Fun turns to Fractures

IMG_0537Continuing onto our weekend, the girls decided to up the fun factor at the farm.  Our pasture heads down into the woods and ends in a lovely park like area.  As we have walked the dogs each evening we have talked about how fun it would be to add some simple little log jumps.  We have looked enviously at the fallen logs in the pasture next to us.

Yesterday afternoon, Lauren and her friends decided to create their own little cross country course in the park.  To the extent possible with the talents of three young girls, old granny and six miscellaneous pooches we dragged logs, bushes and other objects to make a series of small jumps.

The girls went and got Snow, Mickey and Feather and started jumping the course, adding a jump at a time.  One of us, got the brilliant idea to see if we could tandem jump the widest log.  It might have been me with that idea, but either way I went along with it, snapping away furiously on my camera to create the most awesome photo.

Its all fun and games until someone has to wear a cast on their arm.

Its all fun and games until someone has to wear a cast on their arm.

I think everyone was about ready to go in then.  But everyone wanted to try one last jump.  All the horses had been jumping easily and well.  Mickey, perhaps, was a little hyped up.  He had been serving as Jordyn’s walk trot pony and was pretty excited to be back jumping, turning and racing along. But both Snow and Feather were doing their usual style of jumping.  That meant Snow was jumping just enough to safely clear the obstacle while Feather was being an over-achiever, soaring to new heights over one foot high logs.

Lauren’s last jump was like all the others except perhaps Feather flew a little higher and landed a little harder.  Jumping a log my Yorkie could have scrambled over, in a fashion meant for Olympics jump off rounds, Feather went high and then smashed to the ground causing Lauren to smack down hard on the mare’s back.  Somewhere in her past, I feel a lion jumped on Feather’s back, bringing back that instinctual but usually well buried, fight or flight  response.  A while back when Jordyn landed hard on Feather’s back she bolted forward much like last night.  When she bolted forward, Lauren was already spiraling to the ground like perfect football toss.

Immediately, Laure wailed in pain.  “Call 911, my arm is broken!” She cried.  Okay, honestly, Lauren has a lot of falls, we all do.  Most are much better moments later.  Not this time.  Then I spotted the weird alignment of Lauren’s forearm.  I knew it was broken and was dislocated.

Things happened quickly here, Keith brought the truck down and we got the cussing, screaming Lauren up in the seat.  I almost forgot I had my granddaughter, Jo, with me until I was reminded coming out of the drive (I know, bad granny!).

Having moved we were at a Houston area ER and they did an adequate job of getting X-rays and managing pain meds.  When surgery became the obvious next step, I tried to get any of the orthopedic guys we had used in the past (and that is a pretty long list).  None of them were either in town or taking this case.

The ER doc let me know  me who was on-call for their hospital. I had known that doctor for a long time, had credentialed him as part of my job at the time and did not think he would serve as a good surgeon in this complicated case.  The ER doc made many calls and finally Methodist hospital agreed to take Lauren and her badly broken arm.  She was transferred by ambulance near midnight.

This morning Lauren went into surgery to correct a fracture and dislocation of both the ulna and the radius bones in her forearm.  The fractures were open and protruding from her skin.  Lauren has been in much pain and had moments of sleep over the last 36 hours.  The doctor says no riding for three months.

I appreciate greatly all your prayers, offers of help, messages to my family and just your love and support.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as the next few days hopefully brings some pain relief and no infections to battle.

 

A little Fun

Dev's OKC Show Team walking the Grand Prix course.

Dev’s OKC Show Team walking the Grand Prix course.

Lauren fully enjoyed her trip to OKC. The Devereaux Sport Horse Team had lots of fun although everyone had ups and downs throughout the show, and not just because they were jumping! There were okay rounds, a little scary rounds, Libby’s Champion and Amanda’s Reserve Champ Rounds. Lauren and Feather continued to grow. Placed second in two classes (one with close to 40 riders) and figured out some tricks to use in future shows.

Back at home, Ally took over the barn chores. She did a great job! I have less sleep in the last two weeks than when my new babies came home from the hospital between busy season at work, visiting with mom and keeping up Lauren’s end of the barn chores while she was gone. I have had lots of visitors. Everyone has been ridden. The boarders have been great helping me out and we have had a lot of laughter coming out of our little barn.

Mia's friend  Hailey visited Bruno.

Mia’s friend
Hailey visited Bruno.

Smiles were pretty contagious! Ally and Luke took off on a cruise Saturday morning. The grand girls spent some time with Luke’s folks and I. Lauren and the horses got back from Oklahoma late Sunday. She was not seeing the charm of her young nieces. When I got home we went out to play. I let them have at it in the fresh rain puddles and they wallowed around in the mud like a couple of young rhinos.

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Jordyn told me it was the best time she ever had at the farm. All Kendyll wants to do is come back to granny’s to play in the mud. Oh, what has granny done now? A shower, some soap, it was good again!

The next night found Lauren taking her first ride on young OTTB Try Delta (TeeDee). Getting her bred this summer was not a possibility so it was time to go to work. She has been her about a month and look at how some good groceries and green grass have erased her ribs from showing!

OTTB TryDelta about four weeks ago.

OTTB TryDelta about four weeks ago.

Starting to fill out.

Starting to fill out.

Co-owner Lynn was on hand to see the first ride. Lauren has ridden (and owned) many horses off the track but never has she been the first to ride them when they have arrived home. While Lynn’s young son Rhys was getting a lesson on Snow, Lauren quietly slide up on TeeDee and no doubt said a little prayer that she would stay in the saddle. TeeDee was great! Quiet, accommodating and seemingly well started. Both Lynn and I were pleased.

Pretty mare, measuring in just under 16 hands.

Pretty mare, measuring in just under 16 hands.

It has been a whirlwind of adventures. The group is settling in and it is nice to see the girls out of the arena, riding bareback, taking little pasture trail rides, setting up a small cross country course and just having fun. It is summer and that is exactly what they should be doing!

Momma is brighter, more responsive and able to tolerate being up from her bed. Definitely the pain has lessened. Thank you for the prayers.

 

Midgey, Cindy’s on the Phone!

For at least 15 years, day after day, year after year

I called my mom every afternoon, no matter what

often Jim would answer the phone and he would yell-

“Midgey, Cindy’s on the Phone!”

how much I would give to hear that again!

my mom may live awhile longer, we don’t know

but my mom will never answer a phone again

she will never ask how my day was as she did

every day for years

no one else in the world will ever support me

one hundred percent, no questions asked

as she did all those years

now,

every day as I head home, I go to call her

every day

and I am saddened that I cannot talk to her

I mean, like really talk to her

I am lucky she is here with me

I am lucky she is still alive

I love her dearly and want all the best for her

but the momma that loved to talk

to Cindy on the phone

is gone now

the momma that was a momma to me

is gone as well

I miss her so..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feather flys In Oklahoma City

The Gateway of Champions at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

The Gateway of Champions at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

As all things in life, there is never a perfect time for anything.  Lauren has never in all these years, showed her horse out-of-state.  We had planned and scheduled the OKC trip long before we had heard of Pultar Road or contemplated moving.  And it was long before Ally and Luke scheduled a cruise with the kids sharing time at both their grandparents which they will leave for this weekend.  And it was before we had boarders in our barn or seven horses to care for daily.  And most importantly it was before my mom started her rapid decline into ill-health.

Had we known any or all of these things, perhaps I would not be at work, afraid to journey anywhere while awaiting news on my momma (of course, I am so crazy busy at work, that I could not have gone anyway but I like to think I could be at her side as she heads into the ring).

For weeks we have debated if Lauren would really go.  I did not want her to go-just selfishly. I can barely manage my life and my mom without the added extras of the barn.  But Ally has stepped up and made an excellent barn manager in Lauren’s absence.  Not only is she doing all the barn chores efficiently but I came home yesterday to the trash already set out, a chore that involves moving the heavy cans down the long, winding drive.

Bruno has come up lame again-both front feet this time.  It appears he has abscesses brewing in the good foot and the bad foot has just had the shoe torn off too many times.  He is sporting wraps on both feet and Ally is getting to be a pro wrapper, quick with the tape, fast with the vet wrap.  Jordyn knows how  make a duct tape boot which perhaps we can illustrate here for other needy horse owners.  Point is they have really stepped up to help.

Bru's feet wrapped up once again.

Bru’s feet wrapped up once again.

That adds a whole lot of extra time to the daily routine as Bruno walks around like he is on broken glass.  Carefully stepping down with his badly aching feet.  We got x-rays back last night and think this is just a minor set-back.  The vet and farrier are actively developing an action plan and hopefully he will be back to work soon.

Lauren took Feather and boarder Cody to Dev’s Sunday night where they would start their trip to Oklahoma in his trailer the next morning.  Feather had been bathed, clipped and whitened to get ready for her first trip across state lines to show.  Cody, previously AQHA World and Reserve World Champion in Jumpers in OKC, told Feather it was really no big deal.

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It all got a little crazy right before Lauren, Libby, Feather and Cody were supposed to leave.  Dr.Criner and farrier Sean showed up to check out Bruno.  Ally and family showed up so Jordyn could ride.  Dr. Criner’s son and husband were along for the Sunday ride as well.  For my poor OCD daughter who likes everything ordered and structured it was almost too much.  Trailers and vehicles angled across the drive.  Lauren was struggling to pack last-minute hay and feed. But they got safely off and safely onto to Oklahoma City.

This morning was their first time in the show ring and I got a text full of excitement and joy.  Their first round had been a good one!

I know I have some Oklahoma kin who might want to wonder over to the Fairgrounds and keep an eye on Feather and Lauren for me.  They will be showing through Sunday.  Here is the link to the schedule and she should be in the main coliseum each morning doing the  1.0, 1.05 meter and perhaps the 1.10 meter if things go well.

I say “Go Oklahoma Go!”  it is the Go Show after all!

http://www.goshow.org/ink/pdf/sked_140716.pdf

Barn Metamorphosis

We took on the project of creating a working show barn (okay, not a fancy barn, but still) from the shell of a 32 x 58 metal barn.  Here is the transformation with beginning and current pictures.

The green carpet of pasture surrounding our old "new" barn.

The green carpet of pasture surrounding our old “new” barn.

Looking a little less green but so much more complete.

Looking a little less green but so much more complete

 

The old barn is getting a new concrete center aisle tomorrow.

The old barn is getting a new concrete center aisle.

 

 

Today's view.

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In the beginning just cow stalls were in the barn.

Originally in the barn were just a couple of cow stalls, we used some of the walls and support beams and then added our own.

Stalls built now.

Stalls built now.

Under construction

Under construction.

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It has come a long way with the original lights hanging by hay string.  Now full electrical runs throughout the barn.

 

Stalls are almost ready for horses.

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Kona  posing by the new tack room.

Kona posing by the new tack room.

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Making the add-on stalls tall enough for the big girl my little girl will become (did you follow that?).

Making the add-on stalls tall enough for the big girl my little girl will become (did you follow that?).

Not long after we thought we were complete we added the “annex” to house

Try Delta, the OTTB and the baby when she comes from Colorado.

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back

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It has been a wonderful journey and we are really enjoying our new place.  Thanks for always riding along!

 

 

 

Jordyn Leases Mickey

Jordyn taking a ride after she announced she wanted to lease Mickey.

Jordyn taking a ride after she announced she wanted to lease Mickey.

My grandchildren are all smart, of course they are, they are my grandchildren.  Each of them possesses some unique traits, is clever and intelligent.  Jordyn as the oldest has been called smart the longest, Riley and Lexi clearly are as well and little Kendyll is definitely hearing it a lot these days.

Based on that, it didn’t take Jordyn long, hanging out at Granny’s farm and around the new riders there to figure out something was new wit the horses.  Both riders, Isabel and Mia, lease their horses, they do not own them.  In a situation much like a long-term rental agreement, people with a horse they are not currently riding or using, look for a rider with the right skills, to lease the horse for a period of time.  I know long-time riders who have never owned a horse.  When the lease ends, they re-new it or walk away, none of that pesky have to sell the horse problem.

Likewise, leasing offers a specific type of horse to do exactly what level of riding is desired at that point in time.  Mostly, horses do one or two things well.  People, especially children, increase their knowledge, skills and abilities.  Easier to lease horses with varying abilities than have one unable to do what you want or try to buy and sell the right one at the right time.

Anyway, Jordyn figured out these two riders were leasing their horses and learning to ride.  Jordyn has been stymied with the horse riding process.  All of us, Lauren, Jordyn’s parents and myself,  have alternately encouraged her and admonished her and her riding abilities (or lack thereof).  It had gotten to the point she didn’t want to ride at all (which was sad indeed).

Jordyn figured out in her head that if you lease a horse the following happens:

  • you get to ride a lot and no one yells at you
  • you get to hang out with the other girls at the barn on horseback
  • you get to take lessons with Uncle Dev (who has never told you that you must trot)
  • it must be better than buying a horse because all the girls are doing it

The other night, Lauren was going out to ride Feather.  Jordyn, as always prepared to ride, dressed in her pink breeches, Zoc socks, and paddock boots, even though it was over 90 degrees in the dark of night during summer in Texas, asked if she could ride Mickey.  I helped her saddle up.  Then she asked if Lauren would help her put a hair-net on and put her hair up in her helmet (that was when I knew she was seriously mimicking the older riders).

As we walked to arena, she announced to Lauren and I that she wanted to lease Mickey. I caught Lauren’s eye and silently begged her not to laugh.  Jordyn was dead serious.  Of course, the idea makes no sense in our situation.  We own Mickey.  Jordyn is family.  We are not going to make her pay a lease payment for the use of our family horse.

But, Jordyn had thought it all out.  She would talk to her parents and they would help her work out a way to pay the monthly amount.  Then she told us that if she leased Mickey she could ride all the time with the girls and just get used to being in the saddle (with no pressure was left unsaid).  She could take some lessons with Dev and get better at riding.  Then she could start doing shows.

Lauren and I jumped on the ‘lease Mickey bandwagon’ quickly.  We agreed it was a great plan and would have a good outcome.  Jordyn insisted we print out the lease agreement so that she could sign it.  She had a good ride with Lauren and Feather.  Instead of working on lesson things, I did “Simon Says” and some “Red Light, Green Light” to help her develop skills without stress.  I have to say Mickey was an all-star.

That night Lauren dropped Jo off at home and Jordyn immediately went in to tell her mom that they needed $1500 a month (not the real price-not sure where this number came from) to lease Mickey.  Ally choked back a gag and inquired as to why they would lease Mickey.  Jordyn sold her plan again.

Mickey is now officially being leased by Jordyn.  I know many of you wanted him in your own programs but really, family does come first.  Since this night when her lease plan was hatched, Jordyn has ridden every day (still wearing the pink breeches-Ally must wash them every night).  We have gone down the driveway and down the road.  She has ridden with the older kids. She has trotted Mickey on her own. She is working up to her first official lesson.

Kids, especially high achieving kids, have so many demands on them.  It is difficult to meet the expectations of parents, grandparents and teachers.  Jordyn found her own way to make sense out of the horse world.  She saw happy kids riding fun horses and thought she could do what they did.  In Jordyn’s brain leasing is a non-stressful approach to riding and I am so happy she initiated it and we took it seriously!

OTTB Bruno goes to the Dressage Master-A Bruno Story

Amelia making it look beautiful and easy.

Amelia making it look beautiful and easy.

We have owned OTTB Bruno for over 18 months now.  He came lame.  He had surgery on his hoof to correct an infection in his coffin bone.  He was stall bound for over five months.  He has been lame off and on for over three years.

This last Christmas Lauren tried to start Bruno over fences.  They had two weeks of intense instruction and came a long way to getting Bruno to learn and listen.  He still had a long way to go.  He is over 1500 pounds and 17.2 hands.  He is strong and can be opinionated. Lauren was told by the trainer that Bruno would never be an easy ride.

Lauren also has a major project working; bringing along a Flagmount mare who is doing very well in the jumper ring.  Getting time to consistently work Bruno was not easy to find.  His on and off shoeing and lameness issues caused in part by the constant mud at our old place did not help.

My daughter Ally rode and went to school with friend Amelia back in Florida.  We had lost track of Amelia in the 14 years we have been in Texas.  Then Facebook to the rescue and Amelia is back in our life.  I had a strong feeling about Bruno and Amelia.  Amelia has an eventing background and knows all the tools to help Bruno.  When we finally got to our new place, Amelia came and started her education of off the track Bruno as a show horse.

Nancy Lindsey, the quintessential dressage master.

Nancy Lindsey, the quintessential dressage master.

Right around the corner from us in our new place was an instructor, Nancy Lindsey,  who had earned her place in the dressage world.  I heard about her reputation from many of my friends.  We had driven by and seen her place not even a quarter of mile away.  I called to introduce myself and see if she might be available to help Bruno and Amelia.  She said she wasn’t really taking new students but would consider it if the timing could be worked out.

Nancy Lindsey agreed to come to my arena to give Bruno his first dressage lesson.  It was hot and humid, the kind of hot that just hangs in the air and you feel you can’t breathe through the heavy mist. Nancy pulled up in her truck and bounded from the seat.  If you imagined what a seasoned Dressage instructor would look like, this was it!  She was slim and strong in breeches and boots.  She wore an old faded Rolex ball cap.  Her face was tan and her smile engaging.

She headed over to the arena where Bruno and Amelia were warming up (a stupid term on a day like this).  I bet seven year-old Bruno lost gallons in sweat. I told her Bruno’s story and they got to work.   Nancy alternately rewarded and commanded Amelia and the big horse.  I could not believe the giant horse could move like this!  I have seen him constantly improve under Amelia’s guidance and was excited to see him do so much.

Here is a short video of their canter.  Not perfect but coming along!

The trot.

The trot.

 

Look at the stretch in this canter!

Look at the stretch in this canter!

For all the months and years that we waited to see what this horse could do, it was a pretty exciting morning.  Through the dense air emerged horse with a future, an off the track thoroughbred that had managed to make his way through injury and set-backs. I believe one day soon we are going to see the horse take on a competition and triumph.

Have a safe and happy fourth of July weekend.  Thanks for riding along!

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You can read all of Bruno’s stories and see pictures of hoof before and after surgery by searching the “A Bruno Story” category.