Spring Baby

Our neighbors just had a mini horse baby. It is probably the size of my poodle. Seriously,  maybe he is just a little bit bigger than my poodle but not much and will not get a whole lot bigger than the poodle in the long run. He is about 10 days old now.  As I was home today getting my walkabout in, I got some photos of the little tiny baby. He could be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. But he’s feisty and mean and all of his stallion stuff is going on strong in his head already at 10 days of age.  

It looks like the end of his tail was dipped in chocolate.

Betty Sue looking on at the new little stallion next-door.

Thought I would just give some photos to you to enjoy as well.  
Thanks, as always for riding along.

And he’s out of here.

Poppy and Betty Sue

Long ago, back in 2004, a horse came into the equine rescue they called Mac. A 16.1 HH quarter horse that did Hunters.  I didn’t know who I was going to buy him for but I knew I had to buy him.  
One of Lauren’s friends named Desi went in half on him. We used him occasionally.  Desi won multiple, multiple championships on him.. Then when her family had to go overseas she sold her half again to another girl name Elizabeth who went on to win again multiple, multiple championships. 

He was the kind a horse most anyone to get on and put in a good ride. He was that kind a horse. I have not before nor since had a horse quite like that. And I’ve kept him on my mind all these years. Watching, waiting and hoping that another one like Mac might show up.

And while I’m sure Mac himself did not show up in the body of this little mare as he is still alive and well at Whipple Tree Farm, this little mare has a lot of his good qualities.


Jordyn getting in the first ride.

 Facebook is covered with horse sale ads. Rarely do I have the money for the good ones that I would like to have. I didn’t really have money for this one either. But this time it seemed important to try to find the money and find the horse,  the special horse that we’ve been looking for for so long.

I feel it is bad to have a riding barn where there’s never a horse the average person could ride. They’re either too old, lame, too fast, or too dumb, never just right. I wanted the just right horse. It was to be my grandkids horse -all of their’s.

Interestingly, the horse’s registered name is “Daddy’s Last Dollar”.  Might as well of been “Granny’s Last Dollar”.
After some soul-searching and checking my plan against some of my most difficult critics, Tim, Gaylyn, and Lynn, I got a nod from each one of them for their part in the getting the grandkid horse scheme.  
All that was left was beating out the four other people yesterday alone that were interested in buying the horse and getting up north of Dallas five hours away prior to any of them arriving at 8:30 in the morning with our horse trailer. Thank you, Ally and Lauren, I could not have made the trip. My back would’ve revolutef and I would be laying on the side of the road. Thank you for making the ten hour trek. 

APHA solid bred mare

This morning with the wind high and the temperature low Jordyn got the first ride of the grandkids on the new mare. She absolutely, was as advertised. Jordyn had a great ride -best on any horse ever. That alone made a pretty worthwhile.

Cantering quietly at 45 days under saddle.  

Slow motion trot.  Oh my!

That Lauren was in the ring with Betty Sue and the two of them are coming along fabulously added to help make  this mornIng into one of the top ones of my life. 

Thanks as always for riding along.  


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Easter on

Kendyll and Jordyn Easter egg hunting

Ally and her girls

One thing we know for certain is that I will never be a caterer. There is no risk that I will start that as a career. While my food is OK from taste standpoint my presentation is horrible.
My deviled eggs, in particular, were not uniformly peeled nor were they uniformly filled. OMG! Nor do I have one of those fancy swirly things that makes your eggs look fresh from the kitchen at the Four Seasons.   But all in all it was a grand time with Ally, Luke,  their kids,  one of my friends,  Lauren, Blake and I.

Well I was messing up eggs and eating less than perfect pies, my daughter Amber in Denver, was making these beautiful little bird nest with Robin’s eggs in them. Like the candy Robin eggs not the real ones. That would be messy. Clearly,  somebody has skills I do not.

Jordyn was so excited to go out after dinner and show us all how she could canter Snowboy. But my neighbors chose just that moment to start a giant shooting competition, as in with shotguns, obliterating any chance of the horses or dogs having a sane moment from there on. A little disappointing but I guess it’s life in the country.

Today Lauren had the day off at home and called breathlessly to tell me that she had just killed a snake in the backyard. So I complain about the neighbors shooting their guns and then my daughter takes nine shots to kill one snake.  Her dogs maybe traumatized for life (and the snake definitely is!).  I told her she could’ve just taken the shovel to the snake’s head  but she did not think that was the way to go.
She also thought it was a good idea for me to have to clean up the body and get rid of the snake when I got home. What is that about?
Then she sent me a text to let me know she was about to get on Betty Sue. We do this as a safety measure to make sure one of us is always aware of the other is riding we are alone. In fact, just today I saw an IT presentation about these new bands that are not unlike the thing that old lady wears (could be me!) and acts out the part of “I have fallen but can’t get up!” but much smaller and more efficient.   I couldn’t help but think how wonderful they would be if you were riding a horse or hiking by yourself. But in the meantime I gave Lauren 45 minutes to ride Betty Sue before I would call Life Flight.  Fortunately that went well. Betty Sue did her first set of trot poles.

​This is a precursor to jumping so it’s important that she take them in stride, like literally. And she did it!  She walked and trotted through the poles- handling it like it  was just another day as you can see from the video below.
So that’s all from my front. I hope you all had a terrific Easter and spring has Sprung Whereever you are today.  

Happy Birthday -Lenten Writing #41

Three years ago today in the little front range mountain town of Longmont, a perfect buckskin pinto filly was born.  This town, miles from where I went to college at Colorado State and an even shorter disxtance from my daughter’s home in Brighton was just the right sort of coincidence I love and cannot refuse.

From the moment this baby caught my eye, I was gone.  Buckskin being my favorite color and having the breeding and movement to really be a contender for Lauren.  We bought her sight unseen.

Today, exactly three years to the day, Betty Sue came home from her first trainer.  First, Lauren under Trapp’s tutelage is a more confident, precise rider and second Betty Sue while quick and handy was not silly or difficult.  Watching Lauren take the mare to the mounting block for the first time and quietly lift over herself over the baby’s back was awesome.  I was holding back tears.

 Huge points to Kurt Kelso the perfect cowboy to start a perfect girl towards her dream job of competing her way through the young jumpers across United States.  We are so excited to be putting this horse on track for future development


Betty Sue was lunged and ready to go



It’s a big ring for a little girl!


And they are off


Beautiful Canter!


Big dreams in a small town

Three years!! A fantastic journey for us.  I cannot wait to see where this mare is three years from now!


Thanks for riding along!





Super Sunday

I have been taking dressage lessons in a Hunter/Jumper saddle. I have never ridden in a dressage saddle except to try one out at the saddle shop.  I wanted to be medically evacuated from the saddle. The position with my legs straight and wide is not one handled by surgically installed titanium hips. The replacements have very little range of motion.

But I have been enjoying my lessons and wanted to try to do better. I’m almost 60 but there’s always time to do better. So when one of my boarders offered up a dressage saddle that would fit my wide, tall mare I thought I’d give it another shot.  As luck would have it my vet was here as we put the saddle on my horse for the first time. She declared the saddle could not fit my horse better.

The brown saddle is a jumper saddle-meant to be ridden in a forward seat with shorter stirrups.  The second is a dressage saddle-meant to support an upright, deep seat and longer straighter legs.

Now if only I would be able to sit on the saddle without great pain.   We put the saddle on Nova and bought the mounting block to the horse’s side. My mare quietly waited for me to mount. I quietly waited to have my hips ripped out of my pelvis.

It was definitely uncomfortable but not as bad as I had feared. I rallied and said I would try to do the lesson in the new saddle. Everything felt different about it. My stirrups were a lot longer-changing my center of balance, my actual seat was forward in the saddle, but my shoulders and back were straighter and my legs were reaching down for the longer stirrups.

As we progressed through the lesson going from walk to trot and then to canter I started to understand the beauty of the saddle. When we got to the canter I was able to sit very quietly on the horse’s back,  my legs barely moving. My heels deep and down. It felt a lot like the old equitation classes I had taken when I had ridden western pleasure. That certainly required me to have a straight back. And I will never forget my old instructor telling me over and over again, “headlights, Cindy, headlights!!”  You might be able to guess where my headlights were located in that keeping my back straight certainly kept my headlights up.

The lesson was not a gold medal round. I had a lot to learn. My foot slipped from the longer stirrup. I slipped back in the saddle. But bit by bit I got more comfortable. I was quite proud of my progress and bought my first dressage from boarder Lisa that night.

I went to bed Friday night pretty pleased with myself. I got up Saturday to aching muscles I had not even known I had.  The backs of my legs hurt. My abs felt like I had done a hundred sit ups. Wow. Who knew? I have been riding a few times a week for several months (since the broken rib incident) but I felt like I just started out as newbie to the saddle.

Sunday I saddled up Nova for another practice ride. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and we spent over an hour in the ring. We practiced all the things that we had been taught. I had a really good ride. The most amazing thing was to be able to sit so quietly at the canter and I trotted and trotted-enjoying being able to set the trot.  Our transitions are still a little rough but I have so much to learn.

After my stint with Nova, I got Betty Sue out.  She is two and a half now.  Many Quarter horses and thoroughbreds are started under saddle by this time.  However, she is European warmblood and they tend to mature more slowly.  We won’t be really riding her for another year or so.  But there was nothing to stop me from continuing her education.  I saddled her up with my heavier western saddle-just so she could get used to weight on her back and the heavier stirrups flapping at her sides.  Everything done quietly and easily now will pay off in spades when the time comes to actually ask her to accept a rider.

I got her bridled as well and we spent some time walking the round pen.  I would ask her to “whoa” and gently pull back on the reins.  I would cluck to her to move her forward and release the pressure on her mouth.  We worked turning left and right.  Soon, I will add some long lines.  My theory is to have the horse able to walk forward, halt and turn before I get on.  Brakes and a steering wheel go a long way on that first ride.

We also did some work on standing quietly as I approached her side from the mounting block.  This was not her best drill.  I would stand on the mounting block and she would move away.  It will take some time.  Patience is a big virtue with a young horse.

Of course my dogs were with me for the glorious afternoon as well.  It was the perfect afternoon, both due to the weather and with the time I had with my two girls (Nova and Betty Sue). It was good for me to get back to what I love best-it has been too long since I have had a day like this.


Throughout the day, I kept an eye on phone.  My friend Tim was running the Chicago Marathon.  Quite an endeavor to undertake after not running for many, many years.  In fact a year ago, Tim was just starting to do some walking.  Then some short races were completed.  Step by step, he has worked toward his marathon goal.

I got a few updates as the day progressed.  I knew Tim had gone into the races with sore, strained hamstrings.  I wanted him to reach his goal but was worried the injuries would hold him back.

I needn’t have worried as he crossed the finish line in a very respectable time-certainly for someone my age (that’s pretty old) and someone who just started running again after so  many years.  I am very proud of him!  Here is to making and attaining your goals-from trying new things to sticking out the hard ones! Bravo!


The little things

Horse photos courtesy of Isabel Johnson

The race is on and Kona is doing his best to keep up with Betty Sue and Piper.

The race is on and Kona is doing his best to keep up with Betty Sue and Piper.

Maui running with Piper Pony.

Maui running with Piper Pony.

We have now had several consecutive days without rain.  As you can see, the horses (and the dog) are even turning up a little dust in the arena.  That is grounds enough for a little celebration.  I am getting through this first anniversary of my mother’s birthday without my mother with a few tears but a lot of happy thoughts and memories.

Last night, we took the girls down to play in the arena.  The last time I did this, Feather wanted to come, too.  She pulled back from where she was tied at the barn and ended up with a face full of stitches.  This time we left Feather in her stall, the fan running, oblivious to her friends having fun without her.  It was amazing to see, now a little over a year old, Betty Sue, romp around.  I swear she has the prettiest trot I have ever seen.  Of course, I didn’t get a picture of that-she was too busy running!

Kona and puppy, Maui Jim, were all keyed up for play time as well.  You will note fewer pictures of Maui.  He tuckered out way before the horses and Kona did.

I love the white streak in her man and that her tail has the white tip at the end.

I love the white streak in her mane and that her tail has the white tip at the end.

Back in my day we would have said, "Kona is really booking it," here.

Back in my day we would have said, “Kona is really booking it,” here.


The dogs went off to a new groomer today.  This is Maui Jim’s first official hair cut. Lauren told the groomer to make him look like Kona.  What do you think?

Maui Jim is a skinny puppy but OMG look at those feet!! He is going to be bigger than his brother!

Maui Jim is a skinny puppy but OMG look at those feet!! He is going to be bigger than his brother!

This was a new groomer who specializes in poodles and it showed in the great job they did.  Oh, it is the little things for me!

Happy boys, headed home.

Happy boys, headed home.

The farm is pretty much dried out with grass and the flowers growing like crazy.  I have lots to do this weekend with Lauren’s impromptu working student summer starting on Monday with the arrival of Mia from Malaysia.  We have worked out some great educational seminars for the girls including working with the farrier, learning basic first aid and how to build a horse first aid kit with the vet, a session on learning to pick horses for the Grand Prix and being a successful trainer in the horse business from some local hot shots.

Jordyn and Riley finished second grade and kindergarten respectively and are looking forward to a summer of fun.  Jordyn is headed off for a week of horse camp with Holly Flint and Snowboy! In fact, I am hoping to get them on the lunge line tomorrow for Jordyn’s first canter “on-purpose”.  Big times!

Lots to do, lots to see, lots to accomplish.  Hoping you are taking a moment to appreciate the little things.  They are really what life is about.  Thanks for riding along!

Betty Sue’s little romps



At almost ten months of age, RPSI filly, Betty Sue is getting taller and starting to fill out.  We have continued almost daily with her education.  We get her out of her stall to groom her, pick up and clean her feet and do a little ground work.

Betty works well in her halter, leading, backing on command and standing.  Lauren even walked her over to load in our trailer the other night when it was hooked up for the horse show.  Betty Sue quietly followed her in and back out.  No fuss, no issues, it was pretty nice.

A scared Lauren hiding between jump standards as Betty Sue romps up to visit.

A scared Lauren hiding between jump standards as Betty Sue romps up to visit.

But Betty Sue’s and frankly, I think everyone at the barns favorite thing to do is when Betty Sue gets rewarded after going through her paces in the arena, by a few minutes off her lead rope.  As Betty has gotten bigger, faster and stronger her desire to play with us has intensified.  I understand that it is important for a young horse to respect personal space and she does-she always stops, but that doesn’t mean that she has not gotten a little intimidating as she romps down the line toward you in her little gallop.  Hiding behind the jump standards is common for large man or young child as Betty Sue enjoys these little play times.


Getting her romp on!

Getting her romp  on!

I am enjoying this little filly to the fullest.  I can’t wait to see the color of her coat after she sheds out the winter coat she brought from Colorado.  We tried to entice her to follow us over some jumps-and she did go over an X behind Lauren, but when the other girls tried it, she said “I really want to but I think I will just walk around!”

Alex trying to entice Betty Sue over the jump.

Alex trying to entice Betty Sue over the jump.


I love her buckskin coloring.

I love her buckskin coloring.

Tomorrow is the first of February (and my daughter Ally’s 27th birthday) and the day we weigh and measure this baby.  I will let you know the latest numbers.


Happy Birthday Ally Taylor-I love you so much!













All the Pretty Horses

Baby Betty as the leader of the pack.

Baby Betty as the leader of the pack.  (LOVE this shot)

It occurred to me yesterday when Mickey was off at a show and Feather had been moved to join the mare pasture with Kalani, Fargo and baby Betty Sue,that I had quite a diverse band of mares, at least from a color perspective.  Most English horses are grey or bay with an occasional chestnut to liven things up.  My grey, blue roan, Palomino and buckskin pinto look way beyond the norm.

So I set out this morning to catch some photos in the soft morning light.  It is going to be about the pictures tonight and a welcome to my new boarder, Jo Ann as well.

First, Betty Sue, a little over six months old and standing 13.3 hands high.  She is
“butt high” as we say when babies grow taller in the back before the front catches up.

Betty shining in the morning sun.  Clearly, butt high.

Betty shining in the morning sun. Clearly, butt high.

What a face!

What a face!

Trotting with Fargo.

Trotting with Fargo.

Fargo becoming a beauty in her right with a little daily attention.

Fargo becoming a beauty in her right with a little daily attention.


Pretty mare Feather, startlingly against the sunlight.

Pretty mare Feather, startling against the sunlight.

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Finally my favorite girl, Kalani also a study of contrast in the morning light.

Kalani, blue roan quarter horse.

Kalani, blue roan quarter horse.

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And finally some of them all.

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Finally, 31-year-old OTTB Hershey joined our barn yesterday and was getting to know pasture mate Prosecco.  This is exactly how OTTBs are supposed to end up, old, healthy and happy running with new friends.  Thanks and welcome to Jo Ann.

Hershey  meeting Prosecco for the first time.

Hershey meeting Prosecco for the first time.

Prosecco questions if this was a good idea.

Prosecco questions if this was a good idea.


This will be Hershey's last home and I hope everyday is as good as today.

This will be Hershey’s last home and I hope everyday is as good as today.

Thanks for riding along.  Let me know which one was your favorite picture.

Betty Sue and Grandma arrive! Lauren overcomes! Feather Soars!

Betty Sue seeing Lauren eye to eye on Texas soil.

Betty Sue seeing Lauren eye to eye on Texas soil.

First taste of Texas.

First taste of Texas.

Betty Sue, grandma Fargo, and weanling friend Carter had an uneventful trip from Colorado to Texas, arriving late Tuesday afternoon.  They were ready to get off the trailer but no worse for the trip.  The two weanlings were exceptionally calm and well-behaved.  We immediately reloaded Fargo and Betty Sue for the short trip on to our house

The girls have settled in easily.  They love the green grass but are slightly less enamoured with the temperatures in the high 80’s with their Colorado winter coats.

Wednesday Feather headed to the equestrian center for her first show since OKC in July and her first since Lauren’s broken arm.  Dev showed Feather Thursday and Friday, coming out of their first class with the winning time and the blue ribbon in hand.  From there they moved up from the 1.05 meter (which is the highest we have ever showed) all the way to the 1.15 meter.  Feather did fine, no problem with the height but will need continued work on her technique.   They showed in the 1.20 meter on Friday and had a stop at the big in and out jump, but nothing a little practice can’t fix.

Dev and Feather in the 1.20 meter

Dev and Feather in the 1.20 meter


Dev and Feather soar.

Dev and Feather soar.

Lauren returned to the show ring today with some natural fear and angst following her bad fall this past July. I needn’t have worried, they stepped into the ring, two titanium rods supporting her foreman and still total paralysis of two fingers, to take over second place in the .95 meter. I was SO proud of my girls.

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More work happening at the farm as my son-in-law Luke works to get us arena lights before the time change hits.  He has worked for days, sacrificing sleep, family and football. I am very grateful!

Thanks for riding along and all your support!

Betty Sue says good night!

Betty Sue says good night!


Betty Sue is coming and she is bringing her grandma!

All kinds of stuff going on around here!  I had taken this week for vacation as I knew it was the week Betty Sue would arrive.  Also, Lauren will be headed back to the show ring for the first time since her broken arm.  She won’t be pushing hard, just seeing how her paralyzed fingers hold up in the rigors of showing.  Certainly worth mentioning quietly is Lauren’s own demons that she will need to face as she regains the confidence to jump a course once again.  Dev will also show the grey mare some to keep her moving forward.


RPSI mare, Blonder Reflection, Betty Sue's grandma.

RPSI mare, Blonder Reflection, Betty Sue’s grandma.

When I was making the final preparations for Betty Sue, her owner suggested I should think about taking her nine-year old grandma as well.  Stephanie would love to see this nice German mare in the hunter or dressage ring and the transportation was already available for her to come to Texas.  RPSI Blonder Reflections (Fargo) by Blonder Hans (a German imported stallion) and out of a Rainbow daughter was started under saddle but has spent the last few years being an outstanding brood mare.  I think Fargo will make a good addition to our family as a hunter (I hope, I hope!) and as a brood mare.

I also think Betty Sue will have any easier transition to her life in the south with grandma along.  I am so excited for their arrival!  Pray for safe travels and happy landings for the three ( another weanling is coming to a dressage friend here as well)  journeying from Colorado tonight.

Thursday, on the way to the bank, I thought I saw something moving in the tall grass by the road.  On our way home, we stopped and found this tiny, starved puppy.  Of course we took him home.  He was polite and did well with the other dogs.  Lauren posted this picture to Facebook and we got a lot of people betting he would never leave our home.

Thin, scared and abandoned on the side of the road, this little guy is all heart.

Thin, scared and abandoned on the side of the road, this little guy is all heart.

The first night he slept on my pillow with the six other dogs and one big cat.  The next night he slept with Lauren and her two Burmese cats.  He was definitely a keeper. We have never managed to get rid of the neighbor’s border collie who attacked Sneaky and this pushed us to eight dogs, five cats and as of tomorrow, seven horses.  Okay, a little much but this guy is only three pounds.

Saturday, we got a new shed built to hold feed and hay.  With our new horses coming and a new boarder with two more horses, space is at a premium.  Dev’s group with Lauren trailering them was headed to Pine Hill a local cross country and eventing place yesterday.  Three of the girls spent the night and all were off early for the day.  All the horses and ponies did great.

Mickey was made for eventing.  What a great time he had.

Mickey was made for eventing. What a great time he had.

Mickey loved it!  He says to find him someone to do eventing!  Snow was unflappable as always.


Olivia on Avery and Alex on Mickey at Pine Hill.

Olivia on Avery and Alex on Mickey at Pine Hill.

Mia and Snowboy!

Mia and Snowboy!


Ally, Luke and Kendyll came to help me move hay and feed to the new shed.  I am thankful they did as my hip was complaining in the first ten minutes.  Luke’s parents dropped by and minutes later, the tiny puppy was headed to a new home with them.  I actually am missing the guy.  Now, if anyone wants a very pretty, fast, smart border collie, Elliott, is looking for a new home as well.

The new feed shed, insisted just in time for the arrival of our Colorado girls.

The new feed shed, just in time for the arrival of our Colorado girls.

They should be picking up weanlings Carter, Betty Sue and grandma Fargo any time now.  I suspect tomorrow will go pretty slowly for me as I keep track of them on their southbound journey.

Thanks for riding along!