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!

A Week in the Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up and Over--

Up and Over–


Feather up and over the donut jump.

Feather up and over the donut jump.

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

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

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

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

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

Rubanesque Teddy and lean and sweet Maui Jim

Rubanesque Teddy and lean and sweet Maui Jim

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

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

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


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

Summer Working Students

Isabel, Lauren and Mia looking like professional equestrians headed off to learning event.

Isabel, Lauren and Mia looking like professional equestrians headed off to learning event.

Many barns with top trainers and riders have summer working students that come and essentially work for free in return for proximity to such amazing learning opportunities.  Okay, so our little backyard barn does not house a resident trainer or a hot-shot rider to motivate the working student to spend grueling hours under the hot Texas sun, but apparently we have some draw as two students joined us this summer for a four-week program.  The program (I am being generous here) was designed (thought up one night in response to the impending arrival of the students) to aid the students in learnIng multiple facets of the  equestrian business, from running a barn smoothly to greater insight on the horses they ride.

Mia on my horse, Investment Art (Nova)

Mia on my horse, Investment Art (Nova)

Mia, formerly of Houston, returned from her current home in Malaysia (I bet my working student came further than yours did) to spend the time under Lauren’s tutelage and took up residence in our home.

Isabel and Prosecco Classico on course.

Isabel and Prosecco Classico on course.

Isabel, a boarder, from Katy, Texas, came daily to work, learn and sweat with the group.

Both girls have trained with Dev Branham and continued riding multiple mounts for him during the summer program.  Timing was such that everyone got a shot at showing as well.  The Greater Houston Hunter Jumper Show conveniently was scheduled mid-program.  Dr. Lynn Criner helped out with offering up her pony-Just George for Mia to show.

It wasn't all work!  From left, Alex, Isabel, Mia and Jordyn having some fun at the GHHJA show.

It wasn’t all work! From left, Alex, Isabel, Mia and Jordyn having some fun at the GHHJA show.

Next year, if we do this again, I have advanced plans of much better ways to incorporate time and teaching to the working student.  But for this year, I put together some opportunities interspersed with amble time for riding, barn management and hopefully some fun.  Several days a week the girls had responsibilities for horse turn-out, cleaning stalls, barn management and arena perfection.

Discussion was had over variety of feeds, hays and type of work that the horses were doing (or not).  Pasture management including important things how/where manure is dumped and pasture rotation was an ongoing subject.  Certainly there was never a shortage of opinion or feedback about pasture assignments (horses, just like people {or dogs}) like and respect others in varying degrees.

We set up some other educational sessions as well.  Dr. Kendrick Govan did a tremendous job helping the ladies build a perfect barn first-aid kit.  Additionally, she walked them through what a lameness exam in a horse is meant to show and basic first aid tips.  The group was very complimentary of Dr. Govan and what they all learned.

Likewise, the girls spent a day auditing the Emerging Athlete’s Program sponsored by USEF at Katy Equestrian Center.  After listening to American Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Fargis work with the riders in the program the students and Lauren raced home to recreate his course in our arena.  When trainer Dev arrived and questioned the unique course, I told him to ask Mia or Isabel to explain the point to of this particular course.  Without hesitation, Isabel clearly articulated to Dev what the horse and rider would gain from riding it.  I call that a big win.  (I would note that course pretty quickly got changed-it was pretty tough to handle.)

Tony's Timber Ridge Farm

Tony’s Timber Ridge Farm

A trip north to the beautifully built and appointed barn of Tony Font was a fun educational outing provided by trainer Trapp O’Neal with the help of Caitlyn Epperson.  Trapp,  a rider and trainer of Grand Prix horses, aided the girls in understanding basic horse anatomy and how it plays out in the jumping ring.  The girls were asked to evaluate several horses based upon the criteria they had just learned.  Caitlyn also did some jumping demonstrations which were case in point.  It is doubtful that any of these students will be jumping around a Grand Prix course any time soon (or ever) but it is always fun to see inside the world where you have been a spectator in the past.

Mia modeling the new helmet visor.  A lot of shopping was included for the students-just ask their parents.

Mia modeling the new helmet visor. A lot of shopping was included for the students-just ask their parents.

Four weeks of summer fun which included a lot of laughter, fast food and shopping when the group was not hauling dirt to fill the rain-soaked pastures, working another horse in the hot, humid environment of summer in Houston or dragging the arena yet again in the endless circles of perfection. A heartfelt thanks for all that you accomplished this summer.   I would call our first working students, Mia and Isabel, amazing, intelligent, and hard-working. I saw them get tougher, stronger and become better horse-woman.   I am grateful they came to learn, to work and to grow with Six Meadow Farm.

And to all of you, thanks for riding along!

The little things

Horse photos courtesy of Isabel Johnson

The race is on and Kona is doing his best to keep up with Betty Sue and Piper.

The race is on and Kona is doing his best to keep up with Betty Sue and Piper.

Maui running with Piper Pony.

Maui running with Piper Pony.

We have now had several consecutive days without rain.  As you can see, the horses (and the dog) are even turning up a little dust in the arena.  That is grounds enough for a little celebration.  I am getting through this first anniversary of my mother’s birthday without my mother with a few tears but a lot of happy thoughts and memories.

Last night, we took the girls down to play in the arena.  The last time I did this, Feather wanted to come, too.  She pulled back from where she was tied at the barn and ended up with a face full of stitches.  This time we left Feather in her stall, the fan running, oblivious to her friends having fun without her.  It was amazing to see, now a little over a year old, Betty Sue, romp around.  I swear she has the prettiest trot I have ever seen.  Of course, I didn’t get a picture of that-she was too busy running!

Kona and puppy, Maui Jim, were all keyed up for play time as well.  You will note fewer pictures of Maui.  He tuckered out way before the horses and Kona did.

I love the white streak in her man and that her tail has the white tip at the end.

I love the white streak in her mane and that her tail has the white tip at the end.

Back in my day we would have said, "Kona is really booking it," here.

Back in my day we would have said, “Kona is really booking it,” here.


The dogs went off to a new groomer today.  This is Maui Jim’s first official hair cut. Lauren told the groomer to make him look like Kona.  What do you think?

Maui Jim is a skinny puppy but OMG look at those feet!! He is going to be bigger than his brother!

Maui Jim is a skinny puppy but OMG look at those feet!! He is going to be bigger than his brother!

This was a new groomer who specializes in poodles and it showed in the great job they did.  Oh, it is the little things for me!

Happy boys, headed home.

Happy boys, headed home.

The farm is pretty much dried out with grass and the flowers growing like crazy.  I have lots to do this weekend with Lauren’s impromptu working student summer starting on Monday with the arrival of Mia from Malaysia.  We have worked out some great educational seminars for the girls including working with the farrier, learning basic first aid and how to build a horse first aid kit with the vet, a session on learning to pick horses for the Grand Prix and being a successful trainer in the horse business from some local hot shots.

Jordyn and Riley finished second grade and kindergarten respectively and are looking forward to a summer of fun.  Jordyn is headed off for a week of horse camp with Holly Flint and Snowboy! In fact, I am hoping to get them on the lunge line tomorrow for Jordyn’s first canter “on-purpose”.  Big times!

Lots to do, lots to see, lots to accomplish.  Hoping you are taking a moment to appreciate the little things.  They are really what life is about.  Thanks for riding along!

We’re Pregnant! In foal! Having a baby!

Blonder Reflection aka Fargo

Blonder Reflection aka Fargo

Yippee!  Indications are that the insemination of my RPSI German mare, Fargo, was successful.  We will check her again in three weeks.  I think Fargo is a lovely mare, standing about 16 hands.

Fargo showing off her pretty trot in the pasture.

Fargo showing off her pretty trot in the pasture.

Her breeding as the Oldenburg Rainbow’s granddaughter coupled with her strong sire Blonder Hans whose strengths are wonderful elasticity and impulsion with a brilliant  jumping career should be a fine fit with the Flagmount genes we know and love so well from our own mare Feather.

Fargo's sire Blonder Hans

Fargo’s sire Blonder Hans

Fargo has had some lovely babies in the past and we sure hope to have another next March. Personally, I am hoping that Fargo as a Palomino from a Palomino sire from a Palomino grandsire coupled with her Oldenburg grand-sire’s pinto markings might create a colorful Flagmount baby.  But I do not care!  Happy, healthy and sound is the ticket.

Here are some pictures of Flagmount’s Freedom-

At 16.3, this is a big, solid boy reminiscent of his sire Flagmount King

At 16.3, this is a big, solid boy reminiscent of his sire Flagmount King

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These are shots of Flag in action.  No wonder our Feather is so brave!
Truly great news to brighten the seemingly endless days of rain that we have had.  We should know if our OTTB mare TeeDee is pregnant by Flag this weekend.  What a delight that would be!  Thanks for riding along!