Jordyn’s First Show

And line up with your numbers to the judge! Jordyn executed this perfectly.

And line up with your numbers to the judge! Jordyn executed this perfectly.

Jordyn has been in the show ring several times but always as a passenger, never as the driver.  This time is was all on Jordyn and she had practiced and practiced to get it right.  But like all things the first time around, the unknown sneaks up and creates ripples in your tummy and angst in your heart.

Jordyn has some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder like her mom, aunt, granny and grandpa.  We all like things to be ordered and to be right.  We are uncomfortable when things don’t go on schedule or when we think it is time. it is difficult to wait.  A horse show is not a good place for anxiety or OCD because really little is in your control.  Preparing, working and much saddle time certainly helps but in the end it is you alone in a new ring where all the things you practiced seem so different.

How did she do?  GREAT!  How did she think she did-well, I would say miserable failure would be one description.  We all worked on expectations with her ahead of the show.  Telling her if she got a ribbon, that would be great.  And she did.  She got three THIRD places but it was the fifth place in the last class that sent her over the edge.  I think if she had even won the last class it would have reduced her to tears as she had so much built up tension, just being done caused the tears to flow.


Ten year old Lauren inher line up at her first walk trot show. Helmet is a little big.

 So, let’s go back about twelve years.  Lauren had just gotten Mickey and had been preparing for her first show.  While she was new to riding English she had more actual riding experience under her belt (she could easily canter my big, fast quarter horse, Kid and Jordyn has not cantered on purpose yet) so she started off on her young five-year old rescue horse Mickey in the walk trot division.  In those days, we had yet to gain all the proper stuff like saddles that were made well, boots and jackets that fit and Lauren did not have that top-notch look to her attire that Jordyn did going in the ring this weekend.

We even had kids come up to us and ask if the horse Lauren was riding was in fact Mickey.  Apparently he had thrown a number of children and the kids could not believe she was taking a chance riding him.

The show itself was at Bridle Creek and it was a benefit for Holly Davitt (now Muehle) who had breast cancer.  Holly doesn’t remember much about that show.  I happened to see her at the show this weekend and stopped for a photo together.  She has successfully made 12 years Cancer free.  I was just older.  Still it was pretty cool to see my granddaughter follow so closely in the shoes of her Aunt Lauren.

Lauren's first show was a benefit for Holly. Here we are together at the show this weekend, 12 years later.

Lauren’s first show was a benefit for Holly. Here we are together at the show this weekend, 12 years later.

I am so proud of Jordyn and so proud of Mickey.  Mickey was at Zone Finals jumping over three feet a couple of weeks ago and this week he is trotting around like a champ for my granddaughter.

I wish the pictures showed more happiness on my baby’s face.  After all that is why you show.  And Jordyn could not find one equestrian to talk to that did not have a missed fence or perfect day. Things do not go exactly they way we plan in the ring.  We learn about failure and trying again.  Those are important lessons.

For me it was the culmination of many dreams.  That she would become a secure enough rider to go into the ring on her own and execute all the judge asked her to do.  Also big shout out to our Judge Lisa Richardson who did a great job placing the kids as was their due.

I am sad we did not get pictures of Jo and Mick with her beautiful first ribbons but here are some photos below that show how professional she looked and how well they did!!

Warm-up. Gotta have braids!

Warm-up. Gotta have braids!


Lauren walking from the warm up ring as Jordyn handled Mickey all on her own.


Love this silhouette of their profiles.

Part of Jo's support team, Luke, Ally, Grandparents Dodie and Rick and Kendyll

Part of Jo’s support team, Luke, Ally, Grandparents Dodie and Rick and Kendyll


What a great shot of the two of them!


Reins a little too long-starting to get in a little trouble in her last class.  But Mickey was not touching that pole!


Thank you for the great day Jordyn!  I know I will look back many times and tell people all about your first horse show!

Thanks for riding along!


I am sure you are all awaiting this post.  Clearly, my weekend is utmost on the minds of many.  I will give you the lowdown (okay, so some of it!).

My friend and I had a good reunion. For the sake of privacy let’s call him by a made-up name which will be Chris for now.  We knew each other well, way back when, but had not seen one another in many years.  I guess I expected us to be the same lively, vibrant, young couple we had been once before, as it is human nature to remember ourselves the way we were.

But boy, we have both covered a lot of ground in the years that have flown by.  I was a good athlete, swimming, skiing and riding.  He was a terrific athlete as well,playing basketball and football.  But the years have made us a little softer, a little older and thankfully, a little kinder.

When we got home from airport after the long drive where we tried to catch up some and tentatively touch one another’s hand or graze a touch across a leg, it was late.  We got the bounding herd of dogs out first.  I had warned Chris about them, but seeing two large poodles, a Doberman, a spaniel and two dachshunds race towards you is unnerving for anyone.

We got them outside and headed to the barn.  The horses usually go back out for the night around 7:30 so we were way later than usual.  Everyone was neighing, pounding their hooves on their gates and pacing with anticipation.

For someone with literally no knowledge of horses to just be handed a horse by his halter and told hang on, is a little dangerous.  Fortunately the horses knew their routine and quietly followed Chris and I, one by one, out to their pastures.  We got hay for the horses staying in for the night and got inside to eat the soup that had been left by our boarder.  I am very grateful for our food as there is no way I could have put together any dinner at that point.

So, not to get into details as this is a family blog, there were some issues with dogs who have slept in certain spots on my bed since they were mere pups.  Suddenly, those spots were unavailable.  It lead to some crazy, anxious pups as they struggled to get to their favorite sleeping spots only to find someone else in residence.  From Chris’ perspective, I am sure it was a little daunting to have to fight a Doberman over a place to sleep.  It was long past midnight before everyone settled in to sleep.

Maui, the soon to be one year old Poodle, has a clock in his head and was exactly on time as he jumped on the bed at 4:30 am to tell us it was time to feed the horses.  It was pretty cool for Houston but clear and calm as we trudged out to feed the horses on a few hours sleep.  It is easy to see if you have a keeper if someone will leave a warm house for a cold barn, in the dark, to feed a bunch of horses. Mickey got a little aggressive and tried to rip out Chris’ arm but other than that it went well.  This second time to the barn, he was even reliably getting the names right of most of my horses (pretty impressive feat).

Saturday was a beautiful day.  We ended up with several visitors which was fine.  Chris and I worked on catching up on weekend chores like emptying and refilling the big water troughs in the pastures.  I always have said that God has a sense of humor and it was apparent in all the things that were happening.  The first water trough had not one, but two dead squirrels in it.

I was using broken branches as chop stix to carry the dead squirrels away. Note I am carrying the squirrels and my friend is taking photos.

I was using broken branches as chop stix to carry the dead squirrels away. Note I am carrying the squirrels and my friend is taking photos.

aa squ

Nothing like a rapid indoctrination into life on the farm-life with dead animals.  I illustrated how to make up the feed for 15 horses and all the types of hay they eat and supplements they take.  To an outsider it is pretty overwhelming.  Personally, I was glad to turn over the carrying, opening and pouring of the 50 pound bags of feed to someone stronger than me.  I also liked it on Sunday when Chris remembered which feeds went in which containers.  I was giving him extra points for quick learning.

Before we knew it the sun was sinking in the west and it was time to once again feed horses and get them in.  The art of blanketing was introduced which also went a lot better for me with having someone to hold the horse while I blanketed it.

Saturday night we had a quiet dinner and finally had some time to talk about where life had taken us over the years.  Except for college, he has remained in the same city we meet in while I have been all over the country.  We recognized a couple of spots in our lives where if one of us had just done things a little differently we would not have missed out on all these years together.  Still, no regrets as we both have amazing children (now adults) and neither of us would change that for anything.

Sunday morning had us going from 4 am on.  It was lesson day at the farm.  I was hosting a pot-luck for the riders and their families.  It would also give everyone a chance to meet Chris.

Jo and Ken working on their puzzle book with Chris.

Jo and Ken working on their puzzle book with Chris.

The first to arrive was Ally with Jordyn and Kendyll.  From the first moment, Chris engaged them with book activity and then came up with a plan for all of us to go pick up rocks on the drive way  Then we used the rocks to fill up some pretty big holes that had developed with the rain.  Ingenuity.

As Jordyn got ready for her lesson, Kendyll joined Chris and I in the feed room.  Kendyll was already calling out to “Grandpa Chris” and sternly lecturing him on how to manage the feed process.  They were pretty cute.

Chris and Kendyll pouring the feed into the containers. What pals!

Chris and Kendyll pouring the feed into the containers. What pals!

It all got pretty complicated with trailers coming in full of ponies, riders, siblings and parents that Chris had not met yet, coupled with some wild riding in ring.  I think my friend got a very rich indoctrination of life a boarding and training barn.  Don’t forget he had to keep throwing the tennis ball for the poodle and holding Sammi the Dachshund.

All in all, it was over too soon and we were on the road back to the airport.  Kendyll was at home telling her other grandparents about her new grandparent.  I figure that someone willing to get up at 4 am, learn all the horse’s names, sleep with the dogs, play with the grandkids and throw tennis balls for hours to the poodle is worth another visit.

So, where will I be tonight?  Hanging out at the airport again.  Huh, might just get to be a steady thing.  We will see!


Jo getting her last practice in on Sunday.

Jo getting her last practice in on Sunday.

Jordyn will make her debut in the horse show ring on Mickey tomorrow doing walk/trot just as Lauren did 12 years ago.  I am trying to get Jo to understand there will be a lot of riders and there may not be any ribbons this first time out.  Hopefully, they have a great day!








Cindy has a man friend??? Let’s check him out!

Quiet, private and peaceful? somehow I don't think so.

Quiet, private and peaceful? Somehow I don’t think so.

I know.  This is a difficult statement to conceive of after some 18 years of being divorced and not having a man friend, which is even more ironic as my ex was always certain I was going to divorce him and run off with one of the doctors I worked with at the time.

But yes, I have re-ignited a relationship with a friend of mine from long ago.  You know Facebook is a marvelous thing.  You can check out how people have aged and what they are doing.  It seems to have worked for us.  Which is even more amazing given the crazy pictures I tend to post with me standing in water troughs or with tutus on my head.  Could be why it has taken 18 years to get a date.

Anyway, so we have been planning this little get-to-know-you again trip for a while now.  I wanted it to be low-key.  And even though, Lauren is off to the boyfriend’s most weekends, I confirmed that she would be gone.  I wanted some quiet, private time to introduce the six dogs and gazillion horses to a non-farm person before adding in extra people.  In fact, I had it all planned out perfectly.

Then Ally called this week to ask what time they were coming over on Saturday.  I searched my mind to remember what we were planning on Saturday.  “What are we doing?”, I asked.  “We are coming over to meet your new boyfriend”.  Not what I had in mind.  Then she reminded me that her husband had volunteered to fix our horse’s run-in shed on Sunday.  They would all be there all day and could I babysit Jordyn and Kendyll for a while? Why not?

One of my favorite boarders told me they might just be there Friday night when we get in from the airport, just in case we need help getting the horses out.  Oh, and she is going to whip up her famous Tortilla Soup so we can have dinner all ready when we get back to the farm.  Gee, perhaps her family can set the table and dress as waiters and serve us wine.  (Honestly, I love the soup and am very grateful, but wow!)

Meanwhile,  I learned that another one of my boarders and her boyfriend will be there Saturday to build jumps.  We need new jumps.  It is very nice of them to help out, but this weekend?  The mower guys called to re-schedule to Saturday as well. That will be so peaceful.  Looking out over the green pastures with the mowers and weed eaters running in the wind coupled with the electric saws and hammering. Idyllic.

Awesome. Lauren told me that she and Blake needed to come by because Blake was going to install the electric gate opener (which has been in a box in the garage for almost two years).  Really?  “When is that going to happen?”, I asked.   “Oh. on Sunday.  We have Dev coming to do lessons too!”  Lauren told me.

I think that should only be about six riders and their families hanging out on a fine Sunday morning as Luke builds my run-in shed and Blake installs the gate opener.  I feel pleased that everyone is so sweet and cares so much.  This is truly a monumental event.

I finally gave up and planned a nice picnic type lunch for Sunday noon.  Ally’s in-laws want to run by as well but they will wait until Thanksgiving.

Three year-old Kendyll was over this morning as I getting ready for work and doing the last-minute cleaning of the house.  She was happily standing in my shower stall surveying what I was doing.  “Maybe when my new grandpa comes we can put on our bathing suits and take a shower.  Then you can go get cupcakes and we can have a party!”.

You know, Kendyll, we might as well.  Let me know if anyone else wants to run by and check out the new boyfriend.  We will be at the farm.

Fountain of Sorrow, Fountain of Life

Sherre with her beloved dogs, Nordic and Doc. Photo courtesy of Morgan German

Sherre with her beloved dogs, Nordic and Doc. Photo courtesy of Morgan German

Sherre told me a few years back that she had cancer.  I knew immediately and without doubt it would kill her.  Not nice words or thoughts, for sure.  Sherre even got a couple of reprieves, after all, she was a fighter.  But this last time cancer came for her, I knew her time was running out.

Am I telling you how wonderful I am because I know that cancer can and will take whatever life it can?  No.  I have worked with oncology patients and most recently radiation oncology patients, plus my family is riddled with cancer. I know by now there is almost a direct correlation to how nice, thoughtful, kind you are and how fast the cancer takes you down.

In my experience, cancer kills the very best, before their time, before it is just.  Maybe it is a way to get the rest of us from being so complacent. If cancer kills the finest of us, shouldn’t the rest of us get on the band wagon and find a way to beat this monster down?


Lauren and I met Sherre one day at a horse show.  We had our Corgi, Sneaky, for about a year and were looking to breed her to a fine male and have at least one litter of puppies.  We spotted a beautiful Corgi at the show and we walked over to introduce ourselves to Sherre.   She told us all about her Corgi, Nordic.  He was destined to be neutered but Sherre said she would consider letting him sire one litter before that took place.  We agreed we would call Sherre when Sneaky was ready.

Lauren and I walked away from the elaborate stall drapes and high dollar horses that Sherre worked with back to where we were still showing Mickey in hunters. We did not know much about this new “A” show world but we had just made friends with someone who was certainly at home in this environment.

Time came for Sneaky to be bred and off to Sherre’s we went.  First, to her beautiful home where she made us all feel comfortable ( as Nordic chased Sneaky around in vain) to the barn where she worked which was built with standards much higher than those used to build my home.  But never once did Sherre make us feel uneasy or unwelcome.  We told her our dreams of getting Mickey solid at the 3’6″ jumps and she encouraged us.  She talked with Lauren and give her tips.  In the end, Nordic and Sneaky never consummated their love affair but Sherre was to be our friend forever.

I talked Sherre into doing a clinic at the barn Lauren rode at in those days.  It was so well attended it took us all day for her to coach almost 60 riders through their paces.  Lauren and Caitlyn Epperson attended.  It was a day about getting back to riding fundamentals.  Sherre taught traditional riding and it worked.

When Lauren wanted to attend the USEF Emerging Athlete Program, Sherre wrote a recommendation letter for Lauren.  It meant a tremendous amount to us.

And through the years, no matter how busy Sherre was with her own riding and her own students, she always took time to visit with Lauren.  Sherre would spot Lauren in the warm up ring and I would see them deep in conversation.  She would encourage Lauren during her Mickey days and applaud her progress as Feather moved up through the ranks. She was the best possible mentor Lauren could have.

I was always so thrilled to see her white blonde hair blowing in the wind as she took a moment to bolster my daughter’s confidence just by her few simple words.

Our Bruno came from friends of Sherre's family in New York.

Our Bruno came from friends of Sherre’s family in New York.

Then came Bruno Sims into our life.  Bruno, a huge OTTB, came into our life from Sherre via our trainer Dev.   He had hoof problems I thought we could heal.  Sherre and I had long conversations about the choice I was making to send him to Texas A&M for surgery.  In the end, he did not live to grow old. But he fought and we fought to keep him alive and sound.   I suspect that Sherre was concerned about this free horse that in the end cost us so much.  But she gave us a tremendous gift with Bruno.  He was one of kind.  We loved this giant horse like no other.

When the cancer took hold, it didn’t change Sherre except maybe to make her kinder and more patient.  She held on to her internal and external beauty as the disease ravaged her core.

Sherre was an avid reader of my blog.  I did not know that until Feather’s first horse show at the GSWEC.  Lauren was taking Feather in to do the baby greens in the East Arena, Cookie was talking to judge.  Feather caught their movements out of the corner of her eye and shied away from the judge’s stand.  It was then I recognized Sherre as the judge as she said “Easy, Feather!  It is okay, Feather”.  Apparently, Sherre had been reading along in the blog and knew that the horse announced as Flagmount’s Irish Freedom was my Feather making her debut in the ring.

Sherre’s passing has brought a fountain of sorrow to this horse world and this horsewoman.  Yesterday, the activity ceased at the Great Southwest as the trainers learned of her passing.  Nothing seemed to move, time stood still.  She was the best of them in many ways.

But Sherre has left us a fountain of life as well.  A simple daily challenge I will try to meet to be more kind, patient, caring, and full of life.  Each day we are given opportunities to help someone brighten their day.  Simple opportunities to share the fountain of life.

I am so happy that Nordic brought us to Sherre and Sherre brought life and color into our world.  I will be forever grateful.

Fountain of Sorrow, Fountain of Life- Sherre Sims


When we met Sherre I felt she looked familiar.  She was the quintessential equestrian, classic in her look and clothing, but it was more than that.  When I saw her truck, I remembered.  Did you ever see this?

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I remember Lauren being a teenager when this came out.  We were even inspired by this ad.  To be professional horsewoman (and a beautiful one too!) and trailer your horses to shows-to be able to really live the life-that what this ad meant to Lauren and I.  We never dreamed the beautiful lady from the ad would end up our friend.