Kendyll dresses the part


Fifteen month old Kendyll sporting her first jodhpurs and paddock boots.


Yesterday, I got home from the assisted living facility to find Ally and the girls over at the barn.  Lauren was tacking up Feather and Jordyn was working on Snow.  But the big surprise was when I saw baby Kendyll dressed in Jordyn’s old riding pants and first paddock boots.  She was absolutely adorable as a tiny little equestrian.  Maybe because her diaper took up so much room, her little jodhpurs were tight and she was walking really bow legged for someone who had never spent much time in the saddle.



Mickey was taking a little after dinner nap and welcomed Jo and Kendyll into his stall.  Ken was having the best time.  She is trying to say every word she hears and has quite a big vocabulary for such a little one.  Kendyll loves the horses, dog-dogs and the kitties.  When we got to the arena, Lauren set her up on Feather.  Each time she set her back on the ground, her tiny arms were immediately stretching up to aunt Lauren for another ride.  

I guess we all might as well get used to having another rider join the family.  After all she has the clothes for it!


I have not posted in a couple days, not because I have had nothing to say but because I have been too busy to say it. First, who is Esther?


Well, yesterday leaving the nursing home after visiting mom, fixing up her new bed frame and headboard, we passed some apartments. We had gotten the much anticipated cold front and rain early Sunday morning. Lauren exclaimed as we passed the apartment parking lot that a dog and a little kitten were huddling on the pavement. I told her to go back.

So, she turned the truck around and parked. I went after the kitten. A terrier mix dog evidently nursing some pups somewhere was keeping an eye on the tiny kitten. I asked a teen texting on the stairs if she knew if the animals belonged to anyone. She thought the dog lived across the street but thought the kitten was a stray.

I went into the Cindy rescues animal mode. I talked softly to the kitten who was wet and shivering. The kitten ran under a parked car. I eased my way around the car waiting for someone in the apartments above to yell at me to get away from their car. Lauren rolled the windows up on the truck and ignored me.

I got down on the wet concrete and attempted to snatch up the kitten. The kitten moved further under the car. I moved to the other side. I tried the talk softly thing again. The momma dog came to me. The kitten meowed at me from behind the tire. I crawled around on my hands and knees, still waiting for someone to accuse me of trying to steal their rims. Kitten ran to another tire.

I stood up and shrugged my shoulders at Lauren (still in truck nice and dry). The kitten came back out in the sun, standing near me, meowing loudly. I went for the snatch again. The kitten was faster and under the car. Again! We played this game for awhile. I crawled around some more. I watched for squad cars. I listened for a gun being cocked.

I tried to reach through the fancy rims. I failed. Kitten changed tire position again. I got up and shrugged at Lauren. She ignored me.

Okay, so you get the idea. Old lady is crawling around parked cars in now wet clothes followed anxiously by a little terrier while seemingly talking to myself. Very odd. Finally, I decided to make a deal with God. “If you want me to take care of this kitten, you let me catch her!” I reached from behind the tire (I know, super tricky!) and grabbed the little cat.

Thankfully she came did not claw my eyes out. In fact, she settled into my favorite sweatshirt and proceeded to poop and purr. Good times. Lauren threatened my life for smelling up the truck with the delicious sensation of wet, poopy cat.


After a warm bath in the sink, a blow dry and some ointment it was determined the kitten is a boy, who Lauren still insisted on calling Esther. Today the vet said Esther is fine except for multiple strains of worms and ear mites. He will be just fine. Welcome baby Esther! We needed another animal.


Fall in the air, soon!

The bright light of dawn silhouetting Bruno this morning.

The bright light of dawn silhouetting Bruno this morning.

The weather from May to October in south Texas is often an indistinguishable blur of humid, hot days.  Another dawned today with highs expected near 90 degrees, again.

I find myself surprised when I see the calendar or write October on a check, that it is indeed fall.  Seems like the extension of summer that just goes on and on.

But fall brings changes and Lauren and I are preparing for them.  Pixie is due home from the trainer soon and will make six horses in the barn.  It is unclear right now if we will sell her or keep working and training her.  I asked Lauren to do an inventory of horse blankets.  I know I replaced Mickey and Kid’s last year but I am not sure if I have the right sizes for the two ponies, Pixie and Snow, when the weather changes.

Bruno got a new turn-out sheet in the mail yesterday.  It is over seven feet long from one end to another and sports a fashionable, yet masculine print.  We tried it on him last night and I had trouble reaching to get it up over his high, broad back.  Boy scouts could camp under this huge sheet.  As a thoroughbred, Bruno does not grow as heavy of winter coat as Snowboy or Mickey.  The turnout sheet will be waterproof and windproof as the weather starts to look more Chicago-like than Miami.

While Saturday is still in the 90’s, the low on Sunday will be 51!  I am going to have some crazy horses.  The first cold snap of the year always is exciting and stimulating-typically the barometer drops as well.  I plan to stay away from Bruno and not get caught up in any running hooves.

It may be a great time to try to update my blog cover photo which still shows a very dappled Feather, and long gone Leo and Sabrina.  I have no doubt running horses will be sprinting across the pasture.

Fall will bring us back to the “A” show ring with Feather.  Her first attempt at the rated show ring found her sick and returned home within the hours of the show start.  This time Lauren and Feather will show in the jumper ring.  I have no doubt they will continue to progress and pick up some ribbons for their efforts.

Our new roof over the barn, instituted to keep the summer sun at bay, will be an asset as the fall rains begin.  At least we will have some dry ground to care for the horses on.  And Kona can play ball along the 75 foot covered space, not that he cares much one way or the other about getting wet or cold!

I rode Feather and Lauren worked Bruno the other night.  Bruno usually spends at least the first ten minutes acting a little stupid.  Then some true work can begin.  The Bruno I watched go in the arena in the early dusk, was fabulous.  I have never seen him work so well under-saddle or be so balanced.  We have kept up the two caveletti jumps down the center of the arena.  Bruno has accepted jumping them from a walk, trot or canter as asked.  He was moving down the line fluidly.  His trot and canter brought to mind that of a schooled dressage horse.  I don’t know where old Bruno went, but sure am enjoying the sight of this mature, quiet horse that has shown up in his place.

I enjoyed my ride on Feather as well.  As always, thanks for riding along!

Lauren’s horse biography

Lauren’s trainer, Dev Branham, has launched a new website with help from rider Amy Heidbreder and asked each rider to do a little bio on themselves.  Here is what Lauren put together for the website ( ).

Lauren Davis

Hi, I am Lauren Davis and I was the first of the ‘southside’ to start riding with Dev almost seven years ago.  I keep my horses at home, in Wharton, which is a scenic 175 mile round trip to Tomball.  I was just dragged along into riding when my sister and mom had horses in Florida. I don’t believe I ever made a conscious decision to ride, there were always just horses in my life.  I started riding competitively over 16 years ago and have been blessed with some great horses over the years.  Most memorably, is Irish Midnight, aka Mickey, a small but determined bay horse who will be coming to live at  Dev’s soon.  I started out in walk-trot with Mickey and have won blue ribbons on him up to the 3’6” jumpers.



Although just 15.1 hh, this little horse will teach you to ride, to find your spots, to see the distance and to succeed in the jumper ring.  Together we have made USEF Zone Finals three times, won many year-end schooling championships and grown up together. With the arrival of two six year-old horses on my farm, Mickey has not getting the rides he deserves so I hope his transfer to DSH will give him a chance to shine again while some of you get a chance to ride my favorite guy.

About 18-months ago, a young Irish sport horse who was still growing into herself stepped off the trailer from Florida.  Sired by Flagmount’s Freedom (a top-notch eventing horse), we knew this mare should be able to jump but had to overcome some initial issues like not ever wanting to get in a trailer again, being terrified of crops, fly spray and people before we could adequately ride and show her.  It has been a lot of work, some of it tough, but I am proud my mare, Flagmount’s Irish Freedom, aka Feather, has progressed from the 2’3” hunters to the 3’6” jumpers in this short time.  She has also learned to load, be clipped, endure fly spray and most importantly enter every arena with a calm, business-like attitude.

Feather and Lauren at their last show.

Feather and I at our last show.

I don’t know where this mare will take me.  I do know we have not yet begun to see the top of her jumping limits but love the horse this mare has become!

My next horse I blame on Dev and yet applaud Dev for sending to me.  Huge, 17.2 hh, six year-old Bruno came to me solidly lame last November.  Many of you may have read my mom’s chronicles of his fight to return to soundness after hoof surgery at Teas A&M Vet Hospital last December.  Over five months, Bruno stayed in his stall as I learned every conceivable way to bandage a hoof, deal with a giant, crazy OTTB and have a horse I had barely even ridden lodge himself solidly in my heart.


Bruno has been back under saddle now for a couple of months.  It is a little like riding a runaway freight train.  Bruno latches onto the bit and away we go.  My mom may tell us to come down from the canter to the trot, but she doesn’t realize I have been trying to get him to slow down for the last two laps of the arena.  We are just starting Bruno’s education over fences and it has been a little slow.  He is nothing like the natural jumper that Feather is.  But maybe we just have not set the challenge up enough for him yet.  Dev says Bruno may be my Derby horse and with an unextended stride of over 15 feet he will eat up the lines in the jumper ring.

Also, hanging out at my farm are Snowboy and Mr. Kid.  Snow, of course, spent some time at Dev’s and now is my niece’s show pony.  Mr. Kid is 112 (okay, really almost 32) but keeps Bruno company and is my mom’s old horse.

In my spare time, when I am not managing the family farm, I am attending college, and buying/selling some ponies and horses.

p 051513

Pony, Pixie, will be for sale soon.

Dev has been the perfect fit for me as a trainer.  I have learned so much working with him over the years.  I have not always liked what he had to tell me but I have come to realize he is usually right!