Clinic, Camp and the Colt

IMG_9511 (2)Fast times at the Farm with everything happening at once.   Last week Mia rejoined us from Malaysia as she did last summer.  She will be here for several weeks as a working student (Lauren’s slave) and Lauren will return to Malaysia with Mia and the tables will turn.

We got things off to a big start with the surprise 16th Birthday for our boarder Isabel. Pink twinkling lights, pink streamers, pink balloons and pink cake helped herald the  event.  I think it was even a true surprise.

The first week of camp went off grandly culminating this weekend in Olympian Bernie Traurig’s riding clinic.  I have gone on and on about Bernie before so you can search for that story but it was great to have an audience with a United States Equestrian Federation Team member who has represented all three disciplines in the Olympics, Dressage, Eventing and the Grand Prix Jumpers.

All three girls, Lauren, Isabel and Mia had some concerns on the first day.  Isabel was riding a converted barrel horse she got from my great friend Sarah Sumrall.  Sarah’s horses are top-notch in the manners department but usually originally suited to more a western saddle than English.  This would be the first time for Isabel to take Dex anywhere nearing the importance of this event.  This horse just started dressage and jumping a few short months ago.

Well, Dex got in a little trouble with Bernie. He was tossing his head and not getting down the jump lines properly.  So Olympian Bernie just hopped on!  What a thrill.


The last time this horse had been in this particular arena he had been running barrels, now he was being tutored by an Olympian.  Sarah has provided a lot of great project horses for many of us.  Oh Sarah, the places your horses go-

Mickey Davis to USEF Zone Finals

Cody Poulin to AQHA World Jumping Champion

And now, Dex Johnson ridden by Olympian Bernie

I could write a series of children’s books about Sarah’s horse and the adventures they have.

Anyway, back at the clinic…

Mia was on Mickey for the first time ever to participate in  this  jumping clinic-talk about jumping in with both feet.  We have been bringing Mickey along from his lameness issues and with new shoes and lots of support he was ready to go.  Actually, he was a perfect gentleman.  I had put on the form for Bernie that Mia would need to work on Mickey rushing to the jump.  Never happened.  Not once.  He went around with perfect striding and super cute jumping.  He looked like a hunter/dressage horse.  Amazing what happens when a horse has some time off and is not in pain.  Once Mia settled in, she and Mickey had a great clinic.  Bernie told her she was a natural horsewoman with innate talent.  Now, that is pretty sweet.

Lauren and Feather were in a ring away from home for one of the first times since January.  It showed as they struggled a little to find their striding and control their speed.  But again by the end of the clinic, Bernie told Lauren there are two types of riders, those that ride well at home and fall apart in a show.  And those that walk in the show ring and everything becomes magical.  When Bernie told the group it was now a full course and they were being judged, the pair turned on the magic, hit all their correct strides and looked great.  I would rather have the show magic horse than the home magic horse, at least for Lauren.

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Kenna (two Ns, as opposed to my dog, Kena, one N) joined us from Oklahoma on Sunday evening along with my granddaughter Jordyn.  This week Allyson and Isabel are day camping and Kenna, Jordyn and Mia are over-nighting it with us for a couple of weeks.  WOW.  Not a dull moment here.




Micenzie was nothing but smiles!

Isabel teaching Madison and Micenzie how to brush the horse.

Isabel teaching Madison and Micenzie how to brush the horse.


The big girls teaching the little girls.


Mia spending some time with Zie.


Today was teach the next generation day.  These older girls helped three young riders, a five year old and two-three year-olds, take their first lessons.  The young riders will come twice a week for the next few weeks as well.  They were super excited and super cute.

Finally, my Sims colt is one month old today.  Hard to believe!  He got some special time out (Or I did) to play in the paddock. What a doll!

Meeting his aunt Nova and showing off his number 1 mark on his head.


Baby’s Got a Brand New Name


Sims scampering across the pasture.

A new baby horse changes things.  It guarantees that no day is a bad day because there is always that foal waiting to be petted, to try to bite you with his two tiny teeth, to try to kick you with his wee little hooves (which still leave a mark!) and always has new antics to show you. I waited for this baby in my life for a long time. He is all I ever dreamed about.

I promise this is the last time I will complain that another Flagmount baby stole our name. We wanted and expected to use the name Flagmount’s Reflection (it made perfect sense for us with the father being Flagmount and my mare being Blonder Reflection).   But a baby born weeks before us grabbed that name and it is gone.

Horse names maybe approved in many ways.  One is  by the breed registry.  The Jockey Club approves all the Thoroughbred horse names.  The American Quarter Horse Association,  the quarter horses,  and so on.  But there are also show registries that do not allow for any duplications of names.  So, common horse names are probably not available as a choice.

We register and compete in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).  One measure of the success of a sire is how many of his progeny are competing at top levels.  Most of these horses shown below are from the sire we used, Flagmount’s Freedom, unless they were from Flagmount’s King, who is Flagmount’s Freedom sire, or the grand-sire of most of this group. 

This is what is out in the USEF registry today.

Horse Name in USEF Sire as shown
FLAGMOUNT’S HARMONY Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S NIGHTCAP Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S SEMPER FI Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S SPARTAN Flagmount’s Freedom

We reviewed this list for inspiration. We took name suggestions from readers. We looked up lists of synonyms for Reflection.  We even came up with a name based upon my three year-old granddaughter’s response to a Fire Ball cinnamon jaw breaker I talked her into trying (it was not pretty) and really thought we would go with the red colt and Flagmount’s Fire Ball.  We even ordered a stall name plate.  But I did not go register the name on USEF.  I still thought something else was out there.

I almost hate to admit this but when I have had some downtime (like hip replacements, shoulder surgeries, broken ribs) I have come to enjoy the TV show NCIS.  The main character is a retired marine.  Ally’s father-in-law was a Marine-a Vietnam Vet.  Our trainer was a Marine, although all of them would tell you that once a Marine, always a Marine.  My long time best friend has two sons that are active duty in the Marines.  The Marine’s motto is Semper Fi- from the Latin Semper Fidelis-Always Faithful.


After checking that it would not be disrespectful on any front to name a horse after the Marine Corp motto, we decided this big colt could be a lot of things but we would always be faithful to do the best for him, and hopefully he would be faithful to Lauren to turn in his best performance every time. We could ask little more from him.

Plus, his barn name Sims, although spelled differently in respect to Sherre Sims, it does fit the “Sem” part of Semper Fi.  At three weeks of age, this colorful, buoyant, tender and terrible (watch those teeth!) colt is already nearly 12 hands high.  Seriously.  He has gained 25 pounds a week for the last two weeks to bring him to just short of 180 pounds.  Just think of what is in mare’s milk to let these babies grow like this!  It is amazing and endearing.

Welcome-Flagmount’s Semper Fi!! I cannot wait to hear that name over the loud speakers as he enters the arena.

Thank you to all of you that have ridden along and supported us in this dream.

River Rises and Falls-the Colt Grows


We jokingly talked about a life preserver for baby Sims (this is not him!) but it really wasn’t funny.

Throughout a desperate week we were threatened by the Bravos River flooding and expanding onto our farm.  Coupled with that were days and days of rain forecasted with daily amounts of rainfall in multiple inches.  Friends all around us were abandoning their properties and evacuating their horses to higher, dryer ground.

As close as our neighbor, two properties away, the river rolled up to his door flooding his home and heading for our street.  We talked with our friend Caroline almost directly across the river from us.  She had talked to the Emergency Management folks and made a decision as early as the first Saturday (the 28th) to evacuate her horses.  Lauren then became best friends with the Emergency Management team.  Calling sometimes several times a day, Lauren kept up with rise of the river.  I am pretty sure they knew her by name.

But they did a good job and they gave us accurate information. The roads closed more and more each day.  Finally, I just stayed home from work for fear I could not get back across the river to the farm. It was super stressful as we watched the river rise-seeing the river from our window was a little daunting.  And yet we were so lucky.  So many lost everything.  Animals drowned.  Homes were destroyed.

aaflood bridge

The Bravos River at Highway 90A coming up almost to the bridge


Our neighbor’s property as the River proceeds to the road

We rode out the flood and all stayed dried.  I enjoyed the time I had to get to know the new colt, Sims, as he grew and changed each day.  We caught up on some family time, seeing Ally and the girls, talking with Amber almost daily. As crazy as it seems, our arena stayed fairly dry.  Jordyn got rides in on her new horse, Diva, while I got back in the saddle on Nova.

But mostly after counting our blessings and trying not to lose our minds with worry, we just hung out with the baby.  Nothing like a new foal to keep your mind on happy!  In these first two weeks he has gained 25 pounds (and I thought only I could do that!) and has grown several inches.  Here is his cuteness—he is so friendly and adorable!


Like momma like baby-look at his reach with those legs!




Thank you to all the family and friends that continued to check on us and pray for us!!

We appreciate it so much.  Continue riding along for more shots of baby Sims!