nice walk, eating some grass and not yanking Lauren’s arm off! Bonus!

I am in the “oh, my God! I am not going to have use of my arm for several weeks and I better get everything I ever imagined done before I have surgery”, which is really stupid.  But I get a) compulsive and b) seem to have a little ADHD.  I get going on one project, then see something else that needs to be done, drop what I am doing and never complete what I started.

Jordyn spent the night after Leadline and we all worked on chores.  We all enjoyed the nice weather.  I had promised Jo a ride on Feather, but felt I better get on first.  Lauren is still sidelined from her fall this week.  I had not ridden Feather since last spring.  I was pleasantly surprised to have such a nice, responsive horse under me.  She trotted well and picked up her canter immediately when I asked.

Enjoying the day!

Enjoying the day!

Jordyn did great on Feather as well.  She walked her around the barrels and over poles-all by herself.  She asked if she would be able to do Pin Oak again next year.  We told her she would be too old to do Leadline and had to be ready to do the ‘walk-trot:’ class.  She looked up and asked, “Do you think I can ride Heartbreaker?”

Well, no I don’t but we will have a pony ready for her if she is ready to ride.  Lauren went off to see Blake and Jo and I finished feeding and the night-time chores.  I was rushing off to take Jordyn to meet her folks. I did not completely latch Bruno’s stall gate (I know, I know, really stupid).  I got back from taking Jordyn home to find Bruno cantering around the stall run.  Kid was hidden back in the corner of Bruno’s stall-staying out-of-the-way of the big horse as he enjoyed freedom for the first time in months.

I took my time getting him back in-actually I wasn’t sure how I was going to catch him without grave danger to myself.  As I watched he bounded around the pen (I was thankful for the six-foot high walls) stopping to roll in the warm sand, first one side then the other.  Not once as watched him, did he show any signs of lameness.  Finally, he stopped to drink deeply from the water trough. I slipped a lead rope around his neck and he came quietly behind me into his stall.  He was lathered with sweat and covered in sand.

I was grateful this morning to find Bruno no worse for his evening romp.  I figured it was a good time to try a walk again.  At least, he would be tired.  So, I took Kid and Lauren-Bruno and both boys got to eat some nice green grass.  Bruno behaved like a gentleman the entire time.  Guess we will start a daily outing so it all becomes more commonplace and less exciting.

Happy Easter all!  We will celebrate with mom, Ally, Kendyll, Jo, Lauren and I tomorrow.  Amber and the kids will be here Monday.

bru grass

Leadline Success

Showing off her hair as she loves on Trapp's dog, Camo.

Showing off her hair as she loves on Trapp’s dog, Camo.

The afternoon started with Jordyn, Lauren and I running into Razzmatazz and getting our hair done. Jordyn’s hair is short but needed to look sleek and hang in pigtails so she could show off the mandatory Leadline bows. As we headed to Katy, we received a text that the horse Jo expected to ride, Ky, was out (too excitable)and she would ride a big, red roan named Red River. By the time we got to the Equestrian Center, we had a new message, that she would ride a huge, black gelding named Heartbreaker (HB) that Caitlyn had been showing in hunters this week.

And so preparation began. Caitlyn, Kathy, Lauren, Jo and I walked over to the stall area where HB was housed. Wow-what a horse! Absolutely huge (like as tall as Bruno but stockier and sturdier) and rippling with muscle. Only five years old, but bred for a quiet temperament, beautiful movement and conformation. I doubt Jordyn will ever sit on such an amazing horse again. What an opportunity!

We took him over so the braider could start on his braids. Meanwhile, Kathy and I, attempted to come up a way to showcase the matching ribbons in HB’s mane. I have little skill in anything ‘crafty’. Kathy has deep roots to the business side of things, but perfected four bows of zebra and blue ribbon that contrasted beautifully against HB’s gleaming black coat.

The tiny braids on his broad neck with his special Leadline ribbons.

The tiny braids on his broad neck with his special Leadline ribbons.

Ally, Luke and baby Kendyll got there with Kendyll decked out in a blue onesie saying she was Jordyn’s Biggest Fan. It had Pin Oak 2013 on the back. Then Ally and I got Jordyn ready to go with boots, Jodhpurs, blue show shirt, grey wool jacket, bows, helmet and gloves. Abby showed up all dressed at the same time and we got adorable pictures of the two equestrians.

Jo's number was supposed to be 860!

Jo’s number was supposed to be 860!

Abby, Lauren and Jordyn

Abby, Lauren and Jordyn

Lauren attached Jordyn’s entry number to her waist and we were ready to ride. When we made it to the arena, Kathy (I told you she was a number person!) realized Jordyn’s number was upside down. It was more than a little crazy.

There was a lot of activity at the in-gate as we waited (and waited) for the girls to be called. But young HB handled it all like the pro he is, and never seemed anxious or spooky. Little Princess was a trooper with Abby as well. Finally, the ring steward waved them through the gate into the massive arena. Leadline was on!

Abigail Lacombe on white Princess and Jordyn Taylor on dark Heartbreaker. What a pair!

Abigail Lacombe on tiny, white Princess and Jordyn Taylor on huge, dark Heartbreaker. What a pair!

There were four contestants in all. They were asked to walk, reverse, and halt. The judge asked Jo what her horse’s name was and she hesitated a moment, (in so much as we had changed horses three times today alone) and then answered “Heartbreaker”. The judge said “I bet this is a borrowed horse” and Jo said “yes, but I have one at home!”

All the little Leadliner’s won a beautiful Pin Oak blue ribbon and a bouquet of flowers. They were greeted by a mass of us upon exiting the arena. I heard Dev’s voice telling the girls what a great job they had done. I caught a glimpse of Trapp, Kathy and Cate’s trainer, who had been instrumental in getting Jo such a great horse to ride, raising his iPhone and snapping a shot of Jordyn and HB. It made me smile!

As a special surprise, Kathy and group from Trapp’s barn had gotten Jo a Pin Oak tee-shirt. They had all signed it and sent her well wishes. It was a perfect end to wonderful, wonderful experience. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart to all of you who made this such a special night for my granddaughter, she, and I, will never forget it!

I bet this shirt will be cherished for a long time.

I bet this shirt will be cherished for a long time.

Caroline, Abby and Princess finally headed back to the barn.

Caroline, Abby and Princess finally headed back to the barn.

Leadline, Doctors and Decisions

Leadline is tomorrow.  Jordyn has been over the moon excited all week.  She called me yesterday to tell me (screaming in the phone) that she just got her report card and she had straight A’s!  Additionally, she went on to tell me it was the best week of her life because she had the great report card, an Easter Party at school and PIN OAK!!

Jordyn will get out of school tomorrow at noon for the Easter break.  She will travel with her mom and sister to meet Aunt Lauren and have her hair French braided into pigtails for the night’s activities.  We will all meet up at the Equestrian Center.  I promise lots of pictures and I hope it is all she anticipates it to be.

Kathy just let me know that she turned in the entry form and Jordyn is officially a Pin Oak exhibitor.  Non-horse show people won’t get this, but riders wait their whole life to make it to Pin Oak.  Today, Jordyn told her dad that he needed to get off work to come watch her-“it’s the most important day of my life!” And so he will be there.  Stop by, 5:30, Main ring if you are nearby-it would be great to have a cheering section for Jo and her friend, Abby.

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Feather's skinned face.

Feather’s skinned face.

Lauren took Feather to Dev’s for a lesson yesterday.  She loaded easily and calmly (wow, how things change!). Young horses are ‘schooled’ because finding the right spot to jump from or the correct way to take off are instinctual but also something that the rider helps to guide.  Lauren and Feather were having a perfectly nice lesson, jumping easily and well, when Feather just took a bad step and got tangled up in the jump.

Down she and Lauren went.  I am sure you are sick of our stories of hurt horses and hurt people, I am sick of telling them and paying for the problems caused by them.  It was a hard fall but both were lucky.  Feather has a scrapped up face (like skinning your knee) and Lauren has a full left side of hurt from her head to her knee.  Doc says she will be okay-mild concussion and some bruises.  A little concern around her knee which is the same one she hurt last year on Mickey.  She will see the orthopedic guy next week.  I would be really happy to have at least a week or so without vet or doctor visits. Not going to happen for a while.

My surgery scheduled for next Tuesday has also changed.  The surgeon had an opportunity to review my MRIs today and it is unclear (since I have had three previous surgeries on the right shoulder) exactly what the current damage is.  He wants to do another MRI with injectable dye to better see that shoulder.  But surgery is still on for Tuesday because my left shoulder (the virgin shoulder) is completely torn.  We will fix the left one and have plenty of time to obtain additional views of the right.  How great!

As I am right-handed, it will be easier to have the left arm in the sling.  It will also be good when we go to do the right arm that the left will be healed and healthy.  Glad I had plenty of torn shoulders to choose from!

One Hundred Days-a Bruno Story

!05 days ago!

105 days ago!

One hundred days have now gone by.

One hundred days since Bruno walked into the Texas A&M surgery suite and limped out.

One hundred days of being imprisoned in a 12 by 14 cell.

Bruno's custom stall (cell).

One hundred days of pain, of blood, of boredom and of faith.

One hundred days of trust, that his owners were doing the best thing for him.

One hundred days-of smells of great rains and smells of new spring grass.

One hundred days that have felt like a million and yet flown right by.

One hundred days of bandage changes and new shoes.

One hundred days of fresh shavings, constant food and water from his favorite girl, Lauren.

One hundred days of ups and downs.

One hundred days without a change watching the world from his window.

One hundred days of healing, of rest, of ease.  No race track bustle here.

One hundred days of growing stronger, growing brighter, growing hoof.

One hundred days broken up by a few trailer trips to A&M and an emergency trip to the local vet.

One hundred days of sameness but one night lost forever to a bad drug reaction.

One hundred days that nearly didn’t come.

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One hundred days of jolly balls, salt licks and a true best friend in Mr. Kid.

One hundred days of photos with friends and family.  Of becoming an icon.

One hundred days later, the new hoof re-grown, almost competely.

One hundred days later, being one X-Ray away from being ridden again.

One hundred days later the dream still alive that this big OTTB will once again storm across the pasture.

One hundred days later still convinced that he will soar over the jumps and win some blue.

One hundred days later, we are weary but encouraged.

One hundred days from now where will we be?

One hundred days further-travel along with me.

Come back, big guy, come back!

Come back, big guy, come back!

And things change

Life is an ever evolving thing at Six Meadow Farm.  A week ago Mickey was attacked in our pasture by an “unknown assailant”.  He is healing.  He is as Jordyn says “tore up”.  But at this point we seem to have warded off infection and all the bites, scratches and cuts are healing.

Mickey and Bruno went to the vet this afternoon.  Mickey for some routine stuff and a check on his injuries.  Bruno, to have his stitches removed from his injury on March 4th that was re-stitched during his trip to Texas A&M.  That is one injury, with its casts, and wrappings that I am very happy to see healing well.  His front hoof, the old bad hoof, is looking great.  Time goes on.  Healing takes place.

We decided against the purchase of a donkey at this time.  I just can’t deal with one additional thing right now.  Hated to let Jack go, tho, I think he would have been the perfect donkey.

Lauren working with Kona (Watch me!) during obedience class.

Lauren working with Kona (Watch me!) during obedience class.

Tonight Lauren  took over as Kona’s trainer in obedience classes.  I saw the orthopedic surgeon last week and he decreed immediate surgery to my right shoulder.  I am scheduled for a rotator cuff repair (four times is charm-I pray) next Tuesday morning.  Have you ever heard of anyone having four repairs to the same shoulder?  But it is so hard.  Each time it is repaired the shoulder is a little more fragile but my work on the farm is no less strenuous.  Last time, I tore it (I believe) reaching up into the Christmas tree.  This time, I believe it tore completely simply reaching my arm up over Leo’s head (yeah, that was awhile ago) to put on his halter.  So, I have been careful.  And I will be ever so careful this time as I ride the road to shoulder re-hab this final time.  I do not think it will take another repair.

Amother dog in obedience class showing his owner love during play time.

Another dog in obedience class showing his owner love during play time.

Amber (the nurse practitioner) will come in next week to help out with my care.  All my girls will be there as I go into the operating room.  It is nice to have their support.  All the grandkids will be here so that will be a welcome diversion as well.

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Jordyn called me early this morning to tell me-THREE DAYS UNTIL PIN OAK, GRANNY!!.  She is so excited.  We are down to the final details now.  Packing her things to be sure everything  from bows to boots are clean and shiny for her trip in the ring.  Caitlyn will be leading Ky while Jordyn rides.  I think this will allow for a great chance for success as Ky knows and trusts his owner, Caitlyn.  Caitlyn is actually wearing a dress.  We have tried to get Lauren to step up but her dress selection seems limited to sun dresses or prom dresses and neither seems very appropriate.

I am scrambling to get a million things done before I am side-lined.  Please say a prayer for me.  Thanks for riding along.

Getting Ready for the Show

Leadline-done right! Lauren should be sporting the hat and dress.

Leadline-done right! Lauren should be sporting the hat and dress.

We are less than a week away from Jordyn’s biggest horse show of all, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which has been held in the Houston area for almost 70 years.  It is a charity show with proceeds going to Texas Children’s Hospital.

For many area equestrians, it is the cherry on the top of sundae.  Lauren has shown and competed for many years in Houston and only once has had a horse worthy and ready for Pin Oak.  She will not have a horse at the show this year.  First, although certainly a worthy cause, it is still expensive.  Along with expensive, I am a bit of a gambler by nature and I want the odds in my favor.  Not only do the riders pay more for the privilege of showing their horse at the great Pin Oak show, but because of its inherent popularity, more riders want to come.  The classes are huge, so the odds of being the very best or the very fastest are lower.  This is also why a Pin Oak ribbon is valued above all others in Texas.  It says you have ridden against the very best and come out ahead.

Included the multiple week’s activities are International Hunter Derbies with prize money of $10,000 and the biggest draw of all, is the Grand Prix pulling top national and international riders with the promise of $25,000 in prize money to be won twice during the show.  It is the grand-daddy of all the Texas shows.

Okay, so you get it.  It is a big, exciting show.  I am more than a little delighted to have a family member participating this year.  I wish Lauren and Feather or, goodness sake, Lauren and Big Bruno were making their way through the entry gate but I am quite content and thrilled for it to be my oldest granddaughter, Jordyn who will hear her name called out to the packed crowd on Thursday night.  I am thankful that our friends, Kathy and Caitlyn, have offered up an all-star mount for Jordyn to ride.

In this contest of little skill and a lot of pomp and circumstance, the pint-sized rider is dressed as a miniature equestrian with all the trappings of a pro, including jodhpurs, boots, show shirt, tiny wool tailored jacket and black helmet.  The horse has its mane and tail braided elegantly and its coat is polished like a new penny.  Nothing is left undone, including polish on the horse’s hooves.  Every piece of tack from bridle to the inner pieces of the tiny saddle are saddle-soaped, oiled and polished to gleam in the evening lights.  The handler (Lauren) is outfitted in either a fancy dress and hat (which we have already ruled out) or their formal hunt garb.

The fancy bows (they are about a 8-inches long) that Jo will wear in her hair!

The fancy bows (they are about a 8-inches long) that Jo will wear in her hair!

When the class is called, the rider will enter the arena mounted on their fancy horse or pony, led (thus the leadline) by the handler.  At no time, is the little rider allowed off on their own and it should be a sedate but touching sight with the little ones all dolled up on beautiful horses.  The pairs parade around the ring a couple times and magically there is a tie between all riders who then collectively win blue ribbons!  Adding to the fun for us, is that Caroline and her daughter, Abby, also five years-old, are joining Lauren and Jordyn.  Abby will be on her beautiful white pony, Princess.

Tomorrow with Jordyn, we will go to the Equestrian Center where the horses are already stabled and showing in the event, so we can be sure her saddle fits correctly.  I know Jordyn is beyond excited to be part of the big event and can’t wait to meet her partner.  As you can see from the picture above, there is a whole color coordination thing going on, so Ally has been on a hunt to match the bows that will be in Jo’s hair come Thursday night.  We will have some matching zebra ribbon braided into the horse’s mane so he and Jo are a united front.  If only I could get Lauren to wear her hair in pig-tails with bows to match.  How great would that be?

There are always tales, almost horse show folk lore, about things that happen in Leadline classes.  Ponies with one foot in the grave, quiet as a mouse somehow can become electrified under the lights.  I am hoping for a nice, calm trip for all the little riders.  I did hear a story once of a little boy whose mother was way more into the whole Leadline thing than he was (I can’t imagine that!).  During the time while they were lined up for the judge, the little boy quietly slipped off the other side of the horse and headed out of the arena.  I don’t think that will be an issue with either Jordyn or Abby.

If you are out near Katy, Texas early Thursday evening, stop into the big arena and watch these two little girls earn their first Pin Oak blue ribbon.  I bet it will be the first of a future at Pin Oak!