Pixie goes to a barrel race

Kendyll taking the final ride out of the arena on Pixie with Sarah leading and Lauren alongside.

Kendyll taking the final ride out of the arena on Pixie with Sarah leading and Lauren alongside.

It was a fast and furious start to the weekend as we headed out with the empty horse trailer this morning.

It has been six weeks  since German Riding pony, Pixie, went off to trainer Sarah Sumrall for some basic training.   We were eager to see how she was doing.  But to complicate life a bit, Ally was signed up as a volunteer for Jordyn’s school fund-raiser.  Luke and Jordyn were signed up for a fishing tournament.  Baby Kendyll had no one to watch her.

It is a three-hour round trip from our farm to Sarah’s.  We picked up Kendyll and her car seat, iPad for Mickey movies, multiple cups of juices, snacks, diapers and a couple of bags of assorted stuff.

The weather was ominous, with banks of dark clouds following us as we drove criss-cross Houston.  The rain was pouring down as we pushed through Rosenberg but the sun broke through again as we made it to Sarah’s.  Kendyll watched some Mickey Mouse Club House.  We played a fun game where she coughed, then I coughed, several times.  She is very cute!

Sarah rode Pixie for us and what was a halting, evading pony, who had never cantered for us, was now a smooth, mature pony with three lovely gaits.  I wanted to cry when I first saw the little roan pony break into a lovely, flat kneed canter that would be the envy of the hunter ring.  Sarah reversed directions.  Pixie picked up the correct lead without issue and cantered several nice circles.  Pixie had learned to back and halt quietly.  Quite impressive accomplishments for a pony I had trouble moving from a walk to a trot.

Pixie loaded easily into the trailer and we headed to a barrel race!  Sarah is an outstanding, top barrel racer with a great reputation in Houston.  I idly suggested taking Pixie out of the trailer when we got to the fairgrounds and put a sign around her neck saying “Pony For Sale!  45 Days Professional training by Sarah”.  I could have probably sold her in ten minutes flat.  But we were at the fairgrounds to see a truck we had found for sale on Facebook.

We had been looking for a new truck.  We have a Chevy 1500 with a small V-8 engine.  A friend posted an ad for a Chevy 2500 with a diesel engine.  It is an older truck than mine but has fewer miles.  Lauren and I are very excited about owning it. All the details should be worked out next week. It is such a nice truck and will allow us to pull the weight of 1500 pound Bruno, 1200 pound Feather and 1100 pound Mickey all it once.  Right now, it is strictly one at a time in the trailer.

The new "older" truck!

The new “older” truck!

I had told my friend at work that I had bought a truck online.  She laughed at me and said,”you bought a truck on eBay!”  No, I told her, I bought one on Facebook!

Busy morning, with horses, grand kids and a new truck to come!  The rains followed us on home but the accomplishments of the day were not tarnished.

Thanks for riding along and huge thanks to Sarah for doing such a great job on my pony.

UnLabor Day Weekend

Pixie just off the trailer at her new trainers

My goal was to have a nice quiet weekend, in essence , to have an unLabor day. But at the farm chores do not follow the calendar. Every day, horses need to fed, cleaned, sprayed for flies, feet checked and a million other things. First, we had to get Pixie, the German Riding pony, ready to go to Sarah’s for a month of training.

We met years ago, when she was a teen and I was new to Houston. Ally’s top appendix horse, Savannah (by multiple time World Champ-Rugged Lark) had moved here from Florida with us. Her stay did not last long. I was newly divorced and really not making ends meet. A very hard decision sent the mare back to Florida. Sarah and her mom, Sharelle ran a horse rescue in Alvin. If I was going to without my horses at least I could help them at the rescue. I worked in the Galleria and drove down to Alvin a couple nights a week. Sarah was a little older at the time than my 13 year old
daughter, Ally. I would watch Sharelle manage the 501.3 C business, always on the phone, hustling for feed, a place to put a newly donated horse and organize all the donators with correct adoptees.

I watched Sarah grow up during these years. She was home schooled to have more time for riding and training. I am sure my girls and many others coveted her life. Not having to go to school and riding endless horses every day. But the reality was much harsher. Sarah and her mom, got horses in each day, some nice ones that people turned in for the tax deduction. But often the horses brought in were sick, starving, some close to death. Sarah worked harder in those years than most kids ever work

Sarah rode barrels. She rode for the prize money. It was her spending money. She ran my horse, Kid, until he was 20 years old. She won the Gulf Coast Barrel Racing Association end of year prize. Then she retired him to me. Sarah has an incredible work ethic. She is successful because she steadfastly, calmly and concisely works each horse to get results.

Every horse in our barn except Bruno has been to Sarah. She always gets them back (or there for the first time) to a great work ethic. Mimi went to Sarah’s and came back a finished pony. We hope for the same results from Pixie. Sarah gets results.

After we dropped off the pony, we hurried to meet Ally and her extended family for Jordyn’s birthday lunch. Lauren left after we got home to go out of town for the rest of the weekend. I have my outside chores and am also trying to clean things up inside the house. I am pretty sure I could work all day, every day and never finish.

Mama Kitty, who we have never been able to catch will go the vet to be neutered. I think she has had at least 60 kittens. I hope I can get her there. Poor mama kitty- enough is enough. Her current litter is six kittens, all different colors and kinds. They were hiding in my car and started popping out as I backed up the car. I am going to park away from the house until we get this figured out. Hope I catch mama on Tuesday. No more babies!

Mama Kitty guarding the entrance to old garage

one of the darling babies poking her little head out

Another Hot Summer Day

Getting Snow's stall all set for his return! If you look carefully you can see the poodle's reflection.

Getting Snow’s stall all set for his return! If you look carefully you can see the poodle’s reflection.

As the hot summer days continue (no rain since Fourth of Ju-LIE-as my momma would say), the heat index has tipped over 100 each and every day, Lauren has been readying the barn for the Snow’s return.  In some sort of manic phase of activity, Lauren has stripped the hay stall, cleaning out cob webs, moving hay, moving pallets from stall to stall, leveling the floor, adding dirt, adding rubber mats, and (are you ready for this?) changing out the gates herself.

I was actually, shocked!  More of her father’s genetic code must run through her system than what I thought.  I did not even know that she could possibly take down on six-foot gate and replace it with a four-foot stall gate.  We keep the hay locked behind higher walls and higher gates.  So, Lauren had to remove the boards from the stall that will be Snow’s and then cut (with a saw) the boards to fit the new hay stall.  I was just amazed.

I think Jordyn is going to be thrilled when we surprise her with Snow’s return to Six Meadow Farm. The stall is not done yet, we have a fan to install, plywood to set in the back of the stall and of course, shavings. 

Dev suggested that next weekend when we have a horse show that Snow is attending, that we just take him home then.  That will save an extra long trip to Dev’s to pick him up.  We had planned to bring Jordyn down for a lesson on Labor day weekend and just, SURPRISE! Snow was home.  Ally and her kids are headed to Denver to help Amber and kids celebrate their birthdays so Jordyn won’t even be in town when Snow gets here.  Hopefully by the 21st or so, we can get the big surprise done.


Meanwhile, I am continuing to work Pixie in hopes of turning her into an all-star hunter pony.  She has been a little reluctant to work hard with heat.  She has been getting extra time on the lunge line.  I decided to try her over a small jump.  She is young and never been jumped with a person on her back.  She jumped the first time I asked and each time thereafter.  We are going to get Dr. Criner out to check her alignment, back, and sternum.  She does not like her back feet worked with and is still mareish when I tighten the girth. 

Not perfect, but her first jump in Texas.  She was totally willing to do whatever I asked.

Not perfect, but her first jump in Texas. She was totally willing to do whatever I asked.

DC will look at Bruno as well.  We have scheduled Bruno’s first lesson at Dev’s.  Lauren was telling farrier Roland last night as he marveled that Bruno still had his cast and shoe on, that she had ridden him eight times in the last ten days-and that was more rides than we had ever had since we have owned him.  He seems to be getting physically stronger and easier to handle each time they ride.

Roland was watching him last night as he finished up with the horses,  “He really is a great looking horse, I hope he does great things”.   Ditto, Roland, Ditto.

Thank you for riding along.  Going out  right now (temp just dipped to a cool 99 degrees) to ride Pixie, Feather and Bruno.  Good night to all of you!


In this apparently odd photo, where Lauren rides the pony and Jordyn takes the show horse for spin, each rider is getting the horse they need and vice versa. Pixie, the German Riding pony is young and green. I have been riding her the last ten days working on fundamentals like working off my leg, turning, halting and standing quietly. We are trying to be very specific with our messages to the pony so she learns exactly what a slight pull on the right rein and other directives mean. While she wouldn’t have been bad for Jordyn, she did not need the mixed up signals of a young rider.


Lauren got her first really good trot tonight with the pony starting to reach into the bit and extend herself. Lauren told me I had done a good job, but she does not like this stage of horse training (call it the toddler days) where the horse sometimes is brilliant and cute but more often in need of correction and boundaries.


Jordyn is heading to horse day camp in ten days. She said it will be the best week of her life! Gee, not playing to any high expectations here! She came to practice with Feather. Her saddle looked itty-bitty up on the stout grey mare.


I was really thrilled at how well Jo did with Feather. Or I was thrilled Feather, just a year into training, listened and was quiet for Jo. It was a pretty big moment for me to see Jo navigating the ring on her own.

So yay for girls on horseback and a nice (if not hot!) evening at the farm.


Kena and Lula have a habit of sleeping after dinner.

They say it takes three weeks to build a new habit.  I have pondered this in many situations over the years.  Like when I decided to quit eating red meat.  It was hard but after three weeks, it really didn’t matter. Of course, I just managed to do this for Lent, but still. Then there was when I started swimming laps again, it was so hard to get myself to the pool but  after going twice a week for three weeks it just kicked in.  It became easier.  It became a habit. 

I have now had my mom here for over three weeks.  My schedule and routine (of which I am little obsessive compulsive) had to change.  It was really hard for me.  To be able to get to my mom’s every day I could-which I have now decided is every day but Tuesdays (Lauren goes on Tuesdays) and at the best time for her and I (the hour right before dinner), I had to adjust my work hours (thank goodness for the ability to do so).  But I had the most difficulty with adjusting my sleep schedule so that I got up an hour earlier each day.  I now get up at 4:00 am.  Yes, every day because horses are creatures of habit and creatures of habit with bad stomachs that act up when not treated in a routine manner. So, I feed them and the rest of the animals at the same time every morning.   I do go back to sleep on the weekends-I am not crazy.

All and all, the new routine is working fine.  I actually wake up on my own, no alarms, at the appointed hour.  My internal clock has re-set.  The day moves along quickly and I am usually at my mom’s close to 4:00 pm.  It gives her something to count on that I will come most days before her dinner.  We can visit and then I can walk her to dinner being sure she is set up in her spot in the dining room.

We have a new routine at the barn as well with Mickey back in the work rotation.  On the days Lauren has school, we ride in the evening.  Saddling up everyone but Kid.  She works one horse and I, the other.  Whichever one I ride Lauren will get on at the end and do a little more fast work or jumping.  Then I get Mimi going, doing some ground work.  Some man pulled off the road in his truck last night and watched us work the horses.  We got that a lot when we first moved to our little farm.  I could just imagine the conversations in those trucks.  “Hey, have you seen them jumping horses?”  “Isn’t that something!” 

Last night it was probably perplexing to the watcher, as I was lunging Mimi, moving her around in a circle at a walk and a trot. I was really pushing her, trying to get her to break into a canter.  I am sure I was quite comical as viewed from the road.  I had my whip in one hand, the lunge line in the other and was walking along behind the pony urging her forward.  When the horse gets good at this, (as my old boy Cupid was) you could stand still in the center of the circle and the horse would walk, trot and canter at your bidding.  Mimi and I are not even close to that kind of effortless work.  I think I get as much exercise as she does.  As I pushed her along to try to get her moving faster, I had to move faster as well.  It was successful, she cantered for the first time, but I got dizzy-going round in circles and a real workout.

The horses, just like me, are getting used to the new routine.  For Feather and the Mimi, getting them to understand that there is work to be done most days, is important.  Some days we do not get much further than saddling and have them stand in the arena but it is all part of their education and I think their acceptance of work. Spontaneity is not my best attribute.  In three weeks, lacking any vet decreeing otherwise, Mickey will head back to the show ring.  We will see if everyone is settled in the routine by then.  I can’t wait to see how far little Mimi has come.