Betty Sue’s little romps

 

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At almost ten months of age, RPSI filly, Betty Sue is getting taller and starting to fill out.  We have continued almost daily with her education.  We get her out of her stall to groom her, pick up and clean her feet and do a little ground work.

Betty works well in her halter, leading, backing on command and standing.  Lauren even walked her over to load in our trailer the other night when it was hooked up for the horse show.  Betty Sue quietly followed her in and back out.  No fuss, no issues, it was pretty nice.

A scared Lauren hiding between jump standards as Betty Sue romps up to visit.

A scared Lauren hiding between jump standards as Betty Sue romps up to visit.

But Betty Sue’s and frankly, I think everyone at the barns favorite thing to do is when Betty Sue gets rewarded after going through her paces in the arena, by a few minutes off her lead rope.  As Betty has gotten bigger, faster and stronger her desire to play with us has intensified.  I understand that it is important for a young horse to respect personal space and she does-she always stops, but that doesn’t mean that she has not gotten a little intimidating as she romps down the line toward you in her little gallop.  Hiding behind the jump standards is common for large man or young child as Betty Sue enjoys these little play times.

 

Getting her romp on!

Getting her romp  on!

I am enjoying this little filly to the fullest.  I can’t wait to see the color of her coat after she sheds out the winter coat she brought from Colorado.  We tried to entice her to follow us over some jumps-and she did go over an X behind Lauren, but when the other girls tried it, she said “I really want to but I think I will just walk around!”

Alex trying to entice Betty Sue over the jump.

Alex trying to entice Betty Sue over the jump.

 

I love her buckskin coloring.

I love her buckskin coloring.

Tomorrow is the first of February (and my daughter Ally’s 27th birthday) and the day we weigh and measure this baby.  I will let you know the latest numbers.

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Happy Birthday Ally Taylor-I love you so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Funday

All photos today courtesy of Arianna Arney-many thanks!

A bunch of us gathered around the arena on a beautiful Sunday.

A bunch of us gathered around the arena on a beautiful Sunday.

 

More often than not, Lauren is gone most of the day on Sundays, taking that one day off a week to get away from the barn and its activity. I had not had a day out at the barn for awhile, at least not one with beautiful weather and lots of riders.  I had been sequestered in the house, afraid to take a chance on uneven ground, gravel driveways or misbehaving horses while recovering on crutches.

This last Sunday the weather was perfect!  It was sunny, clear and near 70 degrees by the afternoon.  All of the boarders thought it would be a pretty great day to ride.  Jordyn had stayed over night both Friday and Saturday.  She was on a marathon horseback ride, switching off between new pony Piper and tried and true Mickey.

It was wonderful to have all the activity.  I knew one of our boarders had a nice pony to sell that was cute and talented.  I expected some visitors to stop by and try out the pony on this nice afternoon.

The group approach to jump setting. One works and two watch.

The group approach to jump setting. One works and two make suggestions.

As it often is in the horse world, we tend to do things with a group or at least our friends.  The previous night had been the year-end awards banquet for the Greater Houston Hunter Jumper Association.  The pony had been discussed with one of the other trainers and they were headed out my way for a trial ride.

Horse buying is tricky.  It is a wing and a prayer sort of thing.  Sometimes you make brilliant decisions and sometimes you end up with real disasters.  In retrospect someone can always point out what you missed but at the time, you just hope for the best.

By the time the gang arrived from north Houston to view the sale pony, things were hopping around the barn.  We had a Porsche, a Prius , sturdy trucks and SUVs lined up and parked.  A group of girls arrived with the friend of the pony seller to demonstrate the pony and just watch the proceedings.

The arena was being dragged again by one of the dads with his 4×4 truck as our broken tractor sat idly in the sun.  Jordyn, Libby and Isabel were still in the arena riding as the truck worked over circle after circle of the soft sand pulling the drag behind.  Jordyn was thrilled to be playing “who can trot the fastest” with the other much older riders.  The big truck and dragger did nothing to deter their forward motion or their enthusiasm.

I immediately recognized the potential pony buyers as they got out of their truck.  No, I did not know their names, but knew their faces and their horses.  It was fun to talk with them about their barn building projects which had started last April like ours.  It wasn’t long before Michelle looked at me intently and said “I read your blog!”  That is always a WOW moment for me, because I write pretty much for myself and it is sometimes embarrassing to think of all the things I have said.

We dragged her off to meet baby Betty Sue and see pony, Piper.  She was telling us about a great horse they had for sale.  It is that information sharing that usually lands a horse with the right new owner.

As we walked to the arena to watch the sale pony, Flash, work, I told them to go on ahead that I was a little slow.  Michelle immediately said she had read about my hip replacement.  GEEZ.  It was cool but little eerie.

Getting set to try the Flash pony.

Getting set to try the Flash pony.

Off Bella went amid guns and engines roaring.

Off Bella went amid guns and engines roaring.

 

The pony did well as we all watched.  One of my charming neighbors decided that this lovely Sunday afternoon should be filled with guns and proceeded to fire off like a thousand shots,  seriously, one after another, disrupting the quiet afternoon.  But the pony didn’t seem to care, he went along quietly and easily.  Then my other neighbor started working on his car engine.  I thought we were in an episode of Street Outlaws (where they drag race illegally).  It was not what I wanted when trying to show off a sale horse at my facility.  On the other hand, Flash reacted not at all to all the disturbances so I guess that was okay.

Trainer Elizabeth keeping a sharp eye on her student.

Trainer Elizabeth keeping a sharp eye on her student.

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In the end, it was decided that this was not the correct match for the girl who was looking.  It was a little sad as I thought it had gone swimmingly well given all the activity.  But that is how the horse (pony) business goes.  They did say they liked the bay horse with the star.  I was dumbfounded for a moment, thinking we don’t have a bay horse with a star, when I was told my Piper pony was a bay horse with a star.  DUH.  Well, she is not going anywhere soon.

 

 

 

Very nice trot!

Very nice trot!

Flash will be gone quickly as he is too cute and too good to not be picked up fast.  Any pony buyers out there?

Pony can jump, too.

Pony can jump, too.

Anyway, it was a great day and lots of fun for us all.  Still, I was glad as I saw Lauren head down the drive returning from her weekend off.  I think I was asleep by 7 pm.

The best thing I heard from one of my riders this weekend was after they watched me walk down the driveway.  Jo Ann told me that I was looking and walking pretty well.  She could still tell I wasn’t completely sound-but almost!  Wow, I think a lot of people would agree I have never been completely sound and they would not just be referring to my obvious limp.

Thanks for riding with us at Six Meadow Farm!

Feeling Happy

The weather is grey, cold and miserable.  We just got a sizable amount of rain and everything seems wet, from the horses themselves to their blankets to the barn, although no one was out in rain.  It is just a heavy dampness that pervades the air.

It will be cold tonight (for us southerner’s anyway) and one pony just was body-clipped for the upcoming shows.  He was telling us last night that it is a little chilly to be naked.

Anyway, I have a cough and sore throat.  All and all, I should be feeling a bit down and dismal but I am not.  I want Jordyn to spend the night so we can go out on a trail ride tomorrow even if the ring is too wet to ride in.  I want to go pull some manes, clip some horses and prepare for spring.  After some reflection I realized I was just happy.

Wow, what a great notion.  I am almost two months post-op from my hip replacement.  Having been down this rehab road before, I know I am way further down the road to recovery than I was at the same time last replacement. I am walking up and down stairs on my own, logging in over 7000 steps a day on my Fitbit and am ready to get back on a horse.

To what do I attribute this somewhat usual state (for me at least-I tend to be a little more like Eeyore than happy Winnie-the-Pooh)?  I think it is just surviving this difficult last year, being very content with my place in life and thoroughly enjoying my work.  We had people out to look out our place.  They own their own sizable herd of warmbloods and have recently moved to Houston.  Looking around the place I realized, although as one visitor told us this week, “it is not as nice as I thought it would be”, it is all I ever wanted.  Like in my whole life, this little place in Richmond, Texas (a state I never dreamed I would live in) has my home, my family (and frequent visits from my out-of-town family)my horses, my dogs, my cats and dearest friends.  How lucky am I?

My life has really been a series of some difficult battles.  I was afraid to hope that life would ever be like this-and this year, particulary has not been easy, but I am cheered on and gladdened by the realization-that right now-this moment-this time is good.

Thank you for being part of my story.  Thank you for riding along.

Teach your Children Well

Jordyn and her special journey with OTTB Bruno.

Jordyn preparing to get on big Bruno for the first time.

Jordyn preparing to get on big Bruno for the first time.

Off they go!

Off they go!

Bruno with Jordyn and her great grandpa-Jim.

Bruno with Jordyn and her great grandpa-Jim.

Giant Bruno being confidently handled by five year-old Jordyn

Giant Bruno being confidently handled by five year-old Jordyn

Nearing the end of his days

Nearing the end of his days

Days before he died with  Jordyn and Kendyll

Days before he died with Jordyn and Kendyll

Jordyn and the big thoroughbred Bruno had a special relationship almost from the day he arrived at our barn.  Although over 17 hands high and a huge 1450 pounds, he was a gentle soul and they seemed to just get along.

To say Jordyn loved Bruno is an understatement.  She also watched him suffer through surgery, helped Lauren re-bandage his hoof many times, saw him with blood streaming down his face and on the good days as well.  Jordyn was five years old when Bruno came to our barn.  She was old enough to understand pain and suffering and appreciate what we were trying to do for the horse, in trying to get him get back to sound and healthy.

As the time went on,  she saw Bruno start to soar, spending time with Lauren and him at the trainers as Bruno learned to jump and watching Amelia take the big guy further than we ever dreamed.  But his success was short-lived and his infection in his hoof returned.  Jordyn also watched him stand, unable to walk, as we continued to try to do something to save him.

Bruno had a few days when he rallied.  Jordyn was there to walk him in the green pasture and sit endlessly on his back as he ate the fresh grass.

Jordyn was not there when he died.  It would not have been right but she did see the freshly dug grave and laid flowers on it for him. She and I have spoken many times of life and death on farm but not really specifically about Bruno, not since he died, anyway.

I was surprised this weekend when she mentioned him and how much she missed him.  Jordyn is a sensitive, intelligent child that observes more than we think and absorbs more than her share of the hurt she sees in the world.  She told me the story of what her other grandma, Dodie, had shared with her this weekend as she was missing Bruno so much.

I was appreciative and impressed by what she had been told.  Dodie told her about Bruno in Heaven eating forever green grass and running without pain.  She told Jo how Bruno would never have to hurt again.  She made Heaven a real and wonderful place for our granddaughter.  And that is how it should be.  What a wonderful gift to share with this imaginative child, one of happiness and joy instead of memories of pain and sadness.

I am indebted to Dodie for this and Jordyn is blessed to have a grandmother so confident in her faith and belief that she can draw pictures for a child’s dreams of the broad, green pastures of Heaven.  I could only be thankful and think of the old Neil Young song of “Teach your Children Well“.  This child has been taught of suffering and death but also of tremendous happiness that awaits.  The best we can do and the best we can give is to teach our (grand) children well.  Thank you, Dodie. I am grateful.

Back to Life on the Farm

Piper and I on her first morning.

Piper and I on her first morning.

The dark, gloomy, cold days of what amounts to winter in Texas have been going on seemingly forever.  Whenever I make this complaint, I realize it is ridiculous as I did spend 12 winters in the Chicago-area and quite a few in Colorado.  But the cold, wet, humid dampness is bad in contrast to our normal weather.  The pastures are muddy, the arena is just starting to be rideable again and the horses have been in blankets for weeks.

I am getting in the back to work routine again and immediately when I get home, I go in and put on a few layers of clothing.  I am pretty comfortable outside but seem to be the only one that really wants to spend any time at the barn.  Our boarders have been scarce (no where really to ride) and Lauren is sick of cold by the time I get home.  My poodle’s hair is long and he and the Corgi are completely content to hang out at the barn with me.

But last night it was like we just pushed on past the cold and gloom. We have had fun getting to know Piper.  Ally has kind of taken her over.  Piper got taken to the round pen for a little work (she did great except wanting to stop, paw and started to roll in the standing water on the far side of the pen-we hurriedly rushed over to stop her before she was soaking wet!) and also got saddled for the first time.

Libby got voted to be the first ride crash dummy.  Lauren and I didn’t want to fall off in the mud.  Libby pleasantly goes along with most of our stupid ideas.  I did verify she had signed a liability waiver.  I mean, you just don’t know what to expect on the first ride with a new pony.

Libby taking Piper for her first Texas ride.

Libby taking Piper for her first Texas ride. You can even still see the price tag hanging from her brand new martingale.

But all the nervous energy was for not as the pony just quietly worked around the arena, ignoring the racing dogs, the inquiring horses in the pasture, the many jumps and cold wind.  It may have been the fastest check ride in history as I asked Libby to walk, trot, reverse, halt, canter, reverse, canter and  get back to barn.  Piper was compliant and simple to ride.  Just what we had asked for.

At the trot, looking pretty cute.

At the trot, looking pretty cute.

We all had fun letting the now nine month old filly, Betty Sue, out of her stall bribing her to follow us with treats and scratching her favorite spots.  I believe she thinks she is one of the group.  She was trotting neatly behind Jordyn and backing up on command.

Then we all headed over to the little fire pit and two-year old Kendyll had us singing the “Frozen” song, dramatically stopping for her to say, “the cold never bothered me anyway!”.  We also sang “Happy Birthday” to everyone present even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday.  The fun things you do with a two-year old.  Kona ran off with her baby doll and I thought we would have a serious problem but Kendyll just chased him down and demanded her baby back.

It is nice to be feeling better and part of the farm again.  The sun even came out for a few minutes today.

Thanks as always for riding along!

From the Ice and Cold, the Pony Arrives

This is Hopscotch, whom Jordyn is calling Piper.

This is Hopscotch, whom Jordyn is calling Piper.

Jordyn after school yesterday looking pretty happy with Piper.

Jordyn after school yesterday looking pretty happy with Piper.

Jordyn used Lauren’s jumper Mickey for lessons for most of this year.  Her pony, Snowboy was being leased by another rider in the barn and Mickey was filling the bill fine.  One of last year’s goals for Jordyn was to trot and she has been very successful.  She can do a posting trot now and occasionally even gets the correct diagonal.

Jordyn started riding Snow again in hopes of achieving her 2015  goal of cantering.  Snowboy, at an estimated 22 years of age, seems to have had it with hauling the little kids around.  He is still very good for a kid over 90 pounds or an adult but for Jordyn, he was taking all her energy to just keep him in a trot.

Around Christmas time we decided to sell my horse, Kalani, and find a quiet, easy pony for Jordyn.  Not to go into a whole ‘back in my day’ tirade, but one thing that is a whole lot easy now is buying a horse.  Once upon a time, you relied upon neighbors, other training barns or the classifieds to find a horse.

Facebook is now quite a source for buying and selling horses.  Within hours of stating we were on the search for a new pony, we had leads on steeds from all over the US.  The two ponies that we liked best were both on the East Coast. The one we ended up with posted a sale ad in morning, by mid-afternoon their YouTube video had over 500 views.  We had been the first to talk to this trainer in South Carolina and she called us back to tell us she had two full price offers on the pony we wanted for Jordyn.  We told her we would meet that price and buy the pony.

I have bought a couple of horses/ponies sight unseen, and not touched or ridden by us.  It is scary but it is the way of the world these days.  We all agreed, signed some papers, Paypaled (should that have one L or two?) some money and set up an inexpensive shipper.  We were pretty happy.  That was nearly two weeks ago.

The cold fell on the east coast and first the shipper couldn’t get out of New York state as the water was freezing in the water buckets of the trailer.  Then they had trouble with rain and ice as they made their way down the coast to South Carolina.  In the beginning, I figured for sure I would still be home to see the pony come, but as the days became weeks, knew I would miss out.

Sure enough, the shipper called and estimated she would be at our place sometime Sunday night/Monday morning.  As I awakened for work yesterday I figured I must have slept through the pony’s arrival.  I headed out to resume my routine of feeding the horses on my first day back at work, to have Lauren follow me out the door.  Lauren does not get up at 4:30 in the morning, especially in the cold without a compelling reason.  The pony was just arriving.

Jordyn meeting her pony for the first time! Note-it is still pitch black behind the stall slats.

Jordyn meeting her pony for the first time! Note-it is still pitch black behind the stall slats.

Quietly and without any apprehension, the small bay pony unloaded off the big rig, walked across our pasture in the cold mist and took up her new home next to Betty Sue in the mare’s barn.  We called Ally who went to tell Jordyn that her pony had finally arrived.  Jordyn bolted out of bed, dressed quickly, brushed her teeth and begged her mom to take her to Granny’s to see the new pony.  It might have 5:30 am by then.  I was headed out to work before Jo arrived but the first picture of the two says a lot.  Jordyn’s call to me to proclaim, “Thank you, Thank you, Granny!!” said even more.

Last night, I couldn’t wait to get out to the barn, get the blanket off the pony and see what we really had.  We have had days of cold rain so a ride was out of the question but Jordyn and I had fun grooming Piper, admiring her cute face, long forelock and silky tail.

We have owned Snowboy for over ten years, I hope this pony is as good as he has been for us and earns Jo all the ribbons she deserves.  I did make it clear to her that this pony is for all the grandkids.  Piper will have a lot of master’s to serve.

Thanks for being part of our journey!

Piper settled in and having some hay.

Piper settled in and having some hay.

Return to Work-Eve

 

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My time off work has come to pass.  I have fed the horses the last two mornings on my own.  However, Lauren and I moved the feeding schedule forward (something about her not wanting to feed at 4:45, I don’t know!).  I have to admit that this morning’s feed was closer to 7am than 5 am.

I can walk unassisted (no cane, no crutches) but it is a staggering, shuffling walk, not one that provides much locomotion.  I have walked steadily all week in preparation for my return.  My drive is almost a half mile up and back.  It has been cold, wet and windy.  I got over 4000 steps most days, so I am getting stronger.  Lauren makes me clean stalls and water, too!  She is a wicked taskmaster.  I wish that was true.  I am so slow she does three times the work I do in the same time.  We have not had many riders out this week, but it doesn’t change what work we have.

We have had multiple other things going on as well, including:

Lauren has been working on a project to open an additional boarding facility about 20 miles south of here.  She and her friend Libby having been drawing up plans, working financials and talking to potential boarders.  They are learning a lot about real world economics and business planning.  We will see if the project advances later this week.

In the same vein as my story with OTTB Bruno, one of our boarders obtained her dream horse a couple of years ago.  And just like with Bruno, their path has been a hard one. How many of us have bought THAT horse that was the most beautiful, the most talented, perfect,  but not necessarily the one for us?  What a lesson we learn and what a tumble our heart takes.  After two years of trying to make this horse be the RIGHT one for her, the boarder decided that she wanted this horse to find a new home pronto.  I got busy with my contacts.  It took longer than I would have thought to find this Prince the right kingdom.  In the new year, everyone is struggling with finances, space, the weather or is off to Florida for the winter season.

 

2015/01/img_0049.jpgI think we found a perfect home with Natalie. She rides the stallion Flagmount’s Freedom, whom we plan to breed to TeeDee and Fargo come spring.  The family came down from Bryan/College Station on Saturday, but before they even glanced at the new horse, they wanted to see Feather who had been born and bred on their farm.  I think they were pretty pleased to see the well-built mare who has taken Lauren so far.

As they drove away, my boarder and I discussed the excitement in Natalie’s eyes as she viewed the handsome black gelding for the first time.  While giving up a dream, tears at one’s heart, I know my friend will be thrilled to see Natalie in the dressage ring showing off her fine boy!  Bittersweet for sure.

I also have to mention that it was with great sorrow that I saw this post on Facebook.  Stephanie, the breeder of my pretty filly Betty Sue, announced the passing of the filly’s sire, Special Edition GES, a junior GOV stallion (Sempatico x Nfinity).  I do not know the details of his passing but at his young age it must have been something tragic and sudden.  I know Stephanie must be reeling as this fine stallion was just starting a promising career.  So many hopes and dreams gone in an instant.  Sending out love and prayers to Stephanie and all at Golden Edge Sporthorses.

 

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