Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gale Force Winds vs Soaker Rain

It felt like we had gale force winds all day yesterday, or at least while I was throwing hay. I woke yesterday to lightening and thunder and decided I'd hit snooze one extra time. No sense in going out to do chores in the rain. I did manage to luck out and avoided chores in the rain Wednesday morning but it was windy and cold. The horses were not pleased with the weather.

This morning, we had more rain but it was a beautiful, straight down rain that just soaks into the ground. No wind so the morning was beautiful. The weatherman is already talking about drought so having this bit of rain soak into the ground is a blessing. I'm very worried that we'll go into another drought. I'm afraid if we have another drought, that'll be the end of us. There's just so much more we need to do when there's a drought. And with a drought, comes more horses needing rehoming. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be enough rain to ward off any chances of another drought.

This morning I knew the horses were not happy with the rain. I even heard Rabbit call out, which she doesn't normally do until she sees me. I figured I'd better hurry and throw out a little bit extra hay just because. If Rabbit whinnies, you know she's not happy. She'll nicker, which I absolutely love but if she's whinnying, you know she's upset.

The yard light is still on the fritz but at least it worked this morning so I wasn't doing chores in the dark and rain. Hopefully the electric company will come out soon and get it serviced. I hate doing chores in the dark.

It's been fairly quiet at the Sanctuary as of late (knock on wood). I know we need to be gearing up for the next fundraiser, but I'm struggling to get through the day-to-day activities. Hopefully after this crappy weather passes this weekend, we'll have nice weather and I'll get motivated to tackle some major projects around the Sanctuary. Anyone want to come and help?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Horse Soccer and Maverick

Last night Maverick and I tried our hand at horse soccer. Least to say, Maverick (always the curious one) thought the gigantic soccer ball was a horse eating monster. So, we didn't really get to play. I got off once to let him investigate the ball but that's as close as we got.  I'm a little disappointed that he wasn't all crazy about it but I should have guessed. He's gotten to be a bit of a chicken.

I realized that I put him on the backburner for the past two years and haven't really done anything with him. I know some people would groan at my lack of consistency with Maverick. And they would be even more upset that I pulled him out of the pen, threw a saddle on, did two seconds with of round pen work, and then hopped on. Except, the minute I throw a saddle on and swing my leg over, he's pretty quiet. In fact, he's so quiet that I can't get him to do anything more than a trot. My own doing though. The trainer knew I was scared of him so he put the absolute slowest cue on Maverick he could get. I guess Maverick will make a perfect trail horse. He was content to follow along  behind the other horses even when the ball was in sight. But he didn't want to be the leader.

But if I recall correctly, Rain was the same way. We've ridden enough these past few years that now Rain is my go-to trail riding buddy (when it's not so blazing hot out) and he'll lead the group! He apparently has a lot of confidence as long as there's someone behind him. I just need to spend the same amount of time with Maverick and get him to the same spot.

I don't know why I get nervous about riding Maverick. After I rode him yesterday, I realized I really do LOVE riding him. I can't wait for trail riding season so I can pull Maverick out and hit the trails. I guess it's because there's not a lot of time between the two of us so there's no established bond. He knows his training and I know how to stay out of his space but there's no bond. I guess we'll work on it. I know he'll enjoy more activities once we have that bond. But it's nice to finally get out and ride a rescue horse to represent.

Now, to find a horse that DOES like horse soccer!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Super Crazy Busy

We've been crazy busy with non Sanctuary activities over the past few days. I hope everyone had a great Easter. Hard to believe that Easter has already come and gone. Although, this time of year reminds me of April 2011 when we attended the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale and brought home Savanna and Sahara (and unbeknownst to us, Sir Prize, aka Jett). It was the last weekend in April and Easter to boot that we brought home the trio. So much has happened in such a short period of time. But I digress.

Thursday  night I decided that I would take Bo along with to drill team practice. I wanted to see how he would react to being hauled and possibly ridden in an indoor arena. He's such a champ. Although he did whinny when we were all standing still. But when we were riding, he kept an eye on Zeke and just watched. I think Bo may either want a job or want to participate in drill team. :-) He's such a trooper. Now to just get him over his bridling/headshy issue and reassure him that when we load into the trailer, that he'll always, ALWAYS come home! We will get there. It'll just take time. We also need to figure out how to bulk him up. Looking at him from a different view and a different eye, he's still too thin. He's going to stress me out worrying about how to gain weight on him.

Friday ended up being drill team practice with the other team. I contemplated taking Maverick but chickened out. I'll be using Maverick tonight to see what he's like playing "horse soccer". It should be interesting. But Maverick desperately needs a job. He is B.O.R.E.D.

Last week we were also contacted to see if we wanted some free hay. Why of course we do! We need to make arrangements to go pick it up. Our substitute road maintenance guy stopped out this past weekend and dropped off a small square bale. It's so nice to go out to do chores and have hay mysteriously appear. I know who it is so it just makes me giggle a little.

But I WASN'T giggling come Friday night. Our useless yard light quit AGAIN! It didn't quit exactly but it turns on for 1 minute and then goes out for 2 minutes. It's rather frustrating because I'm out in the DARK and not having a yard light this time of year is dangerous. Not only do I have crabby horses that want their food and are starting to feel frisky now that it's warm out, we also have varmints starting to come out. Luckily the only varmints we have right now are raccoons and they stay hidden away in the grain bin. They refuse to come out and I only know that they are there because when I walk by in the  morning and night I can hear them scurrying around. Creeps me out but nothing I can really do until they venture out. But I've had to deal with doing chores in the dark three nights in a row. This morning was just as irritating having the yard light go off while I'm out doing chores in the dark. Mornings are still dark. I'm very displeased with Sioux Valley Electric. We were forced into renting the yard light and this is the second time in as many months that we've had to deal with this ^@#$%@$%^!*$%^ yard light. Least to say, I'm not happy.

On the bright side, we scored a tractor. We already own a tractor but it can't do as much as we need it to do. The Massey just isn't up to all the hard work we need it to do. We found a tractor that will be able to life and move bales (or at least has the capacity to do it). We still need to buy a bale spear but we at least will now have a tractor that can lift a round bale. So instead of it taking us two hours to push in two round bales, it'll take us 20 minutes. I'm excited! And it'll be set up so that we can use it to scoop manure.

We are now starting to gear up to do some manure hauling. The only problem is, the new tractor isn't at our place yet, the Massey still needs a little bit of work, and the manure spreader (because it has a flat bottom), is completely full of other stuff. So now we need to find a new storage location for the stuff that the manure spreader is holding so we can actually use it. I'm looking forward to "waste management". It's been YEARS since we were able to do some serious cleaning. It's been at least three if not four years. I need to go back through the blog to see when. It was our first and only attempt at spreading manure but we are in desperate need to get rid of our current piles. Now that we won't have to ask to use someone else's tractor, I'm itching to do some serious "spring cleaning"

I'm also finally tackling the stalls. I have some serious work ahead of me to get everything back in order.  But the days are getting longer and we are able to get our son to go down for bed earlier in the night (and we won't fall asleep). So hopefully we can start getting our projects done in the evenings. We just have to make sure that we don't burn ourselves out. I swear I'm burning the candle at both ends. But I guess that'll be what it is for the summer and we can sleep and relax all winter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crazy Weather and Cabin Fever

I would say it's been a weird week in weather but not really. It's a typical spring in South Dakota.

Tuesday morning we woke to record lows. The horses were not impressed by this cold snap now that they are adjusting to the warmer temperatures. Wednesday we woke to much warmer weather in the morning. I would swear it was at least 10 degrees warmer when I went out to do chores in the  morning. But throughout the day, the temperatures dropped. We started getting rain and I could have kicked myself for not blanketing some of the horses. By the time I was able to leave the paying job, we were dealing with some serious snow (and wind). Least to say, I was not impressed. The horses weren't impressed with the weather either.

We were just starting to see some green and now all we see is white. But it'll all be gone by this afternoon I hope. I ended up putting a blanket on Rabbit. She got chilled so I figured she'd be happier over night with her warm blanket instead. She doesn't seem to complain too much when I put a blanket on (at least not last night).

This morning was a bit chilly. The slushy snow from last night was stiff. I'm guessing it'll take until late morning before it starts to melt away. Now we'll be dealing with a muddy mess. I won't complain though. We are starting to go into a drought again. I'd rather have a bit of mud and mess now and avoid another drought.

I think I'm finally recovered from the fundraiser on Saturday. Now we are on to planning the next fundraiser. No rest for the weary or is it wicked? The weather is supposed to improve over the weekend so I'm hoping to sneak out for a little while and ride.

I think the horses are even starting to get bored being cooped up in the drylot. I think a bit of exercise would do them all a bit of good. So hopefully the weather will improve and I can start taking each one of them out for a little stroll (at a minimum). I think Maverick and Ivan really need a bit of work. Those two are really starting to get naughty. Ivan, who doesn't take but three steps if he doesn't have to, was running around like a crazy horse last night. So I'm guessing he's starting to get a bit of cabin fever. We'll have to figure out a way to put him to work and get his mind and body in shape! Look out boys, I'm going to put you to work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Horse of the Month - Ivan

I'm finally getting to the horse of the month. How to sum up Ivan in one word....goofy. I'm not sure if it's a thoroughbred thing or if it's an Ivan thing. But he's just goofy. If I were to sum Ivan up in two words, it would be goofy and S.L.O.W. When everyone else is galloping, Ivan is trotting. When everyone else is trotting, Ivan is walking. When everyone else is moseying around, Ivan is standing still. I think Ivan's past time is to just chill.
Although Ivan IS a bully when it comes to pushing Bo around, much to my dismay. I can see a glint in his eyes when it's feeding time and he knows he can push Bo around (don't worry I put out multiple piles so no one goes without).

We don't really know too much about Ivan's past. He came from somewhere in Iowa. We do know that he was never races. It's pretty obvious by is slow demeanor but there's no tattoo so he's never been raced.  I don't think Ivan would have the heart to do anything but be a pasture puff.  And that's exactly what Ivan is. He needs a refresher before we start hitting the trails. So for now, Ivan is enjoying the easy life.

Ivan is best friends with Brego. Where one goes, the other follows. Those to are inseparable, until they have a fight. Then it's very obvious that they had a disagreement because they aren't standing next to each other.  But usually something brings them back together and then they become "one" again. In fact, when it's feeding time and I let Brego in to the barn for his evening grain (Ivan stays out), Ivan seems almost lost without Brego.

Ivan is such a joy to have at the Sanctuary. We are truly blessed to have him in our herd. I am hoping this summer that we'll have the money to send him to a trainer for a quick refresher so he can start hitting the trails. I'm not sure Ivan would appreciate the extra work.

Ivan reminds me a lot of my very first horse, Tiny Dictator. Dictator was a quarter horse with a thoroughbred build. The only difference is that Ivan is all black/brown and only has a small patch of white on his right hind foot. You can barely see the small patch of white if you just glance at him. Some days I'll look out into the pasture and mistake Ivan for Dictator. It's nice to know that Ivan is in our pasture, happy and fat.

These last three pictures are from when we were considering bringing Ivan into the Sanctuary. He changes colors based on the time of year. Right now, he's sporting a fuzzy coat that shows off his black legs. His black leg markings come and go throughout the seasons. I'm so very glad to have Ivan at the Sanctuary.

If you would like to sponsor Ivan, please let us know. Ivan is an easy keeper and doesn't require any supplements (one of few at the Sanctuary!)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Fundraiser - Today - April 12th

It's 1AM and in just 12 hours, our Easter Fundraiser will be underway. I should be asleep but I spent the last couple of hours baking and watching Dreamer. I'm excited and nervous. Even though it's supposed to be gorgeous out, stop on out, even for just a little while. You don't have to be present to make the winning bid on an Easter basket.

Easter Fundraiser
April 12th
Celebration United Methodist Church
Brandon, SD

We have lots of activities for kids and lots of amazing Easter baskets for the kids AND adults!
Wish us luck.
Hope to see you all there!