Cha-cha-changes Lent Writing # 3

Empty pastures but a rainbow in the distance.

Remember that old song by David Bowie (or not) about turning and facing the changes?  Well, I got to face a change I made the first of February that was effective when I got home from the cruise.

The last weekend of January I gathered all my boarders together for an announcement. I am not sure what any of them was expecting but I don’t think it was what I said. I told them I was closing the boarding portion of the barn effective March 15th.

Many things had lead me to making this decision that would change my life and my lifestyle. It would also grind to dust many of my dreams.

Certainly, things have been leading up to this for sometime. I had increasing responsibilities at my day job. Lauren was increasingly gone at hers.

Meanwhile, my health was deteriorating in many ways most of them orthopedic. And my ability to get up day after day after day dwindled and exhaustion set in.

On an average day I would get up around 4:30 am. This is not predawn, it’s before dawn even thinks about getting out of bed. I would bundle up, strip down or cover up according to the weather that faced me when I walked out the back door. The dogs would be fed, the horses brought in from the pastures, the horses fed and the cats tended to as well.

A quick shower, fresh clothes, make up and hair done, off I would whirl to work. I have a very busy job at a Fortune 30 Company. Responsibilities are huge and make no mistake-futures are based on past merits. Every day it is important I bring my best game to work. Sleepless, hurt or aching could not be acknowledged nor would it be admired.

And before you ask, no retirement from my job is not an option. Too many years in the volatile health care industry as a single mom with three kids has totally waylaid the retirement option.

Likewise after the day job, especially when Lauren is gone, I still had a full-time job to come home to despite the best efforts of my daughter Ally who has sacrificed her family, schooling and friends to always be there to help me out.

By week four of Lauren’s journey to Florida both Ally and I had had it.

And it was not something that could be solved simply by Lauren’s return. It was more fundamental and basic than that. As much as we loved our boarders, they were a constant, never ending reminder of work to be done and challenges to meet.

You might’ve noticed I posted very few times from Christmas until now. During that time I learned I would need surgery on both of my hands- get this-I need bi-lateral thumb replacements. Seriously. Who has even heard of that?  I also learned my back had severe osteoarthritis, for which nothing could be done. And honestly, effectively managing any of the barn chores without my hands and without using my back is pretty impossible.
Plus, I had the added advantage of three years of tax data just finished. And maybe because of the service we were trying to provide and the high quality foods we were feeding we were certainly not making a profit. This added the final piece to the puzzle of if we should be a boarding barn.

Since our announcement, boarders have been moving out by bit and day by day. When we returned from our trip only one boarder  was left. Lisa who is our housesitter and my ever faithful back up when Lauren is gone will continue to keep her horse here. At least until this year of traveling is done for Lauren.

All of these things make my decision a good one. How many changes especially dream crushing, life altering, changes are easy? I would guess none.

When you have this many animals you are constantly counting. I count the cats when I go outside the door to be sure they haven’t followed. I count the dogs when I come back in the door to make sure they have. And whenever I am outside I constantly survey the pastures and make sure every horse is where it should be.

Today, I kept looking across at the mare’s pasture. I only saw three horses there; Nova, Betty Sue, and Feather. It has thrown me off-kilter. Likewise, I excitedly headed to the barn last night anticipating telling tales of our wonderful cruise. But no one was there.

I will grow used to this. But it will take some time. The major advantage is with my own horses only to care for, I will not need to race out to feed or hay or take horses to the pasture at any given time. I am only here to serve my own needs and those of my own horses.

Important changes. Life-changing changes. Perhaps life extending changes.

As always, thanks for riding along.



We are suddenly half way through September.  As far as things go around my place it still feels like June or August.  September has yet to really differentiate itself from the rest of summer, at least until I thought about it a little.

September always seems more like the start of the new year than New Year’s.  Things begin again.  School, clothing changes (even if temps do not), new TV shows start, days become shorter bit by bit and the horses either start growing that winter coat  or at least shedding out the summer one in preparation for the new one. There are two in the barn with their new winter coats already grown that are miserably sweating out the last of summer days.  

As an aside, coats are grown by horses in a response to decreased daylight, not temperature, so a horse in Montana starts growing a winter coat when his friends in Florida do. But I digress. 


I wish i would have been around for this cake Amber made!!

I also have two grandchildren with early September birthdays so that always starts off the month in a fun way.  Lauren got Riley (7) a Lego-type kit of the PETRONAS Twin Tower building in Kuala Lumpur.  He is quite accomplished at these but this one is proving a bit challenging. 

Jordyn (9) had a fun swimming party this year with a Texan theme.  How great is that?  Two of her favorite things at one time.


And although it is 90+ degrees my friend Caroline and I, she has bought horses from me and I have bought horses from her, had our yearly blanket talk. We both have a variety of horses, old and young, small and big.  We both blanket all our horses when the days got cold (okay, cool) but with horses growing and changing we try to trade off with one another.  This year I am trading her Betty Sue’s blanket which she has out-grown to her for use on my old Piper pony that she now owns and she is giving me a horse sized blanket for Betty Sue.  Hard to think about all this while the sweat drips down your face, but one day soon it will be important. 

My favorite flower, the Hawaiian plumeria

My summer flowers are looking a little tired at this point, all that growing and blooming. I think they are ready for a rest too.  But with all the rain and then sun, everything has grown well this summer. I like this shot taken through the jasmine I planted, which is now vining the fence as you look across to the arena. 

September was always a favorite month for me in both Chicago and Colorado.  I loved fall.  It was a time for change.  I have always loved change.  I loved starting a new grade, the new weather, the new clothes, the colors of the trees. It was a favorite time to go with my dad to Colorado for the family Aspen ride. Nothing is a breath-taking to me as the mountains on fire in their fall glory. 

I wish I had pictures still of those rides on my golden buckskin through the golden Aspens. I wish I had been able to save more of my family history. 

And of course fall is always the time to get back to the horse show ring. I am excited to see what the fall shows will bring to us. Lauren has been riding several horses a day and working hard at her trainer’s. So here is a riddle- Lauren will be back in the ring on a horse that Jordyn has ridden ( or at least sat upon) at a horse show but Lauren never has.  Huh, wonder who that can be.  I will post a picture of Jo on the horse in my next blog. Change is good. Change is upon us all. Embrace what you can and keep riding along!


Congratulations to my daughter Amber and her family on their newest family member, Lola. She is a German Wirehaired Pointer. 



Exceeding Your Reach

A photo from Lauren’s recent trip to tropical Malaysia

I certainly have felt this before with Amber and Ally as they have made their way through life.  I am proud of them, their families and their accomplishments. It is that moment as a parent or a grandparent that you see your family member meet or exceed what your accomplishments have been.  It is certainly a moment for introspection.

These are little examples in my life not like the proud families watching their child’s head to Olympics or achieve medals but moments indeed.

I grew up as the daughter of a United Airlines executive.  We traveled frequently and to many places.  I have enjoyed traveling to many countries.  But never have I boarded a plane for many hours to head to Asia.  The fact that my “rather stay home” daughter did so was remarkable to me.  Her album on Facebook of her trip shows modern cities and high rises juxtapositioned amongst jungles, monkeys and secluded beaches.


Lauren and Mia barefoot on the wobbling sky bridge looming high over the jungle floor. 

While Lauren is still recovering from her 20 hour return flight I can tell by her comments to others how the wonder, strangeness and exotic power of travel has changed her.  She will be richer all her life for this opportunity to see how others live and what her country  offers her in every day life.

  Many stairs head to the beautiful waterfalls

Super exotic and ultra-modern

My child has now ventured almost around the world. Certainly exceeding what I thought was well-traveled for me and mine.  And that she flew home alone, negotiating a plane change in Taipei makes it even more wild.  I will never think of Lauren the same again.  Many, many thanks to the wonderful Kuchner  family for making this opportunity a reality! We are forever indebted.



Jordyn on Mickey and I am on Feather with Nancy guiding us along



Taking a dressage lesson with my granddaughter-what a thrill!
Again, in the category of exceeding my reach is my eight year-old granddaughter Jordyn saddling up with me to take dressage lessons together.  Jordyn has been pining away with desire to join the grown up dressage lessons that take place a couple of times a week at my barn with dressage master, Nancy Lindsey.

Jordyn, through her summer with working student camp, days and days spent at the farm and on horseback was ready for a few new steps to her riding repertoire.  Also, with our usual dressage rider Jo Ann out-of-town, Nancy could focus on Jordyn and not  slow the group down.

I was interestingly effected by the addition of my granddaughter to my lesson.  I have ridden all my life but just recently started learning the nuances of dressage.  I am a beginner in many ways just like Jordyn

As we made our twenty meter circle and worked on leg yielding in and out, there was something special and captivating about having my granddaughter there to share it with me.  I really don’t remember ever taking lessons with my kids.  I was either way better than them or they were way better than I.  But we were never at the same place at the same time.  While I can out ride Jordyn for sure, in these new tasks we were equals and she was even better than I.

The best part?  Jordyn was overcome with JOY to be part of this lesson.  Her smile never wavered and her enthusiam never stopped. An hour later,  I was out of breath in the corner as Nancy took Jordyn and Mick through one more serpentine.  With the 117 degree heat index, it was all quite remarkable. Jordyn told me, “She works you hard, huh, Granny?” She does indeed!


Nancy giving Jordyn some words of wisdom

It was a new step for both of us and one that I think both of us equally treasured.  Hurrah, for the little blessings of life.


Thanks for riding along!

Hot Days



1111111111111syn111111sunLauren left for Malaysia in the early hours of July 27th to spend some time with her friend Mia and her family.  This has left 100 year-old Cindy at the farm pretty much on her own as the dog days of summer continue in earnest.  It has been brutally hot and humid for the last week and for this week except the day before Lauren left where it was just a balmy, humid 84.

Due to Ally still recovering from a stitched up hand, Alex being on vacation and other changes, I have been on my own at the farm most of the time. Fortunately, Ally was released to return to work on Friday and I welcomed her back gratefully.  My neighbors are in Singapore so it is super quiet around the farm.  Everyone choosing now as the optimum time for their southeast Asia vacation. Like who does that?  Vacations in SE Asia?  Anyway—

While working my day job and coming home to do the night chores of getting horses in, hosing them all down (they are covered in sweat), feeding, distributing hay, turning out the night horses along with feeding dogs and assorted cats has been a little overwhelming, but nothing prepared me for the weekend.

I wanted to get a ride in on Diva before Jordyn came out Friday night.  I was in the saddle before 5 pm while the temperature was still hovering close to 100.  Nothing wears out a horse like the hot sun and wet sand (from our previous day’s shower).  My little ride made Diva the perfect saint for Jordyn when at 6 pm she climbed on-board and I moved on to taking a dressage lesson with Nancy Lindsey.

Taking a dressage lesson with Nancy is an arduous task on a cool, winter day.  Under the blazing sun of summer it is a little like torture.  You certainly want a buddy in the ring to divert her sharp eye from you and your horse.  Thankfully, Jo Ann and Mickey were there to suffer along with me. To make the lesson a little more adventuresome, I was riding Feather in Lauren’s absence.

Feather needed to keep up her workload and I needed the lesson.  Perfect idea in theory.  But the things Lauren does with this mare (and they seem simply to happen) were not quite as easy when I tried.  First, Feather was bored, bored, bored with Granny on board!  What in the world was she doing away from her fan in the hot summer sun?  And with this old, silly amateur on-board, it was really quite ridiculous.  The horse Olympian Bernie Traurig said had been born in a perfect frame, was not framing up for me!

Feather in a frame, where she is round and working off her hind end. She can even do it on her own-but not for me!

Okay, so we worked on that.  And we sweated.  And worked some more. Just to make this super fun, occasionally Feather likes to bolt.  As in two years ago she bolted and Lauren broke her arm.  Or four years ago, she bolted and Jordyn almost broke her back.  Yea, that kind of bolting-jumping out from under you at a dead run kind of bolting.  We think it is a stifle issue.  The vet will check Feather out when Lauren returns.   But back to my story-around we go in relatively respectable posting trot, with Feather in somewhat of a frame, when out of the left corner we come like we have been shot out of a cannon! A few seconds that felt like a lifetime flew by and I was settled back in the saddle again with Feather quietly standing there like she had never moved an inch.


This could have been me flying from the cannon.  My old cowboy hang tough muscle memory saved me!

The good news about this event was it further confirmed our thoughts on the stifle issue (that is a part of a horse’s leg for those of you not up on horse anatomy issues). I did not fall off or break anything!  And Nancy Lindsey gave me some great tips on how not let it happen again (I was thinking never ride the horse to the left or never get back on the horse again) but she had some more constructive ideas like put a breast collar on the horse so I have something to hold on to. She also told me something that I have long thought but could not support.

She told me I handled the ordeal better than Lauren does.  Now, make no mistakes, Lauren is a WAY better rider than me.  I cannot do the things she does but in terms of handling young, spooky, crazy or difficult horses, I have more experience and more confidence.  Lauren won’t like this but it made my day!

So, that was Friday.  We got in the house about 7:30 and Jordyn asked me about dinner.  Was she kidding?  I was supposed to feed her?  Not a chance.  I was exhausted.  I don’t remember what she ate but am pretty sure she found something.  I was chugging Gatorade.

Saturday was a lovely 100 degree day filled with many opportunities to meet my FitBit goals (which I almost doubled).  First, I did some mowing-like with a push mower, a power push mower but still.  I got back in the house during the worst heat of the day to catch up on the all those chores.  Somehow, Lauren goes out-of-town and does not clean the house prior to her departure.    She did manage to use every towel she owned which were now in the laundry room and leave her bedding for me to wash.  It was just a few loads.

I was back out in the sun with my migrant worker outfit on (old tattered shorts, a ragged tee-shirt and an old cowboy that looks like it has been run over) by 2:30.  The horses needed to get out of the sun as well.  Each of them deserved a hosing off before sending them to the shade and blowing fans in their stalls.

Quickly it was time to put dinner on the table (or in the trough as the case might be) for the horses, dogs and cats.  That is a total of 21 animals.  Yes, I am crazy.  Ask anyone.

I had made it through Saturday and was on to Sunday!  At some misguided moment, I had agreed to do everything (morning to night) at the farm on Sunday.  I neglected to remember that I had not done all the chores myself for several months (after I broke my ribs) and the whole heat factor sent this way off the chart into totally stupid idea time.

Thinking I was going to get to sleep in a little (what would that be like?) I fed the horses, dogs and cats about 5 am.  Then while they rested in the relative cool of dawn, I went back to bed.  I got up at 8, put on another one of my top-notch outfits, filled my water jug and headed to the barn.  I got all the horses including super baby Sims to their respective pastures and actually got the main barn cleaned in record time.  I took a break. I was dying.  The heat was nuts.

I got going again on the remaining seven stalls. I did two of them.  I stopped and laid down in the shade.  Drank some water.  I was ridiculous.  How does anyone do this?  Then I started thinking of all the other people I knew-none of them were doing anything this dumb, or hard, or hot.  Geez.

My late start (brilliant as it was) did not take into account the heat rising as day went on.  I was on stall number eight or nine and it was past 11:30.  Of course, I had not eaten.  I started getting muscle cramps.  I hoped for a heart attack-hospitals are air-conditioned. It just went on.

By the time I had made the dinner and breakfast feed for all the horses and several hay bags for the night horses, I was so far past my tolerance point I was into delirium.  I got into the house about 1:30, showered and tried to imagine going back out to get the horses in, feeding and doing turn-out.  Wasn’t happening.  My one day of showing I could be Lauren or Ally was a failure!

I stumbled out to get the horses,  in yet another of my migrant farmer looks, (if you are considering this look for Halloween, let me know, I have many versions) to find my friend Jo Ann there. I begged her to help me to feed and hay so I could go back in the house and lay down.  Thankfully she agreed.

I was an absolute zombie.  I fell asleep by 7 pm.  But I was chipper and off to work on Monday just a little sore for all my fun.  Man, I admire all you barn, farm and event managers/workers.  Actually anyone working outside in the summer heat.  My name is Cindy and I couldn’t do it!

maui sleep

I even wore out the youngest of the dogs, Maui.  Totally asleep on Sunday afternoon.


Thanks for riding along!  Stay cool and safe!

Let Time Go Lightly


Taking a dressage lesson on Diva.


As the morning sun made its way across the Houston sky this morning, I was introspective and subdued.  So many things in the world weigh heavily on me from the acts of shooting down policemen to watching our President speak at their funerals.  At no time when you contemplate your funeral do you want to have the President speak at it.  That is no doubt a big flag that your death was untimely and wrong.

Last night I watched a documentary on the White House. (I know, who does that?) Anyway,  did you know that days after Abraham Lincoln took up residence in the White House he could see Confederate soldiers camping along the Potomac?  If the Union army had not arrived, our White House could have been destroyed.  Sorry, I know this seems a little random.  My point is there has always been ups and downs in turmoil and struggle in this country and beyond.

Last night’s program made me reflect on the hard times we have faced as a nation and as individuals.  LBJ was never a favorite president in my house.  After the glitter and promise of the Kennedy days, LBJ days were dark with assignations and the Viet Nam war.  Still, I never thought about President Johnson having two son-in-laws in Viet Nam and facing protesters daily chanting, “L.B.J.-how many boys have you killed today?”.  What if he had to tell his daughters that their husbands were the ones that had died over there?  No easy times.  Those were hard times-for eveyone.  No wonder people took drugs! (Being flippant here-don’t take drugs.)

I suspect our country is headed for more tough times. And we have seen our share.  I guess that is why when I suddenly had an opportunity (friends coming for dinner Sunday cancelled) I did the first thing on my list of “want to-dos”, which was get on a horse. Let time go lightly when you can.

My horse Nova has had hoof problems stemming from our excessively wet spring to our brutally hot, dry summer.  She has not been doing well keeping her shoes on.  I swear she spots a lesson scheduled on her carrot phone calendar and yanks off her shoe just prior to lessons each week.

Anyway, with Nova steadfastly avoiding lessons, I decided to spend some time getting to know Jordyn’s new Quarter horse Diva.   I like the little quarter horse.  I like Quarter horses as a rule and this mare reminds me why. She is inquisitive, but quiet and interested in everything.  She had gotten ridden by several of the girls at camp but I had not been on her and not been able to really assess what we had bought.


                          Letting time go lightly with Diva

Sunday night while I was all alone  at the barn, I tacked up Diva and enjoyed a very uncomplicated, easy, no fuss ride on the back of this new five year-old.  Most of the time, I am working a young horse like Betty Sue that can go wacky on me fast. Or even on my horse Nova, we have had so many stops and starts in her training that we are always starting over again. It was pleasant to do uncomplicated.

Celebrating our new Monday closed status (everyone needs a day off, right?) I was back up on Diva seeking out some more Zen on the back of a horse time.  I started asking her some serious questions about what she knew and she answered fairly well.

Last night, we took our first Dressage lesson together. I was rusty from many weeks of missing lessons (thanks, Nova!). Diva is hard to convince it is time to get going, but once she does, she does well. Both trainer Nancy and I were enthusiatic over Diva.

In addition, to my horse back times, I have been working hard on my garden, moving trees, planning out a new garden for Luke and Ally, planting replacements, and relentlessly nurturing and watering the plants through the hot summer days.  I do a lot of nurturing.  Plants, dogs, cats, horse, kids, adults, Cindy tries to help and let growth begin or continue.

So, today’s topic?  There is so much going on, in the world and with each of us.  I do not know anyone that is not way past full on their obligation schedule.  I know I am.  It is important to take time for ourselves and those we love freeing up the usual restrictions and letting time go lightly.  It could be the best summer gift you can give. Let time go lightly!


I let time go lightly when I’m here with you,
I let time go lightly when the day is through.
I keep a watch on time when I’ve got work to do,
but I let time go lightly with you

Harry Chapin-



Thanks for riding along!


Oh, also on my things to do list last night was to save this baby deer that had gotten stuck behind our fence line.  As usual, Lauren was not going to touch it and it was up to Jo Ann and I to save the day (or the deer).

I had this happen before and this time I knew what to do.  Here is the story of the first time-



I am going to have an update on Sims for the next post.  You will never believe what colors he is turning.  Actually, I have no idea where he is going with his current look.  Maybe punk rocker.  But I can tell you he continues to grow.  Over 300 pounds and almost 13 hands at 6 weeks.


What’s happening under the mask?  Stay tuned!

Ride On.



Fourteen Days

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 9.06.34 AM

Fourteen days of camp have come and gone.  Actually, for Mia and Isabel it has been 21 days of camp.  That is lot of time.  Honestly, I don’t think camp would have even been a thought if Mia had not moved to Malaysia over 18 months ago.  We needed a reason for her to come back and stay with us for a while and making up a working student camp was as good as any.

Last summer Mia came and we had a week long mini-camp.  But this summer things got bigger.  I had mentioned the camp one day in the Oklahoma office of my work, and the next thing I knew I had a colleague eager to send her daughter, Makenna.  My granddaughter Jordyn is almost nine.  She was ready for overnight camp.  She came as well.

By June we had three overnight campers and two day campers, Isabel and Allyson.  Isabel and Mia had some idea what they were getting into but not the others.  Lauren runs this camp.  It is her idea of teaching kids that there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes at any horse barn.  And she did not go gently.  I am very proud of the program Lauren put together.  I am very proud of the girls that made it through two weeks in the brutal Texas heat and I hope they are proud of the work they did and what they learned.

Here are the highlights (or low points depending on your perspective)-

  • The first day all the girls emptied the big arena of all the jumps and poles.  I counted over 30 poles (wooden) and at least 14 sets of wooden standards.  Day One-over 100 degree heat index, the arena was painstakingly emptied.  I don’t think the girls were prepared for the weight, the heat or amount of time in the sun.  It was a little much.
  • From there guest speakers came and went sharing their time and knowledge with the girls.  Elizabeth, a student at Texas A&M, shared the stories of her semester in Kentucky working at the thoroughbred foaling farms.  She also gave practical information about college, what was needed to get there and what it was like.
  • Dr. Criner  came next doing an insightful series on equine dentistry.  I dare say the girls learned more than they ever wanted to know about horse’s teeth!

All along the girls were assigned specific horses which they were responsible to feed, groom and care for each day.  The first day the feed room was a mad house, but then the girls learned to rotate through, mixing up the specific feed and supplements for the horses they were caring for.  Many of the girls had never mixed feed before or had any idea about horse nutrition.  They do now!

  • Probably one of the favorite field trips was to Lone Star Sporthorses.  The girls got to take in the one of the grandest new barns in the area.  Fitted with beautiful wood, matted paver tiles and the best of all features.   They learned a lot about European horse breeding with hands on a gorgeous stallion, imported mares and outstanding babies. Look at this one-


LadyKilla LS (Bubalu VDL x Nabab de Reve x Narcos II) At three months

The girls also learned from Leeanna to get baby Sims a ball to play with.  It was so fun to watch him.  He had a ball!  Get it?

Saturday morning found the girls saddled up western style for some traditional Texas riding.  They were spending the morning with Sarah, a barrel racer, trainer and outstanding horse woman.  She took the English girls through a little background and they all gained knowledge of sport and I suspect a little respect for the ladies that participate in it.  It was all made more special because all the horses in the ring (including Libby on Cody who riding but not doing the clinic) came originally from Sarah.

Barrel and Pole clinic with Sarah!

In between the great speakers and field trips, painting had begun on all the jumps; poles and standards.  That was a lot of work-scraping off old paint.  Getting new paint on neatly and maintaining clean lines.  There was a lot of paint used, and I found it everywhere from the jumps it belonged on, to brand new wash cloths, clothing and my car’s seat. Oh, well. For the good of many a few may suffer. 

Tuesday, it was 90 by 9:00 am. We were headed to Wharton to get hay. Lauren, pulling our horse trailer, had part of the troupe with her and Ally was pulling the small trailer with the rest of us. 

Heat didn’t seem to matter as the group created an assembly line to load 50 bales of hay. Both trailers were quickly to the max.   Kendyll wanted to ride a barrel horse ( she also wants to jump Grand Prix double with Trapp so why was I surprised?)  Kallyn and Becky our hosts, quickly saddled Hope and Kendyll got her wish. 

 All the girls plus Kallyn and Becky surrounding their outstanding two year-old Whatson. 

Lauren had purchased a 25 foot wide  plastic sheet. So why a plastic sheet? I couldn’t figure out what it was for.  New advanced Slip-n-Slide.  Goodness that was a big time from the littlest girls to the oldest ones, everyone dove and played in cool water.


The girls also perfected their skills riding a variety of horses a variety of ways.  And remember we were also doing junior camp for the five and under set a couple days a week. 


from L- Micenzie, Kendyll, Madison


Lil’ Madison on Diva

 I would come in the house in the evening to see the girls playing board games.  A little bit of a lost skill when everything seems electronic in nature.  We had the new copies of the old stand-bys, like Life, Monopoly, Parcheesi and card games.  The tv was seldom on and while the girls had their phones, more often than not, the were being used to settle an argument about a horse breed or riding question.

  • Another clear highlight of the week, was the trip to the Zena Mechanical Horse. On this Mechanical horse that you ride as you are assessed as much for your internal health as your riding ability, was a life changing experience for most everyone in the group.  Jan, works with a lot of vets with PTSD, and is used to working with some pretty tough stuff.  She had an absolutely uncanny ability to see right through the facades the girls thought they had in place.  There were a lot of “aha” moments and even more tears.  Jan saw right through Mia’s cocky resolve of toughness and asked if it did not hurt to miss her friends with all the moves the family had made.  Lots of tears on that one for sure.  But Mia came away more relaxed and assured in her riding after leaving the armor behind. 
  • Jordyn has had more than her share of bad falls.  As a riding family she has had more than her share of ultimatums born from our frustration that she was not progressing as fast as we thought she should, boy were we told to leave her alone and let her learn to LOVE to ride again. 
  • Here Jan is telling Jordyn she knows she is afraid. She works through her fear. Had Lauren in tears. 

Amazing stuff they are doing out there.  Let me know if you want more information.

The girls got the jumps done and the arena looks fresh and new. They did a great job. It kind of looks like Easter out there with lilac, spring green and yellow jumps. But I can live with that. 

  • Last night Mia and Mickey along with Allyson and Snow headed to Pine Hill for an eventing lesson. It like jumping objects as you travel across open country. Mick and Snow had not done much of this but were happy to try. Great job, ladies. And thanks to Holly for coaching them.   


Everyone Learned a lot and grew a great deal at this camp. From my daughter Lauren at 23 down to my granddaughter Jordan at nine, new skills were acquired, new trials were accepted and new things were heroically overcome. 

I am super proud to have been part of this team. No matter how hot it was or how tired they were they worked, they worked together and they got the job done. It’s been a great two weeks.
Thanks for riding along!

I’m looking forward


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.

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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.




The team at Dianne’s circa 2005-2006? Who do you recognize?

Everyone talks about not being able to go home again. That returning home never meets expectations or gives us the closure we need.

I discovered, quite by chance, that sometimes our home not a place we lived, not necessarily a time and place but it is that  feeling of belonging, of peace and of family.  So what am I rattling on about this time?  Well, I took a visit “home” and was stunned by the depth of emotion I felt.


A couple of Sundays ago, we had agreed to take some of boarders and their horses to a little local show at the barn where Lauren really began riding.

In the days before Lauren trained with men with one syllable names, Dianne and her farm were where Lauren first headed once we arrived in Texas for riding lessons. Lauren had gotten Mickey in 2003 and it wasn’t long before we looked for a place for them to learn and show.

We spent several years there as Lauren made her way up from walk-trot through the Junior-Adult division. Lauren along with girls who are still her friends, including Caitlyn, Libby, Alex and Arianna, all rode here first.

We boarded horses there, Snowboy and Mickey. We also kept my horse Kid and big Cupid there. My mare Mariah, now owned by Caroline, started out with us there.
Lauren had her very first job while in junior high at this farm. On cold, dark winter nights and stifling hot summer days, Lauren helped other riders tack up. She was responsible for feeding and watering over 60 horses that resided there. It give some insight into the glamorous (not) horse industry.
Lessons were a big deal, both from the social aspect of what you were wearing versus your friends to the status of which lesson group were you in (i.e. how high did you get to jump). From my standpoint, firm, long standing friendships were built while watching hours of lessons go by.


In the pattern not unlike that of a panic attack, I cannot tell you what hit me first as I returned to Dianne’s farm. My feelings built slowly as I took in so much that was seemingly the same as the day I had left. Then the feelings multiplied rapidly as I saw, hugged and recognized my dear friends.

What took me tottering over the edge of emotional restraint and left me bordering on tears was walking into the farmhouse to discover pictures of Lauren and her friends, while faded and a little tattered, still adorning the walls. I held back emotional tears as I led our new riders around to see young Lauren and Caitlyn, mini Libby, Alex so tiny, and  fragile looking Arianna- yet so mighty.

As I walked around the farm, revisiting my old horse Mac, still so well cared for and looking great in his late 20’s, tears caught in my throat several times.  Memories danced behind my eyes, seeing little Lauren grooming Mickey, tied to the big trees, Desi-her first ride on Mac, Alex so focused-on Buzzy, winning her class.  Then the next time Arianna taking the win on Crunchy. And remembering specifically the day Snowboy came back to the farm from his time at the SPCA.

Caitlyn took a Morgan to Pin Oak the first time.  Seriously.  What were we thinking? -But she did well and it was the first Pin Oak of so many to come.

wtf picThe Six Meadow Farm Team-Allyson, Amanda, Isabel, Lauren, Libby and Alex

When the girls from our Six Meadow Farm entered the ring, it was a real time of throwback memories.  The hunter course of outside, inside, outside, inside was just the same.  When my girls (and my boy Snow) all came back with Champion or Reserve ribbons it was super sweet!

I did not even know I missed the farm.  My life is full.  But it is Dianne that started it all for so many of us.  I felt almost physically assaulted and totally exhausted as I left the farm that day.  Emotionally drained is an apt expression.

Thank you Dianne for the days we spent in your tutelage, kindness and friendship.  I will be richer all my life for my days spent with you!

Shout out to my old friends with whom I have recently reunited…it was so wonderful to see you all again—Dianne, Carol, Kim, Deanna, Rachel, Danny, Rebecca, Chelsie and Diane.


Thank you for riding along.  You are my family.


Little triumphs

 Busy, busy times for me and the family right now. I am on several big projects at my real job and traveling a lot. I landed to a windy 18 degrees on Monday which is about 60 degrees colder than I like.

But I am ever so grateful at this stage of my career to be doing something I love. It is a little triumph to go forth each day excited about the projects I am doing and   people with whom I work.
Lauren is headed off to Wellington, Florida this week to spend some time with friend Catie at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). WEF is a 12 week international competition where your favorite Olympic hero might be shopping in the grocery store with you (Hello Ian Miller!) or show up at the local restaurant (McClain Ward,  table for two?).

What an amazing opportunity!  Another triumph for the kid from Wharton who just wants to ride.

And speaking of horse triumphs, my mare Nova should be back to sound after some vet magic from Dr. Criner.

Actually this will be more than a little triumph. I had continued to work my girl and things just weren’t right. A few X-rays told us she had been hurting and now she can be pain free. I am so excited to have this special girl back working just when I should be getting cleared to ride.

Additionally in little triumph category it has been several weeks since poodle  Maui Jim has eaten or destroyed anything important. Last night Lauren and I were on the phone (I was still out of town) when I heard a horrible crash and the sound of broken glass.

We have a free-standing staircase in our living room. For months now we have talked about getting my old headboard out to the garage but it hasn’t moved from its position on the wall opposite the stairs.

Last night as we visited on the phone, Maui came racing through the living room making a galloping turn around the stairs and catching the head board with his foot on the way by. What I heard was the sound of the queen sized headboard smashing into the back of the stairs with enough force to knock the shelf displaying all Lauren’s Zone Final pictures cascading to the ground.

I guess the triumph here is at least he didn’t eat another FitBit or my glasses. Lauren hauled him off to his kennel to think about what he had done.

Rising two year-old Betty Sue has hit 1000 pounds and grown out of her second halter. She got a brand new halter with her name on it!  Little triumphs!

Finally, as a rider in any discipline as you get better and more educated about your equestrian sport you tend to trade in equipment for more technical, better made models.  Lauren has definitely gone down this path starting with a synthetic Wintec saddle, moving to some low cost but name brand models on to higher priced models. Yesterday after selling her saddle of three years she received her dream saddle.

We tested it out tonight to see if it would allow Feather’s wide shoulders enough freedom when they jump. And it did-well, that’s actually in the category of a big triumph!

Thanks for riding along my friends. Stay safe and warm!


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