Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

I heard the rain this morning on the roof and was hoping that it would stop and turn to snow. I dreaded the thought of kicking the horses out of the dry barn into the rain. I always feel so guilty when I have to kick them out in the mornings into any type of inclemental weather.

I was actually rather suprised that it went as well as it did. No one was in a huge rush to get out of the barn but they were all willing to walk out on their own, even Bob. I did decide to throw Bob's blanket on. I know it's too warm but I want him to stay dry.

The temps are in the upper 30s right now but later today it's supposed to drop to below freezing. As I was driving to work, I heard on the radio that Madison (which is only a half hour drive north) was already at 32 degrees and closing many schools and businesses. And interstate from the Wyoming border to Mitchell is closed. Mitchell is not that far away. Made me very nervous. And I just heard that there is no travel advised west of Alexandria. Alexandria is even closer to home that Mitchell. So it's definately coming, it's just a matter of when.

I didn't realize it until now that there was an eery calm this morning while doing chores. There was absolutely no wind. It was a nice straight down relaxing rain. And to think, there's major wind gusts coming our way soon.

I wasn't sure how Maverick and Brego would handle going back into their muddy pen. Maverick wanted to be naughty and not put his halter on. In the process he banged his head on a post. Poor guy. But I told him he was the one who did it, it wasn't me causing him pain. I'm not sure that he really listened. But we finally managed to get his halter on. I went over and pulled Brego out and tied him back to a post. I figure if I tie him up, Maverick won't flip out. Both of them are so herd bound, it's terrible.

Maverick walked into his pen with only one backward glance at Brego. But that was more because Brego was standing there trying to paw a hole through the concrete. I keep telling him if he's going to paw, he better paw all the way to China. I'd like to go on a vacation, it might as well be somewhere far away so keep on digging.

I got everyone settled for the morning. It seemed as though everyone was more interested in eating than in anything else. When I finally got back in, I was pretty well soggy. I'm currently keeping one eye on the weather and one eye on work. I think at the first sight of a snowflake I'll be out of here. One snowflake here may mean a blizzard at home. Although we are only in a Winter Weather Advisory. But I'm paranoid since Borderlands is only three miles from the next county over which happens to be in a blizzard watch. What can I say? I'm paranoid about bad weather.

From NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office"
"Blizzard conditions with heavy snow will continue from the James Valley westward through mid morning with light snow developing from Yankton towards Sioux City. Travel is not advised west of Alexandria. Snow will begin to fill in across the Interstate 29 corridor from Elk Point to Sioux Falls to Brookings by late morning. Snowfall amounts west of a De Smet to Tyndall line will likely be in the 5 to 10 inch range by mid to late morning. With the wind gusting to 45 mph at times, visibilities near zero as well as significant drifting will be likely. "

Monday, March 30, 2009

This Wind Blows

That wind!?!?!! I can see why west river is having a blizzard. If we had any bit of snow there definately would be a blizzard outside. Even with all the wind, the horses seemed rather calm. I figured there would be a lot of commotion and problems getting everyone settled for the night. But for whatever reason the horses behaved beautifully.

After getting everyone settled for the night I even had time to give Dude a quick grooming. He looks good from far away but when you get up close, his coat is starting to look really tough. Dude didn't seem to mind me messing with him. I wish I had more time at night to get everyone groomed. Although I have to admit, I am in the house before it's dark out. :-)
Where's the grain?

Harumph. Where's my food?

I did feel a couple of sprinkles while I as out doing chores but no rain yet and it's already 7:30 pm. I'm sort of hoping for a blizzard so that I can play with the horses. I hate having to kick the horses out of the barn in the dark morning. I would rather let it be light out and not rush them. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
Suprisingly Maverick and Brego did exceedingly well. I thought Maverick was mad at me for having our "discussion" last week but he either got over it or realized I was helping him get out of the wind. He didn't once get spooky while I let him into his box stall. I pulled Brego out first and tied him to a post. I figured as long as they can see each other hopefully they won't flip out. And lucky for me, Brego decided to do some pawing and got rid of all the tumbleweeds that have been getting in my way. What a good boy!
I'm actually really suprised at Maverick. I simply can't read him like I can the other horses. Maybe I'll never understand him. But he behaved beautifully. I'm hoping he'll continue to behave tomorrow morning when I have to take him out and put him back in his muddy pen.

Where's my food? I want it now. FEED ME!
Brego is really starting to work his way into my heart. This morning when I went out to feed them, he greated me with a warm welcome and a "please feed me" whinny. I'm really starting to see him blossom. There seems to be a different light in his eyes lately. I'm not really sure what it is. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to really mess with him lately. It's been throw some hay and go. So I'm not sure if it's all in my head or if I'm really seeing a new side to Brego. I'm going to go with the second option.
Hello?!?! You feed me now, please. Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Look at me! I'm behaving like a perfect angel.
Brego really is starting to grow on me more and more. Isnt' he so darn cute? Of course, I have a thing for bays. Ok, I admit it, I have a thing for bays, blacks, buckskins, grays, sorrels, palominos, you name it, I like it!

Well, lets keep our fingers crossed that we either miss out on this blizzard or we get slammed so I don't have to worry about going any where. I can't see how we can be in a winter weather advisory when the next county over is in a blizzard watch. I guess if I was on the other side of the county it would be different but when I'm only three miles from the county in a blizzard watch I get a bit paranoid. It must be the farmer in me that worries about the weather. :-)

Mother Nature

Looks like another storm is on it's way. I'm glad I'm not west river. Last week the Black Hills got slammed with snow. Now they are getting another wave today and tomorrow. Looks like they are already advising no travel (again).

Based on the weather advisory map above we are only in a winter weather advisory. Problem is, Borderlands is only about three miles from the next county over that IS in a blizzard watch. I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to storms. I was almost caught in a bad storm last year about this time. I don't want to do it again.

I need to make sure I'm home to take care of the herd. If no one is home, they are stuck outside without food. I'd rather be stuck at home than stuck in my car in a ditch somewhere.

So tonight it looks like I'm going to bustle on home and get the barn ready for the big herd, the two box stalls ready for Maverick and Brego, and the "night" pen ready for Tommy and Skippy.

Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes ok with Maverick. We sort of had a misunderstanding last week and now he's mad at me. I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull him out of his pen or not. Brego on the other hand is turning into a complete ham. Every morning he whinnys to me and gives me this look of "Hurry up mom! FEED ME PLEASE!" Notice there's a "please" in that sentence. There's no "please" yet with Maverick. It's "FEED ME NOW OR ELSE!"

I'm hoping the weather holds long enough for me to get home and get the barn ready. It's so much easier getting the barn ready when they horses aren't already in the stalls. The wind was already very fierce this morning when I went out to do chores. But the temps are supposed to be in the 40s. I'm guessing we'll get a lot of rain and then it'll turn into snow. Double uugh. All I can think of is wet, cold, irritated horses.

And to think, the tulips are starting to pop out AND the grass is starting to green up. Oh I'm so ready for spring.

And to top it off, I also heard in passing that there is another storm system coming in this Saturday. This Saturday happens to be the Worthing Horse Sale that I'm planning on attending. I guess we'll see how the weather turns out before I make too many plans.

Keep your fingers crossed the weather holds until later tonight after I'm home and have the horses all dry and snug in their stalls munching hay.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quiet Weekend

Haven't really gotten to do too much with the horses lately. Pretty much, throw them hay and head on to the next task at hand. I'm hoping at some point I'll get a chance to actually mess with them.

I did spend a little time Friday afternoon grooming down Tommy and Skippy. Tommy is really shedding out. I swear there's enough hair for another horse.

I'm hoping to get a chance to play with the horses for a little bit today. The weatherman is talking another storm coming through starting tomorrow. Glad I'm not west river. They are in yet another blizzard watch/warning. And to think, the grass is just now starting to appear. I have tulips starting to show. I'm ready for spring and so are the horses.

Since there's not much to report on the horses, I thought you might enjoy a few pictures.

Maverick and Brego What Maverick thinks of me.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Rescue - Queen

Today's Friday Feature Rescue is Queen. She came to live with at Borderlands in October 2007. When we bought the acreage back in 2005, our neighbor had four horses. One of which was Queen.

I'd spent two years watching Queen out my kitchen window. The first winter at our place I didn't have any of the horses on the acreage. So I lived vicariously through my neighbors horses, just watching them walk around their pasture.

Then, in the summer of 2007 my neighbor decided that he needed to get rid of the mares, meaning Queen and another horse. He said he was planning on taking them to Kramers Auction. I was too timid at the time to ask how much he wanted for Queen. After he told me he wanted to get rid of the mares, I began fantisising about Queen and how in a short time she would be mine.

Then the first Saturday in October came and I saw a trailer pull in to my neighbor's place. I knew then that I'd lost my chance to get Queen before she headed to the auction. So that afternoon, some friends and I headed to Kramers to see if I could get Queen back.

We showed up at the scary auction. It always feels like a death trap. Mike was sick but lucky for me I had friends that aren't afraid to go to horse auctions. We sat through the tack portion. My friends bought some goats and then came the horses. And who should come down the auction isle into the ring first, but good ol' Queen.

There was no information on her. I was the only one in the entire place that new where she recently came from. The bidding began. Luckily my friends bid for me. I have such a hard time at auctions knowing where the price is and who's bidding when. The price got up to $100 and I GOT HER! She was my first auction save (thanks to my friends doing the bidding for me).

I wasn't sure if she'd even load, having never handled her before. I didn't even have a horse trailer but my friends had come with their trailer. I threw a halter on and she hopped into the trailer like a pro. She still trailers very well.

When I unloaded her back at home, the other neighbor horses whinnied so at least she hopefully knew she wasn't too far from her past home. I felt so bad. She was exhausted. They'd hauled her to the auction at 10 am and I didn't get her home until 8pm. No food, no water, no nothing. Poor ol' girl.

We unloaded her in the roundpen so she could relax and rest. I wanted to do a slow introduction of her into the main herd. I prefer to do slow introductions. She hung out with Rain for a couple of weeks. And then I think I threw Chaos in with her just to see. She's fairly mellow and didn't seem to care. I now have to keep her separate from Dude and King since they harrass her and beat her up. Poor girl.

At one point my neighbor saw Queen standing in the roundpen and stopped over. He said they had called her Girl. I couldn't handle calling her girl. It wasn't refined enough. I thought about calling her Lady but there had already been a Lady in the family (Grandma Roling's dog). So the next best thing was Queen. That's how she got her name.

The real kicker of talking with the neighbor. He said he would have given me Queen for free. He ended up not getting any money back after sending both the mares to the auction. I was disappointed. I should have asked sooner. Instead I forced Queen to endure the auction. You could tell she couldn't handle the auction and simply shut down and did only what she was told. Poor thing. I promised I would never let that happen again. Now she's living the life of luxury.

She's taught me many things since coming to live with us. She absolutely LOVES her grain and alfalfa. And is actually an escape artist when she wants to. Last summer/fall I had her in a poorly fenced in pasture. When I woke up that morning, there she was standing in the front lawn munching on the good lush grass. She's my "go to horse" when I need a shoulder to cry on. She's very dear to my heart.

I'd taken her to the vet after I got her just to see how old she was. Unfortunately the vet didn't know how to read horse teeth very well. (Least to say, we no longer use that vet.) So this fall, I took Queen and Babe to a different vet. My vet wanted to know how old I thought she was. I said I was told between 20 and 25. My vet looked at her teeth, walked over to his wall chart, and asked if I was sure. He guestimates her at closer to 30+ years old. I guess we'll never really know how old she is or any more about her history. Some girls just don't like talking about their age or their past.

Queen is currently in Madison until the pastures green up. It was easier to have mom and dad care for the mares. That way they have easy and direct access to the barn and don't have to be pushed out of the barn early in the morning on cold days. I do believe the mares are pretty spoiled these days.

Queen is such an awesome ol' girl. I love her to pieces.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quiet on the Home Front

I've been a bit under the weather these last few days. I think it's mostly due to the constant rain we've been having. Monday night we had torrental rains that almost flooded the barn. I'd pulled Bob and Rain into the barn for the night already. I don't want Bob out in bad weather and Rain can't really handle nasty weather as well as the others.

All of a sudden the skies opened up and it poured out. King had wandered out of the leanto off the barn and was standing there in the torrential rains. Poor guy. I tried to coax him into the barn but he didn't want to do anything but stand there. Silly guy. I guess he wanted to get his coat all nice and white again. Spring time is so tough on him. He goes from a pretty white paint to a mud brown paint.

Yesterday since the wind was so fierce and cold, I decided to throw Bob's blanket back on him. I don't think he was too thrilled but he was too busy still munching on his food to really notice or care. Rain gave me the evil eye. I'm sure he thought I was going to put his blanket on. Don't worry buddy. You're blanket it too heavy for 40 degree weather.

I'm hoping at some point it'll stop raining so that I can get the pens cleaned out again. It may be weeks before we can get the tractor into the horse pens. Until then, I'll be cleaning the pens out with the ol' shovel (as long as the weather is warm enough).

I've been rather spoiled here lately. Last week it was so nice we filled Maverick and Brego's big water trough. Neither Mike or I have had to haul water over to those boys in about a week. I could definately get used to not hauling water.

I am starting to worry about my hay supply. For some reason these last three bales have been going faster than I had expected. I'm not sure if I'm giving them more because of the bad weather, the slivers are bigger (since they are the big bales), or what. I'm not over feeding them, although their fat bellys may say otherwise.

Pretty quite on the homefront. I'm hoping this weekend we can get more stuff done around the place (house and garage). Still no pictures. I keep forgetting to post while I'm on the other computer that has the pics (or to bring the CD with pics to this computer). Maybe tonight.

Monday, March 23, 2009


What a night! I guess it must be spring. We had thunderstorms yesterday afternoon, and continuing into the evening. I'm not talking a little spring shower. I'm talking thunder and lightening, wind, and heavy vertical rains.

I swear I woke up once to hail. But it could have been super heavy rain. I'm sure glad I put Bob and Rain in the barn. I slept better knowing both Bob and Rain were in where it was dry. I fed the rest of the big herd in the leanto off the barn. I didn't have to worry about the big herd standing out in the rain during the big storms.

I also decided to put up two more panels in the pony pen so that they would have the use of the entire leanto. When I went to put them in last night they were very inquisitive. You could practically see their brains working to comprehend the additional space. I figured this way they could have more space to rip roar around and still be protected. I decided that with the unpredictable weather to keep them in their "night" pen today. It'll be a soupy mess both in their night pen and day pen. I'd rather keep their day pen less muddy since I have to walk through it at least twice a day.

When I went out to do chores this morning at 5:30am there was still a bit of lightening in the sky. Nothing like a good rain to get a fresh start on the day and to bring in spring. I'm starting to see the green grass shoot up out of the old dead grass. I'm hoping spring will come faster this year than last so I can get Bob out on the grass. I think the only way to get weight back on him is to hand graze him on grass.

I did feel bad that Maverick and Brego were out in the nasty stormy weather last night. But I'm hoping that the bad weather will have tired them out so I can possibly do a bit more electric fencing. Maverick hit the electric twice yesterday. After the second time he decided he'd hang out in the middle of the pen and not risk going anywhere near the fence. I believe I'll be doing a lot of electric fencing this year. :-) Good bye bad manners, hello to respecting fence.

I have new pics but they are on a different computer. Hopefully I'll get to post some pics tonight.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Damage Control

So those wild turkeys I saw earlier this morning weren't exactly wild turkeys. More like varmits with feathers! Not sure who they belong to but they sure caused some serious problems at Borderlands. We had to do some serious damage control in the morning.

Apparently the horses have never seen or heard a flock of turkeys before. The main herd was a tad upset, although nothing too serious. Maverick and Brego on the other hand were a holy terror. Maverick was going to go through the fence like it or not.

So instead of going to the Horse Fair and seeing Stacy one last time, we strung up some electric. Not sure if Maverick and Brego have ever exprienced electric before. Mike says they have. Well, I just reminded them what it was like. And I had to remind the other boys what electric was all about. There's been much disrespect around here lately to the fences.

And to top it off, it started to rain about 1pm. We keep getting waves of rain now. Uggh. Now the pens will never dry out. I'll write more later but there's a bunch of lightening so I think I'd better call it a night.

Wild Turkeys

I got up early this morning not knowing if I would go to all three of Stacy Westfall's clinics or not. As I was making myself some breakfast I looked out the window and what do you think I saw? Wild turkeys!!! If we counted correctly, there were about 15 total. Some of the males were strutting there stuff showing off for the girls. Rather amusing to watch. One big male made it all the way to the front door before the dogs started barking. He decided to turn around and head back to the main flock. The rest of the flock hung out in front of the house.

The digital camera was of course dead so we didn't get any digital pictures. Mike pulled out my film camera to get a couple pictures. Hope they turn out.

Who would have thought we'd have wild turkeys waddle up the driveway this morning. I guess it pays to get up early.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grumpy Horses

We left the house this morning about 8 am and didn't get back until about 9:30 pm. I've spent the last one and a half days at the South Dakota Horse Fair. Stacy Westfall has been presenting. What can I say but AWESOME and AMAZING. Wish I had enough money to buy her DVDs.

Westfall Horsemanship

But since we didn't get home until really late, the horses were super grumpy with me. I'm not sure I heard a peep out of them once I threw the hay out. But does it really look like they are starving? They might think so but their oversized bellys say a different story. (ok, it's a bad angle for King.)

I haven't yet decided if I'm going back to the horse fair tomorrow. Stacy Westfall is presenting another three clincis. I really want to go and watch her. I'm pumped to get out and play with the horses. I wouldn't even hesitate to go back to the horse fair but tomorrow is the last nice day before the big rain/snow storm blows in. I need to get a bunch of stuff done before the weather turns again.

I guess I'll decide in the morning. Right now, I'm beat and want to blow the arena dust off of me and hit the hay. I'll blog more about the Horse Fair later. I took a bunch of pics of the Ranch Rodeo.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Rescue - Chaos

Hello! Whatcha doing?

You bring treats? You know you want to give me treats. They are in your pocket. Put the camera down and feed me those treats.

Oooo, that's the spot! Right there. Oh, over, over, right there! Aaah itchy spot!

SHHHhhhhh!! I'm practicing to be Dude's shadow.

The Three Muskateers (and Carmel Cat)
As you may have been able to tell, Chaos is a very inquisitive little boy. He's very interested in just about anything anyone is doing at any given time. Chaos is my Friday Rescue.
I got Chaos at the end of May 2006 (Memorial weekend) from a coworker that did not want him any more. The coworker was going to take him to Kramers Auction if I did not take him. Originally, the coworker wanted $100 for Chaos. But somehow Chaos cut his leg up so the coworker gave Chaos to me for free.
When I went to pick him up, he was an unhandled yearling stud colt who'd spent the entire time running in a pasture. The coworker hadn't even named him. So I dubbed him Chaos. :-) Having never had a young horse, let alone one that wouldn't let me touch him, I was rather overwhelmed at first. But we soon learned each others quirks and now I can do just about anything with him.

As a two year old, I decided it was time to geld him. When Chaos first came to us, I was afraid that he would require surgery since his "manly parts" hadn't dropped. But in May 2007 I took him to the vet who laughed and said he was definatley dropped and ready to be gelded. For the rest of the year, Chaos and I just played. I messed with him as much as I could to get him ready for riding.
At first I put an english saddle on him, without the stirrups. He could have cared less.
Then I pulled the stirrups down. He could have cared less.
tried my western saddle cinched up. He could have cared less.
So I tried my back cinch and breast collar. He could have cared less.
I tried a pack saddle. He could have cared less.
tried the pack saddle with the bright orange paniards (sp?). He could have cared less.
I tried a driving harness. He could have cared less.
I put a bit in his mouth (ok, actually he stole it out of my hands). He could have cared less.
I bridled him up. He could have cared less.
The only time he was a little bit uncomfortable was when I put the driving bridle on with the blinkers and he couldn't see.
In May 2008 I sent him to a local trainer, Jake Jass. Jake uses the Clinton Anderson methods. I didn't recognize Chaos when I went to pick him up. He was a sleek, well muscled, well mannered machine. I'll have to blog about his trip to the trainers at some point. It's embarrasing for me though. :-)
I'm hoping this year that I'll be able to ride him often so he can become my dependable riding horse. He's really a mellow mannered guy. It's been so much fun watching him grow up. I'm hoping to take him to at least one trail ride during this trail riding season. I guess time will tell.

I have many more stories about Chaos but I need to go get ready for the horse fair! Hopefully I'll get some good pics to post.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pony Grooming

Yesterday I decided that I would pull Tommy and Skippy out of their pen into their "day" pen by the barn. Their "night" pen is really mushy with the ice starting to finally thaw in their pen. So I haltered them up in the dark and walked them over to their pens. Skippy is always right there and lately Tommy is learning that he can be right by me too. He's so timid.

They looked like such wooly mammoths when I got home that I wanted to try and help them shed out. So I again haltered them up and tied them to the fence. Neither were too impressed with having to stand there.

Skippy tolerated the grooming pretty well. He actually leaned into the brush when I was working on his neck. It's so hard to groom him since he's so low to the ground. I need to measure him. I think he's actually a miniature horse/pony rather than a shetland like Tommy.

When I started grooming Tommy, he got a little irritated with me. He's really not too comfortable with me handling him all that much. Every time he started to get overly uncomfortable with me he started to paw the ground. I took that as my cue to move on to a different spot. He still needed a ton more grooming/deshedding but I stopped after only a short while.

This morning when I went out to put them in their "day" pen, Tommy decided that he didn't want to have anything to do with me. Skippy was sort of the same way. Both were a little standoffish. But I wasn't going to wrestle with hauling hay over to the "night" pen when I had everything set up already in the other pen. I didn't really have to chase after either of them but you could tell they were both disgusted with me.

Well ponies, you'll have to get over it. Because I like to handle all the horses and groom them down. You all should look pretty.

I need to start messing a bit more with Rain. He's been off for the past week or so. He seems a bit depressed. Maybe tomorrow morning I can pull him out of the big herd and ride him around the yard. Maybe Rain is getting cabin fever too.

Bob isn't as depressed as last year but having even one horse depressed really upsets me. I may need to do some extra fencing and separate the main herd for a little while. I sure wish the grass would start growing and the horses could be out enjoying the lush pasture instead of standing in the pens munching on hay. The main herd is starting to waste the hay too. I think they are getting sick of it. Problem is, I just wrote the big fat check to pay for this past year's hay. Ouch!
If those boys are going to be picky I'll cut back on the hay so they'll appreciate what they get. I'm currently feeding them high quality, top of the line hay that the dairy farmers normally get. Good thing I have "an in" with my hay guy. ;-)
The pics of Tommy and Skippy are from the very first day they arrived at Borderlands. I need to get some new pics with them all groomed down.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fog Calendar

No new pics yet. I didn't spend much time outside yesterday. I'm hoping to get some new pics this week.

Everyone laughs at me when I mention my Fog Calendar. It's nothing "official" or anything. But any time there's fog, I'll mark it down. It's an old wives tale that says 90 days from fog is precipe. Some years it comes true and other years it's not even close. Last year was one of those years it wasn't even close. This year, it's almost spot on. Although it has missed a few snows.

Take for example this upcoming snow. We are supposed to get another rain/snow storm sometime next week. Or at least that's what I heard as I was passing through the kitchen on my way out to do chores this morning. They are talking some type of serious precipe next Tuesday/Wednesday.

Looking at my Fog Calendar, I have it written down that 90 days from next Wednesday (March 25th) we had fog. So we'll get snow. :-)

I'm not sure if it works every other year or what. This year the old wives tale is coming true. Last year, not so much. The year before, again almost spot on. Rather odd.

So looking at my Fog Calendar, I have fog written down for the following days:

  • Wednesday, March 25th
  • Monday, April 27th
  • Saturday, May 9th
Now the actual days of major precipe might be off by one or two days. I'm not exactly sure when you start to count the 90 days. But at least this gives a general time frame for potential bad weather.

Call me old fashioned. But I'm sure glad I tracked the fog patterns this year!

The pics are a view from the kitchen window as the pheasants scurry across the driveway. Run little chickens run!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Slow Tuesday

Not much going on right now. Taking it easy so feel better faster. I want to be ready and raring to go by this weekend. Can't miss the Horse Fair!
Thought I'd add some pics from last week. These were taken just before our latest storm. It was mostly freezing rain/drizzle.
View from the pasture looking out at the freezing rain

It's hard to tell that Bob is standing in a smallish stall. That's his designated stall. It's easier for me to try and keep his alfalfa from being tossed from one stall to the next if I can keep it in the corner. The pic sort of hides how tough he really looks. I still need to get a couple pics of Bob sporting his new blanket. But it's too hot out now!

Bob munching on his alfalfa
Chaos, King, and Dude hanging out in the barn. They were very happy to be standing in the dry barn. Never mind that they have a huge run in shed that they could have stood in, instead of standing out in the freezing rain/sleet. The pic shows I really DO need to do some spring cleaning.
Chaos, King, and Dude

I was hoping to get some pics this past weekend of the boys enjoying the warmer weather. There was a good shot of the black boys (Bob, Rain, and Chaos) all standing together. Hopefully I can convince Mike to bring the camera home so that I can get some pics of the horse fair this weekend. Still not sure if I'll go on Friday or not. I'd sure like to. I'd like to know what is going to be discussed at the Unwanted Horse disucssion topic. I'd like to be prepared so that on Saturday I can have all my thoughts together and pose any questions in case the speaker is pro-slaughter.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jamy Time

My typical moring garb consists of my big heavy winter coveralls, coat, etc. over my pajamas. The fatter I get, the more I realize I like comfy pants with elastic. :-) The only downfall of wearing pajamas during chores is that often times I'll come back in with bits of hay tucked in my shirt. It's not too bad usually, except for when a pricker really sticks on the clothes. Otherwise, the few bits of hay I tend to pull out and go on my merry way.

Since I was sick today, I automatically went for my pajamas. What better way to mope around the house than in your jamys. I felt better in the afternoon so I went out to check on the boys. I figure the best way to make yourself feel better is to be surrounded by animals. I hug from ol' Bob tends to make me feel much better.

It was simply gorgeous out. So I couldn't bring myself to throw on the heavy winter coveralls. Instead I risked it and went out in my polar bear jamys. What's a little bit of mud right?!?! Except that we're swimming in mud these days. I figured since I was just checking on the horses, there wouldn't be any harm in going out in my pjs.

But when it came around to doing evening chores, I couldn't bring myself to put on jeans. And since it's still in the 60s I couldn't fathom the thought of wearing coveralls. I figured my legs were tired enough from being sick, I didn't want to add to it by wearing heavy coveralls.

So out I went in my polar bear jamys to do chores. Luckily Mike took care of hauling water, hauling some of the hay, and playing with the pups. All I had to do was feed the horses grain and a bit of hay. I'd still be out there if I had to do all the chores. Glad Mike is my "Water Boy" and helps out wherever he can.

Since it's not possible for me to go outside without getting at least a little bit of mud on me, I think I'll go exchange these muddy polar bear jamys for a different set of jamys. Maybe scotty dogs, or perhaps horses??

Family Day

Yesterday turned into Family Day instead of Poop Patrol Day. We needed to run some alfalfa up before the "girls" ran out. So we took a quick trip (fighting the wind the entire way) and hung out with the family.

I do love my nephews and niece. But there are days.... I'm home sick with the flu. I'm blaming the kids. Lucky for me it's not even a 12 hour bug. But it sure did mess up my plans. This weekend, starting Friday is the South Dakota Horse Fair. I'd planned on taking part of Friday off to attend. We'll see how I'm feeling and how much time I dare take off.

Since I have just a little bit of energy, I guess I better run outside and let Bob in for his afternoon alfalfa feeding. It's too gorgeous out today to be stuck inside anyway.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Arch Enemy, Mud

Tommy and Skippy

Mike and I are currently walking around like we've either run a marathon in our currently out of shape bodies or been run over by a truck. Today has been a fairly productive day at Borderlands Horse Rescue, although there wasn't much going on with the horses.

Mike and Dad spent the day working on the new garage. Hopefully at some point soon I'll be able to get the truck in the new garage and out of the shed. And then maybe I can talk Mike into letting me take over the shed and turn it into an indoor riding arena. I may have to do some sweet talking but I bet I can do it! ;-)

After Mom and I worked on the house, we headed to the barn to do some spring cleaning. I'm a bit careless when it comes to the used up feed sacks. I tend to toss them in a corner and say "I'll get to it later." Well, later ended up being today. I heard at some point that Nutrena had some type of program where you sent in your proofs of purchase and you get certain items. I'm not sure if that's true or if it's still going on. So I've been saving my Nutrena Senior bags for awhile now. Mom and I tackled the feed bags and hauled them to the already half full trailer headed to the dump. It's amazing how many times we run to the dump. I guess that's what happens when you buy an acreage that once was a working farm.

After Mom and Dad headed home (after a full days work), I had to head out and do chores. And that's when I met my arch enemy, Mud. The last two days have been warm so what little snow is left is melting and causing major mud issues. The only snow we have left are the hard snowdrifts we had back in January. At one point during chores, I almost lost my boot. And let me mention, my boots are not the slip on type. They are tied fairly tight because I bought them one size too big to fit my insulated socks. Mike makes fun of me because I clump along with my big heavy snow boots.

Oh, I did decide to pull Tommy and Skippy out of their little pen/covered run in today. I decided that I would put them in the little dry lot pen in between the barn and the old cattle loading chute. I figured if I put Tommy and Skippy in that pen, they could interact with the bigger horses but still have a gate in between to keep the flying hooves down to a minimum.

Skippy seemed interested in the big horses. Tommy could care less. King and Chaos were rather enthralled with the ponies. I swear they were hanging over the fence the entire day. It is funny to watch the big horses interact with the smaller ponies and vice versa.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of Skippy a couple of times. At one point he was standing on the dirt pile (left over from our major water problem). He looked like he was saying, "I'm king of this place!" Another time I saw Skippy playing with Chaos. I'm not sure who exactly was picking on who. I think it was Skippy picking on Chaos but Chaos wasn't going to budge. Sure which I'd had the camera.

I did decide that I would put the ponies back into their run in shed/pen to keep them out of the elements. I wasn't sure if I would be able to catch Tommy or not. He's definately all Shetland pony. But he must have known that it was supper time. He was standing right at my side patiently waiting for me to put the halter on and lead him back to the pen. My thought is, if I halter them every day and put them in the other pen, then they would be easier to catch. Their current pen/run in doesn't always get a lot of sun so I'm also hoping that they'll get a lot more sunlight being in the pen by the barn. As it is, Tommy is really starting to shed out. I need to give both the ponies a thorough grooming.

I actually need to give ALL the horses a thorough grooming. Everyone but Maverick, Brego, and Bob are really starting to shed out. I do like spring time. I love seeing the horses go from woolly mammoths to sleek, beautiful beasts.

But I do think it's time to call it a night. I'm so poop from today's fresh air. I think tomorrow I have to put myself on Poop Patrol. The pens are starting to get a little thick. Now if I could only make the manure turn into gold. I'd be a millionaire.

Kaidan --- Internet at home is slow so only one pic for you to enjoy today. Thought it would be fitting to have a pic of your ponies! Love you little guy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Rescue -- Meet Babe

Babe - the blind beauty

Meet Babe. She's my 27 year old blind mare. She's been with me since the middle of June 2008. I have learned so much from her it absolutely blows my mind. She's probably the smartest horse I've ever met!

Her previous owner listed Babe in the classifieds as a free horse. I couldn't resist and offered to take her. I'd recently put my first rescued mare, Blondie, down and had room. Babe was listed as partically blind. I figured since Blondie had been blind in one eye, I could easily work with Babe.

Much to my dismay, Babe is completely blind in her left eye and can only see major shadows in her right eye. And when I say major shadows, I mean she can tell when she's walking into a darn barn or walking out into the light from a dark barn. I'm not sure if she can see shadows on a cloudy day.

She's amazingly smart. When I put her out to pasture, she figured out where the fenceline was and remembered. In the open pasture, she found a landmark so that she could figure out where she's at. I swear this ol' girl knows how to count.

Every once in a while she'll lose her place and can't find where she's at. So instead of freaking out, she starts walking in circles until she can find her designated landmarks. How impressive is that?!?! I love this girl.

About a month after I bought her, I decided I'd better buy her some shipping boots. She could have cared less when I first tried putting them on. She's such a mellow horse.

She does freak me out. She's so smart. She usese her ears to "see." She'll turn her head and act like she's looking at you when really she's just listening. She does get a little confused when there are loud noises around her, or when the dogs are out. I swear she could hear a pin drop.

In November 2008 I loaded her up with Queen and took her to the vet to get her teeth done. Of course she loaded like a champ (including me fumbling around with the shipping boots). She unloaded and walked right into the vet's office without missing a step. I walked her into the chute and the vet started looking at her teeth. I insisted that he hand float her because of the noise. I knew she wouldn't understand what's going on and couldn't "see" with her ears over the noise. Lucky for me, my vet is very understanding and didn't bat an eye when I said handfloat only.

So my vet put the mouth guard thingy in to take a peek and he started poking around. He asked me a few questions but I couldn't really answer most of them since I'd only had Babe five months. The vet then started poking around in Babe's mouth and since Babe never moved my vet said, lets try floating her without any tranquilizer. My vet also said he's only handfloated about three horses in his entire life without using tranquilizer. Babe makes four. Babe never flinched the entire time. She stood there like a perfect angel. I'm simply blown away.

I like to keep her previous owner updated every once in a while on how Babe is doing. I told her about the vet and her previous owner said Babe had never had her teeth floated. I can't believe she stood there without any tranquilizer and never threw a hissy fit. Have I mentioned how impressed I am with her?! :-)

I haven't really had much of a chance to play with Babe since then. We decided that she and Queen should spend the winter on the "home farm" with mom and dad. I have to keep the mares and geldings separated at the rescue and don't have enough stalls to accomodate that type of segregation (just yet).

I'm hoping that spring will come soon so we can get some fencing done and bring the girls home. I'd like to get better fencing up that will accomodate Babe better. We'll see how deep my pocket book is. We may only get the essential fencing done and go from there.

I sure do miss hearing the "girls" talk every day. There needs to be more girls at the rescue. I'm out numbered.

The pictures are of Babe this winter at her "winter home."

Snooze Is My Enemy

Snooze Button is my personal enemy. I couldn't get out of bed this morning until 5:30 a.m. I had to rush around this morning to get everything done. Lucky for me chores only took the standard 20 minutes since no one was in the barn. It is possible to get ready for work and do chores in 45 minutes. :-)

Yesterday morning when I went to let the horses out, Dude some how managed to mess up the main gate. He must have been pushing on the gate while eating his hay, but I really have no clue. Horses manage to do the weirdest things.

While Mike was fixing the gate, I decided I'd work with Brego on leading and general ground manners. The only problem was Maverick wanted to be handled. I can't understand him. He doesn't want to be touched but he wants to be included in all the action. I think he was jealous from the last time I worked Brego. I absolutely couldn't get Brego out without Maverick getting in the way.


So, I sucked it up and threw a halter on Maverick and started working on his ground manners. We only worked for about 10 minutes on going forward and stopping. He's so squirrely I just don't trust him. When I tried to reward him by petting his shoulder he started to toss his head around. I took that as the sign we should stop.

I then pulled Brego out. I always figured Brego was a little slow. He just had that look. But as we were working on going forward and stopping, he caught on really quick. Within 10 minutes of giving him the different cues, he'd picked up on what I was asking him. With just a bit of a change in my hand position he knew when I wanted him to start and stop. Brego is also starting to get a bit more sassy around the other horses. I'm very happy about that. He will actually interact and harrass the other horses.

Maverick torments Brego. But now that I can pull Brego out and get him away from Maverick, Brego seems like a different horse. There's a light in his eyes I've never seen before. He always had this pitiful look in his eyes but now when I pull him out, he's eager to see new surroundings. So I took him over and let him touch noses with Rain, Chaos, and King (all on separate trips back and forth while working on going forward and stopping). I think, given the chance, Brego could actually stand up for himself. He'll always be at the bottom of the pecking order but he very well may turn into a good looking horse with confidence. Right now I consider him my baby.

Brego - Bad pic but you at least get to see sort of what he looks like

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rain Man

Meet Rain. He's my personal riding horse I've had for a couple of years now. He's not a rescue. The pic isn't as flattering as I'd hoped. I took the pic before the last freezing rain/snow storm came through. He was shivering so hard when I put him into the barn that night.

Last night was supposed to be chilly too so I put the main herd back into the barn. Just before I shut the barn up for the night and went in I decided to give the boys a treat.

When I went over to give Rain a treat, he decided to clear his nose by blowing snot ALL OVER ME! I had horse snot all over me, mostly on my face. I think he even got some up MY nose! Darn horse. But even with the horse snot, he still got his treat. What can I say, he's my man.

Figured I'd throw a pic in of each of the outside pups too. Here's Gypsy working on her statue mode. She's normally a furball full of energy when she's out of the pen. Her name definately fits her. Talk about naughty dog.

Meet Farley. How can you not love a face like this?!?! Farley is definately getting spring/cabin fever. Every morning he now whines and barks at me, expecting me to let him out. If I only had more time I would. Poor guy is starting to go gray. Poor ol' Big Fat Farley Dog.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Freezing My Butt Off

Holy BRRRRRRrrr!! Six below with 25 below wind chills during this morning's chores.

Figured I'd add some pics of just a couple of the horses at Borderland Horse Rescue.

Queen -- sweet Diva Queen

Skippy -- Personality Plus with a dash of ornery!

Tommy -- Shy but with a shetland personality

Babe -- blind beauty with an abundance of brains
I'll post more pics later of the big herd.
This morning's chores went rather smoothly. I found a new trick with Maverick and Brego. Hopefully the weather will warm up so I can mess with them more. It all depends on placement of Brego. Maybe I'll blog about it some other day. I'm just thrilled that it went so well. Bob is still wearing his blanket. I don't think he minded once he stepped hoof outside. Only Chaos wanted to be outside this morning. But I think that was more food driven. His stomach is an endless pit. Everyone else wanted to stay in the barn, even Dude.
The weatherman is calling for another cold night (-4) so I'm guessing I'll be putting everyone back into the barn. If there's no wind, Maverick and Brego will stay out. Their boxstalls don't stay warm at all. I only use those box stalls to get them out of the wind and rain/snow.
But then again, it is South Dakota and when is there no wind?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Evening Chores

Mother Nature must have an evil sense of humor. Just a few days ago it was goregous and today, holy cow! I almost froze my eyebrows off! It was 9 degrees when I got home with a windchill of 16 degrees below. That's right a big -16 wind chill. So least to say, the herd went back in to the barn/box stalls.

Bob was pretty cozy in his blanket although I don't think he's too fond of it. But it's too cold now for me to pull it off. The blanket did do the trick. It kept the snow and freezing rain off of him. When I went out tonight to do chorse, poor Rain and King were shivering so hard I thought they'd shiver off a few pounds. Don't worry, they are overly plump at the moment.

Everyone was a little off here tonight. I think it must be the wind. While I was trying to get a halter on Brego and Maverick the wind picked up more. For some reason, Brego was so easy to halter but I couldn't even get close to Maverick. We finally came to an understanding and I got him haltered and standing in his box stall. Brego, with all his head tossing, went about the same. Can't wait for spring to send Maverick off to the trainers. Now to just come up with the money.

There must have been something in the air. Mike let Gypsy and Farley out to run and play. For some reason Gypsy, the English Shepherd, decided that she should use her herding instincts and torment the ponies, Skippy and Tommy. She tormented them with the fence in between and then she crawled under to torment them so more. I didn't see it but I guess Mike saw Gypsy get a good kick from Tommy. Animals!!

If we had any amount of snow, I swear we would be in a blizzard. As it was, there's barely any snow. If there would be snow, it would be horizontal since we have 30 mph wind gusts. But I guess that's normal. My only problem was how do I get hay to the ponies without losing all their hay? I have to come out behind the buildings where I'm protected from the wind and get blasted by that awful wind that goes right through your clothes and into your bones. I got the bright idea of throwing a tarp over the hay. I normally put the hay on a round sled and carry over to the ponies. So I figured if I had a tarp over the hay, I wouldn't lose too much. And it worked, except about half way to the ponies, the wind caught part of the tarp and WACK!! Tarp right in my face, along with bits of hay in my face, down my shirt, and all across the yard. Least to say, there were a few choice words said. I learned my lesson. Either walk backwards so the tarp can't hit me or at the very least walk with the sled/hay to the side of me.

Oh the joys of evening chores during a freaking wind storm. Sure hope spring is right around the corner.

uugh... was going to add some pictures but I guess my connection is too slow and I'm too tired to wait. So maybe tomorrow you'll actually get to see some pics of the BorderLand Horses.

Morning Chores

So this morning I wasn't sure if I should throw Bob's blankie on him or not. I don't think he's all that impressed with it. I decided that I would since they are talking 20-30 mph wind, I paid good money for it, and want to use it more than once before he trashes it. I'd rather he hate me for the morning rather than have him get chilled. He can get out of the wind but I'm so worried about him keeping what little weight on. I'll blog about Bob's weight in another post.

Ok, so back to my original train of thought. Morning chores normally only take me about 20 minutes in the winter time. Just throw some hay out to each group, trudge along with some water, and call it good. That's typical morning chores.

Unless of course the weatherman calls for nasty weather. In the case of last night, it was freezing rain/drizzle. So I decided to not only put the big herd in the barn, but to also pull Maverick and Brego into their box stalls in the hay shed. In doing that, morning chores take much longer. The big herd is easy to take care of. Throw the hay out before I let them out, otherwise they like to "help" me scatter the hay. But then I have the ordeal of handling Maverick and Brego. Maverick was acting really frisky this morning so I wasn't sure how well it was going to go. He does like to toss those front feet around when he gets antsy. I can't leave Brego in his box stall alone since it's just two panels and he gets so excited and rears if left alone.

To solve my herd bound buddy issue, I pulled Brego out and tied him next to a bale. He did ok. Nothing too stupid anyway. He was occupied by hay and I've had him tied before without throwing too big of a hissy fit. Then I pulled Maverick out and made sure I kept a close eye on his hooves. I don't need to get stomped on in the dark by myself. Maverick went right for the hay when I let him lose. But he decided that he wanted to run and buck too. He's not too keen on being kept in a box stall overnight. Brego came next and with just a bit of head tossing he did ok. I am more comfortable handling him when he's not too excited. I simply don't like handling Maverick at all. :-(

So once those two are in munching on hay I have to haul more water. It wouldn't have been bad but Brego didn't drink all his water and I ended up dumping out the water bucket all over the concrete. I'm sure to fall on it tonight. And with the temps dropping the darn gate to Maverick and Brego's pen froze down. I have some other panels set up so I don't have to fight that gate on a normal basis. Thank goodness. Hopefully they don't try to investigate the little pen area. It's hard to explain. I'll have to take a pic of it.

Anywho, instead of a 20 minute enjoyable morning feeding this morning it turned into a 45 minute mad dash to get everyone eating their hay. And to top it off, it started to do the freezing rain thing again. ARG! I can't wait for spring.

The weatherman also said the temps will be below zero tonight so I get to do the whole thing over tomorrow morning. But I guess that's what the barn and box stalls are for.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daylight Savings

Almost everyone I've talked to today mentioned daylight savings time. Oddly enough I've actually enjoyed this change over even if I did lose an hour. I now get to enjoy an extra hour of daylight after work. No more doing chores in the dark, no more searching for my darn dog, Gypsy, in the dark, etc. The only downfall is remembering to go back outside to turn the yard light on.

It was freezing rain/mist this afternoon when I got home so the big herd went into the barn while the two kids went into their boxstalls. I always dread putting Maverick and Brego in the box stalls. They just don't have the ground manners I'm used to. Although tonight they were pretty well behaved going in to their stalls. I think they wanted to get out of the rain. The wind is supposed to pick up and the temps to drop. I wanted to make sure they got out of the wind/rain before the cold front comes through. I can't wait for spring!!

I did get a chance to work with Brego yesterday. The weather was so beautiful. I decided that I need to really start working with him. I have a call in to a trainer so hopefully Maverick will be gone for a month this summer. I don't know what else to do. I'm going to give him a shot with the trainer. At this point he's definately an unwanted horse. Who else would want a 4yr old sorrel grade gelding with no ground manners and potentially dangerous to an inexperienced person. So I guess I'll wait and see what happens.

I have my calendar marked for the next two Sioux Falls Regional Horse Sales. One in April and another in May. Can't wait. This time I'm taking a trailer! I've learned my lesson.

Hopefully as the week goes by, daylight savings time doesn't kick my butt. I'm hoping for a snowstorm to keep me from going to work. I doubt it'll happen but it sure would be nice to have another day to play with the horses.