Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Junior is Relaxing

Temperatures are quickly dropping now that the 30+ mph winds are here. Luckily we missed out on the  majority of the snow so we arent' dealing with white out conditions. If we got more than an inch of snow, it would be hard to tell. It's going to all blow into drifts as far as I can tell.

Last night I knew the storm was coming. The horses must have known there was something coming as well. They were really spooky. I tried to blanket a few but Zeke wouldn't have anything to do with it. I put Jim in a different blanket. I shouldn't have. It's now torn and I'll have to figure out how to repair yet another blanket. One more blanket down from the pile of useable blankets.

When I went in to the barn to get water for the ponies, I only noticed one set of ears standing in a stall. I was a little worried because last night while eating Junior was acting uncomfortable. He's doing the same thing that Brego did the other day. Where he'd kick his back leg a little...not like he's kicking at his belly but that he didn't feel 100%. I wasn't sure if that's because he was eating his grain and he normally paws or if there's something wrong with his back end. He came to use with something wrong with his back end so I'm not sure what's going on right now.

Anyway, when I took a closer look, I noticed that Junior was actually curled up in his stall. It's the first time I've seen him lie down in the 4.5 months since he arrived. I'm glad he finally feels relaxed enough to rest. Even if his only opportunity to lie down is in his stall, I'll take it. Made me so happy this morning. I just hope he wasnt' lying down because his back end was really bothering him. But he seemed fine once he was up. So I'm sure I'm over reacting.

I'm not really sure what to expect for the weather this evening. The winds are terrible but are supposed to die down after dark. And someone reminded me that next weekend is daylight savings time. Oh how I love daylight savings time and hate it at the same time. If it wasn't for the feeding schedule and the toddler, I'd love it. I much prefer the opportunity to feed horses in the daylight when I can do a more thorough check on each horse to make sure everyone is happy.

And tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day of this week but then we're going to have a huge warmup and be in the 40s by this weekend. Blankets will definitely be coming off. I wonder if this is or last hurrah for storms. I doubt it. But I'll take the warmer weather whenever I can!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weather Drama

Just checked the latest on this upcoming storm.

We are still only one county away to the north from a blizzard warning (that's only about 15 miles away). Now they've put us in a Winter Weather Advisory. At least the county to the west of us (the one just three mile to the west of us) is out of the blizzard warning and into the winter weather advisory. No one mentions to Mother Nature that the weather has to change at county lines.

With wind chill temps, we are supposed to be sub zero Tuesday night. No wonder I'm exhausted all the time. If it's not this darn cold, it's this darn weather.

Currently at 25 degrees and by Wednesday we'll be at a high of 8 degrees with Tuesday night and Wednesday night below zero (not looking at wind chill because that makes me sad).

This is what I get for actually paying attention to the weather. Now I have to figure out who goes where. Think everyone stalled ok the last time with Junior going in last. Now, to keep Dude from crashing through and demanding he go into the barn as well. He broke a stall so we are one stall short of letting him in.

Maybe we wont' get any snow (i.e., only an inch) so there wont' be much to deal with. The ice is still buried under the snow so I still have to be careful where I walk.

Brego seemed colicy Sunday so I took him for a walk out in the pasture. I think it was more his back end was bugging him. But I hate to walk him out in the driveway because I don't know where the ice is at these days.

Come on spring, where are you?

Blizzard Watch

So apparently I need to pay  more attention to the weather. It's the beginning of March and I knew March would be a doozy of a month but I sort of let that all fall by the wayside since I've been sicker than a dog lately.

This morning I hopped online only to discover that we are in a Blizzard Watch (or will be starting tomorrow at some point). It's March. We shouldn't be dealing with blizzards. Although I had a general idea that March will be a rough one this year. I was tracking fog back in December and we had a lot of it! So I looked at my calendar. Sure enough I had it marked that we had fog 90 days ago come this Thursday and Saturday. So it's not completely spot on but it's close. I need to start keeping an eye on my calendar and my "fog report" to know when the next storm is on its way.

I had such high hopes of getting things cleaned up around the place over the weekend. But I managed to catch yet another cold that has left my brain in idle mode and my body in off mode. I couldn't get off the couch yesterday afternoon despite my best efforts.

I finally finished up with all the hay in the hay barn. I do love having the hay in the hay barn. It means lights and easy access to hay without snow. Now I'm back to pulling hay from the hay shed. I guess I shouldn't complain. It's all under cover. But the hay shed has no lights and no electricity so I have to go by the light of the moon and the little bit of light that comes from the hay barn. I'm not sure if we'll have enough hay or not. I thought we had more than what I was figuring but maybe that's because I'm forgetting some of the hay that's in the red shed still. I dunno. I expect I'll start to worry about hay in the middle of March.

I had hoped starting in February to start doing some monthly give aways but I can't seem to get over being sick long enough to get my thought processes going. So maybe this month or next month I'll get my poop in a group long enough to start. Sunday was Horse Protection Day and i'd so hoped to do something. And the weather was decent for a cold and windy day. I'm hoping maybe next year I can do something fun. I seem to be missing out on all kinds of opportunities as of late thanks to being sick all the time.

I'll be glad when spring is finally here. Maybe then I'll finally start to feel better. It would be nice to feel good enough to go out with the camera and take pictures. Maybe after this blizzard passes, I can sneak out for a few minutes to get a few good shots.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Junior is a Keeper and other thoughts

It hasn't even been a week and Junior has already figured out the routine. Now I'm going to throw him for a loop tonight. :-( Temps are supposed to drop to teens below zero and who knows about the wind chill. I've spent half the day trying to figure out which stall Junior would be best in. I think I know, but that also puts him in the last stall into the barn and he'll have to be the first horse out. Not sure that's going to work well tonight and tomorrow morning.

Oh what I would give for a fancy barn where there's an aisle and horses can't reach over and bite another horse in their stall. I wont' complain though. I'm just happy that they can get in out of the wind and cold.

I'm ready for spring. I've been dealing with a nasty head/chest cold for a week now. I am just getting my voice back after losing it on Saturday. I was hoping that we wouldn't see any more of this arctic air. I'm too worn out to deal with subzero temps, wind chills, hungry horses, crabby horses, and being sick all at the same time. I shouldn't complain. We could have feet of snow instead of just an inch that we got yesterday.

I'm still curious to see how March plays out. With all the fog we had back in December, I expect we aren't done with snowfall just yet. I'd be fine with more snow. I would rather make sure that the pastures have  more moisture. I'm afraid our pastures aren't going to hold out this year. Just a feeling after seeing it last year. I need to get out and do some fencing and possibly divide the pasture and rotate instead of let it be a free for all. I also need to spray. I sprayed last year but it didn't do any good. I need to go out with some stronger spray.

Life at the Sanctuary has been pretty quiet lately (knock on wood). The horses are handling the weather ok but I've been sick with one bug or another for the past couple of months so I haven't been able to do much.

I need to get back to fundraising for Mayhem's surgery. I'd like to get it taken care of in May. May is for Mayhem. Get it? (sorry, I'll blame it on the cold). We've had two generous donations but we are still short of our total. It does depend on which vet we talk to for the price but I'd rather have a little extra to cover the post-surgery checkups. I'm sort of tapped out for ideas on fundraising so if you have any great ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Implemented Plan C

So, lets get caught up on the activities at the Sanctuary. Ivan broke the last straw last week. On Saturday, I pulled Junior out, put his green blanket on, and put him in with the big herd. I gave the herd a stern warning to not harass Junior in any way. It was a bit chilly and I'd thrown out alfalfa so no one really cared. Chaos gave him a look but Junior just hung out. I felt terrible for Junior (and still do). He seems a bit lost in the big herd. Although last night he was standing somewhat close to Chaos so maybe those two can become friends.

I also pulled Ivan out of the big herd and put him in with the mares. Rabbit and Mayhem HATE Ivan. I thought Ivan was just a bully to Bo and Zeke because he is lower in the pecking order. Apparently he's gotten up some gusto and now he thinks he can push the mares around. There were a few kicks and squeals but everyone seems to be settling in. Rabbit and Mayhem continue to keep a wide distance from Ivan, which makes me mad because Ivan is the one who is causing all the problems.

Zeke has become super jealous. Now that I've implemented Plan B where Junior and Bo go into the barn each night so that they can eat in peace, Zeke is super jealous. I'm not talking being pissy with me. I'm talking all out rage towards Junior. I know it's because Zeke is low in the pecking order and Junior is at the bottom. I watched it with Ace and Rain so many years ago. But I hate it. Junior is too old to have to fight for his place within the herd. He doesn't have a buddy because his one and only buddy was Mayhem (although Rabbit would tolerate him).

Having Junior in with the big herd makes my chores easier but it's so hard on Junior. I just don't know what to do.

For my safety, I have to have Ivan out of the big herd and away from Bo. Ivan will bully Bo and Bo will run over me. Bo is the only horse that will do that. Bo should be punished as well but Ivan is the instigator in all of this.

Brego seems a little lost and hangs out with Zeke at night when Junior and Bo are in the barn. Neither Bo or Junior seem to mind this new arrangement. I may consider stalling Zeke at night to see if the jealousy goes away. Last night I watched Zeke pin his ears and rush Junior. Junior is not as swift as Zeke. Junior has a bit of arthritis and other things going on in that back end and Zeke is still able bodied even if he is 22. I was so mad that I finally caught Zeke and made him stand while I finished doing all my chores.

I do not tolerate bullying.

Everyone seems to understand that they are all on bad terms with me. All I have to do is point a finger at them and they stop cold in their tracks. Brego was coming for hay last night when I told him sternly that the hay wasn't for him and then pointed at him. He acted all subtle like he'd meant to come over but he was really going to snitch hay. I can read some of those horses like a book!

So least to say, everyone is still learning. I would have rather waited until spring when there's more room out in the pasture before putting Junior in with the big herd but I can't risk getting run over and hurt.

I'm debating on what to do for tonight. We are supposed to be getting subzero temps again and if I need to run horses in to the  barn, then I have to juggle some horses around to figure out who goes were. Junior is pretty content to be in his stall next to Bo. Bo could care less where Junior is at but at least is starting to tolerate him. But if I bring in other horses, then I have to figure out which stall Junior will get. It'll have to be one where no one attacks him but if that's the case, it'll be one of the last stalls available and I'm not sure I can hold him off from coming into the barn.

Junior has already figured out that when I appear, it's grain time and he's RIGHT at my shoulder. The first night I had to halter him. The second night I had to make sure the rest of the horses wouldn't come close, and last night he didn't even look twice but walked right up to me (after Zeke was out of the way). Junior is pretty quick witted. I really do like him.

So I guess we'll just wait and see how things play out. Nothing is ever easy when changing a horse's routine.

Eight Years Ago

Hard to believe that it's been eight years.

Eight years ago I was sitting in this very exact room when I found out my beloved first horse had died. He'd been my dream horse (although possibly not my heart horse). Not many can say that their first horse was their dream horse but I can.

With is passing, I started changing my thinking. It took me a few more years to finally pinpoint what I wanted to do with the Sanctuary. Not only did his passing teach me so much about senior horses, but also about the care that went in to him while aging taught me much.

I'm afraid I did him a disservice by not being there at the very end and pampering him like I do the current residents at the Sanctuary. I can't make it up to him but I can make sure that the current residents will always have a warm blanket, a belly full of food, and a place to call home.

The ache of his passing is still there even after eight years. I believe it will always be there as a reminder to never forget your past and those that went before you.

Some ask how I can go through such heartache. I tell them I would rather have my heart scattered in a million different places with each of their passing's rather than have a whole heart and never known their love and compassion.

Each loved one that has gone before me has made me who I am and continues to make me who I am. I want to continue to hold their memory in my heart because no one should ever be forgotten.

May we meet again some day.

My wise old man, Tiny Dictator

Tuesday, February 24, 2015