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!

Using your head

The skid marks from a a big green jump standard on Jordyn's helmet.

The skid marks from a a big green jump standard on Jordyn’s helmet.

pip cal

I knew it was bound to happen, that it was just a matter of time.  Piper, Jordyn’s new South Carolina ride, is a cute pony and a nice mover but still pretty green.  While she is not overly spooky or difficult to ride, she is a little inexperienced.  I think we ended up being good owners for her as Jo can ride her but the pony still needs instruction, which Lauren can give her.

Jo had gotten pretty used to heading to ring with horse Mickey and trotting for an hour or two.  Sometimes fast and sometimes slow, Mickey was not interested in breaking into a canter with his young rider.  Piper, on the other hand, is not so laid back.  I figured if Jo kept taking her faster and faster at the trot it would just be a matter of time or weather or barometric change that gave Jordyn her first taste of a canter off the lounge line.  I didn’t have to wait too long.

Friday night, it was Jo and I at the farm.  Everyone had come and gone for the day.  I was working on some stuff at the barn and Jordyn had headed to the arena to ride.  About 30 minutes into their ride, I heard a terrifying yell and looked over to see Jordyn and Piper cantering around the arena.  This would have probably worked out okay as Jordyn was sitting the canter very well and Piper was not misbehaving, at least not passed cantering when she was supposed to be trotting. But Jordyn was pretty freaked out.  She continued to scream and periodically pull the reins back but Piper was responding more to the screams than the reins.  I was unable to do anything but watch them canter around.  Anyone who has ever ridden knows the canter is much easier and comfortable to ride than the trot, but it is way faster, a preamble to a gallop and a run.  Jordyn has not discovered the joy of the canter yet, just the fear of going fast.

Finally the pony made a sharp turn at the end of the arena and headed straight for the big jump at the center.  I yelled at Jo to turn her away from the jump.  I have no doubt this little, talented pony would have jumped the three-foot jump if Jordyn had not moved her away from it. Jordyn tugged at the reins and the pony swerved to the edge, knocking Jordyn off-balance and swinging her head directly into the  heavy, green jump standard.

There are moments that stand still in your life and this was one of them.  I knew she was not dead as the screaming had continued in earnest.  Sneaky, our Corgi, (she says she is a doctor) and is extremely compassionate, got to Jordyn on her short legs before I did.  I would just like to say that while Sneaky gave Jordyn many encouraging licks and prods, Jordyn just yelled at her to get off of her!  Sneaky, just trying to take care of her young owner!  No apppreciation, there!

I was pretty happy when Jo sat up on her own (no broken back) and clearly her jaw was intact and working.  While I would discover that Jordyn had road rash from her tiny cheek, down her shoulder, to her hip and on her arm, the most impressive thing was her helmet.  Just recently we had moved up to this helmet as the fit was not right on her old one.  If she hit the jump hard enough to implant the paint into the helmet, I sure do not want to ever see what her little head would have looked like without it.  I am having visions of a squashed melon.

i have always said after years working ER and in the medical field, you can fix anything but a broken brain.  I know you have heard it before but here it is again–wear your helmet!

Just do it.  Do you want to have a squashed melon?  I didn’t think so.


Piper stood quietly by Jordyn as she laid on the ground.  Jordyn got back on Piper and rode her around for a few minutes.  The following day she rode her in the morning on her own and then with Dev for her lesson.  Jordyn is a brave,courageous little girl.  She was bragging to anyone that would listen about how she cantered all by herself.

Oh, and she is very lucky, too!


From the Ice and Cold, the Pony Arrives

This is Hopscotch, whom Jordyn is calling Piper.

This is Hopscotch, whom Jordyn is calling Piper.

Jordyn after school yesterday looking pretty happy with Piper.

Jordyn after school yesterday looking pretty happy with Piper.

Jordyn used Lauren’s jumper Mickey for lessons for most of this year.  Her pony, Snowboy was being leased by another rider in the barn and Mickey was filling the bill fine.  One of last year’s goals for Jordyn was to trot and she has been very successful.  She can do a posting trot now and occasionally even gets the correct diagonal.

Jordyn started riding Snow again in hopes of achieving her 2015  goal of cantering.  Snowboy, at an estimated 22 years of age, seems to have had it with hauling the little kids around.  He is still very good for a kid over 90 pounds or an adult but for Jordyn, he was taking all her energy to just keep him in a trot.

Around Christmas time we decided to sell my horse, Kalani, and find a quiet, easy pony for Jordyn.  Not to go into a whole ‘back in my day’ tirade, but one thing that is a whole lot easy now is buying a horse.  Once upon a time, you relied upon neighbors, other training barns or the classifieds to find a horse.

Facebook is now quite a source for buying and selling horses.  Within hours of stating we were on the search for a new pony, we had leads on steeds from all over the US.  The two ponies that we liked best were both on the East Coast. The one we ended up with posted a sale ad in morning, by mid-afternoon their YouTube video had over 500 views.  We had been the first to talk to this trainer in South Carolina and she called us back to tell us she had two full price offers on the pony we wanted for Jordyn.  We told her we would meet that price and buy the pony.

I have bought a couple of horses/ponies sight unseen, and not touched or ridden by us.  It is scary but it is the way of the world these days.  We all agreed, signed some papers, Paypaled (should that have one L or two?) some money and set up an inexpensive shipper.  We were pretty happy.  That was nearly two weeks ago.

The cold fell on the east coast and first the shipper couldn’t get out of New York state as the water was freezing in the water buckets of the trailer.  Then they had trouble with rain and ice as they made their way down the coast to South Carolina.  In the beginning, I figured for sure I would still be home to see the pony come, but as the days became weeks, knew I would miss out.

Sure enough, the shipper called and estimated she would be at our place sometime Sunday night/Monday morning.  As I awakened for work yesterday I figured I must have slept through the pony’s arrival.  I headed out to resume my routine of feeding the horses on my first day back at work, to have Lauren follow me out the door.  Lauren does not get up at 4:30 in the morning, especially in the cold without a compelling reason.  The pony was just arriving.

Jordyn meeting her pony for the first time! Note-it is still pitch black behind the stall slats.

Jordyn meeting her pony for the first time! Note-it is still pitch black behind the stall slats.

Quietly and without any apprehension, the small bay pony unloaded off the big rig, walked across our pasture in the cold mist and took up her new home next to Betty Sue in the mare’s barn.  We called Ally who went to tell Jordyn that her pony had finally arrived.  Jordyn bolted out of bed, dressed quickly, brushed her teeth and begged her mom to take her to Granny’s to see the new pony.  It might have 5:30 am by then.  I was headed out to work before Jo arrived but the first picture of the two says a lot.  Jordyn’s call to me to proclaim, “Thank you, Thank you, Granny!!” said even more.

Last night, I couldn’t wait to get out to the barn, get the blanket off the pony and see what we really had.  We have had days of cold rain so a ride was out of the question but Jordyn and I had fun grooming Piper, admiring her cute face, long forelock and silky tail.

We have owned Snowboy for over ten years, I hope this pony is as good as he has been for us and earns Jo all the ribbons she deserves.  I did make it clear to her that this pony is for all the grandkids.  Piper will have a lot of master’s to serve.

Thanks for being part of our journey!

Piper settled in and having some hay.

Piper settled in and having some hay.