Friday, February 26, 2010

Quick Note

We dropped Brego off with the trainer last night. I'll blog more but I wanted to send out a quick note to say everything went well. And if my luck holds out, I'll get to take lessons with the trainer so I can become a better rider. I asked a bunch of questions and lo and behold, sweet trainer of mine was really excited to answer all of my questions and requests.

I can't wait for my first lesson. Unfortunately I have to work around his schedule. He's currently going to school full time so it could be months in between lessons but at least then I'll have something to work on in between. I need to start riding again. Maybe I can rent out his riding arena while he's at school or come in the evenings in ride. I really want to get the shed changed over to a riding arena but that won't happen for a few more years. Until then I guess I'll see what I can do about mooching off others. :-)

I'll write more about Brego and the trainer but I just wanted to post to say I'm now down to caring for 12 horses. It's alittle odd not having Brego standing there whinning for me but I guess I'll get used to it for the next month. And it will make the hay go a little bit farther. I'm starting to worry about my hay supply.

Ok, enough rambling. I'll post more later.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In a Pickle

I'm going to find myself in a pickle pretty quickly tonight. The temps have been wavering between thaw and freezing. This weekend's temps allowed some of the snow to melt. Unfortunately with the amount of snow still around the barn, the water doesn't have anywhere to go except right where it melts. And it melts right along the track of the door.

So the big barn door has been frozen shut since about Friday or Saturday. I've been lucky enough to run the horses through the one remaining barn door in the horse pen. Unfortunately tonight the weather is supposed to plummet into the teens below zero. I'll be so glad when winter is over.

Unfortunately the freezing temps will cause a problem for tonight's chores. If I want to put horses in, how can I put five horses in the barn without a major fight since I have to run them all through a small door. I know I'll be fighting the horses. I've decided to leave the mares out and feed them extra alfalfa. They are pretty hefty girls and can handle being outside. I'm worried about Brego so I guess I'll put the more "faint of heart" into the barn. It's just going to be a pain.

I'm sure there will be fighting. Jim doesn't like a lot of the horses. Although surprisingly enough Dude and Jim were in the same vicinity last night eating and they were getting along. Jim and Zeke were even scratching each others backs the other night. And Jim and Maverick were eating out of the same hay pile. I guess I just see Jim fighting with Sam, who he hates. Unfortunatley Jim is a spinner and kicker. If he doesn't like someone he'll spin around, show them his back end, and if need be, kick. I don't like kicking.

I guess there's always something going on. I sure hope at some point, things will get easier. But when that happens, what ever will I blog about. :-)

Brego Headed to Training

We were able to bust the trailer out of the snow on Saturday. Luckily we had the truck (with chains on the tires) and the tractor to pull the darn trailer out. So now that the trailer is out of the huge snowdrift, I can get Brego to the trainers.

I called last night and made arrangements to haul Brego on Thursday to Jake Jass. I can't wait. The only issue I currently have is that Brego is thin. I'm not sure if it's that he's off his worming schedule since I have been bad about it, or if he's getting pushed away from the food.

When I first got him, he was full of worms. I thought I had it under control, but apparently not. When I went to pet him, I could feel his ribs but his belly looks big. So I'm guessing he's wormy. I wormed him last week but want to worm him again with a different kind to see if that helps any too.

If he's getting pushed around and not fed then I need to figure something else out. But unfortunately I can't get a ton of weight on him before Jake starts working on him. I guess I'll tell him my worries and we'll go from there. Jake is pretty good about taking care of the horses so he'll at least know my concerns. I plan on stopping out a couple of times to check on him and at least once to worm him.

But at least Brego will be the last horse to send to training for awhile. No more youngsters for awhile anyway, unless I open my big fat mouth!

The Return of the Racoon

This weekend we had an encounter with a racoon. I'd gone out to do morning chores, opened the hay barn, turned on the light, and there he was curled up on the top of my straw bales. I was none too pleased to see a big racoon. Of course the hair on the back of my neck went straight up! And the racoon scurried down into the bales or under the pallets.

I went back to the house to get Mike. But when we got back he hadn't reappeared. Mike came prepared since I only told him to bring a gun. So he brought out my gun, Elmer Fudd, and the pistol. We waited around for the racoon to reappear while I did chores but he didn't show. I'm sure I was making too much noise.

When I finished my chores, Mike stuck around to see if the racoon would reappear and he did. Mike got one shot on him but it wasn't a killing shot. I know what some of you are thinking. I should be more sympathetic and release them back into the wild. Those people in town, release them into the country and those in the country release them in a differnet spot. Well, my theory is, if you didn't want them at YOUR place, I don't want them at MINE!

I've had too many possums and a rabid skunk. I'm not prone to let any wild varmits on my place from now on. We erradicate them when they come on our place, including the bunnies that are destroying my hay.

Ok, back to the story. So Mike shot the racoon but it didn't do much good. This was a BIG racoon. We set the trap, hoping we could catch him but no luck. So each time I've gone into the hay shed to do chores the hair on my back of my neck stands up and I'm on high alert knowing that he's been in there. He's left a poop trail a mile long!

Last night Mike set the live trap in hopes of possibly trapping him. This morning when I went in, the little bugger was in the live trap along with half my tarp. I'm not sure how he managed to get the tarp stuck in the trap but he did.

So now we will be one racoon less. I know it's cruel to destroy a helpless racoon but you should see the trail of destruction he's left me to clean up. If they want to be at Borderlands, stay out of the buildings!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trailers and Snow

When I first brought Jimmy home, I put him in a quarantine pen. For safety reasons I had to leave Longhorn in my quarantine pen also (in a separate pen). When the first bad storm him at the beginning of December, the quarantine pens were getting nailed with terrible wind. The wind was out of the east so Jimmy and Longhorn were getting bombarded with wind. They had a run in shed but it did no good when the wind was out of the wrong direction.

To try and protect them from the wind, I secured pieces of plywood in the run in so they could stand behind it. But I didn't think that was good enough. I needed a bigger wind block. So what's the next biggest thing to put in front of a pen? You guessed it... the trailer!

The trailer worked as a great wind block. It also acted as hay storage while I had horse in the pens. Unfortunately, where I had the trailer to block the wind, also acted as a wind block and snow piled up inside and all the way around.

Now that I don't have anyone in the quarantine pens I can move the trailer. I also need the trailer to get Brego to the trainers. The trainer volunteered to come get Brego but he's only been in a trailer about four times and the trainer only has a two horse trailer. I'd rather take Brego in my trailer.

So for the past two nights while I do chores, Mike is out digging out the trailer. Last night we finally go the truck hooked up to the trailer (which is a huge feat in itself). The instant Mike put his foot on the gas the truck tires went straight down in the snow (even with chains on). Mike was able to get the trailer to rock back and forth about a half an inch but that was it.

Now that the truck is sort of stuck, we are going to try the tractor. If that doesn't work, I think there will be a phone call to the neighbor for some help! Thank goodness for neighbors.

I'll try to get pics tonight of the truck and trailer buried, along with the procession of trying to get the trailer unstuck. I took some last night but it was too dark. The snow is up over the wheel wells on the one side of the trailer. And of course, silly me dumped the frozen water buckets right in front of the trailer hitch so that's one more obstacle to hurdle.

I'm really hoping to get the trailer unstuck tonight so that we can haul Brego to the trainers. I still need to scoop out the foot plus of snow in the trailer but it will be worth it to send Brego to the trainers and know he'll come back well educated.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thankful for Hay

I know I shouldn't complain but I just had to mention it. ;-) I typically don't feed using big rounds or small squares. I buy the large squares since that's the easiest thing for me to purchase and for us to man handle. I also prefer the large squares to that I can distribute evenly instead of having the less aggressives get pushed out of the hay ring.

When I bought what I thought were alfalfa/hay bales we unloaded them in front of the mare pasture thinking that I could easily toss the hay and not have to climb any fences. Come to find out that those three round bales are straight alfalfa. So I'm slowly widdling away at those. Unfortunately when we unloaded them, we had to push the first bale (which I'm still working on) and it jammed the alfalfa and snow together so I'm struggling to unravel the darn bale.

I've been picking and pulling at the round bale trying to get off whatever I can. I had enough time and energy today to try and dig away the snow. Ok, so dig is the wrong word... more like swin a pick axe. That's right! It may be a nightly ordeal until I have the snow away from the bale and I can easily unravel the bale (or more likely simply not fight it as much).

The pictures below explain why I know I shouldn't ever complain about my hay.

My hay barn. Two years ago we could drive that tractor in without hitting anything. Since then the building started to sag so we were only able to push the bales from that point on. It's a dumpy building but it works great for storing hay. Now that I've used all the hay in the hay barn I'm using it as a breeze way between the horse pen and the hay shed.

And this is why I shouldn't complain. There's 54 bales on that trailer. There were more bales on another trailer that earlier brought down the tractor that unloaded all those bales. Our ol' Massey can't handle but one bale at a time. I know I'm spoiled!

What took just an hour or so would have taken Mike and myself more than two days to do. I know I'm spoiled so I'll stop comlaining about messing with my three little round bales.

Days are getting longer

The days are getting longer in more ways than one. I'm taking on a bit more at work so there will be less time to do anything with the horses. It should only be for a month but maybe the extra cash can go for the horses to ensure that I can bring another one home this fall.

The days are also getting longer where I can actually enjoy watching the predawn show. I still have to wake up and do chores in the dark but driving to work is now enjoyable. There is just a small glow when I first leave, but by the time I pull into the parking lot, I can see the land around me very clearly. I do so love the longer days.

Evenings are getting longer too. Of course I'm so tired by the time I get home that I'm not outside right away to play with the horses. But it is refreshing to know that I don't have to rush outside to get chores done to beat the darkness. Of course I'm getting used to doing chores in the dark. But it is nice to not have to rush around as much.

I will have to change my schedule again. I'm down to a half a bale of hay in the hay barn so I'll be forced to use the hay in the hay shed. It's not a bad deal, it's just that the hay in the hay shed is tarped and there is no electricity out in the hay shed. So I'll be fighting snow and tarps while I wrestle those hay slivers in the dark. I guess I wont' complain though. I have hay.

We may still be in the grips of winter, but I may come out of my hay situation either ahead or right even. I am still a bit worried but will take every bale as it comes. I bought 70 (although I still havent' seen a bill... ). And there's still 10 from last year sitting in Mom and Dad's barn in case I brought a horse or two up for them to care for over the winter. I need to do a bit of counting and math to figure out how many bales I've gone through to make sure I have plenty.

Those darn alfalfa round bales are lasting me forever. I may have to do some wheeling and dealing to figure out a better use for them.

But having sun and longer days really does make the days better. I may not be so grumpy if I get to enjoy more daylight. Daylight savings time is just around the corner so I'll have even more time in the evenings to play with the horses.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Yesterday I received a request to join a Pro-Horse Slaughter group on Facebook. I was sickened by the thought. I realize that everyone has their own opinion on the situation. But let me tell you, of the 13 horses standing out in the pasture right now, 10 of them would have been slaughtered or at minimum put into the auction circuit to end their fate at a slaughterhouse. I think that's a sign I am completely Anti-Horse Slaughter.

I guess that request really got me riled. I know everyone is allowed their opinion but I sometimes feel like where Borderlands is located at is total backwaters country. It's rather frustrating. I don't know that there will ever be a way to educate those that do not want to be educated.

I just feel like I should be doing more but at this very moment, I don't know how. I am trying to have a life outside of the rescue but how do you plan a life outside of rescue when that's all you want to do? There is such a need at yet I don't know how to properly fill that need.

Perhaps I'm just jadded by bad people. I know there are many good people out there but it's so hard to tell who is who. The person who sent me the request, I thought was a good, kind hearted person. I guess I should have known better. Stupid is as stupid does. She's the same individual who wouldn't keep the horn bags on the horn and instead insisted on tying them to the back of the saddle with a four foot piece of twine. Inevitably that saddle bag slipped and scared the holy crap out of the horse. She obviously wasn't worried about the consequences of hurting the horse, other horses, or riders.

Maybe it's just cabin fever. Maybe it's the pressure of winter and all the snow and cold temps. Maybe it's just me. All I know is that I really need to figure out how to educate those that want to learn.

Sorry, I really don't want to vent on this blog. But today I just had to get that bit off my chest.
Thanks for being patient with me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Taking a Day Off

We decided to take today off. It was great. The only things that had to be done were minimal chores. Of course, not paying attention to the weather sort of caught me off guard. I had a voice in the back of my mind reminding me of the inpending weather but I didn't pay attention to it.

This afternoon the wind picked up and started tossing the snow around. Of course, any bit of wind and the snow becomes horizontal. I was surprised but I guess I should know better.

I need to get back in to the swing of paying more attention to the weather. The horses are starting to get grumpy with me.
But on the bright side, staying in the house gave Trouble a bit more lap time. Mike and I decided we'd take the day off (except for morning and evening chores) to watch the Daytona 500. Of course it was more of an opportunity to catch up on some well needed rest.

I'm still trying to relax even though there's some seriously tough wind out there right now. I'm still trying to get Brego to the trainers. But I'm now hesitant to send him away until he has more weight on him. I've been lax with my worming schedule and apparently Brego is full of worms. He came to me full of worms and I thought I had it under control. Apparently I'm going to have to do better about keeping him on a very tight worming schedule from now on.

I'll be glad when it's summer again. I'm sure I'll be grumbling about flies, mosquitoes, and the heat when the time arrives. Until then I guess I'll just talk about the weather. Not much more to report since it was our day off. :-) Tomorrow will be another story.

Happy Valentine's Day

First and formost, there is SUN!
Second, Happy Valentine's Day!!

I'm in the works of getting Brego sent off to the trainer for 30 days. The trailer is stuck in snow and I'm too lazy to try and dig it out. That, and there's about a foot of snow inside so I'm afraid even if I did get the trailer dug out, Brego would slip and that would be the end of ever getting him into a trailer again.

It snowed about four inches yesterday and our neighbor is out plowing our driveway right now! I love it! I'm going to owe him a steak dinner by spring. Of course it's more a scenario of "boys and their toys" but I'll take it. If it means I don't have to tromp through four feet of snow to do chores, all the better!

And to make the day better, the sun is out! It's amazing how life carries on in rescue even with the passing of one, there's always something that needs to be done. Longhorn's passing is yet another reason why we need rescues and why I really want to get up and running. Rest in peace Longhorn.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Longhorn the Donkey

Today has been a busy day and only now am I allowed a little time to mourn. Today we put Longhorn down. He'd foundered so bad that there was no way of saving him. Perhaps if he'd been treated better in his previous home he would have been friendly and more willing.

But today it feels like I've failed him. I know that it's just my mourning process but today I feel as though I've done him an injustice. I should have done more.

Longhorn loved treats. So last night, while I stood outside his pen since he was more comfortable that way, I fed him treats. He was always good about taking treats. For whatever reason, Longhorn came up to me and kissed me. That was the first and only time that he'd ever showed he understood that I was trying to help.

That simple act of kindness has me in tears right now. I should have done more. I know that I must remind myself that I gave him a few months of food, kindness, and love. But today, right now, it doesn't feel like it's enough.

I believe that everyone should pass away knowing that they are wanted and loved. I can only hope that Longhorn knew that he was loved and I will miss him. I will miss his small heehaw when he would see me coming. I mourn each four legged family member that passes away and I will shed tears for them. I can only hope that although I have failed him, Longhorn knows that he was loved and will be missed.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Jim is definately working my skills and patience. He doesn't like to be caught so I have to be stubborn and force the issue. I'm trying to teach him that getting caught or going into the barn doesn't always mean work. In fact, since getting him December 5th, I have not done anything with him other than let him be a horse. Of course that's mostly due to the weather and my schedule. I don't think he'll ever come around to be an overly friendly horse. But hopefully he'll learn that when I walk up to him it's only to give him a pat and say hello.

Nothing else too exciting going on. Since the snow started flying around Christmas we've been over run by rabbits. Mike's been working on reducing the numbers. I get so irritated when I walk into the hay barn and there's a nice pile of bunny poo sitting on one of the slivers of hay I have ready for the horses. Those damn bunnies have even taken to eating my small alflafa bales. I've had to cover them to ensure they dont' destroy them. They've even hopped up, two bales high, to demolish my alfalfa.

Now that I have three supposedly alfalfa hay bales (which are actually straight alfalfa) the bunnies have started chowing down on those too. Every morning those darn bunnies are at those three alfalfa bales. The bunnies will be plump this summer! But Mike did decide to come out this morning and take one out.

I'm not one for erradification but I do believe in "thinning the herd" when it comes to bunnies. It is also teaching the horses to be less skittish. It usually takes them by surprise the first shot but after that, they settle down; everyone except Babe.

Poor Babe. She really has adjusted to being totally blind. I just feel terrible. I don't believe in leaving halters on horses (even if they are hard to catch). But I'm thinking that it might be a smart idea to leave a breakaway halter on Babe with sheepskin padding. That way when she bumps into something, she'll pump into it with the padding and not directly with her head. I always feel so terrible when she bumps into things. I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before (probably because I don't leave halters on). But it may be something I try at the very least.

The horses of Borderlands are always making me think outside of the box and also make me use a different thought process to ensure they are happy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Breaking a Promise

Just a quick note to say, Mike is a sweetheart. He knows I'm having problems with planning euthinizing Longhorn. He took the initiative to get everything scheduled and set up. I guess I'm so upset because I couldn't turn Longhorn around. He's come a long way but I can't trust him nor will I ever be able to trust him. I'm disappointed that I couldn't do more. I'm disappointed that because I couldn't do more, his founder has gotten worse. I've never actually gotten his feet trimmed because no one could handle him. So now he's to the point where he is uncomfortable. I know I should have euthinized him months ago. I'm disapointed in myself for not just doing it the week after he came to Borderlands. I'd had such high hopes for Longhorn and now they are all dashed for him.

Longhorn will be the first one that I do not stay until they take their very last breath. I'd made it a promise that I would be there until the very end. But for some reason, I simply can't do it for him. I've failed him.

At least he knew months of food, kindness, and love. And he won't be alone. Mike and Dad will be there until the end. I just wish I could keep my promise to Longhorn.

Nap Time

Sam getting in a bit of naptime.

Monday, February 8, 2010


We are still alive at Borderlands! Just super busy but not with the horses unfortunately.

We had a really nice warmup where I should have been outside getting stuff done. But last week really took a toll on me and I ended up taking most of the weekend off to rest. I did take the big plung and put Jimmy in with the big herd. I'm disappointed he hasn't buddied up with anyone yet.

Dude absolutely hates him and a few others aren't fond of him. It's going to take some time for me to figure out how he works. I'm working on getting him to come in to the barn for grain and alfalfa. I think he needs his teeth floated. Maybe then he'll snarf down his food. He takes so long to eat so I'm guessing it's his teeth that are bothering him.

But the problem is, the trailer is up to its axle in snow and I'm guessing it's frozen down to the ground. Even if I could get it out, there's at least a foot of snow IN the trailer. And once I do finally get the trailer dug out, I have to haul Brego to the trainer's. So maybe now that we have yet another cold snap I can get in and get the trailer pulled out without tearing too much stuff up. Who knows at this point!

But I do want to wait until it warms up before I haul horses. We are going back down into sub zero temps for the lows. Uugh. I hate cold temps. And now that I have Jimmy in with the big herd, I have to figure out who goes where in the barn and the stalls in the hay shed.

On the bright side, the hay in the hay barn is almost gone so I can use the hay barn as a breeze way from the main pen to the stalls in the hay shed. I'm sad to see the hay disappear from the barn since it's such easy access. But I guess I wont' complain. I either have hay in the hay barn which is always a good thing, or I can use the haybarn as a breeze way to lead horses instead of fighting gates.

We'll see how this week goes. Hopefully work won't tire me out so much and I can actually get something done with the horses other than minimal chores.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Staying Busy

Woke up to horizontal snow and I'd say some serious wind chills. It's so hard to crawl out of a nice warm bed to feed horses in below zero wind chills.

After the Christmas Blizzard.

I am struggling with doing pretty much everything at Borderlands right now. Work has taken me away from doing anything more than minimal chores. I'm not sure when I'll be able to relax.

Besides stressful work, we're all still dealing with winter. Sort of feels like we can't catch a break. Whenever the snow stops falling, we fall into sub zero temps. We did get a January thaw so I'm thankful for that. But now I have to watch my step and make sure I dont' fall on the ice. Dude has already dealt with the ice a couple of times. Dude slipping on the ice doesn't help with his bad hip.

Add work, a super long/bad winter, and planning a wedding to the mix there doesn't leave much time for anything else. I still don't have anything except the location and dress figured out. Everything else is still up in the air.

But that's not all! Silly me, I'm trying to squeeze in setting up some trail rides for our new saddle club, the Minnehaha County Saddle Club. It's not going well so far but I guess it's a young club so there will definately be growing pains.

So that's why there haven't been any good posts lately. I'm experimenting with Jimmy and his grain to see if I can't get him interested in food. I still haven't gotten Brego to the trainer, although the trainer called on Saturday to say he got his trailer dug out and could pick him up. Problem was, I was in Madison at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet. So much for that idea. I still need to put Longhorn down. And I have a ton of phone calls to make. Never ending. So if you don't see me for awhile, it's not that I don't have stories to tell, it's that I'm too exhausted to do anything but fall asleep on the couch after a long day.

After the Christmas Blizzard.