Category Archives: horses

In Celebration of American Pharoah


Last Saturday the horse racing world experienced the thrill of finally crowning it first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. For the past thirty-seven years horses have attempted to make this accomplishment and fallen short. To watch that beautiful animal run the mile and a half with such style and skill makes my heart so full. How proud his owners are, his trainer, Bob Baffert and his jockey Victor Espinoza. What a ride.

In light of this piece of history I have to post a quick video of our own horse. Watching him run is as much a thrill as watching a race on the tube. There is nothing as exhilarating as watching that powerful animal move around the track.


He has a beautiful way about him. This Colonel Frank, named for my dad, born the year dad died. Like Frank Schmidt, this horse will give it his all.

That is our little colt. Not so little any more. We hope this summer is full of scenes like this.

Welcome to a little piece of my heaven!!


A Rising Star (or so we hope)


It is always the hopes and dreams of anyone who breeds race horses that their new baby will show promise and that promise will develop into talent. We’re no different from the rest of the breeding world. This March we put our newest baby into training. We named this colt Colonel Frank, for my Dad who passed away almost four years ago. This fellow is strong and elegant. A lot like my Dad.

He doesn’t look much like a baby. He’s big. Pretty powerful looking too. In horse lives he really is only just a baby.


He’s a two-year old colt. Just a tike in the world of horses. He doesn’t know anything about the world outside of our small farm. Training gets him ready for his job… racing. He has to learn to stand in the bathing stall and allow water to be sprayed on him without getting all upset. He needs to know the world around won’t eat him. All the stuff we take for granted like trucks, and buildings and open spaces, blankets, and saddles, the shiny reflection of a puddle of water, a large tuft of grass, somebody yanking on your leg and pounding on your feet… I could go on and on. To him they are all potential to be eaten.

He especially has to learn to take a rider.


He’s taking to that pretty well. Our trainer has been putting him in scary places to get him used to all sorts of situations.


Here Victor is galloping him inside an empty barn! Up and down, past the shadows and the puddles. He was a little jumping at first, but Victor, an experienced jockey, had him settled down in no time. Standing inside that shed row with those hooves pounding the dirt floor as he flew past was thrilling. I don’t deny that pride had my chest swelling as we watched him. I don’t think being his mommy had all that much to do with it.

This fellow has a way of going that takes my breath away. I sound a little swoony. I should save it all for my books, but what the hey.



After that lesson Victor took him into the neighboring field with large brick monsters and giant light green snakes to further his education. Colonel kept a keen eye on those things in case they tried to gobble him up, turning his head to keep them in clear view. Victor let him look, but made him stick to his job… walking in a big circle in the field.


He’s learning he won’t get eaten as easily as he thought.


He’s still out there, alive and kicking. He’s got a lot of class. But, I am biased. Heck, we raised him and watched his every move for two years.


This is Recil Payton, our trainer. He trains horses in Salisaw, OK. We think he’s doing a fantastic job with our baby. Thanks Recil to you and your staff.

Notice I can’t keep Cooper out of the picture, not to mention our girl. I’m such a mom.


That’s my little piece of heaven today. I’ll be keeping up with our baby through the months. Bear with me, I like to share with the world.




During my time off I also had the opportunity to take some awesome pictures of my youngest. The time of day was perfect, she was perfect and the camera worked pretty darned well. I must confess, she had been after me to do this for some time. They turned out beautiful.

Just have to post a few…





… this:
Kelly 7

How about this…

Kelly 5

This is for her dad…

For Dad

And then this one…

Kelly 6

I had so much fun taking these. Thank goodness for digital cameras. The feedback is instantaneous and the number of takes almost unlimited!

Kelly 9

Kelly 8

That concludes one little slice of heaven for today.


Meet Colonel Frank


Whew!! I should be flogged for blog abandonment. It’s been a whopping four months since I last posted anything here. May the blog floggers not hunt me down with chastisement and punishment for my neglect. The summer was busy and filled with writing and other blogging and writing and a book release and family stuff
which I will blog about soon (because I have so many pictures to share).

Part of the delay is due to restoring this hard drive. When I wiped it clean I had to reload all the programs I had on it originally. That took some time. I was fast at work writing a couple of stories and doing family things. Evidently I don’t multitask the same as I used to. I finally put my Photoshop program on here and figured out how to load the actions I had once again. (That turned out to be sooo much more complicated than I remember the first time I did it.)

So, to catch up. Our new foal arrived in April and by June I started taking more pictures of the little guy. He is growing into a beauty.

I need to mention we finally agreed on a name for this little colt. He is called Colonel Frank, in memory of my dad whose name was Frank and whose rank in the Air Force was Lt. Colonel. This little guy has all the class and heart of my dad. May he fly as skillfully and tactfully as Dad flew those jets in the sky. And be just as fast!

And can this colt run. He loves to put speed in those long spindly legs. What a kick we get out of watching him run.
My husband has him acclimating to the trailer and he is a big boy now wearing a halter as any horse facing training should. Most impressive though is his gentle nature. After learning biting is an unacceptable behavior, Colonel nudges gently and doesn’t try to push against you. My hubby taught him very well.

Here is this week’s peek at our little piece of heaven. There are so many more things I want to share. I just hope I can get to them. There are so many great pictures in this hard drive.


Welcome Our New Baby!


It has finally arrived! We have a new colt. After four days of intense watching for the tell-tale signs of labor she finally had the little rascal.

Her projected due date was Apr 18. By that day her udder sac was full and her teets started waxing over. That is a thin film of milk that leaks out and forms a dry layer resembling wax. The wax thickens and eventually gives way to dripping the closer we get to foaling. Well, after four nights of checking her every couple of hours, we were wiped. I should state that my husband did most of the checking and was thus more exhausted than me.

We put her up in the birthing stall every night and took her out during the day. No change at all. Just an extremely large mare standing quietly in place for a few days. That last day, by the end of the day, the sun sinking into the west, the mare started pacing. Not a normal behavior for this mare over the past few days. Then she would stand perfectly still and stare at the house. Then she’d pace again. Then stop and stare again.

After checking her all day and seeing no further progress, I was doubtful she’d have the little guy that night. She walked to the gate leading to the stall, looked at us, looked at the stall. My husband knew she needed to be put up. Seconds after she entered that stall she started the delivery. It took all of fifteen minutes!

Here is the first sight of the little fellow. His legs aren’t out of mama yet. He was trying to stand even!! This horse is a strong one.

Here he is when we went back out after twenty minutes. By this time the sun has set and that is the spot light shining on him.

Then the next morning we can make out his coloring with clarity. This is our second dark-haired foal after grays, and chestnuts.

Awww and very foal-like.

They had their first foray into the world last night. Mama took her time getting baby out of the safety of the stall to the hard pack of the turnout pen.

As you can see, he is all spindly legs.

He stays close to mama as she eats. She doesn’t let him out of her sight.

After only fifteen minutes, this little fellow starts falling asleep! His head is bowing and his eyes are really shut.

We are so happy our little horse is well and beautiful. Thank you for sharing in our joy. I’ll keep you all posted

That is today’s nugget from this piece of heaven.


Day at the Races Cont’d


Because I’m such a photo hog and took so many great shots at the races, I will subject my few followers to another round of snap shots from the race track. I know I am merciless, just ask my kids.

This is the second race and this horse is my favorite pick of the win. I believe I chose this horse because of the jockey on board. He is a well know jockey and rarely rides a loser.

And he is a winner!

The winner’s circle invites all sorts of people have nothing to do with the horse or its training. They just want a picture with a winner.

This horse is from the third race. I picked this for a win because of his breeding.

The start of race three.

The field passed the eighth pole.

….and here is my horse in the final stretch. He is showing his heart here. Go baby go.

I love to see all the pony horses lined up. You won’t believe how many of these I have in my files. Choosing these few was no easy task.

This is a horse from the last race. Unfortunately I saw this fellow AFTER we placed our bets, because I love the look of this horse and I am a sucker to bet any beautiful grey to win.

Here comes that field and look who’s out front.

And here is the winner! This horse went wire to wire. Start to finish. Great race, but my horse did not win after that stupendous finish!

The winner!

That was a great race to watch.

Thank you for indulging me in my horse fetish.


A Little Piece of History


This weekend we made a foray into the past. A few miles from our home is a small community that used to be a huge plantation. The community has preserved the buildings from that plantation in a small park. Saturday they opened the park for a a friendly celebration. I have tried to get to this town for as long as we’ve lived here, but the only time we venture to Scott is during the winter when they are all buttoned up for the season.

Here is the Scott Railroad Station.

This is an old railroad light. I just liked the shape of it.

Every plantation had its own blacksmith for obvious reasons. This is an example of a smithy. I don’t believe the whole methodology is entirely accurate, but it does give us good insight into the craft.

This smithy used coal to make his fire. That is a circular bellows to the left of the table to blow air into the fire.

The vintage anvil is awesome.

And the vintage vice.

This is a corn crib.

I like the vintage clothing too.

I encountered, what I have always considered a mystery to me, sorghum processing. I use sorghum molasses in my bread. It’s origin has always been confusing, even after googling it. Today the shadows are cleared and full understanding emerges. Here is what the plant looks like…

To me, this plant looks like a weed. One of the gentlemen processing it kindly demonstrated the nature of sorghum to me.

He peeled away the sheath to expose the cane beneath. When chewed, the inside is sugar sweet! This is where sorghum originates.

So the cane is cut down …..

…. then processed in a mill. This mill is powered by a team of Belgian horses. The mill crushes the cane to extract the sweet liquid inside.

Cane is fed into the mill on the left. The gentleman in the center monitors the liquid and the crushed waste comes out the right side.

I love this team of mares. This breed is bred for this sort of work.

One of the mares also has foul here…

I just love that the little fellow had free reign of the place as his mama worked.

Sorghum is cooked down in a boiler to make the dark, thick syrup we know as molasses. This is the cooking area.

So plantations made their own sorghum molasses as well as provided their own bee hives for honey. I stand amazed at the self-sufficiency of these large farms. They also provided the workers, this is after the Civil War, with groceries and as-sundries through a commissary.

The interior is no different from any mercantile of the era I’ve had the privilege of touring.

This commissary lived on the Marlsgate plantation. We looked at the ledgers on this desk. Living history. I can’t tell you how it fascinates me.

Even more enthralling to me is the equipment displayed. This large-scale…

… and this old mill to grind wheat into flour, or other grains.

This is only half of what we took in. I am enthralled with all things from the past. This plantation had more on it. This post would be waaaay too long for it all. I’ll post the rest in the next post of the week.

I truly loved vicariously reliving this tiny bit of history. Let me know what fascinating history is in your area of the world.

Thanks for letting me share this little piece of heaven with you.


Family Weekend Fun


This weekend we enjoyed a visit from our son and his new family. I can’t tell you how much we looked forward to this visit. Me and the kids planned food and activities. It all paid off in trumps too. We out did ourselves when you stop to think about it. We had so much fun, we almost collapsed in exhaustion. Stick around and I’ll give you the rundown.

The kids arrived Friday evening. Our son is engaged and his fiancée has two little girls. They live in the city and haven’t experienced the joys of a small country farm. The kittens found themselves in little hands right away. Those cats weren’t fast enough to escape. The girls are fast. I can’t tell you how many times they slip through my fingers. (Or maybe I’m just too old to move quickly.)

After a quick bite to eat we all moved out to the horses. The evening air had cooled wonderfully, thank goodness.

As most little girls their age, they held a fascination with horses. To get them accustomed to them, we pulled out some feed and showed them how to hand feed them. That is an experience for little hands.
Here is girl two…

Then girl one ….

We laughed at their reactions to those big lips on their little hands.

The main event followed. Horseback riding. This is my Naomi. She is an awesome saddle horse. I would trust her with a kid on her if they knew how to ride alone even. We take the appropriate precautions for novices though.

This was a work out for me as well.
But our son gets his chance to run around too.

After riding, the girls tried their hands at the giant sand pile. Their shoes were filled with sand after this. A lovely pile of the gritty stuff found its way to the porch before we entered the house. I couldn’t believe how much poured from their shoes.

No one denies a pile of sand is a kid’s delight.

The next fun thing to do before the sun settled behind the western horizon was to ride the four-wheeler. You know those aren’t too prevalent in the city.

Momma needed a ride too. He sold his motorcycle last month so this is the closest he gets to a ride.

Here is a nice picture of our son and his honey.

That was a mess of stuff to do in that short amount of time. We packed it in before eating homemade ice cream. That sounds so country. For a gal who spent most of her life in the city, I have come full circle to the simple life.

The kids drove off to their hotel only to have us call them back. C-Man heard the girls wished they could stay with us. That wasn’t any sort of a big deal to us. We had them turn around to drop the girls to spend the night here. They loved bathing in a big slipper tub and sleeping with our girl… all three of them in her bed like peas in a pod. We all got to sleep reeeallly late.

Nobody beat beat me and C-Man up the next morning. Girl one appeared the minute she heard stirring in the house. She did manage to scarf up one of the kittens first thing.

She also had first dibs on the goats that morning.

Our day could not begin without another ride on Naomi.

It was a good thing we rode early because the heat of the day only increased and stuck around until after well after sunset.

Such was the first part of the visit. We loved having those little girls running around and carrying Cooper and playing on the keyboard and snarfing homemade cookies.

Check back later for the rest of the visit. It is just too much to put in one post.

Thanks for sharing my little piece of heaven. Let me know what special people have come to visit in your life.