Saturday, May 30, 2009

Crooks Trail Ride

It's a good thing Borderlands is out in the country. I'm afraid I've turned into one of those scary people. I realized it as I was walking around in the pasture waiting for the herd to come in for their evening meal.

After coming home from the Crooks Trail Ride, I changed into cooler clothes. I still had on the gray shirt that was now covered in dirt. I haven't had a chance yet to break out the summer clothes so on goes a pair of Mike's boxers (sorry Mike). I got my steal toe shoes soaked and didn't feel the urge to put wet heavy shoes back on. So instead I slipped my tinglies on. I started getting a chill so I put in a scratchy brown plaid jacket. So I was a funny sight to see. To make matters even more hilarious, my tinglies flop around just a little bit (when I'm wearing shorts) and the tinglies make a funny noise when they hit my bare legs. Yep, I've turned into more than a redneck!

Stop laughing! I know you've all done the same thing!

Ok, on to more serious stuff. I was invited to go to the Crooks Trail Ride today and decided that I would take them up on the offer. I worked Rain a bit yesterday to try and get the kinks out of him. This morning I got up early so that I would have plenty of time. I caught Rain, which is a bit of a battle and let the other horses go. About the time I caught Rain the wind picked up. Instead of fighting the wind, I decided I would leave Rain tied in the barn to saddle him.

Apparently after only a week Sam has decided that he's going to be completely dependant on Rain for his happiness. So much for using Brego has his best buddy. Now instead Rain is Sam's best friend and constant shadow. Sam started flipping out, whinnying and trotting back and forth. It does both of them good to be separated. Unfortunately, Sam's whinnying made Rain flighty.

I had hoped I could ride Rain a bit before leaving for Crooks but opted to lunge him and do a bit of bridle work to get his mind focused on me instead of Sam. I didn't work him too long since I had to get going. Luckily he loaded like a champ and we headed to Crooks.

When I got there, I was planning on meeting the people who invited me. Unfortunately they were running late so I had to go through Crooks residential area with Rain to the fair grounds. I decided that I would play chicken and stay on the ground until I met up with the people.

For the most part Rain behaved beautifully. He got a number of compliments. I'm sure he impressed a number of people. Rain really is a beautiful horse, but of course I'm biased. :-) The ride started at 9:00am sharp and we rode until 11:00am when the parade started. We opted out of the parade and headed back to where the friend's board. We hung out for just a little bit and then me and one other lady headed back to the fair grounds. When we hit the fair grounds I got off and walked Rain back to the trailer. At one point he started getting spooky and I figured going through residential streets alone would only cause a wreck.

I think Rain was ready to go home when we got back to the trailer. He loaded up and we headed home. I hosed Rain down thinking he might like a nice mister bath. I bought a hose attachment and it just so happens to have a mist option. I like that option better than what we had before, which was no hose attachment at all. haha

Later in the day I did a bit of leather cleaning. I got just a little bit of my saddle cleaned, a breast collar cleaned, and a bridle. I also was ambicious and hosed down three winter blankets. It's supposed to be fairly warm tomorrow. I figured the sun would dry the blankets out in a hurry. I had intended to go to the car wash and power wash them down but I don't seem to be getting that far. Instead I figure I might as well just hose them down and if I get a chance to go to the car wash, they'll just get that much cleaner.

That was pretty much the end of the day. Just the standard evening chores.

Tomorrow I go and pick up Maverick. I'm a bit worried. I hope he fits into the herd and that I can catch him to ride him and that he's not like he was before I sent him to the trainers. He's a horse that needs to be worked all the time so I'm going to have to be better about riding him all the time. How sad is it that I have to force myself to go for a ride. I really do love riding. I guess I'm a bit intimidated by the ground. :-)

I also need to call the farrier to get Dude's and Bob's feet done. I seem to be falling behind on all my required horse chores. I seem to just go out and play with them and don't ever get anything serious done. I think starting June 1st I better get my lists in order to be more organized and start focusing on what needs to be done rather than putzing around like I have been all spring. But I'm beat so I think I'm going to call it a night.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Herd Dynamics

Still not a lot of energy for some reason so I didn’t really mess with the horses too much. I should have gone for a ride on Chaos or Rain but didn’t. Instead I decided to pull Brego out and mess with him. When we got Brego I was told you couldn’t put a halter on him and that he was hard to catch. I walked out with the halter and leadrope in plain view and he let me put the halter on. It was a bit hard to get him to go to the barn but that was because of Bob. Brego knows he’s supposed to be behind the horses, mostly Bob. And of course Bob was up front wanting his grain.

It took a bit of maneuvering but I finally got Brego up to the barn and tied. He stands pretty well although he does paw every once in awhile. I ended up putting King, Dude, and Chaos into the smaller pen. I put Bob and Rain into the barn and let Sam wander around the larger dry lot.

The flies were bad so I groomed Brego down and put fly spray on. He stood like a gentleman. He loves to be groomed. I decided that I would try the fly mask. He took that like a pro too. So I went and got my bareback pad. Good thing I did. Stupid mice at a hole through part of it. Stupid mice. I threw the bareback pad on Brego and the only thing he did was flinch a little. Yesterday was the first time he’d had a saddle pad on in over a year. I tightened up the cinch, not a lot but wanted to see how he would reach to being cinched up and he didn’t care. I didn’t tighten it (mostly because I cant’ figure it out!) But he just stood there patiently letting me mess with him.

I decided that the flies were getting too bad so I stopped messing with Brego and groomed Sam down. The flies were terrible so I put a bunch of fly spray on Sam but it didn’t’ seem to work. I ended up going around to all of the horses and put fly spray on and ear stuff to make sure the gnats weren’t bothering the horses.

I decided last night to be brave. Instead of putting Sam and Brgo back into their small pen I decided that I would leave them out with the big herd. They are out with the big herd during the day so why not try it at night. My only concern was that they might push on the fence which is precariously in the ground as it is. I’m afraid one push from Bob’s butt and the fence and Bob would go toppling down.

When I went out this morning to let them out into the pasture all was good. No one had any extra scrapes or bangs on them. I guess everyone faired the night pretty well.

Dude was right at the gate with Bob in hot pursuit. I was surprised to see Bob trotting to the pasture. Then came the mass of Chaos, Rain, and King. I can usually egg them on into a lope if I holler at them to go. And of course they took off at a slow trot. Sam came next with Brego taking up the last spot. Those two went down the lane at a trot. Once Brego hit the pasture he let out a buck and tore across the pasture, which of course got Rain going into a gallop across the pasture too. So now I have TWO instigators (Brego and Rain).

I really do love watching the horses run through the pasture. I was surprised that Dude didn’t partake in the frolicking but I guess he wanted to be Bob’s shadow instead. What surprises me more is the herd dynamics now that they are all together. It used to be Bob and Rain as best friends. Sam and Brego as best friends. Chaos would pester Bob. Dude would be Bob’s shadow. King harasses Chaos and follows Dude. Now the dynamics are all different. Rain hangs out with Sam and Brego. Rain tolerates Brego to a point but will take after him. Dude is glued to Bob’s side even more. Chaos torments Sam and is Sam’s shadow. Chaos chases Brego. I’m not sure where King falls into the whole herd dynamics. It’s all very different than it was.
I’m sure the dynamics will change again when I introduce Maverick into the herd. I need to call the trainer today. We’ve been playing phone tag for the past three days. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Maverick doesn’t need more than the 30 days and he’s getting near the 30 days. I can’t afford anything more.

This afternoon I’m headed to the vets to pick up shots for the herd. I still need to order the rabies but I can’t get the west nile online or separate like I did last year. I guess it pays to know someone at a vets office. Hopefully it’s not too bad. If I administer the vaccinations myself I shouldn’t’ have to pay out the nose. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring Morning Chores

I love morning chores this time of year. Today was especially nice. Right now I lock the horses into the drylot overnight. I'll probably keep them locked in at night for a week or so more so that they adjust to being on grass 24x7.

In the mornings I tromp on out in my pjs and open the gate to the big pasture. Dude is always the first horse at the gate, anxious to be grazing with Bob right behind. Sometimes Rain is ready to run when I open the gate and he starts the herd into a "stampede" but usually they are too excited for the grass and go to grazing. Usually Rain can get the herd into a lope when they hit the end of the lane.

Then I let Sam and Brego out. I figured on keeping those two in the big herd but they prefer to be in their smaller pen at night instead of with the entire herd. They both come out of the small pen at a trot and then lope down the lane into the pasture. Brego loves to buck the minute he hits the lane. If it's not Rain starting up a "stampede" than it's Brego.

Morning chores now give me a sort of peace before heading off to work. This morning was no exception and in fact was even more tranquil. I let the horses out into the pasture. Fog rolled in this morning so instead of the lush green background, the fog was the background. It was very tranquil and peaceful. I'll have to get pictures of them romping around the pasture tomorrow morning if I wake up soon enough. I've gotten spoiled.

I do love summer morning chores. It takes a whopping ten minutes and that's only because I stand there for five minutes watching the horses play before getting down to the business of grazing. I do love watching the horses. Who ever said the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a sole (or whatever that saying is) was completely and utterly correct. I've started every morning out this week with a calming joy. It's definately great for my spirits.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Day in Pictures

Sam with Dude, Bob, Chaos, and Rain in the big pasture

Dude, Bob, Rain, and Chaos in the big pasture.

Babe sporting her fly mask.

Brego and King in the tree pasture.

Queen (doesn't she look cute with her matching flymask?)

New Experiences

This Memorial Day weekend was definitely packed full of activities and new experiences. It makes going back to work a bit hard although this morning was definitely worth getting up for. I went out to let the horses out to the pasture. There’s nothing better for my sole than watching the horses enjoy themselves out in the pasture galloping around, grazing, and just enjoying being out in the lush grass. Since I haven’t blogged all weekend I’ll start from the beginning and see where we go.

On Friday I let the big herd (Dude, Rain, and Chaos) out into the “lawn pasture” to graze for a few hours. I pulled Bob out so he could wander around the yard. I let King, Brego, and Sam out into the tree pasture to graze too. There’s not much there so I figured it wouldn’t take much for it to be gone soon. They weren’t out for very long but I figured they need to be out on grass and adjust to it pretty quick. Nothing earth shattering there.

On Saturday I slept in. I’m sure the horses weren’t pleased with me but I enjoyed it so much. The horses decided to show their disgust with me by tearing down the electric fence in the dry lot and also took down a second fence to keep them out of one section of the dry lot that needs to be fixed up. I decided it was time to let them out on the big pasture. I went and got Farley so he could enjoy a quick romp through the pasture while I checked fence. I hadn’t been out to the big pasture to check fence since last fall. Everything was still up, but the electric was wrapped in a number of spots. The electric isn’t on yet but I’m betting later this year we’ll have to use it. The grass in the pasture didn’t come back like I’d hoped. I’m a bit nervous that the pasture won’t hold out long enough.

When I got back from walking the pasture I found a tick. Not earth shattering, but then I found another, and another, and another. I must have walked through a “metropolitan” instead of a nest! From the time I walked through the pasture Saturday early afternoon to Monday morning I’ve found nine or ten ticks on me or on my clothes. Uugh. I hate tick season.

After walking the fence line, I decided I would let Bob, Rain, Dude, and Chaos out. King was still in with Brego and Sam. I didn’t want King out there yet since he hadn’t had as many hours on grass as the big herd (since he was a stinker and wouldn’t let me catch him). There is nothing better for me to lift my spirits than to watch the horses go loping down the lane into the pasture and once they hit the pasture to buck and kick up their heels. Even Bob was feeling good. He loped out to the pasture (mind you he doesn’t ever do anything more than a slow trot), AND he kicked up his heels and bucked (just once but it’s more than I’ve seen in a long time). I’m really hoping that the grass will put some weight on him. Otherwise I have to look at the alternative.

I also let Sam, Brego, and King out into the tree pasture for a few hours so that they could graze and get used to the grass. I was a bit nervous about leaving for a few hours but I had the electric on the tree pasture and the big herd was too busy eating to care.

When we got back from running errands on Saturday afternoon Bob was standing by the barn waiting for his daily grain. He comes up to the barn about 4pm and stands around waiting. I’m guessing he really likes his new grain ration. I increased his soaked senior to three scoops and then added two cups of soaked beet pulp. I added the same two cups of beet pulp to Sam too. I’m hoping the beet pulp will help bulk up both drafts. I’m still figuring out the correct ration of beet pulp. I’m just surprised that they didn’t turn up their nose at it when they hit the mixture. Some of the horses are so darn picky. I guess Bob and Sam aren’t picky eaters. Yea for me!

I decided that for now I would lock the horses out of the pasture so they can’t do any night grazing yet. Maybe in a few more days I’ll let them stay out to pasture 24x7 but I haven’t decided yet. I’m hoping if I pull them off the pasture for the next week that they’ll adjust to all the grass and I can still catch them when I want to.

Sunday was the big anniversary party so I didn’t get a lot of time to play with the horses. I again let the big herd out to the big pasture and let the smaller herd out to the tree pasture. The poor ponies have definitely gotten shafted. I need to come up with a new game plan for the ponies. We left about 9am and didn’t get home until 10pm. So the horses in the tree pasture had the grass mowed down to almost nothing in a few spots. I planned on letting Brego and Sam out into the big herd on Monday to let them graze although I was a bit nervous with the idea since neither of them had been in yet with Dude. I figured Dude would be a holy terror and just beat the snot out of Brego or Sam.

I figured the horses would be out to pasture when we got home at 10pm. But Bob was up at the barn patiently (or not so patiently since Bob likes to bang on the barn door with his massive hooves) waiting for his grain. I’m sure he was out to pasture and back to the barn a half dozen times waiting for me to get home. I short changed him on his grain Sunday night since he takes an hour to eat all his grain. Sam snarfed his grain down within a very short time. I’m trying to increase his grain ration too to try and put more weight on him as quickly as possible. Bob’s dark coat makes his weight loss a bit deceiving. Sam on the other hand looks thin even when he’s standing out in the pasture. I figure at some point someone will turn me in. Although I don’t think I would mind, that way I could explain where and who I got the skinny horse from and show how I’ve helped some of the others out. I’d rather people were a bit bolder about turning in people when it comes to abuse/neglect. But I’m still rather cautious to put a thin horse out on pasture with the big herd. Ok, I’m digressing again.

Monday was a new experience for many of the horses. But I’m thinking I’ll leave that story for a later date. I wish I would have had my camera when I let the horses out to pasture every morning so that everyone could enjoy the scene that unfolds for me every day. It’s just a great experience I’d like to share it with everyone. Maybe tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Life Quality Moments

Lots of life quality moments going on this weekend. I'll post more but just wanted to say that today has been a very fulfilling day. It didn't revolve around horses, it revolved around family and what better way to spend some life quality moments than with family (even if the family is two legged instead of four).

I'll post tomorrow about the real pasture experience the horses had this weekend. But until then, it's past my bed time and I'm beat. Going to go relax and remember the life quality moments from today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grazing and Hot Laps

Last night was round two of lawn pasture grazing. Bob of course was a stinker. He wanted to be in the barn eating his grain instead of eating grass. Rain and Chaos were easy to catch. Dude thought he didn’t want to be caught until I’d taken half his herd out and then he realized that maybe he did want to be caught. Again King would not let me catch him. He’s getting very bad. I guess if I didn’t show him his halter he’d understand. Of course, I’m sure he thinks I’ll just ride him if I catch him. Usually if I show anyone a halter they run the other way. My hope is that once they get used to me haltering them for grass that they will be easier to catch later on.

So out Rain, Dude, and Chaos went to eat grass on the lawn. I wasn’t as worried about them trying to run through the fence this time around. They probably have another day or so in that spot and then I’ll need to move them to a different spot with more grass. My hope was that I wouldn’t have to mow the lawn if I put them out on the grass. Bob has done a wonderful job eating around the grain bin. He’s got the grass down to the nubbins.

I decided that I would pull Sam out and keep a close eye on him. He seems to enjoy the grass just as much as the rest. He puttered around and actually did some grass investigating in other parts of where I had him. He went into the trees to check the grass out. The grass in the trees isn’t really coming back but I wasn’t too surprised since I’d had Maverick and Brego on it for six months with no relief. I think they actually had it down to just dirt.

I decided that I needed to work with Brego, at least mess with him. I haltered him and pulled him out so that he could enjoy some grass. I don’t trust him with the big herd yet and I can’t put him in with Sam and walk away since he doesn’t respect fences. I figure it’s a good thing if I’m at the end of the lead rope. He’ll learn a bit more manners and will learn to trust me that much more.

Brego devoured the grass. I decided I would sit on the tractor wheel while he munched away. I did get up once, which spooked him a bit. I guess I need to work with him a bit more on being approached in different directions. But I’m betting if I pull him out every day and let him graze in different spots, he’ll get used to even more handling. He did very well. I got a chance to actually look at him last night. He’s really growing. I’m not sure if it’s that he’s fully recovered from starvation or if he’s actually going throw a growth spurt. In any case, he looks really good. The only conformation flaw he now has is his front legs, the left one more than the right. I won’t ever be able to fix that but at least I know that when he walks, his left leg paddles pretty good.

I decided after just a little bit of grazing (didn’t want to over do it since he hadn’t been on grass in awhile), that I would put Brego back in his pen. At that time Sam was wandering around in the trees. Brego must have decided that he was feeling good. He let out a buck and took off across the pen. I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t stop and would plow through the fence and me. But he circled around and kept running at full bore. He’d turn around and come racing back to me and then race back to the fence so he could keep an eye out on Sam. He must have done a good number of laps in about 10 minutes of running. After those 10 minutes, Brego came racing over to me and stopped. He was done! It was hilarious. You could tell he felt good but was tired from all the running. He’s such a good boy.

Brego’s winter coat is finally coming out and a new color is starting to show threw. His winter coat is a darker bay, but the summer coat is a bit lighter and richer. I’m hoping it’s all the feed. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to keep his hair going all in one direction instead of the million and one direction he had when I first got him.

When I pulled Brego out, Sam decided to join is. He turned his back on us after just a few mouthfuls of grass. I thought it was pretty cute though. Every couple of bites of grass, he’d turn his head to see if we were still there. He checked on our location a couple of times. It was pretty cute. I knew when I got him that he was herd bound. He didn’t seem to herd bound when I put Brego back in the pen. Sam kept his head down munching away on the grass while Brego did hot laps around the pen.

I didn’t get a chance to get the ponies out to munch on grass last night. I think I’m going to pull a few more panels down and put them up by the dog pen. I think if the ponies are on grass for about 10-20 minutes every day, I can get them adjusted to pasture life a little easier. Having never had ponies, I don’t really know how to acclimate them to pasture life after having them eat hay all winter. I’m a bit worried about founder and laminitis. I guess I better start doing some research. But I think I have a plan where it won’t require me to either hang on to them to hand graze them or one that requires me to tie them to a fence. I’m not keen on loose lead ropes where someone can get hurt.

I’m hoping tonight that the main herd will have the lawn pasture grazed down to where I want it and then tomorrow I can move the lawn pasture to a different location where the grass is pretty high and lush. I want the horses out on pasture soon. I just broke open the last bale of hay. Hopefully that bale will last longer than the other one. I’m figuring that I’ll have to put the horses on pasture by Monday, otherwise Mike and I will have to run to Madison to pick up the last of my emergency bale rations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lawn Pasture Time

My poor boys. This weather is going to drive me batty. Yesterday the temperatures reached 94 or 95 degrees with gusts as high as 35 mph. I was actually surprised to not see Bob hanging out in the leanto off the barn. I figured with the temps as high as they are, he’d want to be in the shade. Not the case! I think he was checking Sam out. I really need to introduce Sam and Brego into the big herd. I’m only worried about how Dude will handle the new horses.

Last night after I got home from work, I let Bob out onto the lawn to munch on grass. I realized that I am behind on everything this spring. It’s been such a long and cold spring that the pastures haven’t really come back yet. At the last trail ride, I overheard one of the saddle club members ask someone else about their hay supply. They needed more hay since the pastures aren’t coming back. So at least it’s not just my pastures that don’t seem to be doing so well.

I’m guessing that with the high temps these next few days that the pastures will go quickly, which is a good thing because I’m down to only one and a half bales. And the bales that I’m using now are my emergency reserve bales. Had I used them last year, I would be completely out and forced to put the horses out on the not yet ready pasture.

But I digress. So when I got home from work, I decided that I would put the main herd out on the lawn also. I can’t trust them like I do Bob. The main herd requires electric fence to keep them from wandering away from the home place. Unfortunately I used most of the poly posts on the mare pasture last fall and never retrieved them before winter hit. I trudged down the hill to retrieve just enough to keep the wire from sagging too close to the grass. I strung up just enough hot wire in the main lawn area where I hate mowing. I’m hoping they’ll eat it down enough that I don’t trip over the grass when I go to the pony pen.

I first caught Rain, who thought I was going to ride him. It was too dang hot out to ride. I didn’t want to put them in the hot fence area until I had everyone pulled out so I tied him up by the cattle chute. When Bob saw me pull Rain out, he walked right up next to Rain and hung out. I swear Bob wont’ go anywhere without Rain. Then I pulled Dude out and tied him up next to the ponies. He’s ornery enough to handle the ponies (mostly Skippy). Then I pulled Chaos out and tied him up. I tried to catch King but he was a stinker so I figured he could suffer in the dry lot alone. I pulled Rain into the new temporary pasture and put the electric fence up and on. The horses were eager to eat. I’m not sure they lifted their heads the entire time they were in the temporary lawn pasture. Bob hovered around the new lawn pasture the entire time the main herd was eating. I’m guessing he’s very buddy sour now.

I decided it was also time to let Sam out onto grass too. I put up a few more poly posts and twine (yes, I said twine), threw the halter on Sam, and let him out onto the grass between the red shed and the hay shed. I didn’t figure that he would push on the temporary fence. His previous owners kept him in with twine when they let him out to graze in their temporary pasture area also. So I figured I was safe (at least for now).

I kept a very close eye on everyone. I decided that I would do some gardening while the horses ate grass for an hour. That way I could keep an eye on Sam to make sure he didn’t break through the temporary fence, since it wasn’t hot. I also wanted to keep an eye on Rain, Dude, and Chaos to make sure they didn’t make a run for it and bolt through the electric. I know they respect electric but having only one strand up to keep them contained goes against my normal theory of fencing.

I’m hoping to pull everyone out (except maybe Brego) tonight so that they can get another hour of grass. I figure I’ll put the big herd out to pasture by next week. I’ll still have to break into the last bale before this weekend. But maybe if these last bales go, I can do some serious cleaning in the hay shed and hay barn. I’m thinking of scrounging up enough cash to buy some small idiot bales for the ponies.

After about an hour on grass, I put all the horses back and decided that I would put the ponies out on a little bit of grass. Having never had ponies before and constantly worrying about founder and laminitis, I decided that I would only put them out on grass for about 10 minutes. I put halters on and tied them to the opposite side of their pony pen where the grass is knee high to me. Within those 10 minutes, they had it eaten down to ankle height. I’m hoping that I can pull them back out so they can eat the grass down a bit more. They are pretty good about eating everything in their lead rope range. There’s a bunch of very tall grass near my tack room so I’m hoping to move them over to that area in a few days so I don’t trip over the grass. The ponies almost remind me of goats, they eat everything in their wake. Haha, just kidding.

So that was my exciting night. I’m hoping the horses won’t be naughty about being caught. They have been pretty naughty these last few months but if it means getting caught just to eat, it may mean I can catch them much more easily. I guess we’ll see how tonight goes. Maybe tonight I’ll be able to catch King this time too. I’m betting within another day or two I’ll have to move the temporary lawn pasture to a new spot, which is fine by me. It all means less mowing, more time for the big pasture to take off and grow, and time for the horses to adjust to pasture grass. I see it as a win, win situation (although I’m not sure my lawn thinks that way!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Upset Boys

The boys were mad last night. We’d ordered probiotics for Queen awhile ago and they finally called Mike Monday to say that it was in. So much for it being in, in about three days (more like three weeks). So instead of rushing around trying to get some chores done and rushing Bob, I decided to hold off until we got back from our quick trip into Sioux Falls. I should know better than to think a trip into Sioux Falls would be quick.

We headed over to TSC right away to make sure we got everything we needed. I’ve been wanting to try Bob out on beet pulp for awhile now but figured we would have to order it. Low and behold in our wanderings through TSC, Mike found beet pulp. So we brought some home. Bob is looking really tough. I’m hoping the grass and beet pulp will help but I’m preparing myself for having to let him go this fall unless he can really pack on the pounds.

We did a bit more running around and didn’t get home until 10pm. Those boys were mad! I was half expecting Bob to have broken the barn door. He takes so long to eat his grain. Of course, it’s hard to eat soup with just your lips. Haha

The minute I threw hay out to everyone the banging and whinnies all stopped. It was oddly quiet last night as everyone devoured their supper. It was rather relaxing standing there in the half dark watching the horses eat. I could see the glow of the lights from Sioux Falls. Even though we had every yard light and barn light on I could still see millions of stars. It was rather relaxing (even being past 10pm).

I’m hoping to put up a strand of electric so that I can let the big herd out to munch on grass this week. The lawn is growing so quick and the horses really need to adjust to grass before I let them out into the pasture (where I’m sure I’ll have difficulty catching them). The grass in the yard is up to my knees in some spots. If I keep Bob loose to wander around like I have been and pull Dude, King, Rain, and Chaos out to eat near the ponies my lawn should be cut down pretty short soon. I want to pull Sam out and keep him in between the hay shed and red shed so he can adjust to grass too without having to compete with the others. Hopefully by the end of the week they will have everything mowed down.

I’m afraid that I’m going to run out of hay. This last bale has huge slivers and I didn’t catch it until half way through the bale (in about two days) that the slivers are too big for this type of weather. I’ll be down to one bale by this weekend. I still have 10 more up in Madison but technically I’m already into my emergency reserve. Had I not had 20 bales from the year before I would have had to put the horses out on pasture no matter what since I’d be completely out of hay. I may see if I can’t find a few small idiot bales for fairly cheap to help counter the quickly dwindling hay supply. I’m still not sure what to do with the ponies.

Keep your fingers crossed that I can figure something out with our hay supply and slow growing pasture. I’m afraid the pasture will be gone before the summer is over and then I’ll be back to feeding hay much sooner than I want (and can afford). I suppose, there’s always something. But I’d much rather have a fairly decent hay supply through the summer/fall in case I bring home any starvation cases like I did last fall. I need extra hay for starvation cases. I guess I’ll start pinching pennies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Waste Management 101 Final

We are officially done with Waste Management 101. I’m surprised it went as smoothly as it did. Thank goodness for good neighbors. The Might Massey couldn’t stand up to the constant turning so we borrowed another tractor loader from our farmer friend to finish. We picked up the other tractor loader Friday night.

A coworker of Mike’s came out Saturday morning to help with the Waste Management while I attended a trail ride. I’m glad he came out otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten to it until Sunday. Neither Mike nor I want him working on the farm machinery by himself. It’s best to have someone around while he’s working on a machine.

I was really impressed. On Wednesday, Mike and Dad got the majority of the newer pile (from this past winter and some of last winter) out into the field. There was only a little bit left (a few loads) still in the horse pen. I was really impressed that it went as quickly as it did.

On Saturday, Mike tackled the bottom pile that has been there since we brought the horses to Borderlands in the spring of 2006. We didn’t have a manure spreader at the time so we just piled it up at the bottom of the hill and would figure out what to do with it later. Well, later came.

I figured that bottom pile would take a very long time. By the time Dad and I got back from the trail ride, the entire bottom pile was gone. I was shocked it didn’t take longer. I’m sure there were many loads involved but I figured it would take a few days to get threw everything.

On Sunday Mike and I did the finishing touches of hauling the rest out. We got the rest of the top pile out of the pens. We also got a bit of the lose piles that have disintegrated but still cover the ground. I’m so excited to see concrete again. We were also able to use the tractor loader to scoop out the leanto. I figured I would have to do it by hand but the tractor fit in there with no problems. It saved much time and effort (and blood, sweat, tears, and cursing) from me! I figured the leanto wouldn’t fill up the spreader but it did. I was a little surprised but still glad to see it go.

It was funny to see the horses last night when we let them back out of the barn. We left the leanto door open so that they have a better view of the place. Chaos and Dude hung out by the gate the entire time just watching everything going on. I suppose it’s something new so they were enjoying the view immensely. I guess I really should change up their routine more often.

Last night we took the tractor loader back. We are hoping to use the other little tractor that pulled the spreader and disc up the horse pens. We can use the Mighty Massey but it’s easier with the other tractor since it’s smaller and turns a bit better. I’m excited to see the ground tilled up. It’s getting a bit harder now that the horses are wandering around packing it down. I want a softer landing when I come off Chaos and Maverick.

I’m expecting a call any time this week from the trainer saying Maverick is ready. I need to get Sam and Brego introduced into the herd. I may just pull King and Dude out and put Sam and Brego in with Bob, Chaos, and Rain. Then when Maverick comes, just put Maverick in with Dude and King. King and Maverick are best buddies. I’m just worried what Dude will do to Maverick, Brego, and Sam. I guess I’ll have to do something soon.

I’m also hoping to put up some electric fence so that I can get the horses out on the lawn for a bit of grass in the later afternoons. I’d figured to have the horses out on the pasture already but haven’t done it yet. The pasture isn’t coming back as well as I’d hoped and I haven’t had a chance yet to mess with the horses. So hopefully I can get the horses adjusted to grass this week so I can let them out on pasture for a few hours every evening. I’m sure the minute I let them out into the pasture I’ll never be able to catch them. I’m planning on putting halters on when I let them out although I hate putting halters on when they aren’t tied up.

So that about wraps it up. I’m hoping we can do a bit of Waste Management in the fall so that in the spring it won’t be such an ordeal. Of course, we had three years worth of waste to deal with this go round and Mike was able to tackle it in about three days (and they weren’t even full days).

I guess we’ll see how things go. There’s always some new experience going on at Borderlands.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Koster Trail Ride

This year's Koster Trail Ride took place in a different location. It's always nice to get the opportunity to ride in a different location, although I do like the standard Koster ride.

That morning I did chores and put halters on Rain and King so that it would be easier for me to catch them. I think I must have taken them for suprise when I didn't require them to walk away from their breakfast.

When it was time, I caught both Rain and King and loaded them up for the quick half hour drive to Madison. Once to Mom and Dad's, we unloaded the horses and dad saddled up King so that we could hit the road again to get to the base of the trail head.

It was gorgeous riding. There was only 15 riders on this ride. Most were at graduation parties, etc. But having only 15 riders really did make for easy and fun riding. We didn't have to worry about people and their riding skills.

We actually ended up taking two trips. The first one we headed out and just road around a couple of pastures. I got lost a few times (lost as in not knowing where the trailers were at). We rode around for about an hour or so and then headed back to the trailers. Nothing too harry for riding purposes. I did hear one saddle club member talk about getting rid of his older mare that is going blind. And of course, stupid me didn't pipe up and ask more questions about the mare. This family has a tendance to get rid of any horse that isn't viable to them and will dump the horse at any loose horse sale without a care to the horse's next phase of life. I may just have to try and get ahold of them and ask what they want for the mare or if they would consider giving her to me for only a few bucks. I guess we'll see how it all pans out.

We sat around the trailers for about an hour just chit chatting and enjoying everyone's company. I enjoyed listening to everyone else talk. I'm rather quiet around big groups of people. It's just my nature. But it's always fun listening to others talk about horses.

We saddled up again and rode around again. The second trip out was much more difficult and more fun. I wish we could have ridden it backwards. It would have been completely different backwards than going the way we went. We had many ravins to cross and hills to climb. Unfortunately Rain thought that he should run up the hills instead of walk. I tried to run him around on Friday but apparently it wasn't enough to wear him down to stay calm. He always wants to be in the front and Saturday's ride really got him in a sweat when I made him stay at the back of the pack where it's safest.

But overall the second portion of the ride was very enjoyable. I wish we could have more rides like that. Just a few people to talk with and terrain that really makes you and the horse pay attention to your surroundings. Dont' get me wrong, riding gravel means we can really cover some ground but riding through hills and across ravins really makes for some breathtaking rides.

Once we got back to the trailers after the second trip out we hung out for quite awhile. I'd wanted to leave right away but ended up sitting around listening to people talk. We didn't get out of their until much later. Dad and I both wanted to get home sooner than we did. We missed seeing the Preakness Stakes but we did get to see the recap.

We won't attend another trail ride until the first weekend in June when we head up to Sinia. The Sinia ride is always pretty but it's a bit long without as many breaks as we are used to. I need to do a bit more riding before I'm ready for the Sinia ride.

We have a bunch of stuff going on in the next two weeks so hopefully I can squeeze in a few rides on Rain, King, Chaos, and soon Maverick. I'm expecting a call any time now that Maverick will be ready to come home. I'm a bit nervous. I've gotten used to him not being here. I have to figure out how to rearrange the herd so that I can mess with Maverick and not change the herd dynamics too much.

I was hoping to introduce Sam to Bob, Rain, and Chaos. Not sure we'll have time today or not. We still have to finish up getting the rest of the manure out of the horse pens. There's always something going on or something that needs to be done.

I like staying busy but I'd sure like a couple of days to finish up some of our major projects so that we can tackle the big fencing job. I think we are actually going to change our focus. After messing around in the horse pens, it's become very obvious that we have to do some serious fencing in the horse pens before we face dividing the big pasture. I'm also changing my perspective of where the girls will go this summer. If we can get some serious fencing done, I could have them on the backside of Borderlands instead of close to the road. Having a blind horse near a road is never a good thing, so if this other idea works out, we could have even more land for the girls to graze. All in due time I suppose.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Update

Just a quick update. I'll post more later but for now too tired to think. Today we had a trail ride and Mike finished the major portion of the manure spreading. I owe him big time! Trail ride was good but I forgot sunscreen! ooops! I'll blog about the ride tomorrow.

We only have one more load of manure to haul out and we should be done with it for another year! Just in time for our farmer friend to get into his field on Monday. I'll blog a bit more about our final hours of Waste Management 101 tomorrow too.

Today also marked the one year anniversary of me having to put Blondie and Ten Man down. I'll blog about that soon. It was a sad day but also a day full of fun activities to keep my mind away from this anniversary.

Until then, I'm gonna go try and scrub off some of this dirt/grime and then put my feet up for a bit before I fall asleep on the couch!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

40mph Wind and Patience of a Saint

I really do have to give Mike major credit and Dad for that matter. Mike decided, since work was slow, that he could take Wednesday afternoon off and start working on the manure pile. I unfortunately couldn’t take time off of work to help out. Luckily Dad came down and let Bob out and put the other horses in the barn. Luckily the big herd didn’t tear apart the barn like I was afraid. They were all pretty calm.

Unfortunately, the wind was blowing so strong yesterday. Mike had to fight it all day. After three hours of being outside my patience was gone. I can’t imagine how Mike handled the wind and the poo flying in his face every time he dumped a load into the manure spreader. The wind was about 40mph and Mike and Dad diligently worked on that pile all afternoon. I think Mike worked on it from about 1:30pm until 8:30pm. By the time he went in for the night, he was a total zombie. I would be too. I had to laugh. When I got home, Mike had a “tan” to his skin. At first I thought maybe it was wind burn but the more I think about it, the more I think it was just poo flakes.

Unfortunately the wind was out of the west and Mike had to drive the Massey up the hill, around the barn and dump the load. And the tractor was facing west with the wind blowing everything directly at the tractor and Mike. I owe him big time! I even mentioned it to him but I think he was in such a daze he couldn’t respond.

Mike would get on the Massey and scoop the poo up and drive it over to the waiting spreader. Once the spreader was full, Mike would climb down off the Massey, climb up on the Alis, and head out to the field, fighting the wind the entire time. I can’t imagine how exhausted he must have been by the end of the day.

By the end of the day both Mike and the Massey were done in. The Massey has always been hard to steer (so Mike says). Dad even got on the Massey to get the pile loosened up for scooping and said it was hard to steer. By the end of the night, the Massey steering was going completely out. I can’t imagine how Mike could even get the Massey to move. It’s way beyond my weenie arms.

Mike was able to get everything but about one last load out of the big pile. What’s left is stuff that is too close to the fence. So I guess I’ll spend my Friday, filling up either the Massey bucket or the actual manure spreader. I’m thinking the spreader would make life easier on Mike if the steering is gone on the tractor. I haven’t quite figured out how I’ll swing the shovel up and over the sides of the spreader but I’ll figure something out.

Mike was hoping to get the bottom poo pile out of there too but I’m not sure that we’ll have enough time. We only have until Sunday night to be done with everything. The farmer friend is going to get in the field I guess on Monday. I’m just happy that the fresher pile in the horse pen will be gone.

Now it means I’ll have to truck everything on down the hill. I guess I’ll get my exercise that way. I do still have to clean out the leanto portion but that should be fairly easy. I cleaned it out once before but again it got away from me.

I really do think Mike and Dad must have patience of a saint. There’s no way I could have spent as many hours as they did shovel, scooping, and fighting the vicious wind all afternoon. I big thank you goes out to Mike, Dad, and our farmer friend (for letting us use his tractor and field for this “experience”.) Hopefully next year we will be able to keep ahead of the piles and not have to go through so much pain and suffering to get the pens cleaned out.

Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain on Friday so that I can get the rest of the pen cleaned out and the leanto. I think with that bit, we’ll have the last load of poo ready to go out to the field. Mike can decide then if he wants to tackle the bottom pile. Dad and I will be gone on Saturday to a trail ride. I’m not sure if Mike will be able to rope a coworker into helping or not. I bribe of grilled steak might just be a good enough bribe. We’ll see.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Waste Management 101

Tonight we gathered up all the tractors and started our adventure on Waste Management 101. Mike prepared much of the tractors the night before but the true test came today.

I pulled Bob out so he could graze on the lawn. I then had to put the other horses, Dude, King, Chaos, and Rain into the barn so they couldn't escape. Normally I would just put them out to pasture but they aren't pasture ready yet.

We actually had to take down one of the gates. We'd been meaning to take it down for awhile now but never got around to it until today. We both thought it would be harder than it actually was. But that's usually the case for us.

Mike hooked the neighbor's tractor up to our manure spreader and used the Mighty Massey to scoop into the manure pile. Mike loaded the spreader up the first time fairly light to make sure that nothing broke. We'd only used the manure spreader one other time and that was more to test it out. We'd never really used it hard after rebuilding it so Mike wanted to take it easy for at least the first go round.

Luckily the farm entrance isn't too far away from our driveway. To be on the safe side I hopped into the Explorer and followed Mike down the road. We figured in case the tractor broke down or something else happened, it would be a wise idea to have me tag along. I'm always game for tagging along. I'm rather paranoid about farm machinery. I'd rather be too cautious than not cautious enough.

About the time Mike started loading up the manure spreader the skies clouded up even more and started to mist. Luckily it never opened up and rained but it made for a bit tricky work for Mike. I stayed in the Explorer and felt the wind rock the vehicle back and forth. I was rather spoiled staying inside protected from the wind while poor Mike had to deal with the wind and flying poo.

The below picture is Mike's first experience of using the manure spreader on the field. The first go round went ok. The second go round the one of the chains broke so Mike had to do some quick thinking to get it fixed. I think he's going in and getting a new chain just in case. Otherwise we might not get everything done in time before the farmer wants in his field next week.

Mike had to be careful which direction he turned. If he went the wrong way or kept the spreader paddles going when he turned he'd get nailed with flying poo. I think it only happened once. While I was sitting in the Explorer, Mike took the tractor up and over the hill. I lost track of him and couldn't tell exactly where he was. But then he appeared. I wish I could have gotten a picture of him. After the first go round, Mike came over the hill and raised his hands in victory. Of course I busted out laughing but I sure wish I could have gotten a picture of it.

The wind was blowing pretty strong but the rain held off to just a mist during our excursion. Surprisingly, everything went really well and nothing too majore happened. I always feel better when Mike rolls the tractor up the driveway. Mike got three loads out of the horse pen. There's still so much there but three loads is better than nothing. The manure spreader seems to be working just fine. It does depend on which pile Mike is working off of though. Some of the older pile is a bit more work for the poor manure spreader. It should be intersting to see how everything progresses.

I guess Mike is going to take a half day tomorrow since there's not much going on at work. He talked Dad into coming down and helping out too. I don't want Mike working on this project without someone there. It should work out just fine. Dad and Mike can work on Waste Management while I'm at work and then by the time I get home, Dad will have to get going for one of his many meetings. Hopefully the horses will behave for Mike and Dad. I'm so used to them that I don't think twice about asking the horses to do something out of the ordinary. I sort of take them for granted some days.
So that's our first experience of Waste Management 101. I'm sure I'll have more stories to tell. But for now, I think I need to go blow the stink off of me. I made Mike go take a shower right after he walked through the door. I don't want any of that "stuff" tracking through the house. As it is, the house is a pit because I've been working with the horses. Oh well, something has to give. Better it be housework than horsework.

Getting Ready for Waste Management Day

I haven’t hurt like this in years! I didn’t realize shoveling poo could make me hurt so much. I know trudging around with the wheelbarrow does make my wrists hurt but my arms and shoulders are feeling the workout from yesterday’s pen cleaning. Of course, had I not let it go all winter I probably wouldn’t be in this boat.

I’m hoping that the rain will hold off and Mike can get a load of poo out to our farmer friend’s field tonight. Our farmer friend is letting us use one of his tractors to pull the manure spreader. Thank goodness we found one and fixed it up last year. Mike took the snow bucket portion off the Massey so he can scoop the manure into the spreader. I’m afraid that it’ll get to a point where I’ll have to shovel it into the bucket. But at this point, I want that gigantic pile gone.

We only have until Sunday to get it done. Then our farmer friend is going to get into the field and we’ll be out of a place to spread the poo. So as long as the rain holds off or doesn’t rain too hard we’ll be out every night trying to get rid of that pile. I have the ponies in their night pen, I’ll leave Bob out so he can munch on the grass, and the rest of the herd will go into the barn. I don’t want the horses out on the pasture just yet and we’ll have the gates wide open.

I need to move some of the corral panels around so I can start letting the horse out onto the lawn for a bit of evening grass. I want to get them adjusted to the grass but I also want to be able to catch them and put them back into the drylot for awhile. I did that last year and it seemed to work out ok, although it did wreak havoc on my lawn. But it’s only grass and I’m tired of mowing. And to top it off, gas prices are going up so who wants to spend money on mowing the lawn when I need to find pasture for all the horses.

I’m hoping once we get the manure pile taken care of we can switch tractors with our farmer friend and borrow a different tractor for the auger. We absolutely have to get some fencing done. We are planning on dividing the big pasture. But if I want to bring the girls home, I need to extend one of the smaller pastures (and turn part of our lawn into a pasture, much to Mike’s dismay). I’m sure he’ll like the “new mare pasture” once he sees how good it’ll look and how happy it’ll make me. Haha

We also have a bunch of house remodel stuff to work on before Memorial Weekend. It sounds like we’ll have family stopping over so I want to make the house a bit more presentable. I don’t mind living in plastic but after a year it gets old. I’d like to show off a nice clean house instead of the mess that it is. So there might not be much riding time or grooming time in the next two weeks. We do have a trail ride this Saturday so I need to get King and Rain out. I’ve found that if I don’t take them out and run them around the day before the ride, they are a bit of a handful. Rain hates it when I ask him to slow down. If he’s pooped from the day before he’ll listen and actually walk slow. He prefers to be in the front of the pack while King refuses to be anywhere but the very last horse. So it’s a bit of a controversy Rain and I have. But Rain is going so well that he listens for the most part and we don’t argue during the rides.

I’ll hopefully get some pics of the Waste Management in progress and of Sam so that I can show off any weight gain. I’m afraid he might be losing more than gaining. I think I need to get him out on grass too. The problem is I’m not completely used to him so I don’t trust him enough to simply turn him out like I do Bob and walk away. I don’t have time right now to let him hand graze. I may have to put up some type of hookey fence to fool him into thinking that he can’t go past a certain spot for grazing. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll come up with something, I always do!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Waste Management

No new pics of Sam tonight like I'd wanted. Instead Mike and I worked on what dad calls, "Waste Management" aka pooper scooper duty. We are hoping to get the big pile of horse manure out inot the farmer's field before next week. Our farmer friend is letting us one of his tractors to haul our manure spreader so we don't have to hook and unhook the Massey.

But after what seemed like two hours of pooper scooping to get it ready for tomorrow's "big day" I'm beat. I'll try to get some pics tomorrow of our "Waste Management" if all goes well and doesn't rain. Until then, too pooped (no pun intended) to write more.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sioux Falls Horse Sale

Between today's Sioux Falls Regional Horse Sale today in Worthing, SD and Bob going off his feed, I'm absolutely worn out. Dad also mentioned Queen is off her feed and has runny poo so that adds more stress to my already stressfull day.

I got descriptions and prices of the loose horses. I'll post them later. But right now I'm exhausted mentally and think I'm going to go and veg for awhile.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More about Sam -- Upcoming Horse Sale

It hasn’t even been a full week yet and Sam is really starting to perk up. I was afraid that he wouldn’t like me or would be standoffish. The way to Sam’s heart is through his stomach. He now doesn’t flinch or shy away when I come up and pet him.

Every time I come out to the horse pens he whinnies to me. It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard. Here you would think that an 1800 lb horse would have this huge low whinny (Bob has one). Sam lets out this high pitched whinny that makes me double over in laughter every time I hear it.

And once Sam starts to whinny, Brego pitches in too. Brego is still so small and yet he has this low whinny. It’s just hilarious listening to those two. Sam and Brego’s whinny’s remind me of Dictator and Ace’s whinny’s. Ace had such a low whinny and Dictator had a pretty high whinny.

I love getting nickered to. It always makes me feel wanted. Brego stopped nickering to me awhile back but now that he’s in with Sam he hollers for me all the time. I love it. I’ve been grooming Sam down a bit whenever I get the chance. His winter coat looks like it’s all gone but I’m still pulling hair every time I run a brush over him.

The darn gnats are coming out and causing problems. They are eating up everyone’s ears. Luckily Sam has already figured out that I’m trying to help him feel better when I put the bug stuff in his ears. Some of the horses despise the stuff but Sam takes it all in without much fuss. He’s really very laid back.

I think I might have a plan for Bob. But I’m still considering euthanasia. If my plan doesn’t work out I guess that will be the route I have to go. I can’t watch him suffer. He’s actually getting to be a picky eater, which makes life even harder. I am thinking I’m going to increase his grain ration and see if that helps out more. I’m going to have to go to morning and night feedings. I think I have it figured out for the morning feedings. It’s just that Bob eats so darn slow I can’t stand around and wait for him for hours to finish eating when I need to get ready to head out for work in the morning. I actually feel like I did about a year ago when I was so worried about Ace’s health and Blondie’s health.

But on a slightly happier note (for me but not for all the horses involved), I’m planning on attending tomorrow’s Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Catalog Horse Sale. I was figuring on just going to the loose sale but the catalog and supplement only show about 30 horses listed. I guess they are expecting more but I want to make sure that I get there in time to walk through all the loose horses and take note of their conditions and which ones I could possibly take home of the need arises.

A year ago Sunday, at this very same auction, I brought home Ten Man. Someday I’ll blog about him. He was a heartbreaker for me but I went for a purpose and I guess he was that purpose. Poor guy. But if there’s more like him, I’ll see how much they go for and try to pull them.

The last Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale I missed because of a blizzard. I knew better than to travel during blizzard conditions. And I’m sure I would have ended up buying a horse and having to go home and get the trailer in a blizzard. Luckily the weather is supposed to be nicer tomorrow. No rain! Last year’s sale had terrible rain and cold. This year I hope it’s fairly nice. It’ll be interesting to see what types of horses are there and who all shows up. I’m afraid by the end of the loose horse sale most people are gone. I can only hope there is a good turnout for all the horses that are run through the loose sale. I guess I’ll make sure I have a wad of money in my pocket even though I can’t afford to bring any more into Borderlands at this time. Keep your fingers crossed that there are no neglected horses and that they all go to private homes instead of to brokers and kill buyers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I am completely and absolutely devastated. It occurred to me last night that I may very well have to put Bob down. The realization hit me at the same spot where I realized I had to put Blondie down. I’ve had Bob out on the grass for the past two to three days munching on grass. My hope was that once Bob is on pasture that he’d gain the weight back. I’ve been pumping him full of soaked senior, soy meal, weight booster, oats, and alfalfa too no avail. I’d hoped the grass would be the key to his weight gain.

But as I was doing chores last night, I noticed huge wads of uneaten grass. The same types of uneaten wads of grass that Blondie spit out just before I put her down. I know Bob has been spitting out the alfalfa but my thought was he was sucking the alfalfa leaves and leaving the stems. But after seeing all the grass, I’m afraid that’s probably not the case.

I know I’ve been in denial about Bob’s weight but I’m utterly devastated. The real question now is, what do I do? Do I put Bob out to pasture and keep a close eye on him to see if he’s eating the grass or spitting it out? Do I put him out on pasture for the summer and put him down this fall? Or do I put Bob down sometime this spring/summer since he’s not picking up any weight and I’m afraid starting to starve. I’m afraid the only nutrition he’s getting is from the grain. I can’t grain him in the morning because he takes so long to devour his food.

I’m actually sick thinking about it. I had to deal with the same situation last spring/summer/fall with Ace. I knew he couldn’t make another winter. But what about Bob? I’ve done everything I can for him but I know that if I do decide to selfishly keep him going through the summer that no matter what I’ll have to put him down this fall. I’m not sure that Bob can handle another winter. He’s coming out of this winter so tough. Every day he seems lose another pound, which he doesn’t have to lose.

I am completely heart sick. This week has been pretty rough but the realization that I’m going to lose Bob is really taking it’s toll. I knew at some point I would have to put him down but not yet. He’s only 21. He should have at least another six years of life. I don’t want another one to leave me. I’ve seen too many of my four legged friends cross over I can’t stand the thought of another one leaving me. I know I’m being selfish but I can’t help it. I adore Bob, as to many others. There really are no words to describe how upset I am over the thought of losing Bob.

Please keep Bob in your prayers. Maybe he’ll miraculously gain enough weight to appease my worried mind. I know, I’m in denial but I can’t help it. Just the thought of losing Bob has me upset. When dad mentioned that Queen was off, I worried about her but knew that if she were to cross over now I wouldn’t be that upset. She’s 30 something so I’ll be sad to let her go but not completely surprised or upset by the thought. Bob is a total shock to me even though I’ve known in the back of my mind that Bob won’t last as long as the others. Why can’t he last until he’s 30 like Queen?

So now I’m back to painful worrying over my babies. I spent all last summer and fall worrying about Ace. I guess this spring, summer, and fall I’ll be worried about Bob and Queen. I guess that’s what happens when you take in older horses and run a retirement farm. It’s just so painful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome Sam!

Welcome Sam! Sam has now been at Borderlands for a little over 48 hours. He’s adjusting to the routine pretty quick (even with me throwing off the normal schedule by taking a sick day).

On Sunday evening, we went to the Winfred area to pick up Sam. The previous owners had Sam out munching on some grass. The first picture is of Sam before I had the chance to put a brush to him to help shed him out. He had a few tufts of winter fur still and I was itching to get to it!

As they led Sam to the trailer, you could tell he was depressed. I’ve done some research and found that horses typically mourn for three days when they lose their friend. Sam’s buddy had been euthanized that Thursday. It hadn’t been a full three days when we picked up Sam. He seemed a little downtrodden at first until he realized there were horses in the trailer (Rain and King). There was a bit of whinnying back and forth between the three horses. I could tell right away that Sam was less depressed knowing there were horses near and he seemed a bit more relaxed.

I unloaded King and Rain so that I could load Sam in to the front of the trailer. I think there’s a bit more room in the front and it’s more protected from the wind. Oh what I would give for a nice enclosed slant load trailer.

Sam loaded like a gem. I put one trailer tie on him and he stood there with no problems. I then loaded King and Rain. There was a bit of pawing from both Sam and King but they both have that bad habit. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to cure either of them from pawing. But I guess I’d rather they paw instead of kick, rear, and tear apart the trailer.

Once the boys were loaded into the trailer, we hopped in and headed back home. It was dark by the time we got home. I backed the trailer in close to the smaller pen where Sam would go. I didn’t want to take the chance of someone spooking or getting upset out in the open.

I did some switching earlier in the week to get Brego accustomed to the big herd. I had to pull Brego out of the big herd and then pull Dude and Chaos out of the small pen. I prefer to keep Chaos away from Bob when his best friend, Rain is gone.

I was actually surprised that Brego seemed interested in all that was going on. He used to act so moppy, I didn’t think he’d be interested in what was going on. I unloaded King and Rain and tied them to the trailer. I didn’t want to leave Sam in the trailer by himself, not knowing how he would react to being left alone. I also didn’t want to risk getting squished in the trailer by him in case he freaked out because he was alone.

Sam unloaded like a champ. I was a bit worried that he would try and turn around. I’m sure he could turn around and not get stuck but I’ve been in a trailer where a horse tried to turn around and I almost got squished. So I asked Sam if he would back out of the trailer. He did without much issue. He did get a bit hesitant when we got to the end of the trailer. He knew the end of the trailer was near and wanted to see for himself. But he did trust me enough to get him out of the trailer without any harm.

We then walked over to where Brego was standing watching all the commotion. I had to shoo Brego out of the way just to get the gate open. Normally Brego doesn’t want anything to do with other horses so I was pretty shocked that he would be up front and center watching the activities. I’m pretty happy with Brego’s progress.

I lead Sam in and took off his halter. There was a bit of nose touching, sniffing, and a few squeals here and there from Sam. But all in all, it was a pretty quiet introduction. I typically don’t introduce horses to each other 1) when I myself am just meeting them and 2) when it’s dark. I’d rather let the horse have some downtime before introducing them to a member of the herd. Unfortunately I didn’t have a choice, so I chose Brego since he’s the low man on the totem pole.

I’m still not sure who is in charge, Sam or Brego. But it does seem to be working out ok for both of them. Neither is aggressive enough to really want lead herd man. Dude, Chaos, and King stood by the small pen gate. They know better than to push since the electric is up and running. I’m tired of horses pushing on the fence. So there wasn’t much interaction from the big herd.

So Sunday night was pretty exciting. Monday afternoon I went out and brushed Sam down. He seemed a bit standoffish and didn’t really feel comfortable with me grooming him down. But I was SO itching to get his winter coat off. He looked a million times better after jus t a quick grooming. He’s still too thin for my liking but my goal is to get him fattened up as quick as can be.

I did grain Sam Monday night with regular sweet feed and soy meal. He devoured it. I was rather pleased that he would be willing to nicker to me when he saw me with the grain. He did the same thing last night when I brought the food. I’m hoping he’s not associating me with some bad memories or associating me with his world changing completely. He has nickered to me a couple of times during the day yesterday. I did get a chance to groom him down again yesterday. He seemed a bit more relaxed Tuesday when I groomed him. I also put bug stuff in all the horses’s ears since the nats are out and biting like crazy. All of the horses are getting eaten alive by the nats.

I know Sam has only been here for two full days but he’s really taken a spot in my heart. He’s such a sweet old guy. I can see it in his eyes that he’s confused and still a bit depressed by losing his buddy. I can only hope that he buddies up to Brego at some point. I’m hoping that I can get out tonight and do some grooming on him some more. He’s looking a little tough. I hope he’s not going to be a hard keeper. Bob is my hard keeper and I struggle with his weight loss every day. Every time I see Bob I want to cry he looks so terrible. I’m not sure how I’ll handle a second hard keeper. My hope is that Sam just needs a few groceries and TLC to pull him out of his depression and to gain back some of his weight.

I’ll keep everyone posted on Sam’s progress. Here are a few pics of Sam that I took on Monday, a little less than 24 hours after arriving at Borderlands.

Love you Sam the Man!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Franklin Trail Ride

Yesterday was a good day, if not overly long. We started the day running late. I couldn’t get myself out of bed like I’d wanted. It was the Franklin Trail Ride. I had planned on riding Rain and King before the ride but never got around to it. The week before the ride was super busy and I didn’t get a chance to ride on the weekend. I prefer to pre-ride the horses before a ride to work the kinks out.

Sunday morning, I went out and did chores as normal and caught Rain and King. It’s not so easy to catch either one of them so there was a bit of a standoff between myself and King for a few minutes. But as always, he caved. I’m learning to really keep my zen on these horses. They can’t get the better of me.

I saddled up Rain and loaded both up. We headed up to Madison for the ride. We drove past the trail head to get to mom and dad’s. Dad had warned me the day before that Queen has been off her feed. So I was anxious to check her out while Dad saddled up King.

From a distance, Queen looked fine. She and Babe both needed a good grooming. They still had their heavy winter coats on. I figured when we got back from the ride to groom down both girls. I wanted to make sure that when I left Sunday that Queen was a bit happier.

So we loaded the horses back up and headed out to the trail head. There weren’t too many people there. Only about 20 riders total for the entire ride. The ride was on gravel so that deters most people. But I thought it was a nice ride. Rain behaved beautifully. King behaved ok, but not as great as I’d hoped. It may be that dad and I need to switch horses.

The ride was fairly short and we were done by about 4:30pm. We hung around for about an hour before heading back to mom and dad’s. We unsaddled the horses. When we turned around to go back the last two miles, Rain worked himself up into a tizzy. So when I pulled the saddle off he had sweat marks everywhere. I wish I could have given him a bath.

I then decided that I would go and baby Queen for a little while. I started grooming her down and got at least one layer of winter fur off her. Her mood did seem to improve while I groomed her. She really is a people horse and prefers to be handled at least once a day if not more than that. But I think she’s also not feeling well so I may need to come up with another solution. Improve her spirits and maybe she’ll feel better to eat. But we’ll see. I have a plan.

After I groomed her down, I decided to halter her up and lead her out into some of the lush grass. She can’t really be on grass a lot but I thought 10 minutes of grass might cheer her up. So I pulled her out and left her to munch. I went over to Babe and brushed her down too. I left about half a horse on the ground from all her winter fur. Babe really seemed to enjoy the grooming. She looks fantastic for coming out of this winter. I’ve never had her for a winter and she looks better now than when we first got her! Makes me happy!

I went back after grooming Babe and did a bit more grooming on Queen. The more loving on Queen the better. After a little bit, I pulled Queen back into her dry lot and fed her a treat. Maybe it was just my imagination but it did seem like her spirits were a little bit higher. I think I want to try some probiotics on her and see if that helps too. Since she’s not actually at Borderlands it’s a bit hard for me to pamper her and make sure she’s being treated like a Queen (no pun intended). So I’m going to have to call mom and dad up and change the care instructions on Queen.

After grooming the girls down, I loaded Rain and King and headed up to Winfred to pick up Sam. Sam came home on Sunday. WELCOME HOME SAM! I’ll blog about Sam in a little while. I want to get some pics of him too. I’m a bit upset that he’s so thin but I guess I can’t say much since Bob looks just as bad if not worse.

But to quickly sum it up, we loaded Sam up in the trailer (with a few head bonks) and then unloaded him in with Brego. I think Brego and Sam will get along just fine. I still have some reservations about putting those two together but those are the best matched personalities that I could come up with last night at 10pm. After we got everyone settled in for the night it was midnight before my head hit the pillow. I woke up with a terrible cold. So hopefully my blog entry won’t sound too confusing. And I’ll blog a bit more about Sam. Can’t wait to tell you all about Sam the Man.

Lots going on

It's been super busy these last couple of days. I'll blog more later but I'm under the weather with a darn cold. I'm afraid if I write much it won't make any sense.