Friday, March 27, 2015

Cats

When someone asks if you're a dog person or a cat person, I sort of look at them weird. I'm a horse person.

In most barns, it's a good thing to have a couple of cats on hand to keep the mice at bay. At the Sanctuary, we have no luck with kittens or friendly cats. The ones that survive are the ones that come to us because they are standoffish (meaning they aren't the ones anyone wants).

Last night I decided to sit and take a break in the hay shed to contemplate life. I was enjoying listening to Junior eat his grain and watching Mayhem and Rabbit power through some hay when our two cats showed up.

Stocky we got from a rescue because no one else would take a feral neutered male. Little One came from an acquaintance who had to get rid of their cats. Both were standoffish when they arrived but in the years they've been here, they have come around. I was sitting on a pallet watching the clouds roll by when the cats appeared.

I see why some people  like cats. I don't have to do anything but sit there and they'll love on you. Little One purrs like crazy when I give her any attention. After a stressful day, it was nice to be wanted even if it was by the cat. The horses only pay attention because I have food. The dogs demand attention as does the husband and the toddler. So it was a nice reprieve for me to just sit there and have them love up on me.

And with the stresses of the week piling up on me, the cats simply sat by my side while I had a good old fashioned cry. It was almost like they knew I needed the moral support. Once I was done and back to doing chores, they disappeared to do their thing (which I'm hoping was to hunt mice).

I wouldn't say I'm a cat person but last night made me appreciate them and the little things in life, like a paw on the shoulder.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

So Long Spring

So much for spring being here. I followed my instincts and blanketed some of the harder keepers. The weather finally warmed up yesterday but the wind was so fierce, I opted to leave blankets on. We are supposed to get more rain tomorrow and I have no idea what the wind will be like. The wind we had was out of the east and then switched to the west. I much prefer wind out of the west. It doesn't seem to be bone chilling cold and the horses are protected by the buildings.

I did get a chance to finally do chores in the light yesterday evening but I ended up rushing everyone that was eating grain. I'm not really sure why I rushed them other than all my help was leaving.

Junior is starting to shed. But it's not normal shedding. He's actually shedding out on his head. It makes him look a little goofy. I'm curious now to see when he sheds out, what the brand on his cheek will look like. The winter hair covered up both his brands. I could barely make out the one on his right shoulder when he arrived and it disappeared with a heavier coat. The one on his jaw, I could never see.

Ivan is back to his old tricks of pushing Zeke and Bo around. I'm debating on what to do with him. I think he needs a timeout for awhile. But I can't put him back in with the mares because he got even more bossy in there. So maybe I'll divide the pony pen and let him be in there for a few days to see if a timeout will help adjust his attitude.

Spring needs to get here. Everyone seems to be in a bad mood as of late (both two-legged and four-legged).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Trust

A long while back I talked about trust. Our horses trust us to protect them, care for them, feed them, etc. They do what we ask (most of the time without question).  We sometimes take that trust for granted or even forget about our horse's total and 100% trust in us.

I saw that trust this weekend. Now that I'm pregnant, I'm grounded from riding so while my drill team performed this weekend, I had to stand on the sidelines and watch. Our drill team loves to thrill the crowd and loves to perform. It's a fantastic group to be involved with and I love every minute of it (even if I can't ride right now).  Go check them out.. Dakota Thunder Drill Team (or Dakota Thunder Mounted Drill Team).

During this weekend's performance, there was a crash. We've had near misses in the past but this was a definite crash. The more I think about it, the more I'm amazed. It was an accident and everyone is recovering nicely but I'm still amazed. These horses put their trust in us to guide them through the routine. Sometimes there's split seconds between horses crossing paths and they trust us to keep them safe. The horses in question trust their owners. They did what was asked of them possibly knowing that they might get hurt.

It's not just in the drill team world that horses put their 100% trust in their owners. It's in any event with a horse be it barrel racing, eventing, etc. But the more I think about it, the more I'm amazed at the amount of trust our horses have in us.

Then I look at the feedlot pictures of horses (I look at the feedlots based out of Washington because they are the most active that I can find) (http://auctionhorseswa.proboards.com/). I wont' go into the debate about buying from a feedlot or buying from a kill buyer. That's not the point of this post. The point is, those horses standing in that feedlot trusted someone to care for them. They put their life in someone else's hands and look what happened to them.

I'm afraid people treat horses like a piece of machinery. When they can no longer perform at the level they want or have lost interest, they dump the horse without a second glance. Now dont' get me wrong. Sometimes it doesn't work out and the owner does everything in their power to find their horse a perfect home. I commend those owners for doing what's right by their horse. It's the owners that drop them off at an auction without a backwards glance and are only concerned about how much money they make. Those are the horses I feel bad for. Those are the horses were the trust was broken.

I look at the Sanctuary horses and although some of them are standoffish, I know that they trust me to care for them. I am constantly amazed when I look at Bo. He was treated horribly, starved, and beat and yet, he's still the happy go lucky horse. Somehow his trust was never broken. And I can tell that he trusts me. And when I look at Junior.  He's only been here a few short months and he's already trusting me. He started trusting me the first day he arrived, which blows my mind. How can someone trust so quickly? Not because they have to but because of their personality? I really have no idea why.

I just now that the trust horses have in their owners is an amazing thing. I know that I'm not explaining myself very well. I can't really put into words what I'm feeling. I guess what i'm saying is that the next time you go out to play with your horse, take a closer look at him/her and see what type of trust and bond you have. Trust is such an amazing thing.

Following Your Instincts

I'm sure glad I went with the instincts. I'm not kicking myself this morning!

I wasn't able to get out to do chores until well after dark. And with almost a new moon and clouds covering up what little moon we had, I had to go by the light of the yard light. I'd switched coats, thinking it would be warmer and didn't grab my flashlight. So much for these longer days with daylight.

The mares' and Juniors water tank was almost out so I had to get that filled up before this next cold front came through. Mike pulled the heater so hopefully we don't have any super cold weather any more. The wind was out of the east, which makes everything cold around here. The horses' pens get the direct hit from the east (and even our house is cold when the wind is out of the east). To top it off, it was a damp feeling. I am glad I'd hopped onto the internet to check out the forecast.

While Junior was enjoying his grain mash, I put his blanket on and dug out Rabbit's blanket as well. She'd been wearing a blanket most of winter so she doesn't have as thick of coat as I'd like. And she typically gets chilled easier.

The round bales are pretty much done. The one bale with the cinch net on it (and not in a hay feeder) is still there but the horses have taken to peeing on it (darn you horses!). So I started back to the old routine of throwing hay. When I opened the barn door to haul the hay out, Rain was tucked in the leanto off the barn. I knew it must be cold if he's hiding in the barn. He's so sensitive to any type of wind. After I finished putting out the piles of hay, I grabbed Rain's blanket. Some times he's a real stinker about getting his blanket on but he was either cold last night or knew that something was coming because he stood perfectly still while I fiddled with everything. Sometimes he's the typical flighty Arabian and other times he's so docile that I forget he's at least half Arabian. I'll never know his breeding since he's grade but his head is 100% Arabian and he carries himself like an Arabian (he's just a little on the plump side).

I hemmed and hawed about putting a blanket on Bo. I haven't been graining him the past week because I've been so swamped at work and it's been super late getting out to do chores (and he takes forever to eat). But in just that week I can tell he's dropped some weight . He'll always be such a hard keeper. I opted to lug his blanket out and get him snug in it before I went in for the night. He isn't like Rain and wont' force his way into the leanto to get out of the weather. So I'm glad he's wearing his blanket.

I'm a little worried that I didn't blanket Jim or Zeke but those two have been such buggers about catching lately, Zeke especially. Of course, I think he knows he's on my naughty list because when Junior was in the big herd, he'd harass him and that would make me mad. Those boys definitely know my moods.

When I went out this morning to do chores, we still hadn't gotten any rain or snow. But now that I'm at the paying job, it sure looks like we'll either be getting rain or snow in the next few hours. What always confuses me is the four corridors.

You're probably wondering what that is. The four corridors are were I90 and I29 meet. Depending on which corridor you live in, the weather is different. Unfortunately for me, I live in the SW corridor, drive through the NW corridor so that I can work in the NE corridor. I never know during the winter what I'll be faced with. Each corridor can be so different. Blizzard in one and sunshine in another. The weirdest part is that there's only about 30-40 miles in between my house and work. So what I'm seeing at work right now, might not be the weather we are having at the Sanctuary. It does make for some interesting days.

We are supposed to get about a quarter of an inch of rain (and I'm thankful for it!) After that, we are supposed to get wind and lots of it. So I'm glad I blanketed a few. We'll see if any need to go in the barn tonight. I'm hoping not but I'd rather be safe than sorry. No point in having clean stalls and blankets and cold and grumpy horses.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Showers

I'm trying to get a handle on the upcoming weather. I didn't hear about the upcoming rain/snow until this morning. I'm going to be scrambling to figure out what to do with some of the herd.

Last Wednesday we put in round bales and I moved Junior back in with the mares (because he'd get pushed out of any hay) and Ivan back in with the big herd. Everyone seems content (except Junior but  I'm not sure he'd be content no matter which herd he's in).

We aren't supposed to get rain until early tomorrow morning but I'm not sure what to do. The temps will be right at freezing. So I'm not sure if I should blanket some of the hard keepers to keep them dry and risk them getting a little too warm or let them get wet. The temps wont' be too terribly bad but if they get wet and then chilled from the wind, which will be blowing until tomorrow night, I'm just not sure what to do.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for the rain/snow. We are starting to get really dry and I'm starting to worry about the pasture. (I'm hearing talk of people hanging on to their hay because they are worried about this year's crop.) The wind chill will be lower each day and by Wednesday we are supposed to be pretty windy.

I guess I'd rather be a little bit cautious on some of the harder keepers and "delicate flowers", so we'll see what actually happens. I wish I had a slew of light weight blankets or rain sheets for this type of weather. I sort of wish everyone had two blankets (one heavy weight for those polar vortexes and a light weight one to keep the chill of on certain nights) and a rain sheet for these weird weather days where it's difficult to know what to do.

I'm sure I'm over reacting but I want to make sure no one gets chilled. We technically may be in to spring but in these parts, we can still get blizzards and snow storms. We can still have snow even the first few days into May!

So I may be pulling out blankets and putting them on a few of the Sanctuary horses (specifically Junior and Rabbit because their pen gets the brunt of any east wind) and possibly Rain because he can't handle any cold weather.

Last night when I went out to do chores, everyone was grumpy even with the hay still in the feeders. The wind was out of the east, so no one was happy about the piercing wind. I threw out some alfalfa to help brighten their moods. I'd spent the entire day the South Dakota Horse Expo. I'd hoped to be involved in the planning for it this year but somehow I wasn't aggressive enough to get my foot in the door. Seems that's the case for a lot of things for me and the Sanctuary as of late. I figure I only have about two or three months where I have a brain and then baby brain will set back in and I'll be a walking blob. I'm trying to get ideas flowing but it's difficult. So if you have any fundraiser ideas or ways to improve the Sanctuary, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get. I might not be able to jump on them right away (remember baby brain). But maybe together we can tackle them? Are you game to help?

18 Ways to Dismount

It's totally not Sanctuary related but it made me chuckle. I figured everyone might need a little giggle first thing Monday morning.


From HosreChannel.com
The Near Side: 18 Ways to Say You Fell Off Your Horse

  1. I bought real estate
  2. My horse and I went our separate ways
  3.  I didn't fall off, I performed a random gravity check
  4. I had a free bone density check
  5. I had a flying lesson
  6. I didn't fall off, I flew Air Equestrian
  7. I had an unscheduled footing inspection
  8. I visited Dirt City
  9. I didn't fall off, I had an assisted dismount
  10. UI had a dirt facial
  11. I didn't fall off, I became a lawn dart
  12. I used the emergency exits on Air Pony
  13. I performed an equine-assisted aerial maneuver
  14. I didn't fall off, I existed out the side door
  15. I had an unscheduled dismount
  16. I bid farewell to fine leather
  17. I didn't fall off, I'm in a transitional relationship with my saddle
  18. I fought the lawn and the lawn won.
 
 
 
 
 
HorseChannel.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Announcement

Some might have noticed my lapse of activities at the Sanctuary. Besides the pneumonia in January and the long lasting cold in February and March, I've been under the weather.

I had high hopes of welcoming an old warrior into the Sanctuary but I'm not sure if that will happen this year unless someone is willing to sponsor that horse or one of our other horses.

However, we will be introducing a new member into the family in September. :-)



(And yes, the picture speaks for itself as far as the trucks go!)