Jordyn’s First Show

And line up with your numbers to the judge! Jordyn executed this perfectly.

And line up with your numbers to the judge! Jordyn executed this perfectly.

Jordyn has been in the show ring several times but always as a passenger, never as the driver.  This time is was all on Jordyn and she had practiced and practiced to get it right.  But like all things the first time around, the unknown sneaks up and creates ripples in your tummy and angst in your heart.

Jordyn has some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder like her mom, aunt, granny and grandpa.  We all like things to be ordered and to be right.  We are uncomfortable when things don’t go on schedule or when we think it is time. it is difficult to wait.  A horse show is not a good place for anxiety or OCD because really little is in your control.  Preparing, working and much saddle time certainly helps but in the end it is you alone in a new ring where all the things you practiced seem so different.

How did she do?  GREAT!  How did she think she did-well, I would say miserable failure would be one description.  We all worked on expectations with her ahead of the show.  Telling her if she got a ribbon, that would be great.  And she did.  She got three THIRD places but it was the fifth place in the last class that sent her over the edge.  I think if she had even won the last class it would have reduced her to tears as she had so much built up tension, just being done caused the tears to flow.


Ten year old Lauren inher line up at her first walk trot show. Helmet is a little big.

 So, let’s go back about twelve years.  Lauren had just gotten Mickey and had been preparing for her first show.  While she was new to riding English she had more actual riding experience under her belt (she could easily canter my big, fast quarter horse, Kid and Jordyn has not cantered on purpose yet) so she started off on her young five-year old rescue horse Mickey in the walk trot division.  In those days, we had yet to gain all the proper stuff like saddles that were made well, boots and jackets that fit and Lauren did not have that top-notch look to her attire that Jordyn did going in the ring this weekend.

We even had kids come up to us and ask if the horse Lauren was riding was in fact Mickey.  Apparently he had thrown a number of children and the kids could not believe she was taking a chance riding him.

The show itself was at Bridle Creek and it was a benefit for Holly Davitt (now Muehle) who had breast cancer.  Holly doesn’t remember much about that show.  I happened to see her at the show this weekend and stopped for a photo together.  She has successfully made 12 years Cancer free.  I was just older.  Still it was pretty cool to see my granddaughter follow so closely in the shoes of her Aunt Lauren.

Lauren's first show was a benefit for Holly. Here we are together at the show this weekend, 12 years later.

Lauren’s first show was a benefit for Holly. Here we are together at the show this weekend, 12 years later.

I am so proud of Jordyn and so proud of Mickey.  Mickey was at Zone Finals jumping over three feet a couple of weeks ago and this week he is trotting around like a champ for my granddaughter.

I wish the pictures showed more happiness on my baby’s face.  After all that is why you show.  And Jordyn could not find one equestrian to talk to that did not have a missed fence or perfect day. Things do not go exactly they way we plan in the ring.  We learn about failure and trying again.  Those are important lessons.

For me it was the culmination of many dreams.  That she would become a secure enough rider to go into the ring on her own and execute all the judge asked her to do.  Also big shout out to our Judge Lisa Richardson who did a great job placing the kids as was their due.

I am sad we did not get pictures of Jo and Mick with her beautiful first ribbons but here are some photos below that show how professional she looked and how well they did!!

Warm-up. Gotta have braids!

Warm-up. Gotta have braids!


Lauren walking from the warm up ring as Jordyn handled Mickey all on her own.


Love this silhouette of their profiles.

Part of Jo's support team, Luke, Ally, Grandparents Dodie and Rick and Kendyll

Part of Jo’s support team, Luke, Ally, Grandparents Dodie and Rick and Kendyll


What a great shot of the two of them!


Reins a little too long-starting to get in a little trouble in her last class.  But Mickey was not touching that pole!


Thank you for the great day Jordyn!  I know I will look back many times and tell people all about your first horse show!

Thanks for riding along!

Cindy has a man friend??? Let’s check him out!

Quiet, private and peaceful? somehow I don't think so.

Quiet, private and peaceful? Somehow I don’t think so.

I know.  This is a difficult statement to conceive of after some 18 years of being divorced and not having a man friend, which is even more ironic as my ex was always certain I was going to divorce him and run off with one of the doctors I worked with at the time.

But yes, I have re-ignited a relationship with a friend of mine from long ago.  You know Facebook is a marvelous thing.  You can check out how people have aged and what they are doing.  It seems to have worked for us.  Which is even more amazing given the crazy pictures I tend to post with me standing in water troughs or with tutus on my head.  Could be why it has taken 18 years to get a date.

Anyway, so we have been planning this little get-to-know-you again trip for a while now.  I wanted it to be low-key.  And even though, Lauren is off to the boyfriend’s most weekends, I confirmed that she would be gone.  I wanted some quiet, private time to introduce the six dogs and gazillion horses to a non-farm person before adding in extra people.  In fact, I had it all planned out perfectly.

Then Ally called this week to ask what time they were coming over on Saturday.  I searched my mind to remember what we were planning on Saturday.  “What are we doing?”, I asked.  “We are coming over to meet your new boyfriend”.  Not what I had in mind.  Then she reminded me that her husband had volunteered to fix our horse’s run-in shed on Sunday.  They would all be there all day and could I babysit Jordyn and Kendyll for a while? Why not?

One of my favorite boarders told me they might just be there Friday night when we get in from the airport, just in case we need help getting the horses out.  Oh, and she is going to whip up her famous Tortilla Soup so we can have dinner all ready when we get back to the farm.  Gee, perhaps her family can set the table and dress as waiters and serve us wine.  (Honestly, I love the soup and am very grateful, but wow!)

Meanwhile,  I learned that another one of my boarders and her boyfriend will be there Saturday to build jumps.  We need new jumps.  It is very nice of them to help out, but this weekend?  The mower guys called to re-schedule to Saturday as well. That will be so peaceful.  Looking out over the green pastures with the mowers and weed eaters running in the wind coupled with the electric saws and hammering. Idyllic.

Awesome. Lauren told me that she and Blake needed to come by because Blake was going to install the electric gate opener (which has been in a box in the garage for almost two years).  Really?  “When is that going to happen?”, I asked.   “Oh. on Sunday.  We have Dev coming to do lessons too!”  Lauren told me.

I think that should only be about six riders and their families hanging out on a fine Sunday morning as Luke builds my run-in shed and Blake installs the gate opener.  I feel pleased that everyone is so sweet and cares so much.  This is truly a monumental event.

I finally gave up and planned a nice picnic type lunch for Sunday noon.  Ally’s in-laws want to run by as well but they will wait until Thanksgiving.

Three year-old Kendyll was over this morning as I getting ready for work and doing the last-minute cleaning of the house.  She was happily standing in my shower stall surveying what I was doing.  “Maybe when my new grandpa comes we can put on our bathing suits and take a shower.  Then you can go get cupcakes and we can have a party!”.

You know, Kendyll, we might as well.  Let me know if anyone else wants to run by and check out the new boyfriend.  We will be at the farm.


At three years of age, Kendyll is a wild woman! But a beautiful one.

At three years of age, Kendyll is a wild woman! But a beautiful one.


There is something about this picture that reminds me of my long-departed sister, Betty Sue (no, not my horse).  Her hair was long and similar in color to Kendyll’s now.  Probably my family that is still around and remembers her as a child would not agree, but there is something here in Kendyll’s eyes, in her expression, that shows strength and determination and my sister had both.  It takes me back in time and yet, secures me tightly to my future, this granddaughter is special as all of mine are.

It has been a run of several weeks of gorgeous weather and clear, cloudless skies.  While this is doing little to preserve what is left of my pastures (which desperately need rain), it starts and ends each day with fresh beauty.  The clear, star-filled sky as I got out early to feed and the dropping sun as the day ends again, an orange ball in the sky.

With this wonderful weather we have been spending a lot of time riding.  Lauren because Zone Finals are upon us and the rest of us, because it is so lovely.  A couple of nights I rode horses back to back after a long day at work.  I galloped for the first time in several years, trusting my mount (Mickey) and myself (as I get stronger) to hang tough.

The arena, while dusty, seems to be drawing us all to ride.

The arena, while dusty, seems to be drawing us all to ride.

I have been busy taking photos.  Even today as I gave lessons I snap photos while my student trudges on. Did you know I am giving lessons now? It is actually going pretty well and I haven’t killed anyone yet.

Allyson is back on Snow after taking a few years off and it is like she never missed a day.  Isabel planned out a tough course for them and they did great. Isabel is getting a lot practice as she has been moving up on Prosecco.  They are jumping higher with tougher courses.  I think she wanted to pass along her experiences.  And in what is probably the crazy jumping picture of the year.  I caught Prosecco jumping like a frightened cat literally off the ground and over the jump.  This has to be an all-star photo!

OMG!!! Crazy jump photo of the year with Isabel and Prosecco!

OMG!!! Crazy jump photo of the year with Isabel and Prosecco!

Speaking of a little nuts, Mickey is headed to Zone Finals with Alex for his fourth time.  We have him on some new meds and he is doing so well. He is jumping well and moving like a young horse.


Mickey and Alex get their ride on.

Mickey and Alex get their ride on.



We have been pushing Mickey to jump higher and wider to meet the demands of the big show.  He is responding well.  The jump above had a wide enough spread that after jumping it successfully, they found the jump was wide enough for Alex and Mickey to stand inside of it.  Now, we just need to get Lauren and Feather to jump Mickey in the middle of the jump and we will really have something!

Another milestone for me passed this week with the one year anniversary of the arrival of Fargo and baby Betty Sue.  Betty Sue was only six months old when she arrived from Colorado.  Fargo is in foal to Feather’s sire and she has grown a little too!

Trotting with Fargo.

Betty Sue, tiny next to Fargo, a year ago.


Pregnant mama Fargo, me and tall Betty Sue.

Pregnant mama Fargo, me and tall Betty Sue.

The dogs are always a big part of any day and we caught a couple candid’s of them.

Sammi Dee has settled in so well to life here. But a girl does need her rest.

Sammi Dee has settled in so well to life here. But a girl does need her rest.










IMG_5291Alex took this one!  I have a couple more dog photos to finish up.  Gotta go get horses out for another cloudless night.  As always thanks for riding along!  Come visit us!

It's all fun and games until someone has to wear the cone!

It’s all fun and games until someone has to wear the cone!

Allyson's five year old sister Gabby spending so calm time with Maui Jim.

Allyson’s five-year old sister Gabby spending so calm time with Maui Jim.

We had joy

We had fun

We had seasons in the sun










A Week in the Life

What am I doing now? The Ergonomic specialist stopped by my desk with a few tips.

floor1What am I doing now? The Ergonomic specialist stopped by my desk with a few tips.

Seems there is never a dull moment in my life whether I am at work or at play.  The company I work for employs an ergonomic specialist that ensures we are sitting properly at our desk, with the best support and tools.

I think she found me to be a “special” case as I had many ergonomic challenges.  Just changing  the direction of my keyboard and a few things on my computer have led to better days at the office.

One of her most important messages was that we all need to get up and move around more.  Of course, there is an app you can use on your phone to remind you to get up.  For me, the “special’ case, I was told to get up from my desk and lay down on the floor.  I was given a noodle-like a form one that you would use to float on in the pool.  I am to put that under my back and roll around.

How great it is to be wallowing on the floor of your office filled with Millennial employees like a giant turtle on its back.  From the pictures you can see that I am not that joyful regarding this process.  However, I must note that day by day I am a little less knotted up and stressed filled.

So when I am not lying on the floor at work on a foam noodle, I have had a busy weekend with being a horse show mom.  We had not been to a show since last March and it was great fun to catch up with everyone and see what they are doing and who they showing now.  Lauren and Feather moved up a division to the High Amateur Adults at 1.10 and 1.15 meters.  It was their first time ever to compete in that division.  The 1.10 meter went well with the pair picking up a third place ribbon.  Feather has jump and Lauren has skill but it will take some more time in the show ring for it all to flow well.

Up and Over--

Up and Over–


Feather up and over the donut jump.

Feather up and over the donut jump.

This week I have also been spending extra time trying to get yard work, pastures, and grounds trimmed, mowed and ready for fall.  It has been much cooler in the evening and we have enjoyed working with Betty Sue.  We are working on baby horse things like being tied and cross-tied.  We have also had fun just hanging out with her and enjoying her quirky personality.  At 17 months she measured a solid 14.3 hands and almost 800 pounds.

bs 10012015

Most evenings have been quiet at the farm with Lauren and Isabel riding their horses and ponies.  The new Mustang Kit is coming along well.  Lauren and I were gratified the other night to see the neighbor who had to give up these horses drive by on the road above the farm.  He slowed down to watch Lauren work his former pony.  I hope he is pleased with her progress, but I feel he might be.  This Welsh and/or Quarter pony is certainly no longer looking like any kind of rescue project.  In fact we cut her food back as she is bordering on chunky these days!

Looking pretty well fed these days-our rescue pony Jete'.

Looking pretty well fed these days-our rescue pony Jete’.

Speaking of chunky, my friend was showing me a picture of her dog Teddy.  We decided that coupled with a picture of lean, young Maui  it could be a Weight Watcher before and after ad.

Rubanesque Teddy and lean and sweet Maui Jim

Rubanesque Teddy and lean and sweet Maui Jim

Kendyll has been spending the early fall mornings with her momma, Ally, working at the farm.  This morning she called Betty Sue and Nova over for some pets.  Then she had to bring her play pony Buddy over for a picture with Nova as well.  Wish I had been home to spend time with them.

The horses have their fly masks on to keep the flies out of their eyes.  Kendyll is pretty

The horses have their fly masks on to keep the flies out of their eyes. Kendyll is pretty


Looking forward to weekend!  You all enjoy the fine fall weather and thanks for riding along with us!

Summertime Gone

I feel like summertime has just began but based upon the photos that are rising up on Facebook and in my own messages, it is clearly the start of yet another new school year.  In Texas, there is no marked change of weather to indicate time to return to school has arrived.  I remember late August days in Chicago when the wind would pick up and the temperatures drop forcing us out of the community pool and out shopping for sweaters.

Shortly, in much of the US, there will be brilliant leaves falling from trees and the first frost descending on the land.  Last year, we did not have a frost.  Period.  No temperatures below 32 degrees.  Usually the true summertime weather hangs around until Halloween or so.

It used to be in Florida I would pride myself on turning off the air conditioning by November first and not turning it back on until May first. We were close to the ocean and got that ocean breeze but here I am lucky to turn off the air for Christmas Day. I am sure the warm weather year around is a blessing. But it is one I struggle with by the start of the new school year.  I mean really how many days of changing your clothes three times because they are soaking wet can you take (and for those of you who have not lived in the humid south, we are not talking about getting caught in a rain storm although that is always a possibility as well).

We were able to let all the girls out together for the first time-and everyone got along!!

We were able to let all the girls out together for the first time-and everyone got along!!

The mares grazing on the late summer grass and subsequently being rained upon.

The mares grazing on the late summer grass and subsequently being rained upon.

But as much as I complain, the cold is harder on me than heat, so I trudge along.  In spite of the weather, which included several strong thunderstorms this week, life at the barn continues.  This week saw Libby with her healing broken hand climb back aboard Cody for the first time.  She also had a brand new saddle.  One specially made to fit Cody and keep Libby in the saddle and off the ground.  After so much pain, it was delightful to see the joy on her face as she took an inaugural spin around the arena.

Dev was back for the first time in many weeks as well, healing from his broken orbital and subsequent surgery.  I haven’t sat back in the shade of the deep porch and watched lessons for some time.  The arena was perfect and horses spot on.

Jordyn made some progress on her riding as well.  It has always been one step forward and two steps back for my first granddaughter.  It has taken some urging, begging, threats and praise but Jordayn finally trotted off through a series of cavellettis and some Xes.  This is a precursor to trotting over jumps and a  transition she needs to make to move on.

Jo and Snow with Kona, Kena and Maui-barn dogs extornaire!

Jo and Snow with Kona, Kena and Maui-barn dogs extraordinaire!  Look at those dirty, giant paws.

Jordyn headed off to third grade this week and remarkably has the same teacher as last year.  While second grade at the new public school brought tremendous anxiety to Jordyn, this year’s first day went smoothly and easily.

Riley entered first grade this year and is a top student.  He looks pretty GQ in this picture from “Meet the Teachers” night.

Handsome Riley meeting his first grade teacher in Denver.

Handsome Riley meeting his first grade teacher in Denver.

Summertime heat may be here to stay for a while but fall will soon begin again.  As always thanks for riding along!


Lauren and I send our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Figenshaw family as they attempt to grasp with the new realities of their lives.  In a horrible instant, while taking daughter Meg (whom we have known since Whipple Tree days) off to college, Meg and her father Paul, were hit head on.  Paul did not survive the accident.  Meg has a broken neck, collar-bone, ribs, arm and pelvis.  Having lost my sister in a head on wreck, I know the anguish of loss.

Lord make your face to shine upon and give them strength to carry on.

A moment can change everything.  We are so deeply sorry for your loss.



imageI had a last-minute opportunity to head off to Colorado with my granddaughter Jordyn to spend the weekend celebrating the birthdays of my Denver grandchildren, Riley and Lexi.

I am a Denver native and a lover of the Rockies. While I have not lived in Denver for over 35 years I have always made several trips a year “home”.  Until these last years, when I moved my mom to Texas and now with her gone, I have not been here since my mother’s funeral last August.

It was with some apprehension I agreed to join the celebration of the birthdays of Riley (6) and Lexi (4).  I wanted to see my Colorado grandkids but was already reeling a bit from the first anniversary of my mother’s death and I knew a visit to my mountain home would emphasize not minimize my memories of my family.

Jordyn and I headed off yesterday afternoon.  Arriving at my daughter Amber’s home, while things had changed it all felt so familiar.  Much of my mother’s furniture makes it home now at Amber’s house.  I was greeted by the sight of our family dining room table with the oil painting from Brussels placed prominently upon the navy wall.  So many memories of holiday meals and family gatherings filled my mind.

  The sight of Nellie, the current Irish Wolfhound in residence at Amber’s, brought memories of our big dogs from before.  Jim always loved posing for pictures with the noble dogs. Nellie is a big girl with one of the best temperaments I have seen.

It was nice to sit down to a family dinner or pork roast and pasta.  It has been a long time since Lauren and I have bothered with a real meal.  I had forgotten how nice it was to enjoy great food and lively conversation.

Today preparations for the party started early (although not feed the horses at 4:30 early).  The giant bouncy house arrived, then the caterers and then the guests.  It was a beautiful day filled with fun, friends and family.



 I guess returning home means starting new memories.  Memories I will have to cherish in the future.  Colorado said “welcome home”.

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.


The two plates, numerous screws, two large incisions and the first of at least six casts.  It is bleak.

The two plates, numerous screws, two large incisions and the first cast. It is bleak.

A year ago today, I sat in the waiting room as Lauren went through surgery to repair her crushed arm.  The day she finally got out of the hospital we received the news my mother’s death was immenient.

Fifteen years ago today, Ally, Lauren and I moved from Florida to Texas. I clearly remember the drive and the Kenny Chesney CD that played over and over. The three of us started a new life here with three dogs, two cats and a fancy Rugged Lark mare.

These times here have taken their toll yet developed us into the people we are today. We have struggled emotionally, financially and physically. I would have never dreamt as we slept that first night on the floor in our rented Sugar Land house in the sweltering July heat (our furniture was en route and Reliant Energy had not gotten our electric service started) where we would all be today.  Life certainly is crazy ride.

Still as I reflect on all of this, my throat catching and eyes brimming with tears I know deeply and intuitively we have survived, grown and even conquered.  The events of this past weekend, although simple family things, just make it clear to me.

Ryan, Lexi, Riley and Amber

Ryan, Lexi, Riley and Amber

My daughter, Amber, who was in college in Florida when we moved to Texas, just completed a wonderful vacation with her husband’s family.  They enjoyed sun-lit days and evenings as a big family, bonding as you can only do, when daily duties and responsibilities melt away with the southern sun. I delighted to see so many terrific pictures with this family and grandchildren who are so dear to me. They are happy. They are healthy. They are blessed.

Ally and her family are nearby.  I regularly get to see them and feel their joy in life. Ally had some hard road to walk.  It has not come easy for her at all. But she is now close to college graduation.  She supports her amazing girls and husband, finding a domestic peace that evaded me.

Kendyll and Jordyn spent the night with Lauren and I this weekend.  It is always a time filled with laughter, nonsense and animals. Sunday morning we went over to help our friend who just got out of the hospital.  She has a daughter Jordyn’s age and the girls have known each other since they were little.  Kendyll feel in love with their tiny (heightwise) pony.  I don’t think Kendyll has ever been so thrilled.

Kendyll being taken for a ride by Abby.  Oh, my goodness she was pleased with herself!

Kendyll being taken for a ride by Abby. Oh, my goodness she was pleased with herself!

Jordyn, Kendyll and Abby.

Jordyn, Kendyll and Abby.

Our cleaning team surrounding the estactic Kendyll.

Our cleaning team surrounding the ecstatic Kendyll.

Lauren and I had one of our rare weekends when we were both home.  The heat index was sky-rocketing and we were hanging out in the house with a gaggle of dogs.  But it was a rewarding time as Lauren is finally able physically (after her arm) to get back to college this semester.  We were discussing her future and it is going to be just fine. A year ago we would not have imagined that it would take this long to get her back to normal.

Reflection is an important tool for assessing where we were, where we are and where we might go.  It is also important to maintain as life catches us unaware or unprepared or unwilling to move forward.  Sometimes reflection invites perspective that we may not have done what we wanted to do but we have done so much more.


Thank you to all you who journey along with us, thanks for riding along.



The more things change

Jordyn, about two, riding in her first barrel race on Drifter with my Lauren and Lauren & Kallyn Davang

Jordyn, about two, riding in her first barrel race on Drifter with my Lauren and Lauren & Kallyn Davang


If you have not been to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, I dare say you have not been to a rodeo.  Every spring, for over three weeks, the Rodeo takes up residence in NRG Center.  It includes all the traditional rodeo events but also carnivals, shopping, tremendous food and lots of fun for all.  And while our barn is now focused on the English disciplines of Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers, my roots are in ranching, barrel racing and Quarter horses.

I love rodeo time and enjoy that the schools and businesses in the Houston area get caught up in rodeo theme as well.  Businesses declare it  Rodeo Day and many come outfitted in wildly patterned cowboy boots that sit in the closet for the rest of the non-rodeo year.  Schools have Rodeo Day as well and the kids force their parents to buy new boots (last year’s are outgrown) and western shirts.  Fortunately for my granddaughter Kendyll, there is no lacking of horse/rodeo themed clothing available to her as handed down by sister Jordyn.

Kendyll, a little over 2 1/2, with Jordyn's same little western shirt and Jo's boots.

Kendyll, a little over 2 1/2, with Jordyn’s same little western shirt and Jo’s boots.

Kendyll is older than Jo was in the picture above, but they are both still getting indoctrinated in the “cowboy” life as I would put it.  When I was a kid growing up outside Chicago, there were not many opportunities to don my cowgirl boots and head anywhere but the barn, certainly not to school.  I loved Colorado and cherished my summer-time there where I got to dress like a cowgirl 24/7.

But I feel even in Colorado, where spotting someone in jeans and boots is pretty commonplace, official rodeo days don’t happen at the schools.  I came to Texas by happenstance.  Unless you don’t believe in happenstance and then that is a whole other discussion.  The girls and I came from Florida as I was recruited for a job here.  I never dreamed I would live in Texas but I have to say many things about it have brought me back to my Cowboy and my momma’s Oklahoma roots.

I have looked all over (although not out in the cold garage) where I would probably find a picture of my sister, my mom and I.  My sister and I were little, like three and five maybe.  We were at Elk Falls Ranch.  My sister and I had on nifty aqua blue skirts and vests with fringe.  We had on cute white cowgirl boots.  I know you will miss seeing that.

My family has been dressing like cowboys (girls) for many generations now.  As Jordyn and my other grandkids continue the tradition, I find it comforting and wonderful that these horse based traditions are being passed along.  The grandkids represent the third generation to ride recreationally.  Clearly, people have had horses as a necessity going back thousands of years.  But this family has chosen to ride and live (in spite of the English direction we have taken in recent years)  like the cowboys that came before us, still cherishing a well built horse and a comfortable saddle.  Texas helps us remember our roots.

As Marcel Proust said, and I remember from my suffering days in European Literature, “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.  It is so true.  Ride on.

My daddy-my first Cowboy love!

My daddy-my first Cowboy love!



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!