Rain brings a renewal to the land and regrowth

It is the time of year for renewal. Easter, always one of my favorite holidays, is all about  new life, renewal and beginning again.  I have much to be grateful for from the rain that has brought pastures back to green, to longer days of sunshine, to plants and flowers in abundance  and to life in general, where breathing is easy again.

Much has been going on at the farm. For those of you keeping track from previous years or in Houston, it is time for Pin Oak,  largest charity horse show in Texas.  Lauren had a great show last year, winning her first Pin Oak ribbons and championship.  She will not attend this year.

We had hoped to have a horse to take Feather’s place as she recovered from a hoof injury but our plan to use/lease another fell apart. My saying of “Man plans, God laughs” was appropriate again.  I was so disappointed to not have a horse for Lauren.  We had wanted to lease one for the several months we anticipated that Feather would be out of action.

Funny thing how life works out but just yesterday, our favorite vet Lynn, completely cleared Feather to return 100% to work. We will miss Pin Oak but our wonderful mare, Feather, will be back in action soon.  Lauren is already riding her and you would never know she missed a day (in fact throughout this entire episode, Feather never took a single lame step on her “bad” foot).  So, all is right in our horse world,  we didn’t need another  horse  at all, we just needed to wait for Feather to heal.

I am enjoying riding my mare, Nova, and we are getting back to regular lessons. It has been a very long time since I could say that.  Nancy Lindsay is patient and kind to us and we are learning new things. There is a lot of activity at the farm once again as riders gear up for show season.


Lauren back on Feather with Allyson, Isabel and Amanda

My family has been great about helping out with new lights for the birthing stall (Fargo is due in June) and other updates. It is time for the winter blankets to go back in storage and summer flies to start being a nuisance.

Nothing exciting to report on my home front except everyone is as healthy and well as they can be. I have gone from having seven 9/11ths horses in barn but only one that is rideable to having everyone but young Betty Sue and super Momma Fargo on the non-ride list.

Summer is approaching as well. Typically we do a quasi-working student camp.  This means the girls hang out and work, ride, learn new things about horses  and often shop.  Sorry, parents, I can’t stop the shopping.  Mia is returning again this year from Malaysia.  I understand the Isabel is on-board for the duration.  I haven’t heard yet about Allyson, but hope she is planning to join us too.


This year we will have the bright, inquisitive Makenna coming from Bartlesville, Oklahoma for a week of camp as well. I think she will be an amazing addition to the team.  She loves everything about horses, and is eager to learn even more.  I am hoping we can persuade Fargo to wait to deliver her baby until Makenna arrives on the 19th.   Either way, having a baby foal should make camp that much more fun.

We possibly have space for one more week long overnight camper, preferably in the age range of 12-14. Some riding experience, knowledge of horses is needed.  Anyone out there interested?  Campers will be assigned at least one horse to care for daily, have extensive riding time, instruction, field trips with vets, trips to top trainers, sessions taught by the farrier and general horse care education.  It will be fun and informative.



TryDelta-an OTTB straight off the track above and ready to deliver now

Speaking of baby foal, Try Delta, our AP Indy granddaughter (related to our Bruno) that Lynn and I own together is due March 31st.  Lynn told me TeeDee got down and rolled from one side to other, leaped to her feet and reared straight up in the air.  Lynn and I reflected that TeeDee was a tad bit (understatement) more agile than Lynn or I in our last two weeks of pregnancy.  TeeDee will deliver at Lynn’s-I hope to be there for tips and tricks to a successful birth but counting on a little Irish luck to bring us a wonderful foal.


Muffy, the spaniel mix, Lula, the mini dachshund and Kena, the Doberman,  all settled in to sleep away the rain (glad the remote is close by if they need it!).

My dogs have been waiting out the rain and missing me while I travel.  Still…pretty lucky dogs to have such comfy surroundings.  Did I mention that I am going to the airport to pick up a new dog that is flying in from Lexington, Kentucky?  Try to guess the breed—don’t say if you already know.  I bet this will be a surprise breed to all of you.  Hopefully, Lady will be a wonderful fit for my daughter in Denver who recently lost her cocker spaniel of so many years, Bailey.  But I am trying out the dog first to see how she does!

I hope when I speak with you next you will have had a happy Easter and I have new foal pictures to show. So excited to see how an Irish Flagmount’s Freedom and an all-American AP Indy baby turn-out (which I know I won’t know really for several years) but still this baby should be pretty top notch.

As always thanks for riding along.

Ending of an Era


Lauren on Mickey in 2005-they were both young


Not to get lost in a Tim McGraw song, but life has definitely turned on a dime and it is an ending of an era and the turning of a page.


Irish Midnight (Mickey)in the early “A” show days, flying high and hopefully feeling no pain.

The picture above was at the Winter Series probably in 2011.  Five years ago.  Mickey was winning rounds, winning championships and the sky was the limit for this fast, cow bred but high jumping paint horse that came to us from the rescue as Lauren’s walk/trot horse when she was nine.


From the very start, after Sarah did her usual magic at the rescue, Mickey was out winning blue ribbons from Lauren’s very first show.  Lauren shared Mickey with Chelsie Gallatin in those days and it wasn’t long before Chelsie won both the EQ and year-end Hunter awards for the Junior/Adult division on Mickey.

Through the next several years Mickey came along with Lauren, winning some and losing some but always a solid jumper (just not the hunter we tried to make him be) and her best friend.

Throughout 2005 to 2011, things went well.  We had occasional set backs but mostly big wins and steps forward.


Mick and Lauren relaxing between rounds


Alex breezing with Mick

From this point forward, things got a little more unpredictable with Mickey.  He always had an occasional stop in him when he was tired or when the fragile emotional bank account you hold with a jumper was not quite in balance, i.e. Lauren gave some to him and Mickey gave a few to Lauren.  If Mickey felt Lauren had overdrawn that fragile balance he could stop on course and throw her into a jump.

Irish Midnght (Mickey) and Lauren

Mickey, although small for the sport, always jumped easily, honestly and in good form

We had two good years in 2012 and 2013 where Mickey was the king of Fiesta Classic and some other shows.  He was in his prime and Lauren was growing and learning as well. Feather had come along by this point and we were grooming her for the future.


But Mickey got to the point that he made my stomach hurt every time Lauren showed him.  He would either have a blazing fast round that no one in the ring could touch or he would stop and she would fly over (through, into) the jump herself.  It was a rough time.  He was still good enough, often enough, that we showed him.  There did seem to be a trend that the first few days of the show he would do well but by day four or five, he would be done.  Not jumping at all.

jo mickcaro

In and around the barn, Mickey was very dependable.  Giving Jordyn and others many, many wonderful rides

Occasionally, Mickey would have some lameness issues.  We would rest him, change his shoes, give some meds, put him on monthly injections and he did better.  But the lameness issues would creep back.

As Feather came along, Alex started to lease Mickey.  She had great success initially especially during training at home.  I remember Don Branham watching Alex in one of her first shows and saying Mickey never looked better.  Alex had some outstanding rounds but then Mickey started stopping again, especially if it was late in a show.

Still, he was good enough and Alex rode well enough to secure a blue ribbon at Pin Oak last spring against a solid group.  Absolutely nothing wrong with his jumping on Day One of Pin Oak.


Mickey and Alex at Zone Finals 2015-he had to have been hurting so much

Retrospectively, I should have stopped sooner and demanded more information on Mickey.  Especially in this last year, when Alex struggled with Mickey stopping at jumps and refusing out of jumping competitions, I was too ready to chalk it up to Mickey’s usual erratic behavior.  And while we all agreed that maybe at 18 Mickey might not ever be going in to jump anything over a meter or so in height, we all felt he would be back in the ring.

In fact, I predicted he could readily (and easily-although a step down) win the Junior/Adult Jumpers this year-and in fact he probably could.  But he shouldn’t!  That is what we just learned.

Our boarder and friend Jo Ann has been taking dressage lessons with Mickey. Dressage master Nancy Lindsey many times has said that Mickey is not a dressage horse, but he is full of try and full of heart and he does his best to do what Jo Ann asks.


Jo Ann on dressage Mickey

The downside of this-for me (not Mickey) is that Jo Ann and Nancy are both able to see lameness in a horse 27 miles away in the fog.  They had complained of Mickey being off.  We quit riding Mickey, had the vet see him, put new shoes on him and thought he was ready to go.  I was convinced it was a just a temporary rough spot.

But oh no, Jo Ann got on to ride and about seven minutes later she and Nancy were headed back to the barn leading Mickey.  He is still lame, they told me.  I called Lynn the vet back with instructions to x-ray, inject, or do whatever was needed to get Mickey back to sound.

I took off Friday so I could be there with Lynn and Sean (our farrier) as he removed the shoes and the x-rays were taken.  The minute the x-rays came up on the screen I knew it was bad.  I could tell from both Lynn and Sean and how they were looking at the screen.  I also had looked at enough x-rays to see that there was not enough space between the joints (I knew well enough the pain of bone rubbing on bone instead of sliding effortlessly with cushion between the bones).

Mickey has ringbone on his right front hoof and serious osteoarthritis in the other hoof (probably developed from trying to save the right foot).  Ringbone is exostosis (bone growth) in the pastern or coffin joint of a horse. In severe cases, the growth can encircle the bones, giving ringbone its name.

The Ringbone has been forming for at least a few years.  It all began to make sense why he would school so well at home, flying high over big only to refuse out of competitions by the third or fourth day over lesser jumps.  He could stand the pain for short intervals but when we started jumping in two or three classes a day for several days, the pain overcame the little bay geldings desire to fly.  We were asking something impossible from him.

Mickey is done.  Lynn doesn’t like me to say it (cause it is a Secretariat quote) but Mickey has run his race.  He has done so much for us so many times with so many people over so many years.

He will never go in the ring to perform jumpers ever again.  He should be able to do some dressage and perform for Jordyn for awhile but our phenom jumping horse (who was really just a quirk of fate) is gone.  It would have been so much easier to just have him gradually go out gracefully.  Or like Peyton Manning, as the big winner, not with his last show being one where he refused out of his last three classes.

Oh my little bay boy, you have held me in awe so often as you have flown over the mighty jumps

When you first came to Lauren, you changed her life and you saved her life

No matter what other horses came and went , Lauren always choose you

To know now what we didn’t know then-that you were hurt, that you were in pain

And yet so many times you were brave, you pushed on and jumped high, you blazed on past the timers

I always thought I see you attack one more course and compete one more time

I thought you maybe were evil and mean, I did not know the pain you lived with, the pain I ignored

You carried on, doing your best to the bitter end when you just could jump no more

It is indeed the end of an era for us.  The Mickey fly days are over.

You have more heart, more courage and more talent than I could have ever imagined. You are a true champion.

Irish Midnight’s Accomplishments

With Chelsie Gallatin ~2005- Grand Champion Junior/Adult Equitation & Grand Champion Junior/Adult Hunter

With Lauren-

2008-Grand Champion Open Hunter

2009-Grand Champion Open Jumper

2010-Grand Champion Open Jumper

2011-Grand Champion Open Jumper

Four Qualifications for USEF  Zone Finals (one in Pre-Green Hunters and three in Low Child/Adult Jumper-including this year with Alex)

Countless Grand and Reserve Championships from so many shows over the last 13 years.


We will miss you in the ring Mickey.  You were one in a million.









Feeling Better-Catching Up


Kendyll is all smiles as she goes on the scary up and down, thrust you out of your seat ride at the Aquarium.

Finally, I am breathing more easily and with a sigh of relief.  It has been a long two months since breaking my ribs and all the complications that have gone along with it.  I am SO looking forward to this weekend where I can finally catch up on my yard, the gardening, the spring chores, mowing and de-cluttering all the winter stuff.  Who looks forward to that kind of weekend?  I DO!!

I also want to take this post and talk about all the great stuff that happened in the two months that I was pretty much Missing In Action.  First, Amber, Riley and Lexi came for a visit over the Valentine weekend.  I was lucky to see them so often when my momma was alive but since her death, our visits have gotten further apart.  They had not been to the farm since spring of last year.

Six year-old Riley was telling four year-old Lexi about the animals at Granny’s farm prior to the trip.  He looked up at his mom with great interest and asked “whose died since we were there last?”  I am meeting my goal to have my grandchildren understand that the promise of life is the promise of death but perhaps it has become a tad too routine.  And the answer for those that are wondering are just our two dogs killed by our neighbor’s dog.  Bad enough.

Of course, everyone got out to ride.  My big mare Nova proved once again what a great girl she is by giving Jordyn a fun ride and then letting Lexi and Riley pilot her around double.


Pretty laid back, I would say.  The kids got to ride a lot and all had fun. 

We headed out to the Houston Aquarium which was another fun event.  Kendyll proved to be the daredevil as always, riding the scary ride more times than anyone except Amber who only went begrudging along since Kendyll had to do it “again!!!”.  Everyone else wanted to throw up.

On the way home we stopped at an area park.  The weather was beautiful especially for my Colorado kin.  We all enjoyed acting like kids along with the kids.

parkl n a

Amber, Jordyn and Lauren playing at the park.


I decided we were all going to climb into the kid tunnel.  Family bonding time-YAY!

Friends from Chicago decided I needed shirts for my girls and I from our 40th High School reunion.  I attended a school called “Fremd” , ya, I don’t know who that was. Anyway, in trying to get a shot of my daughters and I, Maui Jim and Kona jumped in.  I love Maui’s face!


Me, Amber, Ally and Lauren with white poodle Maui and black poodle Kona


Pretty intense!!

In other news, Lauren’s show horse Feather had a minor setback when she pulled the skin off the back of her hoof.  She will be out for awhile as that area is notoriously difficult to bandage and heal.  We thought this would be the season Lauren could finally get back on track with her riding and are disappointed to have Feather out.  Lauren lost so much time with her broken arm and now I guess it is Feather’s turn to rest. You know my favorite saying:  “Man plans, God laughs”.  So true.

Lauren has been lucky enough to ride a variety of horses (which will ultimately make her a better rider) at her trainer’s during this time.  She got to ride a beautiful thoroughbred/Oldenburg cross mare in the show last weekend. It was a great experience and one which will broaden her abilities as a rider.


A beautiful mare- Lauren enjoyed the opportunity to ride her.

I am also including this updated picture of my mare who is due in June.  She has quite the baby belly already.  She will be as big as a house by June.  We are so excited about this upcoming Flagmount colt!


I had my last birthday before I turn 60.  I am really getting old but feeling so much better, I feel young again. It is time to get my spring flowers in, start riding my mare again and spend quality time with my pups.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and thanks for always riding along.



Pretty good life, eh?