World cup winners – Lenten writing # 31

Last night was the kick off to the World Cup held in Omaha, Nebraska. I was invited and declined, stupid me, but my daughter Lauren is actually in Omaha having an opportunity of a lifetime to see the best horses in the world fight it out for the number one global champion.

Last night according to US Equestrians Communication department, McLain Ward and HH Azur had won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final I (Jumping Speed Class) to kick off the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final. HH Azur is a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Double H Farm & Francois Mathy.

Lauren sent me this video of McLain’s victory gallop. What a thrill for her to be there.
But just saying, back here at the farm, Kona and Lula were having a pretty great time too.

Like I said, World Cup or Walmart, either one is terrific. 
As always, thanks for riding along and go USA in the World Cup.

Jasmine- Lenten Writing #30

My sweet jasmine

I  have loved the sweet smell of jasmine since I first ventured to the south in 1979.  I was transferred from Denver to Houston for the first time then. I got an apartment for my dog and I at Westheimer and Gessner. Literally a couple of miles from where I work now. I was 22 years old. 

One of the very first things I noticed about my apartment was when I came downstairs in the morning I could smell the scent of Jasmine and gardenias floating in the breeze. They were two of my favorite all-time smells and to have them growing right outside my apartment door let me feel like I had landed on an unique tropical island. Houston traffic dissuaded me of that quickly. 

I left Houston in 1980, moving back to the state of Kansas. Amber was born in Kansas City in 1982. It was not till we all landed in Florida in 1992 that I found the jasmine again. I busily planted jasmine and because everything seems to grow to jumbo height there, we soon had our own jasmine to smell. 

The dog yard as we first moved in. You can just spot the small jasmine plants along the fence line. Now, the fence has disappeared and green, flowered jasmine runs the fence line

All three places I have lived in Texas; Sugar Land, Wharton and Richmond, I have planted lots of Jasmine. 

And while the song Summer  Breeze is all about the jasmine, you do not smell Jasmine in the summer in Texas. Texas always trying to be the overachiever, fragrant jasmine blossoms light upon the spring winds of March and April.

My grandkids remember the previous springs with delight. Kendyll  tonight took some flowers from the vine to let me smell knowing how I would enjoy it. 

I’m going to stick with summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of my mind for tonight and hopefully another month or so. 

Summer Breeze

By Seals and Croft

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.

And I come home from a hard day’s work, and you’re waiting there, not a care in the world.

See the smile a-waitin’ in the kitchen, food cookin’ and the plates for two.  See the arms that reach out to hold me, in the evening when the day is through.

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Stormy Send Off-Lenten Writing #30

Ugly, black sky above Houston

Today as 10 AM rolled around, the skies darkened and the severe weather catapulted away from the south on into Houston. For the second time this year our alarm system at work went off telling us to immediately seek shelter.  That was frightening in itself plus we were a little jammed as the group took shelter in a small file room.
Another day of the tornadoes in the south and this was one heckuva storm. From my purview on the 12th floor I looked out to blinding sheets of rain. The noise against my window made me realize that some hail was coming down at least on the 12th floor windows. 

Today, of course, would be the day that Lauren left to go to Omaha. So not only was I concerned about the horses being where they needed to be (and who was going to clean up after them) but I was worried about her making the long drive to the airport. Then, of course, there was the concern about weather delays but like most things, the weather slammed Houston and its surrounding suburbs pretty quickly. 

The rain gauge shows we got just over an inch of water.

By midafternoon the sky was showing blue and the sun was streaking through. Fortunately, Ally was poised to go over and get the horses back out and clean their stalls before they come in tonight. Don’t know what I would do without my daughters!

Blue, beautiful sky adds a backdrop to the budding tree this evening

For the next few days I will be a single rancher again. But there are pieces of that that I really enjoy. I love rounding the corner in the morning before any light is apparent in the sky, and hearing Snowboy whinnying at me. He is always the first to call out to me. 

The big, red colt headed straight for the mud and took a nice, long roll

Sims, at 10 months of age now, has developed this very low whinny. Nothing like his babytime voice. He must be going through some teenage years and his voice is changing. How crazy is that?

And on the mare side of the pasture it is always Nova who is first in line to come in due to her dominance over her herd of girls. Feather is holding the #2 spot in that pasture. 

I also enjoy seeing my barn cats Meg and Paisley. They are at the gate not so patiently waiting for their breakfast. They disappear quickly after breakfast, hiding up in the loft portions of the barn. This way they stay safe from the dogs. And my fit bit certainly shows improvement on my exercise numbers when I’m out doing all these additional chores. 
So, I’m gonna sit back and enjoy my evening with my animals and be thankful the storms have passed. Lauren has gotten out on her flight and is headed to Omaha.

Any of you out there and I know there’s at least one, that have information on what to see and where to eat in Omaha please forward them onto me. The girls would love to have that information and try some new things.

As always, thanks for riding along.  

Don’t know what to say – Lenten writing #29

It has taken me 29 days but I have to say today I have nothing new to say. My creative juices seem to be ground to a halt.

So, I guess I’ll just give some updates on what is happening here. 

I got some pictures from the trainer where Betty Sue is and I am pleased and proud to see the progress they have made in just two weeks. She’s walk, trot, cantering, halting, backing up and turning on the haunches. It’s not all real smooth and wonderful but for two weeks I’ll take it.

Lauren leaves tomorrow for her trip to Omaha as the precursor for the World Cup which will be held there. Really exciting times for her and her friend Caitlyn. It would be amazing to see an American win the World Cup.  It was done by the stallion Flexible a few years ago. And he is the father of our baby to be. 😊

I was reading through the information on the horses coming to the World Cup. According to the literature I was reading there is only one horse out of all of those coming from around the world that was actually bred and born in the United States. Doesn’t say much about our breeding programs here I am afraid. 
The horses were German, Dutch, French, or from Belgium.  There was also one Irish sport horse. I found that very interesting-the World Cup is really more like the European Cup in terms of the horses.  The riders are coming from all over the world but the horses, at least by their breeding, are not.

Next, the dog that we agreed to foster, that we have named Canon, went off to be neutered. I hope that helps him focus on things other than what the average teen-aged boy is interested in as Kona (yes, he is a boy) is sick of Canon’s affections. And I really hope someone sees my post and wants to adopt him.

Canon hanging with his poodle friends

So this is your Tuesday night update.
As always, thanks for riding along.

Jail-Lenten Writing #28

Every morning on my way to work I drive by the county jail. It never fails to make me reflect upon how I am free. Now, I totally get there are people in jail that need to be there (and I am grateful they are). But I also know without my family, my support system, my friends, my access to education, the way I was brought up, or some really bad luck, who knows, but I could be there too.

I don’t know what it looks like inside there and I hope I never find out. One time when I was in Florida, we did a tour of all these different facilities in the county. It was a Chamber of Commerce kind of deal. They were super proud of their new County Jail. It terrified me even to just walk through where the inmates were.  
My contact popped out of my eye when we were being toured through the inmate holding cells. I had to bend down to pick it up from the floor. It was a horrifying experience (I had watched one too many  Lifetime Channel  movies). The inmates started catcalls and banging on their cells. On the tour with me was an Air Force officer from the nearby base. He shot a look at the inmates and helped get my contact from the floor.  I’m sure this incident has been exaggerated in my mind in the years that have passed. Still!

Jail was a terrifying experience and I was just visiting. 

Today,  I just want to reflect on the fact that I am free. I get to make my own decisions (for the most part). I get to go where I want, eat what I want (in spite of it being bad for me) and live the life I choose.

We can all get frustrated with our situation and feel like we have no way out or have no choices but if we’re not behind locked bars, we do. Sometimes we just need to take action. Driving by the jail is a good reminder for me.

As always, thanks for riding along. 

Horse show days – Lenten writing #27

Jordyn, Kendyll and poodle Kai in the stands overlooking Lauren’s jump course for today

It has been a long time since I have been to a horse show. Lauren has been showing throughout the country and not at home. But this week as Pin Oak started it’s Charity horse show, I spent all weekend there, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ally has been able to go with me on two of the days. My granddaughters, Kendyll and Jordyn, picked out special horse show outfits for their first day at the show. Jordyn was sporting a white ball cap with the logo “Pony Island” on it. The much coveted hat was a gift from Aunt Lauren depicting the pony show ring at WEF. 
Show days are always special days, looking at the shops, catching up with riding friends and checking out who had new horses. Lauren had good rides this weekend. Some tough competition, challenging course designs and just getting used to this new meter 1.20 height kept her just out of the ribbons with the exception of her Friday sixth place. 
We were all a little more relaxed today. This week’s show was coming to an end and some people were already packing up and leaving. Many will stay on for the next three weeks. 
Lauren will not show next week because she’s headed to the World Cup in Omaha. I bet all the Europeans that are coming in for that show will wonder why Omaha?That is a discussion for another day. 

Kona jumping a clear round

As we waited between classes Jordyn and Kendyll found some kid size jumps to play with. They enjoyed making Kona jump over them, back-and-forth. We were keeping our eyes on the ring watching the progress when we happened to glance over and see that Kendyll and Jordyn had met new friends.

While we watched the action in the ring, the girls set up jump courses and followed one another through it.   My friend commented about girls sitting and talking in a circle of their own design. “This is where dreams start!” She said. 
Indeed. I am very blessed that my family and I have special people in our lives-those people that love and support all us.  

Bravo Lauren and Your TKO teammates. Week One Pin Oak Charity Horseshow is a wrap. 
As always, thanks for riding along. 

Rescue dog – Lenten writing # 24

Look at Canon smile!

This young man, approximately nine months old, showed up at my trainer’s house the other day. People like to dump them off in the country and I guess that’s what happened. He is not pitifully thin nor does he look abused. 

Nancy brought him over to me at lesson time yesterday. Her dog was taking issue with the newcomer. I told her I’d give it a shot, volunteering to foster him and see if we could find someone to take him. Hint, hint anyone out there?

Looks like Canon is photobombing a magazine shot of some poodles

It is unclear, although it might be worthy of a DNA test, what exactly this dog is. His head is the size of a cannonball thus his name (although he is being super trendy and spelling it like the camera). The size of his head makes me question if he might have mastiff breeding.  His head is certainly bigger than any pitbull or boxer I have ever seen.He is brindled with black and brown but he has the spots of a pointer or a setter.
While he is extremely good natured and even kind, he definitely needs to be neutered to become a little more polite in mixed company. He is super good about staying with you when you were out on the property.  Nancy tried to ditch him a couple of times (when he first showed up on her property) and he walked all the way around and came back down her driveway to find her. He is also good with the horses and stock not chasing them or barking at them.

Canon is way too big to be a lapdog and yet he tries

Lauren seems to like him

Nancy will see to his neutering, shots and any other medical issues on Tuesday.

I took him with me to Pin Oak today. Wow, what a work out. He is so strong and so untrained.  I should’ve configured some kind of sandwich board sign that said “I’m for adoption”. But he did behave himself well especially not barking at the horses when they were jumping.
Actually, except for pulling my arm off dragging me around the equestrian center, he did very well.  He just needs to go to obedience training and learn to listen.

Please think about any one that might want a new dog, an additional dog or a really trusty companion. I would really like to get him placed.  I have five dogs and a youngster like this is too many. Pass this along. 
Thanks as always, for riding along. 

Pin Oak Debut and a Rescue Dog, too-Lenten Writing #23

Kona at the horse show

For the first time this year I actually got to be in the same state as my daughter so I could watch her ride!  

And it was time for them to try new heights. Certainly, Ky has been in the ring before at this height but Lauren never had. And what better place to try it all out then Pin Oak? (I am being factitious-seems like Pin Oak is the last place you would want to try this).

As Ally and I sat in the stands with Kona waiting for Lauren to make her trip,  you couldn’t help but notice all the pageantry that goes into this show. Literally hundreds of real plants surround of the jumps. They were making an effort at some toparies  and the ones of the giant bunnies scared Kona to death. I can’t even imagine what the horses were thinking of the half green half gray giant topiary horses at the end of the ring. 

But for the most part the field of horses coming in did a good job. Ally was surprised at the number that was having trouble with the course. Either refusing to jump or pulling the rails when they did. 

But it is early in the season (for some) just March and a lot of horses haven’t had much time out yet. I was super impressed with the young horses that were jumping quite high this early in the year.  It is our hope that Betty Sue will make this group of elite young jumpers. She has a half-sister who is doing very well in the same field. There certainly is a lot between the sound in the stands, the announcer, and the busy, busy jumps for a young horse or any horse to be frightened of here. 

Anyway, today in Lauren’s class she was clear in her first round. This would let her to move ahead and participate in the jump off. The pair placed sixth overall. Her teammate Sarah, rode very well too, and ended up third overall in the class. It was a good day for TKO Sport Horses. 

I was thrilled to watch Lauren so professionally guide Ky through the jumps. While I am always nervous watching her I wasn’t as bad as usual. She certainly has grown into a commanding athlete. I can see the months of hard work she has put in paying off. 

I thought it was a Pretty Great day for Pin Oak, jumping higher than she ever had against other seasoned riders. 

Lauren’s caption above

As always thanks for riding along!
By the way, I have a bird-dog/something with the giant head dog, that I need to get adopted if anyone knows someone interested. Nine-month-old male very cute, very sweet.

Fired!- Lenten Writing #22


Youre-FiredI had the opportunity to spend time with a friend of mine who seems to have it pretty together in terms of health, fitness, mind and wellness. She gave me what was actually an hour-long lecture on how to be better. The first thing she told me was I needed to fire myself.

“Fire myself?” I questioned,  “what does that mean?” And she explained it and it made perfect sense .
When we overeat,  when don’t get enough rest, don’t do our exercise program or any of those things which are not good for us, we always have a reason. At least I do. And my friend was spot on when she said this has got to change.

When we go eat that extra candy bar or take that serving of macaroni and cheese or just do not treat ourselves well, who’s making that decision? Of course,  it is ourselves. 
We choose the things we eat, the exercise we get and the hours we sleep. At least for the most part, lacking any detention camp stays or sleep disorders.


So let’s change paths for just a moment.  What if you had an employee that worked for you and they continually failed to follow the rules and continually stepped outside the lines. What would you do?

We would fire them!  And don’t we do just the same in regard to our own health and wellness?   I certainly step outside the boundaries that I know have been drawn for me.  I don’t do the right things in terms of eating, exercise and sleep (I try!).  My friend was suggesting we fire ourselves and become newly hired employees learning to listen to our bodies (our bosses) all over again.

At some point in my life and I hope to God it’s now, I need to decide to treat myself well. I need to be my own best manager. I can be successful at work. I can successful in my home life but if I’m not successful at handling my own health and well-being than who will be?

My friend suggested that I write down exactly what I expected of myself. Kind of like an employment contract. And then I hold myself to being the person I want to be. Sounds so simple and yet I know it will take a lot of work for me to do this.  Just this morning the candy basket came around and I actually paused for just a moment and thought about is this the right decision for me. But I still reached in and took a small chocolate.

My wise friend would say that’s OK .  This is an about treating yourself right, not denying yourself everything that you want. Instead of gobbling down that candy bar quickly because you just had to have it, she suggested sitting down,  taking a moment and savoring the candy bar. If it’s that important to have it,  give it some quality inspection with your taste buds.

Make each decision, each bite, each meal, a deliberate path.  I know you may have heard this all before but something rang true in hearing it put this way.  It was like she knew exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my life.
I am going to start listening to my boss!  I am going to fire myself and start all over.  I hope I do myself justice this second time around.

As always, thanks for riding along.

Pin Oak Again-Lenten Writing #21

Lauren and Ky fly at the Great SW Equestrian Center, Katy, Texas

I have been blogging since 2012. And a year does not go by that I  don’t talk about Pin Oak, the biggest charity horse show of the year. Benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital, it is important for the kids that are assisted by the proceeds of this show and important to the riders who bring their best horse and best game to take away prestigious Pin Oak ribbons. 

I am going in insert a section from my blog three years ago when Lauren was battling a torn muscle and ruptured disk in her back. The doctor had said NO jumping but hacking a horse was fine. Here’s what happened three years ago: 


March 23, 2014

We got a text from our friend Kathy to see if Lauren wanted to come up to the show and hack horses for her and trainer Trapp. No question about that, we changed clothes fast and headed to Katy. 

Kathy,  and Lauren on Ky, in search of a quiet ring to ride in.

Lauren called the big, imported gelding, Ky, amazing to ride. She wanted to buy him but I told her, one day maybe she might get to compete a horse like this. 

Lauren having a wonderful time on an amazing horse. 


Three years ago, Lauren gets to exercise the amazing horse Ky and this year for Pin Oak, she gets to compete him. This is the stuff of dreams. 

The German imported gelding and Lauren  will hopefully pick up where they left off in Florida jumping well and rounding quick. 

Pin Oak has been very good to Lauren in the past when she won her division on Feather.  We are hoping for some more Pin Oak ribbons to add to our display. 
God Speed Lauren and Ky!!