Living the Life


Lauren and Ky waiting for their next class with trainer Trapp. The 20 foot high hedge and swaying palms are gorgeous.

My daughter Lauren has had some opportunities throughout 2016 to ride up a level and ride some amazing horses.  As 2017 starts, she finds herself in Wellington, Florida at the most favored of all winter Hunter Jumper shows for the US.  Through some amazing acts of kindness, extreme budgeting and good fortune, Lauren will be in Wellington showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for six weeks.

WEF has traditionally been the winter home to many of the sport’s top riders. Lauren has already spotted,  and gotten to observe in person, several of the world’s Olympic riders. I mean, really, winters in south Florida versus whatever spot north of there that you are from-WEF is the clear winner.  Looks pretty amazing. 

Interestingly, Lauren was born about 100 miles straight north of the show grounds. She is definitely a Florida girl. As a kid, she followed Ally and I to the Palm Beach Winter shows each year. 

Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined Lauren coursing over the big jumps on an imported horse. Lauren was busy jumping anything and everything she could with her first horse Thunder. He was an almost 17 hand gelding-I know what five year old kid gets that as their first horse?

She even struck the imagination and interest of a news photographer who was covering a different story.  His attention diverted by the little blonde girl jumping the big horse. Anyway,  the heart of that little girl is quite evident is this determined young lady!  

Jumping much higher heights, Lauren and Ky soar through the air.

Standing at the in-gate last week, teen phenom rider Tori Colvin, inquired of Lauren if she knew the course and the distances for the next class. Indeed, she did!  Lauren was happy to share those with her new acquaintance. Wow, what a moment. 

Entering the big and beautiful Wellington ring for the first time was a little daunting I understand. But each trip has been a little better than the last, so progress is being made. 

Lauren and Ky getting their bearings in the ring.

Her ride for this trip to show jumping’s Magic Kingdom is a 15 year old imported German Hanoverian warmblood officially affectionately known as Ky. He is a super horse with incredible talent, a knowing demenoir, heart of gold. and a love of bananas (not kidding!).  Ky has literally shown from coast to coast in the US. A couple of palms trees, massive jumps and loud crowds effect him not in the least. 

WEF-to me the most beautiful venue
Looking like total pros.

Owned by friend, Caitlyn, he was a perfect guide for Lauren to get a taste of what it means to ride the “big leagues” of US show jumping.  

Caitlyn and Ky were division winners last year at WEF. What an honor! Lauren has some work to do to fill those big shoes.

I am hopeful that this is the start of increased opportunities to showcase what I believe is Lauren’s natural talent as a fourth generation equestrian. But I think she will (or has) already surpassed her noble ancestors. 

And if Ky is the best horse she will ever ride, that is okay as well.  He is superb!  

Still, I heard a learned clician stating that no matter how good a horse is, it will take a couple years on that  horse to truly develop the best parternship. Lauren and Ky are making enroads each day against the top competitors and best horses in the US. But they can still do better.

Look at this ring!! Look at them go!
Lauren bending Ky to the first jump.

Lauren is having the opportunity of a lifetime, living the life of a top equestrian. Thank you to Trapp and those that have deeply believed in her and supported this journey.  To Lauren I say, as I always have from her first show, God Speed little girl!!

Thank you for riding along. 

The Order of the Universe

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Flicka gleaming in the evening light after a thorough clean up by Alex and Lauren. Looks like a show pony not a rescue. Wow!

Life is a funny thing.  One of my favorite quotes (and often mentioned here) is “Man plans.  God laughs.” And sometimes God takes his own time in showing why things happen as they do.

So, let’s go back to the fall of last year.  My neighbor had recently lost his wife to heart disease and as time wore on, his ability to care for her horses (and ponies) went downhill.  It was never a surprise to see the horses had broken through their fence and were grazing along the road.  And nine times out of ten, the best escape artist was the black pony they called Flicka.  The other horses were not quite so crafty and were losing weight on the diminished grass in their pasture as our dry summer had continued.

As I drove home from work one day, I saw the sheriff’s horse trailer at this property loading the horses.  But my Texas neighbors being what they are, swooped in and immediately took over the care of four of the very worst of the horses.  That left the pony Flicka and a Mustang to go to the sheriff’s quarantine and eventual sale at auction.  But again, my determined neighbors, tried to help those two ponies find life long homes as well.

I had not met my neighbor Pauline before, when she showed up to beseech me to take one of the ponies.  Before she left, I had agreed to take Flicka and Isabel (one of our boarders) agreed to take the Mustang.  They still had to wait out the quarantine and then outbid the kill buyers. 

Some stories I wrote about the two ponies as they came to live at my barn are chronicled here:

There are three blogs from that time around the ponies. You might enjoy reading them all.

We found Flicka, who we re-named Jete’,  to be a beautiful and sweet girl but she was too much of a ride for my granddaughter Jordyn and we did not have much use for her.  Lauren and I talked it over and decided to offer her to our friend Dianne who had more riders and more need for the black pony.  Dianne loved her from the first moment, re-named her Baby J, and the pony has gone on to win numerous blue ribbons and several championships.  I found it to be a very successful re-homing.

I am not sure that my neighbors agreed with my plan when they failed to see the shiny black pony in my pasture.  Pauline came back to property to inquire as to where the pony had gone.  This was a very fair question in light of the time and money they had spent to get the pony from the auction. I told her my friend had the pony and maybe I read more disappointment in her face than there actually was, but I felt bad that we had sent the pony away.

Throughout this year, I had checked in with Dianne to see how Baby J was doing.  I heard she was a favorite of many of kids, they liked riding her and caring for her.  Over Christmas break, Jordyn spent three days at a “mini-camp” at Dianne’s barn.  I had lots of opportunities to see Baby J and talk with Dianne.  In the time we have been in our new place (almost three years now) Dianne had not been over to visit.  We set a time for me to “kid-nap” her on the Thursday before Christmas.

Our two places are only miles apart as the crow flies but due to the river between us, it is a little complicated to get to my place and many long-time residents have no idea these horse properties exist up on the bank of the Brazos River.  As we got close to turning on my road, Dianne sat up and said, “I have been here before!”

“Was it to go to Nancy Lindsey’s place?  She has been here for years.” I said.

“No”, Dianne replied, “I bought ponies from this lady in the first house on the right”.

As we drove by the house, now broken down and uninhabitable, she pointed it out. Dianne told me she had bought two ponies that I knew well, Bubblegum and Sophie (Jordyn once even showed Sophie), from the lady that had lived there. I knew immediately who she was talking about, none other than my now deceased neighbor’s wife, who had once owned the very pony I had given her.

I told Dianne gently that the women was now deceased.  Her husband had built a new house for them where he lives now, right next door to the place Dianne had bought ponies from years ago.

For those of you that believe in divine intervention, or the universe having an order to it or even Karma, for me this was a beautiful example.  Dianne had known my neighbor for many years and purchased two ponies that went on to have much love, wonderful homes and lots of children to ride them.  How wonderful is it that her pony through the sheriff’s confiscation, my neighbor’s intervention, and through my desire to give the pony the best home she could have, ended up right back at the place that her other ponies had gone so many years ago?

A fitting story for the holiday I would say!

I hope you all are approaching the New Year with hope and inspiration!

As always, thanks for riding along!


January morning at Six Meadow Farm