Sunday, February 12, 2017


If you are not a fan of horses, specifically Appaloosas, in North Mississippi, you might want to skip this blog.  I introduced you to Bayley last fall, my first horse in 14 years.  Well, I have done it again, gotten another horse. My friend told me she had a pretty solid-colored Appaloosa mare named Hayley.

At 12 she hadn't been ridden. One day at her house I sat on the tailgate of a truck as the farrier trimmed this beautiful big girl.  I watched her hard.  We made a deal, and last week she went to a new trainer in the area.  Let me tell you why I had to have this mare. Why at almost 62 I am planning to ride a horse that hasn't been ridden? We have history.

In 1963 my daddy, Hayley Dandridge, went to New Mexico to bring back a string of brood mares to go with his Appaloosa stallion, High Spots Pride. Many of these mares were grade mares or quarter-type.  In those days you could register an Appaloosa colt if one of the parents showed Appaloosa characteristics: white around the eye, striped hooves, and mottling on the belly or nose area.

He drove in late one night with this load of mares in a stock trailer with a goat in a crate tied to the fender of the trailer.

The most promising of these mares was Miss Pie Fuller, a bay with a lot of white in her face. She was already in foal Chief Waggoner when she came to Tate County.

Miss Pie Fuller was the centerpiece of Dandridge's
breeding program.

Chief Waggoner

The result of that breeding was Red Angel, a sorrel mare with snowflakes on her hips. Broken as a two-year old, Angel was a favorite. I rode her at Saddle Club shows in Western Pleasure, and my 4-H Leader Jimmy McLain rode her in speed events.  (Showing was not as disciplined then as it is now, and that's an understatement.)

Red Angel as a two-year old
She was bred to Joker's Thunder, a strongly-marked Appaloosa and produced a solid chestnut
Dale Hancock and Bill going after a steer.
mare that we named Joker's Stormie.

Back to Saddle Club shows, Daddy let me show Stormie in pleasure. To this day, I still say she was the most natural moving horse I ever rode.  When people cornered Daddy at the side of the arena ready to make a deal, he would wait till the price was right, and then say, "Oh you know she's an Appaloosa, not a Quarter Horse."  This made him laugh when the offers were suddenly withdrawn. He didn't want to sell her anyway.

Stormie was bred to Colida Bill Hancock, an Appaloosa World Champion cutting horse, owned at the time by Dale Hancock. He was later owned and ridden by local large animal veterinarian and friend, Dr. Jim Taylor.
Stormie as a three-year old

Co Couer d'Alene as a yearling

Co Couer d'Alene doing her job as a
super brood mare.

Finally the breeding worked and we got Co Cour d'Alene, a loud-colored black and white filly who turned almost leopard in her later years. I had starting riding her half sister Fleur e'Alene, when she died of fertilizer poisoning.  About the time Couer d'Alene was ready to be broken, Daddy was devastated to learn that she had tested positive to Coggins.  Testing for that disease was new to our area. He lost several horses to that disease. But Co Couer d'Alene showed no signs of the disease despite testing positive. Local health inspectors allowed him to keep her as long as she was quarantined and not nose to nose with another horse. Coggins is a mosquito-born disease. She had to be far away that a mosquito could not bite her and then infect another horse. 

And that was her life for many years. She had more than 10 colts, and none showed signs of the disease.  After Daddy quit using her, he allowed her to go to other breeders if they strictly followed the health regulation.

One of those breedings was to a horse named Big Shannon.  That breeding produced Colida's Mr. Hayley, bred by Mike and Linda Putt, and named for my Daddy's line of breeding.  Mr. Hayley was the sire of my newly-found mare!

Her breeding on the Colida side goes back to Appaloosa Royalty including PrinceShannon, Princes Jim, Prince Plaudit and Plaudit, himself. (Below)

I have horse papers in our files that go back to 1961 on these horses, I knew them by name, knew their coloring, their temperament, their pedigree. To say I was thrilled to find Miss Hayley in my friend's barn is an understatement. Some kids are drilled by their parents on flash cards in math. I got drilled on Appaloosa pedigrees which explains my lack of math skills.

So I hope my Appaloosa friends will appreciate this blog. The rest of you will have to wait for a book review.  Or maybe some on-the-trail pics.  Here is Hayley's Plain Jane, never ridden and now a 12 year old, in her second saddling.  New trainer Michelle Kuester is getting on board.  Lots of ground work and good manners came from her owners Mack and Cathy Hayes.

Thanks to Pie Fuller, there are countless nice horses scattered over this area.  Some have gone on, and some are out there on the trail.

Hayley and Michelle Kuester

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Home alone spurs fits of painting

This photo from Miss Lillian's website was my inspiration piece.
Anytime I have a few days to myself, I paint something. It's just a tradition with me. Howard never knows when he gets home what color he will find.

One year I decided to paint our upstairs hallway and stairwell. It is about 20 feet from the top of the hall upstairs to the bottom floor.  I looked at my options.  The upstairs hall was not the problem; the stairwell was. When I got as far as the extension roller would go, I had to make a plan.  I would have to paint as I went up the stairs.  To keep from getting paint in my hair, I put a pair of clean undies on my head.

About halfway up the stairs, something occurred to me.  He was going to be gone for two more days.  When if I fell down the steps and killed myself  or knocked myself out and whoever found me had to see me with a pair of panties on my head.  It was a bad visual.  But I escaped injury.  That was ten years ago before chronic back pain was my constant companion. I am not so adventurous now.  I stick to iron gates and small pieces of furniture. And that's what I did last week.

Here is my inspiration piece. (above, right) I thought it was beautiful.  It is distressed and painted with Miss Lillian's No Wax Chock Paint, sold by my friend, camping buddy and project adviser Lisa Cox.  She has the paint in her booth at Miller Station.

I'm hesitant to paint furniture.  I spent several of my first housekeeping years refinishing furniture that came from my Grandmother Dandridge's attic.  If I hadn't claimed some of those pieces, they would have perished in the fire that burned the house to the ground in 1981.  Pieces that are really fine, old treasures will not be painted by me.

Here is my original piece, which I bought at Katie's Antiques in Independence. Always happy to promote my friends who have unique businesses in the area.  Shop Local! (top, left)

My piece is a library desk/table.  I could tell it had already been refinished, so I didn't feel too guilty about re-refinishing it. This table was a nice little antique, but it had not been very expensive or was it a family treasure.

Day One by myself, I sanded the surface lightly before painting it with Miss Lillian's Just Duckie. I added Cashmere metallic paint.

Day Two, second coat of Duckie and Cashmere. My bedroom is a mess while all this is going on and one of the silky terriers found a new use for drop cloths, if you know what I mean.  Yuck.

Day Three, added Miss Lillian's glaze in Burnt Umber.  The inspiration piece used similar but different colors of the same product.  The sides of the table have cane panels, and I left them their original color but highlighted them with Umber. By now, Howard is home and I'm not through. He is good about the bedroom being a mess.

I decide that I used too much Umber, called Lisa, and she advised me to add more Duckie.  I'm almost out at this point. I had to add water to the jar and shake it to have just enough.

Day Four, I'm sick of this table and the bedroom mess. The dogs are tired of being banished to their kennels. The additional Duckie dries and I'm heading for home stretch.

Day Five, I touch up the metallic paint and any blue spots that are yelling at me. I break out of the Miss Lillian products and seal the whole thing with Polycrylic Sheer Satin sealer.

Yeah!  I'm finished.  It's not quite as good as the inspiration piece, but I like it.  I see some imperfections but they don't bother me enough to do something about it.

The mirror is part of a bedroom suit that I use upstairs.  It was handed down to me by my Great Aunt Ruth Cole who lived with us after she retired from Northwest as Dietician for the Cafeteria.

Next time I'm alone, I'm just going to read a book.

Finished project!