Three’s a Charm!

I have been more than a little obsessed with Rich Fellers and the Irish Sporthorse Flexible since his big win at the FEI World Cup in 2012.  This horse has more heart and desire to win than any horse I know and has come back from three potentially career ending incidents- to compete again at the highest level of show jumping.

My bucket list included bringing up some babies, including having at least one born at my own farm.  I have had the tremendous opportunity to bring along Betty Sue (Special Occasion GES) who I snatched up the minute I saw her baby picture (who wouldn’t?).

stand 18

Then we had the birth of our Flagmount horse, Sims (Flagmount’s Semper Fi) three months ago.  Another seemingly good plan as he is a big boy and should mature into a promising jumper.


Fargo (Silhouette’s momma) and baby Sims

My dream was to have a Flagmount/Flexible baby; uniting some of the best Irish blood there is.  We even talked to Olympian Bernie Traurig about it after he had coached Feather in a couple of clinics.  He knows Flexible well, too.  And he had worked with Feather closely. After hearing of our plan to breed Feather to Flexible,  his words to me were-“let me know the minute that baby hits the ground”.  Those words were pretty inspiring.  But we did not want to take Feather out of work for a year to have a baby.

SO–if I couldn’t have a Flag/Flexi baby then what?  How about a Fargo/Betty Sue and Flexible baby?  Say what-Betty Sue is a little young don’t you think?  Well, yes she is but what we chose to do is use Fargo’s daughter and Betty Sue’s mother, a pretty horse named Silhouette GES,  as the mother of our Flexible baby.

My friend Stephanie at Golden Edge Sporthorses( ) in Colorado graciously has offered to let us breed to her mare and to care for Silhouette during her pregnancy and in the baby’s early days, sending him/her on to Texas when weaned.

This will bring strong German lines to Irish ones hopefully adding a little height to the Flexible side. Many decades, perhaps a century, of strong jumping on both sides.

It is official.  We had a sonogram with a heart beat yesterday.  YIPPEE!!   Three’s definitely is a charm.  These three babies should keep me busy for the next ten years or so.


Flexible above showing how to fly.  Here with rider Rich Fellers in Spruce Meadows.

Some detail on the parents-


Flexible is the small but mighty (15.3 hands) 1996 chestnut Irish Sporthorse stallion that I have admired for so long.  He is by the Irish stallion Cruising (16.2) and out of the Irish Sporthorse mare, Flex, by the thoroughbred stallion Safari. He has had an amazing career spanning now into his 20th year, which is quite a feat for a Grand Prix horse.

Noelle Floyd said in her recent article; Past, Present, Future: Flexible–“For eight years, Flexible has been winning at the five-star level of show jumping. Eight years. It goes without saying that the 20-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Cruising x Safari) and his rider Rich Fellers are no strangers to the international level of competition. The stallion’s partnership with Fellers stretches over 14 years in total, with countless wins and successes too numerous to list, with standout moments such as their 2012 FEI World Cup Championship and London Olympic Games appearance (as the highest placing US horse and rider).

Just this week, Flexible and Fellers finished 3rd in the $35,000 ATCO Energy Cup CSI5* at Spruce Meadows, proving that they are still going strong, competing at top venues and trumping the best in the world.”



Silhouette GES is a 2010 perlino RPSI mare by the imported 16.2 hand perlino Czech Warmblood stallion Sagar, out of the 16 hand palomino RPSI mare Blonder Reflection (my horse-Fargo).  Her sire Sagar is a remarkable young stallion who has inherited his incredible scope over fences, lovely gaits and fantastic conformation through successful competition bloodlines that includes the famous Holsteiner stallion, Landgraf I.  Her dam’s sire, Blonder Hans, is a 16.3h, palomino registered German ZfDP stallion.  Blonder Hans has three spectacular gaits with fantastic elasticity and impulsion. He also excels at jumping with beautiful form.  Silhouette is a lovely mover as well.

Here are a couple of other blogs I did on Flexible.


As always, thanks for riding along and watching dreams unfold.


Another month, another color

000000fb Flagmount’s Semper Fi (Sims), shown above running with his family, turns three months old on the 24th.  In this large photo his coat is a mess, all sorts of colors and blotches.  I figured we could go ahead and get his new height, weight AND color du jour.

What does an average three-month old colt weigh? Babies average a weight gain of three to five pounds a DAY in the first few months.  Averaging at four pounds a day equals a foal about 360 pounds at the beginning of their third month.  Oh boy!

Sims weighed in (a few days short of three months) at an astounding 430 pounds and a little over 12.1 hands high. He likes his milk and momma has been able to keep up with him. He does get a small amount of food in his creep feeder. That is a specially designed feeder to keep momma out of his food.

More like momma needs to have her feeder mounted super high as he is tall enough now to help himself to her food.

The big story here?  We are pretty sure we know what color our red baby is going to be as a grown-up.

Turns out numbers don’t lie. I should know that. It was an over 60% chance that he would be grey.  And so he is.  My boy is turning grey. His legs are going dark. His mane and tail black. As you can see grey hairs are taking over his under coat. He is one messed up looking colt right now.

IMG_6935A colt of many colors!


The grey hairs are coming in and remember under that blond/red tail is dark black.


Look at his black mane! I cut a piece to save it as no one will ever believe his black to red ombre look when he a big, grey horse.

Gradually his dark legs, mane and tail will go grey as well. What a transformation.

Flag, his sire is grey as is Feather. One of our favorite ever Flag horses, Flagmount’s Sterling Prince, was a big grey. So it will be good to carry on the tradition.


This is Feather at five.  Still dark mane and legs but tail starting to go white.

Or I am crazy and he is just being tricky and keeping me on my toes!

Thanks for riding along!
Sending out happy birthday wishes to my sister Lynn on her 80th birthday!!  Love you!!

Exceeding Your Reach

A photo from Lauren’s recent trip to tropical Malaysia

I certainly have felt this before with Amber and Ally as they have made their way through life.  I am proud of them, their families and their accomplishments. It is that moment as a parent or a grandparent that you see your family member meet or exceed what your accomplishments have been.  It is certainly a moment for introspection.

These are little examples in my life not like the proud families watching their child’s head to Olympics or achieve medals but moments indeed.

I grew up as the daughter of a United Airlines executive.  We traveled frequently and to many places.  I have enjoyed traveling to many countries.  But never have I boarded a plane for many hours to head to Asia.  The fact that my “rather stay home” daughter did so was remarkable to me.  Her album on Facebook of her trip shows modern cities and high rises juxtapositioned amongst jungles, monkeys and secluded beaches.


Lauren and Mia barefoot on the wobbling sky bridge looming high over the jungle floor. 

While Lauren is still recovering from her 20 hour return flight I can tell by her comments to others how the wonder, strangeness and exotic power of travel has changed her.  She will be richer all her life for this opportunity to see how others live and what her country  offers her in every day life.

  Many stairs head to the beautiful waterfalls

Super exotic and ultra-modern

My child has now ventured almost around the world. Certainly exceeding what I thought was well-traveled for me and mine.  And that she flew home alone, negotiating a plane change in Taipei makes it even more wild.  I will never think of Lauren the same again.  Many, many thanks to the wonderful Kuchner  family for making this opportunity a reality! We are forever indebted.



Jordyn on Mickey and I am on Feather with Nancy guiding us along



Taking a dressage lesson with my granddaughter-what a thrill!
Again, in the category of exceeding my reach is my eight year-old granddaughter Jordyn saddling up with me to take dressage lessons together.  Jordyn has been pining away with desire to join the grown up dressage lessons that take place a couple of times a week at my barn with dressage master, Nancy Lindsey.

Jordyn, through her summer with working student camp, days and days spent at the farm and on horseback was ready for a few new steps to her riding repertoire.  Also, with our usual dressage rider Jo Ann out-of-town, Nancy could focus on Jordyn and not  slow the group down.

I was interestingly effected by the addition of my granddaughter to my lesson.  I have ridden all my life but just recently started learning the nuances of dressage.  I am a beginner in many ways just like Jordyn

As we made our twenty meter circle and worked on leg yielding in and out, there was something special and captivating about having my granddaughter there to share it with me.  I really don’t remember ever taking lessons with my kids.  I was either way better than them or they were way better than I.  But we were never at the same place at the same time.  While I can out ride Jordyn for sure, in these new tasks we were equals and she was even better than I.

The best part?  Jordyn was overcome with JOY to be part of this lesson.  Her smile never wavered and her enthusiam never stopped. An hour later,  I was out of breath in the corner as Nancy took Jordyn and Mick through one more serpentine.  With the 117 degree heat index, it was all quite remarkable. Jordyn told me, “She works you hard, huh, Granny?” She does indeed!


Nancy giving Jordyn some words of wisdom

It was a new step for both of us and one that I think both of us equally treasured.  Hurrah, for the little blessings of life.


Thanks for riding along!

Hot Days



1111111111111syn111111sunLauren left for Malaysia in the early hours of July 27th to spend some time with her friend Mia and her family.  This has left 100 year-old Cindy at the farm pretty much on her own as the dog days of summer continue in earnest.  It has been brutally hot and humid for the last week and for this week except the day before Lauren left where it was just a balmy, humid 84.

Due to Ally still recovering from a stitched up hand, Alex being on vacation and other changes, I have been on my own at the farm most of the time. Fortunately, Ally was released to return to work on Friday and I welcomed her back gratefully.  My neighbors are in Singapore so it is super quiet around the farm.  Everyone choosing now as the optimum time for their southeast Asia vacation. Like who does that?  Vacations in SE Asia?  Anyway—

While working my day job and coming home to do the night chores of getting horses in, hosing them all down (they are covered in sweat), feeding, distributing hay, turning out the night horses along with feeding dogs and assorted cats has been a little overwhelming, but nothing prepared me for the weekend.

I wanted to get a ride in on Diva before Jordyn came out Friday night.  I was in the saddle before 5 pm while the temperature was still hovering close to 100.  Nothing wears out a horse like the hot sun and wet sand (from our previous day’s shower).  My little ride made Diva the perfect saint for Jordyn when at 6 pm she climbed on-board and I moved on to taking a dressage lesson with Nancy Lindsey.

Taking a dressage lesson with Nancy is an arduous task on a cool, winter day.  Under the blazing sun of summer it is a little like torture.  You certainly want a buddy in the ring to divert her sharp eye from you and your horse.  Thankfully, Jo Ann and Mickey were there to suffer along with me. To make the lesson a little more adventuresome, I was riding Feather in Lauren’s absence.

Feather needed to keep up her workload and I needed the lesson.  Perfect idea in theory.  But the things Lauren does with this mare (and they seem simply to happen) were not quite as easy when I tried.  First, Feather was bored, bored, bored with Granny on board!  What in the world was she doing away from her fan in the hot summer sun?  And with this old, silly amateur on-board, it was really quite ridiculous.  The horse Olympian Bernie Traurig said had been born in a perfect frame, was not framing up for me!

Feather in a frame, where she is round and working off her hind end. She can even do it on her own-but not for me!

Okay, so we worked on that.  And we sweated.  And worked some more. Just to make this super fun, occasionally Feather likes to bolt.  As in two years ago she bolted and Lauren broke her arm.  Or four years ago, she bolted and Jordyn almost broke her back.  Yea, that kind of bolting-jumping out from under you at a dead run kind of bolting.  We think it is a stifle issue.  The vet will check Feather out when Lauren returns.   But back to my story-around we go in relatively respectable posting trot, with Feather in somewhat of a frame, when out of the left corner we come like we have been shot out of a cannon! A few seconds that felt like a lifetime flew by and I was settled back in the saddle again with Feather quietly standing there like she had never moved an inch.


This could have been me flying from the cannon.  My old cowboy hang tough muscle memory saved me!

The good news about this event was it further confirmed our thoughts on the stifle issue (that is a part of a horse’s leg for those of you not up on horse anatomy issues). I did not fall off or break anything!  And Nancy Lindsey gave me some great tips on how not let it happen again (I was thinking never ride the horse to the left or never get back on the horse again) but she had some more constructive ideas like put a breast collar on the horse so I have something to hold on to. She also told me something that I have long thought but could not support.

She told me I handled the ordeal better than Lauren does.  Now, make no mistakes, Lauren is a WAY better rider than me.  I cannot do the things she does but in terms of handling young, spooky, crazy or difficult horses, I have more experience and more confidence.  Lauren won’t like this but it made my day!

So, that was Friday.  We got in the house about 7:30 and Jordyn asked me about dinner.  Was she kidding?  I was supposed to feed her?  Not a chance.  I was exhausted.  I don’t remember what she ate but am pretty sure she found something.  I was chugging Gatorade.

Saturday was a lovely 100 degree day filled with many opportunities to meet my FitBit goals (which I almost doubled).  First, I did some mowing-like with a push mower, a power push mower but still.  I got back in the house during the worst heat of the day to catch up on the all those chores.  Somehow, Lauren goes out-of-town and does not clean the house prior to her departure.    She did manage to use every towel she owned which were now in the laundry room and leave her bedding for me to wash.  It was just a few loads.

I was back out in the sun with my migrant worker outfit on (old tattered shorts, a ragged tee-shirt and an old cowboy that looks like it has been run over) by 2:30.  The horses needed to get out of the sun as well.  Each of them deserved a hosing off before sending them to the shade and blowing fans in their stalls.

Quickly it was time to put dinner on the table (or in the trough as the case might be) for the horses, dogs and cats.  That is a total of 21 animals.  Yes, I am crazy.  Ask anyone.

I had made it through Saturday and was on to Sunday!  At some misguided moment, I had agreed to do everything (morning to night) at the farm on Sunday.  I neglected to remember that I had not done all the chores myself for several months (after I broke my ribs) and the whole heat factor sent this way off the chart into totally stupid idea time.

Thinking I was going to get to sleep in a little (what would that be like?) I fed the horses, dogs and cats about 5 am.  Then while they rested in the relative cool of dawn, I went back to bed.  I got up at 8, put on another one of my top-notch outfits, filled my water jug and headed to the barn.  I got all the horses including super baby Sims to their respective pastures and actually got the main barn cleaned in record time.  I took a break. I was dying.  The heat was nuts.

I got going again on the remaining seven stalls. I did two of them.  I stopped and laid down in the shade.  Drank some water.  I was ridiculous.  How does anyone do this?  Then I started thinking of all the other people I knew-none of them were doing anything this dumb, or hard, or hot.  Geez.

My late start (brilliant as it was) did not take into account the heat rising as day went on.  I was on stall number eight or nine and it was past 11:30.  Of course, I had not eaten.  I started getting muscle cramps.  I hoped for a heart attack-hospitals are air-conditioned. It just went on.

By the time I had made the dinner and breakfast feed for all the horses and several hay bags for the night horses, I was so far past my tolerance point I was into delirium.  I got into the house about 1:30, showered and tried to imagine going back out to get the horses in, feeding and doing turn-out.  Wasn’t happening.  My one day of showing I could be Lauren or Ally was a failure!

I stumbled out to get the horses,  in yet another of my migrant farmer looks, (if you are considering this look for Halloween, let me know, I have many versions) to find my friend Jo Ann there. I begged her to help me to feed and hay so I could go back in the house and lay down.  Thankfully she agreed.

I was an absolute zombie.  I fell asleep by 7 pm.  But I was chipper and off to work on Monday just a little sore for all my fun.  Man, I admire all you barn, farm and event managers/workers.  Actually anyone working outside in the summer heat.  My name is Cindy and I couldn’t do it!

maui sleep

I even wore out the youngest of the dogs, Maui.  Totally asleep on Sunday afternoon.


Thanks for riding along!  Stay cool and safe!