And the Lesson Goes to…

20131130-185826.jpg
Sarah giving Lauren tips on getting respect from the big horse

Sarah, who used to run the horse rescue that Mick, Snow and Kid came from, and is my go-to for starting my young horses or problem horses, accepted my invitation to come help work on Bruno’s loading into the trailer. When he came to us Bruno loaded well. I suspect that the series of trailer rides, all ending in pain at the vet, have soured him on loading.

Sarah helped us with frightened, spooky Feather. She trains with positive reinforcement and tough love. She does not put up with any disrespect. She worked with Bruno and with Lauren, whom she claimed was not standing up to Bruno. All those months of babying him through his hoof issue have not boded well with being the boss mare now.

Sarah got Bruno loading consistently. He was not extremely happy in the trailer but Lauren loaded him multiple times. We will continue with our homework and hope to see Bruno happily loading.

Tomorrow Lauren has a lesson with Dev. In a light bulb moment, we both realized we could bring any horse to the lesson. Feather has finished for the season. She could use the work, but we do not have to take her.

20131130-190348.jpg
Feather says of course, I am going to the lesson! I am the show horse

Bruno could go. It would be good to focus on him, really ready to go for the first time since he came to us. Plus, I really believe he will load happily in the trailer.

20131130-190903.jpg
Bru says bring it on, I am ready to go

Or since Mickey is finally sound after five weeks off work, it would be fun to take him. It would be way easier on Lauren to bring Mickey. Or so she thinks!

20131130-192028.jpg

Mickey sticks his tongue out, nanny boo boo, no way she would pick me-free pasture day

And don’t forget, a really fun day could be had on Snowboy!

20131130-191054.jpg

Tune in tomorrow to see who Lauren picks to be her Sunday ride!

Thanks

20131129-135352.jpg
Momma hanging with Lauren

Been enjoying a couple days off work for the Thanksgiving holiday. Mostly, anyway. We had been at moms last weekend and I had thought it was a little cool in her room. A cold front was moving through and I kept upping the thermostat each time I came by. Tuesday, they called me to say the heater was out in my mom’s room and they were moving her to another vacant room. Jordyn and I helped move the bed, some chairs and some clothing to get her by, for a few days. It has all been confusing to her. I understand stuff happens, but her heat broke last year and she went without for several days.

Thanksgiving morning the nursing home called to say the housekeeper had found my mom on the floor. She was fine, no injuries, but I feel she was confused going between the new room and her old room. I am thankful she was okay.

I just hate anything that troubles my mother.

20131129-141040.jpg
Lauren and Jo having breakfast

Part of our chores was to get the truck inspected. There is only one spot in town that does state inspections. So we anticipated a little wait on the last day of the month. We picked up some breakfast and headed to the gas station. The truck passed inspection and we had a great time. Building memories, one glamorous moment after another!

Thanksgiving was spent at Ally’s. Luke and she did a great job on dinner. All of us, had many things to be grateful for and Jordyn led us as we went around the table saying what they were. Family was high on all of our lists. Although Jordyn had Snowboy first on her list. Priorities!

The horses have been in their stalls pretty much non-stop for the last several cold, rainy days. Feather has completed her last show this year, so down time is fine, except for the 57 times a day we get to clean the stalls. We are trying to get Bruno started on his show career. However, while he used to load like a champ, I think he associates the trailer with going to the vet, and it is causing reluctance on his part to load now. Our trainer friend, Sarah, is coming tomorrow to work with us and Bruno to come to an understanding about loading in the trailer. If we get over that hurdle, Bruno will be headed to a lesson Sunday. Wow, I bet that will be something to see! Bruno, in a new place after being in his stall for two weeks. I vote that Dev rides him first!

Hope your holiday was warm and happy! Thanks! For riding along and being a part of our journey.

20131129-144552.jpg
Snowboy getting out for a little break

Momma’s one year Texas Anniversary

One year ago, after a lot of planning, strategizing, and packing
We moved my 88 year old mom away from her husband of 15 years
To Texas

Nothing about the decision, the enactment of it or getting her to leave her
Beloved Jim and Colorado was easy. I will never forget sleeping next to her
That last night.

I had no idea how we would do at the airport or on the plane. Confusion was
The norm. Being afraid was all my little mother seemed to know. And fair
Enough.

I was taking her away from everyone she knew and loved. From places at least a little
Familiar and setting her on a journey to a new home with only me from whom to receive
Reassurance.

Wow! It was so scary as we made the long drive from the airport. I had always been the child
And she the mom. Now I was forced to parent my parent. What if she hated the new place or
Just wanted to go home?

Well, of course it is all alright, for the most part. She has days when she is scared and days when the regrets come slowly and smiles quick. At least I know all that happens to her and all she does
Each day.

It’s been a year. I will be richer all my life for these treasured days with her. If I only get that little
Glimpse from to time of the momma I used to know, I will hang on tightly to those memories and hope for more.

Happy first year in Texas, Momma. I love you.

20130830-195745.jpg

Life Goes On-

Bruno has been taking center stage the last few days but today was a day to catch up with family and friends.  Of course, I have been seeing my mom each day, a couple of days the visits have been a little rushed but I have gotten over each day.  It seems like there is something in the water there with all the residents a little more on edge and nuttier than usual.  One man had searched endlessly for his wife when he first came to the facility but finally had been settling in pretty well.  Last night he was going door to door (and opening each door without warning) looking for the dining room.  Twice he walked into my mom’s room as I was helping her dress for dinner.  The third time I just asked him if he wanted to wait and walk down with us.  He said okay and sat down on my mom’s bed to wait.  In loud stage whisper, mom looked at me and said, “Do you think he is going to break it?”  I told her I hoped not. 

Tonight one of our favorite residents was distraught over some men that were coming into the place and scaring her.  I am pretty sure it could have been the man we just talked about so I asked if she wanted to stay with us for awhile.  She asked Lauren over and over if that ever happened to her (that men had scared her). Then she started rearranging Lauren’s hair.  Another lady was convinced her room was on fire and was rushing down the hall with her purse intent on evacuating the facility. It is hard enough to get Lauren to go with me and I doubt she will volunteer for a while after tonight.

Micenzie looking focused and determined on Mr. Kid

Micenzie looking focused and determined on Mr. Kid

Today my friend Cayla and her family came down to let their daughter ride.  Jordyn was here and Caroline came with her daughters, Arianna and Abby.  All the horses, including Mr. Kid got saddled and ridden.  Everyone switched around a lot but I think young Micenzie rode the most horses.  I saw her on Kid, Feather and Mimi. 

Arianna trying out Lauren's Mickey. I'd say it went pretty well!

Arianna trying out Lauren’s Mickey. I’d say it went pretty well!

We thought Arianna was bringing her horse to ride.  Lauren and I had discussed the possibility of her trying out Mickey to do jumpers on this year but were afraid since he had not been saddled in almost three weeks that he would scare her and act stupid.  But they pulled in without the trailer.  It was one of the cases where things just seem to happen-the whole man plans-God laughs thing.  Arianna ended up doing great on Mickey and he acted like he had been working and jumping every day.  Lauren jumped Feather for me. It was great to see their progress.

Arianna and Lauren exchanged Christmas gifts.  Lauren got the beautiful white and gold OTTB saddle pad which I hope one day soon Bruno proudly wears into the show ring.

Arianna's present to Lauren and Bruno.  The beautiful OTTB pad (photo from their web site- www.ottbdesigns.com )

Arianna’s present to Lauren and Bruno. The beautiful OTTB pad (photo from their web site- http://www.ottbdesigns.com )

On the Bruno update side, I had told my friend Kathy that I was a little freaked out about what I had gotten myself into with this horse and the huge responsibility he would be for sometime.  I want to share what she told me. 

“This will be the worst part because you are at the beginning.  Time flies and each day that passes moves you closer to realizing your dream.  Any investment requires that you sacrifice something; usually money and time.  Its the sacrifice that makes the reward so sweet.  Hold on to the excitement of what they (Lauren and Bruno) can be.”

Well said, my friend, and I needed to hear it.  Tomorrow morning we will head back to TAMU for another visit with Bruno.  It will be day five for him. 

Amber and family come on Christmas day.  So much to look forward to-wishing happy times to all of you.  Enjoy the blessings of this season!

Weekend Scoreboard

Short post tonight-busy time of year for all, I am sure! 

First, El Campo Ricebirds went down fighting-Stephenville was a tougher, bigger team and they dominated the scoreboard.  Still what a thrill it was to be at Cowboy Stadium-reportedly some 7500 strong (that’s a major percentage of the town!).  The boys of fall got all the way to the state championship and hopefully will continue to build a strong program in the future.  I am so glad that I encouraged Lauren to go with Jo Etta and Blake.  There are things you look back on in life and remember fondly and this will be one of those for Lauren.

Jordyn came down yesterday and helped me out around the barn with the chores.  I swear she could probably walk Ally through our routine of the cleaning, watering, feeding (including which horse eats what, how much and with what supplements) if we ever needed to call on them in an emergency. 

We got rain Saturday but we let Bruno just go out, get wet and get muddy.  Being a race horse most of his life he has not gotten to be “just a horse”.  We take him to Texas A&M for surgery Tuesday so he will not be getting out and muddy again for a long time.  He absolutely raced the wind from the far back of the arena to the barn, over and over, joyously running for the pure pleasure of the romp.  Little Mimi was a hundred yards behind him and would turn when he was half way back from the run down to the barn and catch him for a few yards before he lost her again in a blaze of speed.  Oh, I wish I would have seen him run on the track!

Today, Lauren was supposed to take Feather to Dev’s for a lesson and Jordyn would get to ride her beloved Snowney Pony. But a torrential downpour nixxed that plan, right after Lauren got Feather successfully loaded in the trailer (so that was good!).

Our gift to Dev-thanks Amy!!

Our gift to Dev-thanks Amy!!

We had Amy McCaffery make Dev a rosewood mounting block to       take to the horse shows.  It turned out beautifully and we were thrilled to give it to him at his Christmas party today.  It is kind of a selfish gift as Lauren needs it at the shows and will be glad to have there in the future.  It is always nice to have a step up when mounting your horse, but if we ever get big Bruno going, it will be a necessity.

I will spare you the Jordyn went to the nursing home with me story, except to say, Lauren, Jordyn, mom and I walked the halls last night to look at the decorated doorways of the residents.  By the time we made it around, several of the residents were in tow.  Jordyn was holding the hand of Miss Lou who had yelled for us to slow down and Lauren was hearing the tale of Christmas past from Miss Bernice.  The best part (okay, I am telling you the story) was having Miss Bernice show Jo how to Texas Two Step. 

I am thankful for the nice weekend. 

 

Thanksgiving at the Nursing Home

Jordyn, Ally, Lauren, me and Mom

Yesterday it was time for the Thanksgiving dinner at mom’s nursing home.  Invitations had gone out almost a month ago and I had RSVPed for Lauren, Ally, Jordyn, Kendyll and myself.  I had been telling mom about it for the last week.  However, last week she was convinced she was still in her condo in Denver and couldn’t understand how she was going to have room for all of us to come to dinner.  Then she worried about getting all the food made.  I would remind her each day that the dinner was coming up.  Each night as we went to dinner I would tell her and show her that this dining room would be where the Family Thanksgiving dinner would be.  Each day we would discuss it again.

Yesterday dawned clear and with the perfect weather that reminds you why you actually live in Texas.  Ally wanted to come down early and get some more of her riding for physical fitness done.  She rode Mickey, English this time, and did a great job.  It has been a long time since she rode the flat saddle but she was remembering and doing well.  She and Mickey even took a couple of small jumps.  (My secret goal is to get her back in the show ring so we will see how I do with that!)  Lauren was on Feather putting in a good ride.  Jordyn had done a couple of times around on Mickey but then I had bribed her to go pick rocks out of the new stall that Bruno would be moving into this week.  I told her I would give her a penny a rock.  Quickly, she told me she had 300 rocks.  I pointed out she could not count to 300.  She said ok, to just give her $5.  What a negotiator!

We got in from the riding and got ready for the dinner.  We got there early and found mom presiding over her own table in the nicely decorated dining hall.  Lots of families were coming in and it was great to see my favorite residents teamed up with their families.  It was sad that some of the residents  had no family to come be with them. I know that I am a new convert to the nursing home world.  I have not been at my mom’s side all those days in Denver when she was alone.  I guess I felt Jim was there but I know now it was not near enough.  One of the ladies who has always been so kind to Jordyn didn’t have anyone sitting at her table.  We asked her to join us.  She asked if we were sure it was not too crowded.  She had tears in her eyes as she joined us.  Ally looked at me and told me I was a better person for this experience with Nanny.  I told her there had been a lot of room for improvement. 

The student council from Boling High School was there to serve the food and took care of things courteously and promptly.  I thought the food was pretty good. Lauren thought they had emptied a truckload of Hungry Man turkey dinners and scooped them out on plates. But Mom was just so happy.  She kept looking around the table amazed to see us all there eating with her.  She said, “This is what you kept trying to tell me about, but I just couldn’t picture it.”  I reminded her that all of us will go to Ally’s on Thursday.  I think it will be a big day for her. 

We got back to my house in time to watch most of the Texan’s game especially because I swear it was the longest football game ever.  I could just hear my daddy saying, “If you want to be a Super Bowl Team, you gotta come ready to play every team, every time!”   What an emotional game with all the ups and downs.  By the final minutes, Ally and I were screaming and yelling with no regard to her sleeping baby or anything else. Nice win, Texans-don’t ever put us through that again!

The SATs and my mom

Momma today.

I remember wondering about this when I took the SATs (and yes, they had them way back when I was a student).  I also remember thinking about it when Amber was doing her SAT reviews.  You know, there are so many things we question the value of when we are learning.  Like those silly story problems in math, I found out those things do come up in real life,  Well, maybe not about two trains passing or whatever it was, but other things.

One of the things I remember well was the whole reading comprehension exercise.  I routinely scored well in this area.  I am sure there are several of you taking the SATs or ACTs and wondering what is the point of the little stories and the questions to follow.  Do you remember this?  Often you were given a quick story about a subject you knew nothing about and then were asked questions about it.  It was hard to follow the questions, often you wouldn’t even remember reading about that.  Likewise, what you might have thought was the subject of the exercise was not really the subject at all.

Here is my point.  Each day, I go to visit my mom.  She launches off on some story that I do not understand, that I do not follow nor does it seem to make any sense.  But thankfully, from my experiences in standardized testing, I am able to start with bare minimum facts and see a story emerge.  I look for little hints in the story to comprehend what we are talking about.  Yesterday, her story was all about going to dinner with some people.  I was able to listen for the little clues.  I picked up the words “Betty and Getty” who are her stepson and his wife in Denver.  Therefore, I knew she thought we were in Denver and that she anticipated going out for a nice dinner.  There is no point in telling her we are not in Denver or that Betty and Getty were not taking her out to dinner.  That just seems to confuse and confound her more.  Sometimes, she just flat does not believe me (obviously, I must be confused about where we are because clearly we are in Denver).  So, the best plan is just to tell her, no, not tonight momma.  Tonight we will eat here at this place.  This does not assure that she will accept this answer but after I repeat it multiple times, she goes along.

Next, she launched into asking what she should do.  Should she just wait and see what happens or do I have any suggestions for her?  I was not sure what she was referring to, but once again with my superior comprehension skills, I listened and waited for more information.  She asked, “Well, at our age, if we have a chance to be happy, shouldn’t we just go for it?”  I realized then that she was on the “Jim and I should get married track”.  Again, no point in explaining that she has been married for 15 years.  No point at all.  I told her (again) that Jim and Jay were coming to visit after Thanksgiving and she would see them then.  “Well”, she decided, “we will just see how that goes and make a decision later”.  Okay, I could go with that. 

Each day is a new opportunity to use those skills I learned years ago.  Each time I follow her story or her reasoning makes it easier for her to think I am following and supporting her thinking.  And we just thought all that test stuff was worthless.