Happy birthday Sims!

Flagmount’s Semper Fi is one year old today.  He is happy, healthy, laid-back and big for a yearling.  The breeding we thought might produce a tall, quiet horse with an ability to jump is a year into life and we are pleased.

I wanted to offer up this flashback from one year ago as baby Sims (named for Sherre Sims, if you were blessed enough to know her) came into the world.



Happy birthday baby boy!



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!!

What’s Under the Mask?


Baby Sims has been hiding out under a fly mask.

Baby Sims will be two months next week.  He has changed a lot.  We did not know what to think of his red coat as the odds were quite low (under 13%) that he would be a red.  And that includes being a red that turns gray.

I have certainly never seen anything like this.  You can see his baby coat is molting away.  Betty Sue did that and I was panicked she was going to be a bay.  I have no idea what Sims is going for-maybe some new Punk rock thing or a unique color combo we have not seen before.  So far, his under-coat looks to be a darker red.  But his ears, mane and tail are coming in BLACK!  His legs have lightened in color like a dark palomino.  I am perplexed.

Everyone from my vet to successful horse breeders tell me a different tale.  So, take a look at the many pictures and give me your vote.    I was told he would be a chestnut with a black mane and tail.  I found out that does happen, rarely, but the black is not a true black. Mama Fargo does have some dilute genes that might be causing a little havoc here.


Sims is loosing all his baby hair around his face and coming in less red.  It  is like he is molting.

Meanwhile while he is certainly a well put together young man, more than just his face is changing.


His legs are turning lighter, almost his mother’s Palomino color But wait for his mane and tail.

At least an inch on new mane growth is black.

I have never seen a horse born red that turns anything but grey. He looks like one of the teenager’s talked him into some weird Ombre look.   And you don’t go  black first and then onto grey.  Even his ears are almost all black now.



The tail still looks red but is black underneath.

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I am holding back the top layer-black wouldn’t you say?

There is only one other idea I have (and I can’t wait to hear yours!) could he be turning smoky black?  Fargo has the genes for that.  Look at this picture I took of Fargo.  Looks perfect Palomino, but check out the black deep in her tail.  Hum…


                            Fargo’s blond and black tail.  So the black gene is there.

Anyway, here are some more pictures from today-it did start raining so you will get some spotted Sims but rest assured those are rain drops.

A melting changing face. Look at how dark his ears and forelock are. Pretty homely ‘lil face.  We will still love him no matter what color he is!

Hard to even know what this is- it is the top of Sims Head. That’s his dark ear on your right looking down his black and red mane. Pretty black, huh?


Here you can see his new light, light legs. A dun skin?

Let me know what color you think Sims will be.  I want all the theories.  Maybe someone came by and dyed his little mane and tail, well and his ears and his legs.

Anyway,  thanks for riding along.

Always something new on the horizon here.  Cross your fingers, we are hoping a baby is being made as we speak!  It should be a good (or even a great one)!


Clinic, Camp and the Colt

IMG_9511 (2)Fast times at the Farm with everything happening at once.   Last week Mia rejoined us from Malaysia as she did last summer.  She will be here for several weeks as a working student (Lauren’s slave) and Lauren will return to Malaysia with Mia and the tables will turn.

We got things off to a big start with the surprise 16th Birthday for our boarder Isabel. Pink twinkling lights, pink streamers, pink balloons and pink cake helped herald the  event.  I think it was even a true surprise.

The first week of camp went off grandly culminating this weekend in Olympian Bernie Traurig’s riding clinic.  I have gone on and on about Bernie before so you can search for that story but it was great to have an audience with a United States Equestrian Federation Team member who has represented all three disciplines in the Olympics, Dressage, Eventing and the Grand Prix Jumpers.

All three girls, Lauren, Isabel and Mia had some concerns on the first day.  Isabel was riding a converted barrel horse she got from my great friend Sarah Sumrall.  Sarah’s horses are top-notch in the manners department but usually originally suited to more a western saddle than English.  This would be the first time for Isabel to take Dex anywhere nearing the importance of this event.  This horse just started dressage and jumping a few short months ago.

Well, Dex got in a little trouble with Bernie. He was tossing his head and not getting down the jump lines properly.  So Olympian Bernie just hopped on!  What a thrill.


The last time this horse had been in this particular arena he had been running barrels, now he was being tutored by an Olympian.  Sarah has provided a lot of great project horses for many of us.  Oh Sarah, the places your horses go-

Mickey Davis to USEF Zone Finals

Cody Poulin to AQHA World Jumping Champion

And now, Dex Johnson ridden by Olympian Bernie

I could write a series of children’s books about Sarah’s horse and the adventures they have.

Anyway, back at the clinic…

Mia was on Mickey for the first time ever to participate in  this  jumping clinic-talk about jumping in with both feet.  We have been bringing Mickey along from his lameness issues and with new shoes and lots of support he was ready to go.  Actually, he was a perfect gentleman.  I had put on the form for Bernie that Mia would need to work on Mickey rushing to the jump.  Never happened.  Not once.  He went around with perfect striding and super cute jumping.  He looked like a hunter/dressage horse.  Amazing what happens when a horse has some time off and is not in pain.  Once Mia settled in, she and Mickey had a great clinic.  Bernie told her she was a natural horsewoman with innate talent.  Now, that is pretty sweet.

Lauren and Feather were in a ring away from home for one of the first times since January.  It showed as they struggled a little to find their striding and control their speed.  But again by the end of the clinic, Bernie told Lauren there are two types of riders, those that ride well at home and fall apart in a show.  And those that walk in the show ring and everything becomes magical.  When Bernie told the group it was now a full course and they were being judged, the pair turned on the magic, hit all their correct strides and looked great.  I would rather have the show magic horse than the home magic horse, at least for Lauren.

IMG_6512 IMG_6562 IMG_6355

Kenna (two Ns, as opposed to my dog, Kena, one N) joined us from Oklahoma on Sunday evening along with my granddaughter Jordyn.  This week Allyson and Isabel are day camping and Kenna, Jordyn and Mia are over-nighting it with us for a couple of weeks.  WOW.  Not a dull moment here.




Micenzie was nothing but smiles!

Isabel teaching Madison and Micenzie how to brush the horse.

Isabel teaching Madison and Micenzie how to brush the horse.


The big girls teaching the little girls.


Mia spending some time with Zie.


Today was teach the next generation day.  These older girls helped three young riders, a five year old and two-three year-olds, take their first lessons.  The young riders will come twice a week for the next few weeks as well.  They were super excited and super cute.

Finally, my Sims colt is one month old today.  Hard to believe!  He got some special time out (Or I did) to play in the paddock. What a doll!

Meeting his aunt Nova and showing off his number 1 mark on his head.


Baby’s Got a Brand New Name


Sims scampering across the pasture.

A new baby horse changes things.  It guarantees that no day is a bad day because there is always that foal waiting to be petted, to try to bite you with his two tiny teeth, to try to kick you with his wee little hooves (which still leave a mark!) and always has new antics to show you. I waited for this baby in my life for a long time. He is all I ever dreamed about.

I promise this is the last time I will complain that another Flagmount baby stole our name. We wanted and expected to use the name Flagmount’s Reflection (it made perfect sense for us with the father being Flagmount and my mare being Blonder Reflection).   But a baby born weeks before us grabbed that name and it is gone.

Horse names maybe approved in many ways.  One is  by the breed registry.  The Jockey Club approves all the Thoroughbred horse names.  The American Quarter Horse Association,  the quarter horses,  and so on.  But there are also show registries that do not allow for any duplications of names.  So, common horse names are probably not available as a choice.

We register and compete in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).  One measure of the success of a sire is how many of his progeny are competing at top levels.  Most of these horses shown below are from the sire we used, Flagmount’s Freedom, unless they were from Flagmount’s King, who is Flagmount’s Freedom sire, or the grand-sire of most of this group. 

This is what is out in the USEF registry today.

Horse Name in USEF Sire as shown
FLAGMOUNT’S HARMONY Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S NIGHTCAP Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S SEMPER FI Flagmount’s Freedom
FLAGMOUNT’S SPARTAN Flagmount’s Freedom

We reviewed this list for inspiration. We took name suggestions from readers. We looked up lists of synonyms for Reflection.  We even came up with a name based upon my three year-old granddaughter’s response to a Fire Ball cinnamon jaw breaker I talked her into trying (it was not pretty) and really thought we would go with the red colt and Flagmount’s Fire Ball.  We even ordered a stall name plate.  But I did not go register the name on USEF.  I still thought something else was out there.

I almost hate to admit this but when I have had some downtime (like hip replacements, shoulder surgeries, broken ribs) I have come to enjoy the TV show NCIS.  The main character is a retired marine.  Ally’s father-in-law was a Marine-a Vietnam Vet.  Our trainer was a Marine, although all of them would tell you that once a Marine, always a Marine.  My long time best friend has two sons that are active duty in the Marines.  The Marine’s motto is Semper Fi- from the Latin Semper Fidelis-Always Faithful.


After checking that it would not be disrespectful on any front to name a horse after the Marine Corp motto, we decided this big colt could be a lot of things but we would always be faithful to do the best for him, and hopefully he would be faithful to Lauren to turn in his best performance every time. We could ask little more from him.

Plus, his barn name Sims, although spelled differently in respect to Sherre Sims, it does fit the “Sem” part of Semper Fi.  At three weeks of age, this colorful, buoyant, tender and terrible (watch those teeth!) colt is already nearly 12 hands high.  Seriously.  He has gained 25 pounds a week for the last two weeks to bring him to just short of 180 pounds.  Just think of what is in mare’s milk to let these babies grow like this!  It is amazing and endearing.

Welcome-Flagmount’s Semper Fi!! I cannot wait to hear that name over the loud speakers as he enters the arena.

Thank you to all of you that have ridden along and supported us in this dream.

River Rises and Falls-the Colt Grows


We jokingly talked about a life preserver for baby Sims (this is not him!) but it really wasn’t funny.

Throughout a desperate week we were threatened by the Bravos River flooding and expanding onto our farm.  Coupled with that were days and days of rain forecasted with daily amounts of rainfall in multiple inches.  Friends all around us were abandoning their properties and evacuating their horses to higher, dryer ground.

As close as our neighbor, two properties away, the river rolled up to his door flooding his home and heading for our street.  We talked with our friend Caroline almost directly across the river from us.  She had talked to the Emergency Management folks and made a decision as early as the first Saturday (the 28th) to evacuate her horses.  Lauren then became best friends with the Emergency Management team.  Calling sometimes several times a day, Lauren kept up with rise of the river.  I am pretty sure they knew her by name.

But they did a good job and they gave us accurate information. The roads closed more and more each day.  Finally, I just stayed home from work for fear I could not get back across the river to the farm. It was super stressful as we watched the river rise-seeing the river from our window was a little daunting.  And yet we were so lucky.  So many lost everything.  Animals drowned.  Homes were destroyed.

aaflood bridge

The Bravos River at Highway 90A coming up almost to the bridge


Our neighbor’s property as the River proceeds to the road

We rode out the flood and all stayed dried.  I enjoyed the time I had to get to know the new colt, Sims, as he grew and changed each day.  We caught up on some family time, seeing Ally and the girls, talking with Amber almost daily. As crazy as it seems, our arena stayed fairly dry.  Jordyn got rides in on her new horse, Diva, while I got back in the saddle on Nova.

But mostly after counting our blessings and trying not to lose our minds with worry, we just hung out with the baby.  Nothing like a new foal to keep your mind on happy!  In these first two weeks he has gained 25 pounds (and I thought only I could do that!) and has grown several inches.  Here is his cuteness—he is so friendly and adorable!


Like momma like baby-look at his reach with those legs!




Thank you to all the family and friends that continued to check on us and pray for us!!

We appreciate it so much.  Continue riding along for more shots of baby Sims!


The Big, Red Colt

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Long legs, huge hip, solid shoulders and big ears make up my big, red, colt-baby Sims.

I ran the color genetics for Fargo (a palomino) and Flag (a gray).  Of course, I did. Gray is dominant and the chance of the baby being gray was over 60% according to the University of California-Davis.  But Gray horses, are not born.  It is a color that horses turn.  A horse can be any color at birth and become gray.  And UC-Davis factored that in as well.  So, I hoped for my favorite, a buckskin.  I hoped for a smoky black colt.  I longed for some white legs and Fargo’s trademark blaze (that she passed along to Betty Sue).  But never in my daydreams of this baby, did a red colt come to my mind.


Here is the actual color calculation.  Gray is shown as the final color of the coat along with the color in parenthesis that the horse will be born. 

The chance of Sims staying my big, red horse are only 6.25%.  I am not aware of any Flag horse that is a chestnut (horse word for red).  So, Lauren will probably get her longed for gray Flag horse to match Feather.  Clearly, I did not get my 9.38% of a chance at a buckskin.

But that is all okay.  Sims is finally here!!  Sneaking in to be born as Lauren watched Grey’s Anatomy and I was at work.  (Someone suggested calling him Flagmount’s Grey’s Anatomy, but Lauren vetoed that!)  He is healthy, straight legged, big and super friendly.

A word about his barn name.  Sherre Sims befriended us during the Wharton years.  She was diagnosed with cancer.  She fought bravely and hard.  But cancer won.  She was one of the best people I ever knew.  So this is our tribute to her.

We are still arguing about his show name.  It will be Flagmount’s something  just like Feather is Flagmount’s Irish Freedom.  I will update you on that. Feel free to add suggestions, please!

Here are some more pictures.  Thank you for all you that have followed this boy from conception to life.  It is pretty awe inspiring.

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Mama Fargs saying”this huge thing came out of me?”


At least he sleeps sometimes!


We had some issues with Fargo being under the weather right after the baby came.  I cannot tell you how proud I was of my two daughters, Ally and Lauren, as they tirelessly took care of the baby, hour by hour, as the antibiotics took hold and mama Fargs got better.  I know if Amber had been here, I would have seen a truly top notch team as she is my certified International Lactation Consultant daughter and she would have known just what to do to help Sims keep eating to stay alive.

There was never any whining or complaining even as they tired and wanted to quit.  They were both already madly in love with this big red colt and nothing was stopping them.

We are so grateful to welcome Sims to Six Meadow Farm.  Expect big things from him! We are.

Thanks for riding along.