World cup winners – Lenten writing # 31

Last night was the kick off to the World Cup held in Omaha, Nebraska. I was invited and declined, stupid me, but my daughter Lauren is actually in Omaha having an opportunity of a lifetime to see the best horses in the world fight it out for the number one global champion.

Last night according to US Equestrians Communication department, McLain Ward and HH Azur had won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final I (Jumping Speed Class) to kick off the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final. HH Azur is a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Double H Farm & Francois Mathy.

Lauren sent me this video of McLain’s victory gallop. What a thrill for her to be there.
But just saying, back here at the farm, Kona and Lula were having a pretty great time too.

Like I said, World Cup or Walmart, either one is terrific. 
As always, thanks for riding along and go USA in the World Cup.

Jasmine- Lenten Writing #30

My sweet jasmine

I  have loved the sweet smell of jasmine since I first ventured to the south in 1979.  I was transferred from Denver to Houston for the first time then. I got an apartment for my dog and I at Westheimer and Gessner. Literally a couple of miles from where I work now. I was 22 years old. 

One of the very first things I noticed about my apartment was when I came downstairs in the morning I could smell the scent of Jasmine and gardenias floating in the breeze. They were two of my favorite all-time smells and to have them growing right outside my apartment door let me feel like I had landed on an unique tropical island. Houston traffic dissuaded me of that quickly. 

I left Houston in 1980, moving back to the state of Kansas. Amber was born in Kansas City in 1982. It was not till we all landed in Florida in 1992 that I found the jasmine again. I busily planted jasmine and because everything seems to grow to jumbo height there, we soon had our own jasmine to smell. 

The dog yard as we first moved in. You can just spot the small jasmine plants along the fence line. Now, the fence has disappeared and green, flowered jasmine runs the fence line


All three places I have lived in Texas; Sugar Land, Wharton and Richmond, I have planted lots of Jasmine. 

And while the song Summer  Breeze is all about the jasmine, you do not smell Jasmine in the summer in Texas. Texas always trying to be the overachiever, fragrant jasmine blossoms light upon the spring winds of March and April.

My grandkids remember the previous springs with delight. Kendyll  tonight took some flowers from the vine to let me smell knowing how I would enjoy it. 

I’m going to stick with summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of my mind for tonight and hopefully another month or so. 

Summer Breeze

By Seals and Croft

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.

And I come home from a hard day’s work, and you’re waiting there, not a care in the world.

See the smile a-waitin’ in the kitchen, food cookin’ and the plates for two.  See the arms that reach out to hold me, in the evening when the day is through.

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Pin Oak Debut and a Rescue Dog, too-Lenten Writing #23

Kona at the horse show


For the first time this year I actually got to be in the same state as my daughter so I could watch her ride!  

And it was time for them to try new heights. Certainly, Ky has been in the ring before at this height but Lauren never had. And what better place to try it all out then Pin Oak? (I am being factitious-seems like Pin Oak is the last place you would want to try this).

As Ally and I sat in the stands with Kona waiting for Lauren to make her trip,  you couldn’t help but notice all the pageantry that goes into this show. Literally hundreds of real plants surround of the jumps. They were making an effort at some toparies  and the ones of the giant bunnies scared Kona to death. I can’t even imagine what the horses were thinking of the half green half gray giant topiary horses at the end of the ring. 

But for the most part the field of horses coming in did a good job. Ally was surprised at the number that was having trouble with the course. Either refusing to jump or pulling the rails when they did. 

But it is early in the season (for some) just March and a lot of horses haven’t had much time out yet. I was super impressed with the young horses that were jumping quite high this early in the year.  It is our hope that Betty Sue will make this group of elite young jumpers. She has a half-sister who is doing very well in the same field. There certainly is a lot between the sound in the stands, the announcer, and the busy, busy jumps for a young horse or any horse to be frightened of here. 

Anyway, today in Lauren’s class she was clear in her first round. This would let her to move ahead and participate in the jump off. The pair placed sixth overall. Her teammate Sarah, rode very well too, and ended up third overall in the class. It was a good day for TKO Sport Horses. 

I was thrilled to watch Lauren so professionally guide Ky through the jumps. While I am always nervous watching her I wasn’t as bad as usual. She certainly has grown into a commanding athlete. I can see the months of hard work she has put in paying off. 

I thought it was a Pretty Great day for Pin Oak, jumping higher than she ever had against other seasoned riders. 

Lauren’s caption above


As always thanks for riding along!
By the way, I have a bird-dog/something with the giant head dog, that I need to get adopted if anyone knows someone interested. Nine-month-old male very cute, very sweet.

Fired!- Lenten Writing #22

 

Youre-FiredI had the opportunity to spend time with a friend of mine who seems to have it pretty together in terms of health, fitness, mind and wellness. She gave me what was actually an hour-long lecture on how to be better. The first thing she told me was I needed to fire myself.

“Fire myself?” I questioned,  “what does that mean?” And she explained it and it made perfect sense .
When we overeat,  when don’t get enough rest, don’t do our exercise program or any of those things which are not good for us, we always have a reason. At least I do. And my friend was spot on when she said this has got to change.

When we go eat that extra candy bar or take that serving of macaroni and cheese or just do not treat ourselves well, who’s making that decision? Of course,  it is ourselves. 
We choose the things we eat, the exercise we get and the hours we sleep. At least for the most part, lacking any detention camp stays or sleep disorders.

______________________________________

So let’s change paths for just a moment.  What if you had an employee that worked for you and they continually failed to follow the rules and continually stepped outside the lines. What would you do?

We would fire them!  And don’t we do just the same in regard to our own health and wellness?   I certainly step outside the boundaries that I know have been drawn for me.  I don’t do the right things in terms of eating, exercise and sleep (I try!).  My friend was suggesting we fire ourselves and become newly hired employees learning to listen to our bodies (our bosses) all over again.
______________________________________

At some point in my life and I hope to God it’s now, I need to decide to treat myself well. I need to be my own best manager. I can be successful at work. I can successful in my home life but if I’m not successful at handling my own health and well-being than who will be?

My friend suggested that I write down exactly what I expected of myself. Kind of like an employment contract. And then I hold myself to being the person I want to be. Sounds so simple and yet I know it will take a lot of work for me to do this.  Just this morning the candy basket came around and I actually paused for just a moment and thought about is this the right decision for me. But I still reached in and took a small chocolate.

My wise friend would say that’s OK .  This is an about treating yourself right, not denying yourself everything that you want. Instead of gobbling down that candy bar quickly because you just had to have it, she suggested sitting down,  taking a moment and savoring the candy bar. If it’s that important to have it,  give it some quality inspection with your taste buds.

Make each decision, each bite, each meal, a deliberate path.  I know you may have heard this all before but something rang true in hearing it put this way.  It was like she knew exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my life.
I am going to start listening to my boss!  I am going to fire myself and start all over.  I hope I do myself justice this second time around.

As always, thanks for riding along.

Pin Oak Again-Lenten Writing #21

Lauren and Ky fly at the Great SW Equestrian Center, Katy, Texas


I have been blogging since 2012. And a year does not go by that I  don’t talk about Pin Oak, the biggest charity horse show of the year. Benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital, it is important for the kids that are assisted by the proceeds of this show and important to the riders who bring their best horse and best game to take away prestigious Pin Oak ribbons. 

I am going in insert a section from my blog three years ago when Lauren was battling a torn muscle and ruptured disk in her back. The doctor had said NO jumping but hacking a horse was fine. Here’s what happened three years ago: 

————-

March 23, 2014

We got a text from our friend Kathy to see if Lauren wanted to come up to the show and hack horses for her and trainer Trapp. No question about that, we changed clothes fast and headed to Katy. 

Kathy,  and Lauren on Ky, in search of a quiet ring to ride in.


Lauren called the big, imported gelding, Ky, amazing to ride. She wanted to buy him but I told her, one day maybe she might get to compete a horse like this. 

Lauren having a wonderful time on an amazing horse. 


——–

Three years ago, Lauren gets to exercise the amazing horse Ky and this year for Pin Oak, she gets to compete him. This is the stuff of dreams. 

The German imported gelding and Lauren  will hopefully pick up where they left off in Florida jumping well and rounding quick. 

Pin Oak has been very good to Lauren in the past when she won her division on Feather.  We are hoping for some more Pin Oak ribbons to add to our display. 
God Speed Lauren and Ky!!

How to avoid quitting-LentenWriting #19


We have a guest blog today as I continue with my goal/pledge to blog every day of the Lenton season. Our guest, Nicola Smith, has a wonderful background both in physical education background and as a dressage rider and trainer. Here is one of my favorite quotes from her which presents a beautiful graphic. 

“I remember someone saying to me once that training a dressage horse is like training a gymnast without being able to talk to them. It takes great skill, patience and the right training and mindset. They are (such) incredibly powerful and willing animals that its incredible what we are able to achieve when the training is right and we build a solid foundation to do so and we simply can’t do this without having a healthy body and mind to do it from,” Nicola Smith. 

I have had several post about goals. You’re probably sick of hearing about my dressage lessons when you didn’t even know how to spell Dressage previously,  much less what it meant. But, there’s always a but, I recently saw this article which I came upon at perfect time for me and perhaps for you, midway through March as we are.

This is the time of year when a lot of original goals for 2017 have been forgotten about, not accomplished regularly, or just given up on. This article by UK writer Nicola Smith  -was perfect for me. Please click on the link below and enjoy some inspiration.

http://dressageridertraining.com/blog/how-to-avoid-quitting/

Thank you Nicola for allowing us a look into your riding world and access to your blog.
More about Nicola-

http://dressageridertraining.com/about/
As always thanks for riding along. 

One of those days-Lenten writing #15

The day really started out OK. I had to see the doctor today and I was fasting for a long time before my appointment this afternoon. Did not put me in the best of moods. Seeing the doctor these days is an oddly challenging event.  I want to listen to her words of advice yet so much of me rebelles against what I am being told. I cannot control my body and the way it functions and that makes me insane.

New doses of medication were prescribed which will result in another few weeks of trials and side effects, all so we can move it around some more. Never will the condition/disease be perfectly handled. It becomes a question of which is worse the side effects, the drug or condition/disease. I once heard a doctor I worked for describe this process to a patient as the tail is wagging the dog. I know you have all had similar frustrations.

Today we’re just going to go with something simple like prayers for some of my dear, dear friends who recently, heart shatteringly, lost their baby horses. One at two years of age in a ridiculous yet fatal accident (ridiculous in that things like this should not happen). And another baby foal who never got up once it had been born. 

I am so sorry for them. I know in many ways these are first world problems. But the heartbreaks nonetheless.

So I’m going to leave us with this picture of hopeful inspiration.


And I will hang out with my girl Izzy who provides comfort to me as another day ends. 

Thanks for riding along.

On the Eve of 60


I am on the eve of 60 years of age peering across an amazing, tranquil, turquoise sea. My three daughters surprised me with a mother/daughter cruise and today we are in Cozumel. Exotic, beautiful, and a tad dangerous. And yet today, I can see it is a little illustrative of my life. 

Sixty years ago tomorrow, my little momma gave birth to me on a snowny night in Denver. My dad stayed with her as I was born, unusual in those days. 

Since then I have lived 13 cities in eight states, visited nine countries and 41 of the 50 states. I have lived in the big city and small town-loving them both. 

I have had three of the most wonderful daughters and nine husbands (got you-not really)! I have two terrific son-in-laws and the most amazing grandchildren!!

On this night before my sixth decade begins, I am grateful for the galactic ups and downs of my life (most of the time).  I have been abunditantly blessed. I have faced some times of gut-wrenching sorrow. I have seen thousands of amazing sunsets and been lucky enough to rise the next day to an opportunity to do it all again. 

I have loved deeply. I have climbed high mountains in foreign lands and ridden miles on the back of a true horse. 

What a wonderful life I have lived. If I had to check out today I would be okay. I have done and loved all of my days. 

But I am, oh, so eager, to head into my next decade. My three daughters each have their own futures to roll out. Futures of their own lives, achieving their own goals. I have grandchildren to watch as they grow into amazing young adults. 

I want to see my many diverse friends tell their own stories and win their own races ( whatever those are).   

And I want to see my young horses mature, develop and hopefully, jump the moon. 

My sixtieth birthday will dawn in many ways, as just the start of another day.  But I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I am here to wake up to one more day of my amazing life. 

Thank you, my family and friends, for 21,900 days of wonder, heart-break, joy and mostly of love.  Sixty years-wow-go me!  Go life!

Lauren and I in my fun, decorated stateroom

Two my beautiful daughters, Ally and Amber.

The whole group!

You are only as young (and crazy) as you act!

The Order of the Universe

jete 09032015

Flicka gleaming in the evening light after a thorough clean up by Alex and Lauren. Looks like a show pony not a rescue. Wow!

Life is a funny thing.  One of my favorite quotes (and often mentioned here) is “Man plans.  God laughs.” And sometimes God takes his own time in showing why things happen as they do.

So, let’s go back to the fall of last year.  My neighbor had recently lost his wife to heart disease and as time wore on, his ability to care for her horses (and ponies) went downhill.  It was never a surprise to see the horses had broken through their fence and were grazing along the road.  And nine times out of ten, the best escape artist was the black pony they called Flicka.  The other horses were not quite so crafty and were losing weight on the diminished grass in their pasture as our dry summer had continued.

As I drove home from work one day, I saw the sheriff’s horse trailer at this property loading the horses.  But my Texas neighbors being what they are, swooped in and immediately took over the care of four of the very worst of the horses.  That left the pony Flicka and a Mustang to go to the sheriff’s quarantine and eventual sale at auction.  But again, my determined neighbors, tried to help those two ponies find life long homes as well.

I had not met my neighbor Pauline before, when she showed up to beseech me to take one of the ponies.  Before she left, I had agreed to take Flicka and Isabel (one of our boarders) agreed to take the Mustang.  They still had to wait out the quarantine and then outbid the kill buyers. 

Some stories I wrote about the two ponies as they came to live at my barn are chronicled here:

https://exechorseluver.com/2015/09/04/rescue-initiated-rescue-complete/

https://exechorseluver.com/2015/09/14/mustang-love/

https://exechorseluver.com/2015/10/02/a-week-in-the-life/

There are three blogs from that time around the ponies. You might enjoy reading them all.

We found Flicka, who we re-named Jete’,  to be a beautiful and sweet girl but she was too much of a ride for my granddaughter Jordyn and we did not have much use for her.  Lauren and I talked it over and decided to offer her to our friend Dianne who had more riders and more need for the black pony.  Dianne loved her from the first moment, re-named her Baby J, and the pony has gone on to win numerous blue ribbons and several championships.  I found it to be a very successful re-homing.

I am not sure that my neighbors agreed with my plan when they failed to see the shiny black pony in my pasture.  Pauline came back to property to inquire as to where the pony had gone.  This was a very fair question in light of the time and money they had spent to get the pony from the auction. I told her my friend had the pony and maybe I read more disappointment in her face than there actually was, but I felt bad that we had sent the pony away.

Throughout this year, I had checked in with Dianne to see how Baby J was doing.  I heard she was a favorite of many of kids, they liked riding her and caring for her.  Over Christmas break, Jordyn spent three days at a “mini-camp” at Dianne’s barn.  I had lots of opportunities to see Baby J and talk with Dianne.  In the time we have been in our new place (almost three years now) Dianne had not been over to visit.  We set a time for me to “kid-nap” her on the Thursday before Christmas.

Our two places are only miles apart as the crow flies but due to the river between us, it is a little complicated to get to my place and many long-time residents have no idea these horse properties exist up on the bank of the Brazos River.  As we got close to turning on my road, Dianne sat up and said, “I have been here before!”

“Was it to go to Nancy Lindsey’s place?  She has been here for years.” I said.

“No”, Dianne replied, “I bought ponies from this lady in the first house on the right”.

As we drove by the house, now broken down and uninhabitable, she pointed it out. Dianne told me she had bought two ponies that I knew well, Bubblegum and Sophie (Jordyn once even showed Sophie), from the lady that had lived there. I knew immediately who she was talking about, none other than my now deceased neighbor’s wife, who had once owned the very pony I had given her.

I told Dianne gently that the women was now deceased.  Her husband had built a new house for them where he lives now, right next door to the place Dianne had bought ponies from years ago.

For those of you that believe in divine intervention, or the universe having an order to it or even Karma, for me this was a beautiful example.  Dianne had known my neighbor for many years and purchased two ponies that went on to have much love, wonderful homes and lots of children to ride them.  How wonderful is it that her pony through the sheriff’s confiscation, my neighbor’s intervention, and through my desire to give the pony the best home she could have, ended up right back at the place that her other ponies had gone so many years ago?

A fitting story for the holiday I would say!

I hope you all are approaching the New Year with hope and inspiration!

As always, thanks for riding along!

10991294_798044480272380_7841089578457057882_n

January morning at Six Meadow Farm

 

 

 

First Times

Lauren receiving her second place ribbon before taking her first victory gallop.


There’s a first time for everything or so they say, and Lauren and I had counted up four-first time experiences over the last couple of weeks.  It is kind of a tie for which of the top two were more traumatic, but I will lead-off with one of Lauren’s first time experiences in sequential order.

Lauren and two of our boarders, Lisa and Libby, headed down to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago for a horse show.  Nothing unusual about this, but all three headed to the show without a trainer along for guidance.  Riders, like most athletes, do better with a trainer along.  It is hard see beyond your own biases and shortcomings to perform at a high level without professional guidance.  Some might even call it a waste of time and money.

But these ladies have been in the saddle awhile and thought a little weekend show away would be a fun activity.  Feather, due to a series of events beyond our control, has not been in the show ring this year.  It was a chance to get her back in the ring and see how she was faring.  I bid them good bye and good luck as they left on Friday morning.

Feather took the trip totally in stride.  In fact, she was so quiet and fluid, the hunter ring would have welcomed her.  I was proud of Lauren making her own decisions on what classes to enter, figuring out her own path through the posted course and coming out of her first class with a second place ribbon.

 Later, instead of wasting Feather’s energy in regular classes, Lauren waited for the higher fences in the Jumper Classic. There was more money on the line in this class as well. Remember fastest horse through the course with the fewest faults wins. Lauren, as her own trainer, thought she and Feather should make a quick, inside turn that would have cut seconds off her time. Lauren, the rider, got a little freaked out by the speed she was going when she should have made the inside turn. They went the long route and lost by two seconds. 

Still, a good first outing and good return to the ring for Feather. 

Lauren with beautiful Feather

Before the girls got loaded to leave Sam Antonio, they managed to break the latch of the slant (divider) of my almost new trailer. 

This sets up first time number two. Once back from San Antonio, Lauren took the trailer to our local trailer repair shop.  They took one look and said the amount of damage to trailer was more than they handled and advised we head back to the dealer. 

One a side note, I was thinking this little party to SA to show – despite Lauren’s winnings, was starting to have cost me a lot!!

Anyway, we called the dealer who was 100+ miles away in Seguin, Texas, verified they had the parts and headed off to spend more money. Of course, then we blew a tire on the trailer and ended up on the side of highway with no one to help us for 50 miles in any direction. Lauren got Blake on the phone and he walked her through the change the tire process. 

So, for the first time ever, Lauren changed a tire. It was terrifying!  We were sitting on the side of the road on I-10, one of the busiest interstates in the US, changing our first tire.  The big semis would roll by and the whole trailer would shake. 


Years ago our friend Gaylyn gave us the yellow tire holder upper thing. Never used it before. But we were very glad we had it now. And fortunately we had a good spare. Lauren got the old tire off, the new tire on and off we went.  I was super glad no horses were in the trailer!  And super glad my daughter had just successfully changed her first tire. 

When we got to the dealership we dropped off the trailer and headed to the little local tire store to buy a new spare. The one new spare cost me what two similar tires would have cost in Houston. I was really starting to wish the trailer had never gone to SA in the first place. 

Anyway, my first takes place next! Sunday we were doing chores around the barn and Lauren started screaming. Only one thing gets her going like that-SNAKES!!  


It was a fairly good sized water moccasin that apparently had been living under the horse’s water trough. Not good. We were lucky they, the dogs and all of us were safe. 

My vet Lynn was there working on a horse and her husband, Klaus, assisted me in the snake kill. I had maybe killed smaller snakes before but this was my first time to kill a venomous one. I already had my tall riding boots on- I was ready!



The snake tried to slither away. I slammed the shovel down to kill him. But caught him too far back in his body. I had to wait for Klaus to get another shovel and successfully cut off his head before the killing was over.  I was glad the Klaus was there as Lauren certainly wouldn’t have helped me.


The last “first” of this update was Lauren voted in her very first election. Regardless of how awful our choices are, get out and vote!

————–

I heard news on several friends this week who are battling very severe illnesses and injuries. I am praying for them and praying for all of you that need help, love or just a little strength. 

As always thanks for riding along!