Nine Lives


Snowboy, our 23 year old, Pony of America (POA),  went to Texas A&M Vet (TAMU) Hospital right after Christmas.  While I knew they would be short staffed with the holiday I wanted to get him there before Lauren left for Florida.  Dr. Lynn Criner had diagnosed my pony with what she thought was a cancerous spot on the outside of his penis.

This pony has overcome many hurdles in his life from starvation to adoption from the  ASPCA to life-threatening colics. Not at all surprising for a cat, but a pony with nine lives, who knew? He is, also,  the pony that so many have ridden and enjoyed in his lifetime.

As usual, the lead vet, Dr. Whitmore, was not sure he agreed with Lynn’s diagnosis ( her diagnosis has always been right when I send a horse to them but the TAMU docs always are skeptical).  He thought Snow might just have a “summer sore” (an open area of skin where the flies have irritated and inflamed the skin) and not have cancer.  I was okay with that.  As the TAMU was seeing emergency patients first, we were not really sure when Snow would go in for surgery.

I got a call that night that the surgery had been completed.  They had cleared out the affected area.  Dr. Whitmore still wasn’t sure what he was seeing but they had sent a sample to the lab.  Snow had come through the surgery well.  They anticipated that he would have a rough night and a lot of swelling the next day with a time to come home to be determined based upon how he did.

The next morning, Dr. Whitmore called again.  “Come pick up Snowboy, he is yelling for his food and ready to go!”

“He doesn’t have a lot of swelling and he is not in a lot of pain?” I asked, “What are his instructions and when can Jordyn ride him?” Jordyn had just learned to canter and wanted to get back on Snowboy.

“No, he has very little swelling and seems happy as can be.  In fact, he can be ridden today”, he answered.

Wow, I thought, the wonder pony comes through diversity again.


About a week later, the histology report came back for Snow.  I was in a meeting at work when the phone lit up with TAMU information.  While people gathered in the room, I sat and listened to lab report and Dr. Whitmore.

“Well, it was both a summer sore and squamous cell carcinoma.” Dr. Whitmore stated. He went on.  “There is good news and bad news.”

My heart starting beating a little faster and looked around the room to see if anyone was noticing I was about to cry.

“The good news is all the margins look good on his penis.  We feel we got everything and the area is clean.  The bad news is that the cancer appears to have spread to his lymphatic system.”

Again, I risked a look around the room, no one paying any attention to me.

“What can we do?” I asked.

“Given his age, I think we just have to watch, wait and keep him comfortable.” he said.

Dr. Whitmore explained there was a chemo drug that might work but we decided it was not a good option for us now.

I said thank you and goodbye.  I took a deep breath and turned my chair to group with tears in my eyes.   Without missing a beat, although my thoughts and heart were going a million miles an hour,  I welcomed our international and traveling guests to the meeting.



We have decided to tell Jordyn and Kendyll the absolute truth about this matter.  We will lose Snow but who knows exactly when.  If any pony is up for the fight, it is Snowney Pony, as Jordyn used to call him.  We have enlisted their help as his nurses.  When grooming him, they will carefully check under his front legs and back for any new bumps or lumps.  They will watch him for discomfort or pain.

Mostly, they will lavish love and attention on the little white horse that we love so much.  He will probably outlive me!  But if he is on his ninth life here, this time he is going to be one super spoiled boy!


Jordyn with her friend, Abby, and Snowboy



Thank you for riding along!






Big Surprises!

We have another big surprise in store for Jordyn, my oldest granddaughter.  I am not telling what it is yet-it will happen on Monday.  But as I thought about Jordyn and her life and reflected on my life as well, I thought this little preamble to the surprise was in order.

Two of the biggest surprises in my life were first getting a dog when my mother absolutely forbid dogs or pets of any kind in our house.  I was obsessed with all animals.  It was an unfair match at best.  I was in third grade when my mom went off to spend a week in Oklahoma with her sisters and my dad took a highly suspect week’s vacation to watch my sister and I.

We had no more pulled away from O’Hare airport when my father made a turn that was not towards home. Yes, immediately after leaving the airport, the three of us went to pick up a four-month old Miniature Schnauzer puppy we named Scamp.  I was the happiest I had ever been.  By the time my mom got home a week later, my father had this dog housebroken and trained.  My life was complete for awhile until my push for a horse would begin in earnest.

That was my second big surprise.  My dad and I had gone to look at some nice Quarter Horses.  I loved the buckskin one (still love buckskins).  But I was told we would have to wait until spring when Chicago thawed out enough to pull trailers and move horses.  On Christmas morning of my seventh grade year, one of the last packages I opened contained a model horse.  I thought it was just a promise of a horse to come.  My dad told me to look under the horse.  I was amazed to find the registration papers for the buckskin, lying inside.  Despite  the bitter cold Christmas morning I was riding “Hilltop Dunny” soon after.  One of the best surprises and days of my life.


At age 16, with my horse Brandy (Hilltop Dunny).

When Jordyn was younger, we let Snowboy go off to our trainer’s barn where he could be used more.  Jo wasn’t old enough for regular rides and Lauren and I had our hands full with training and riding what we had.  Some of you will remember this, but on Jordyn’s sixth birthday, we brought Snowboy back to the farm.  We had him all tacked up in the arena for her to ride after she arrived.  I am inserting the link to the video.


Come Monday, I will have a new video of a new surprise for Jordyn.  It was meant to be a Christmas present (and it will be) but sometimes you just can’t wait for Christmas.

Enjoy this link-I hope it puts a little smile on your face!  And maybe makes you remember a special surprise you got-the day you got what you wanted most in life.


Check it out!  And as always thanks for being a part of the farm and riding along with us!

The Heat Goes On

Newcomer Sammi Dee is taking over the job of watching the horses in the arena. Lula is ever loyal at her side.

Newcomer Sammi Dee is taking over the job of watching the horses in the arena. Lula is ever loyal at her side.

For three days last week, I went without air conditioning.  The highs were in the 90’s and the lows in the mid-70’s.  I kept thinking I would figure out a way to make the A/C work-because I am qualified as an A/C repairman-right?  Well, no.  I was afraid it would be expensive and I was afraid it would take a long time.  And of course, it is just outside the home maintenance policy we bought when we got the house.

While not sleeping, I had quality time to speculate on how much heat a long-haired, curly poodle gives off when nuzzled next to my right side or in contrast, two small dachshunds coupled with a big Doberman on the other.  I would like to point out they were sleeping fine.  I had time to practice my training session for work and re-organize the tackroom in my head.  Lots to do as the you lie awake, too hot to sleep, too stubborn to call for help.  Friday morning looking at the weekend ahead, I couldn’t take it any longer and called the repairman.

By Friday afternoon, late, I had cool air flowing, less money in my checking account. I was ready to go outside to do some work as I knew it would be cool on the inside when I returned.  I slept well (finally) and was up for usually early feeding of the animals.  But Lauren and new boarder Amanda were right behind me as they headed off west to pick up Amanda’s horse.

Patch with new buddy Hershey.

Patch with new buddy Hershey.

We have known Amanda and Patch for some time and know they will make a nice addition to our barn family.

I spent the day with the usual weekend chores, mowing, cleaning, riding and filling troughs. In spite of the greatly improved temperature inside, it was about 95 by noon. I decided to get out the dog’s black trough which they had enjoyed in the summer to splash around in and get wet.  I went to pick up the upside down trough and got quite a surprise.  A small (yet certainly big enough) water moccasin was resting under the trough.

My boarder who is a veterinarian was at the barn with her husband.  Apparently snakes of any kind are not included with animals she has an interest in and I got the feeling she would be just as happy if her husband didn’t come see the snake either.  I stopped Lauren as she was leaving for the weekend (showered, in nice non-barn clothes) for her  to come kill the snake but she also declined.  It has been pretty dry since the monsoons of early summer and we have not seen any snakes.  Finally, I was contemplating going to the house for some boots to wear as part of my snake killing outfit, when Paul (the vet’s husband) came to help me out (plus, he was wearing boots, so clearly he was the best one for the job).

First, I had to lock up all the interested but misguided dogs and then I lifted the trough away and Paul succeeded in killing the snake.  Another day on the farm!

Hiding away in the dirt and leaves. Glad he did not get the dogs, horses or any of the rest of us.

Hiding away in the dirt and leaves. Glad he did not get the dogs, horses or any of the rest of us.

Having gotten through this harrowing experience it was time for me to clean up and get ready to receive visitors.  As you may remember (and I believe there is still a video link on this site to see them re-united) for a while our pony Snowboy, went to live at
Dev’s (or combination of Dev’s and Freeman Ranch). Jordyn was young and didn’t need a fulltime pony and Lauren was too old to compete on a pony.  Well. Snow being the gracious guy he is formed his own group of admirers.  Isabel competed with Snow for a while before Processo. Another Snowboy follower was Allyson.  She had always enjoyed the gentle white pony, in spite of having fallen from him and badly breaking her arm.  I had kept up with Allyson’s mom and Allyson was ready to come back to Snow and resume her lessons.

I had never seen Allyson ride and knew it had been a few years since she and Snow had ridden together, but I needn’t have worried.  Allyson listened to my long lament about getting Snowboy to canter and expertly rode away at a lovely canter, clearly not needing any of my advice.

I hope they come back many times-I have lots of horses this girl can ride.

Sunday it was hot again but still cool inside. Jordyn came over and we did our weekly fence ride-where we ride the fence line and look for the horse’s missing fly masks.  Always a good time!

Alex and MIckey-just about perfect.

Alex and MIckey-just about perfect.

Leaping lizards!

Leaping lizards!

Dev had lessons as the temperatures cooled slightly toward dusk.  It appeared everyone had a good ride!  Lauren and Alex are headed to the show this week with Feather and Mickey.  Both horses were jumping well and appear to be ready to go!

Love this shot! So much energy!

Love this shot! So much energy!

Feather skipping along, literally off the ground on all four feet.

Feather skipping along, literally off the ground on all four feet.

As always thanks for riding along!


A big shout out to Caitlyn Epperson who was in California this past weekend competing for USEF Talent Search.  With her horse, Ky, they put in some great rounds and well-represented all of us back here in Texas.  Great Job, Cate!!

Abby and Jordyn

Jo on Snow and Abby on Ellie Mae-back riding together again.

Jo on Snow and Abby on Ellie Mae-back riding together again.


Jordyn and Abby have known each other almost from birth.  Jordyn is about six months older than Abby but Abby has always been bright enough and quick enough to not only follow Jordyn but to lead her.  Sometimes that was not good, especially when they were three and four years old and known “shop” at the Equestrian Center boutiques, promising Caroline or I would be back to pay for whatever they had picked out (I have to say they usually had extremely good taste-I didn’t always want to purchase a $100 sweater for Jo).

Both Jo and Abby has older role models in their aunt/sister and the millions of kids they watch at the shows that they should be top-notch riders now by age seven. But both girls are equally skittish.  Trotting fine one day and reluctant to move forward the next.  We can easily blame that on some super-duper falls they have taken that have made them leery of anything Caroline or I promise.  fair enough.  It was great this last weekend to have a horse date without aunt or sister in tow, just the little girls to ride their ponies.

Abby, Lauren and Jordyn at Pin Oak 2013

Abby, Lauren and Jordyn at Pin Oak 2013

  • The girls showing off their bows.

    The girls showing off their bows.

    The have enjoyed lots of fun times but have not actually entered a horse show except for Leadline.  We are hoping to remedy that in September where they will step out on the rescue ponies for the first time on their own.  That should be an event to remember.  I am glad these girls have had each other, to play with, to love horses with, to support one another and drive each other on.  It is a special friendship.

  • Abby and Jordyn a year ago in the cold at the horse show.

    Abby and Jordyn a couple of years ago in the cold at the horse show.

    I hope one day these two make the Junior Riders team.  But it is just as likely they could walk away from all this riding stuff their families do and just say it is not for me.  It can be scary, and overwhelming.  but I hope they stay friends and continue to build on their early relationship.

  • Off they go.

    Off they go.