Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

A Year In Review

2012 was filled with so many adventures. Personally, 2012 was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. I was torn. We discovered last December that I was pregnant and that would change how we manage the Sanctuary. (Don't worry, the Bear was planned!) We put bringing new horses into the Sanctuary on hold until we had a handle on managing the horses currently here. That alone was almost enough to kill me. How can I do what I was born to do, how can I follow my passion if I have to sit on my hands. But the hold is only temporary and once we are adjusted to this new life, we'll bring another old deserving horse in to the Sanctuary.

This year we experienced broken water pipes in the middle of winter! We dealt with a fire that changed our pasture living (and put a deep and lasting fear of fire into my soul). We dealt with the oppressive heat and the subsequent drought and hay crisis. I locked myself into the house for two weeks while there was a loose inmate in the area (odd for this area). We survived two unexpected emergency room visits (totally non-horse related). We dealt with continuing family health issues.

We said goodbye to three family members. The place doesn't seem right now that they are gone. I so miss Flower, Queen, and Thor. It breaks my heart and leaves a tear in my eyes just thinking about how much I miss those three. I miss all of the horses that have walked up our driveway and have crossed over but for some reason those three have hit me the hardest. I'm guessing it's the year as a whole that makes it harder for me to say goodbye.

We also said hello to our newest family member. Garrett (aka the Bear) has changed how we run the Sanctuary and how much time is devoted to the horses. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am passionate about rescue/sanctuary. I believe I was put on this earth to fullfill the need of Sanctuary work, but I was also meant to be a mom. I also think that being a mom has made it that much more important for me to do sanctuary work. I think everyone deserves a place to call home and a place to go home to that is filled with love and understanding.

This year also showed me that we have so many wonderful supporters. With all the changes we went through with bringing Garrett into this world, our supporters stepped up and helped out even more. We wouldn't be where we are without our supporters. We met new supports and reunited with a few old supporters. It fills my heart with joy that we have such wonderful people willing to step up even when it's not always convinent for them. We would be lost without our supporters.

In April 2011 we rescued Savanna and Prize (aka Jett) from an auction. Jett was adopted to one of our amazing supporters (and our guardian angel). Savanna went to Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary to be fattened up more and adopted out. I had the priviledge of watching Jett grow and begin his education. I am thrilled to watch the progress. Savanna was adopted out and has flourished under the care of her new owner. I am amazed and thrilled to see the progress of both horses and look forward to continuing to watch their education. We don't necessarily rescue to adopt but in their case, we knew it was in the horses' best interest to find them new homes. It has been such a thrill to watch them flourish.



I want to focus on fundraising for 2013. If we have sponsors for some of the horses, or have additional money coming in (besides my small paycheck), we could bring another old and deserving horse into the Sanctuary. I want to be able to say YES to the next old horse instead of constantly saying no. Saying those words broke my heart because we need to be here for the old horses and give them a soft place to retire to.

I'm sure that the Bear will make it a little difficult to do rescue/sanctuary work but we will continue on a smaller basis. Hopefully for 2013, we won't have to say goodbye to anymore family members. We will spend 2013 enjoying the time we have with each horse and be blessed to have the priviledge to know each horse.

I'm not sure if we can top the experiences for 2012 and frankly, I'd prefer not to. I'd prefer that 2013 is a nice and quiet year where we can focus on promoting the horse and it's plight. I want 2013 to be the year we dont' have to say No. I want 2013 to be filled with fun experiences and meeting new supporters.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year. I will write again next year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Values

I've been thinking about values for the last couple of days. Jerry Finch from Habitat for Horses also mentioned values in his latest blog (see my previous post for a link).

Some of my values have changed over the years. Some stuck with me when I learned them at an early age, others I learned a long the way. As I look at my son, I can only hope that I can instill those same values in him that were instilled in me.

One of the first values I ever learned was to respect others. Maybe I took it a step farther and added the four legged "others" in that list. Each individual, be it four legged or two, has a personality and feelings. They have rights.  Yes, I think horses have rights! They have the same rights we do, to be treated with respect and dignity, to be given an education so that they can learn just as we have, to be treated as an individual.

I also learned to respect my elders. Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to the older horses. There's so much wisdom. The older horses have seen and done more than I have. Some have traveled and lived in different states. We've had to say goodbye to a number of old horses over the past couple of years. We are now left with only two old horses (or what I consider old-ish). The rest are still young in my book so we will be able to enjoy each other's company for many  more years to come. They may not have as much worldy experience, but I can at least assure them (and myself) that they will no longer face the cruelties of the world.

I also have the belief that out of sight/out of  mind is not correct. People should not turn a blind eye to something they know is wrong. Doing the right thing is sometimes difficult and sometimes almost impossible but never give up. Because if you give up, others will too. We need to stand up for our beliefs and be a role model for the younger generations so that maybe some day people will  realize that doing right, although may be difficult, is really the only solution to the problem.

I'm afraid at this point, I'm a little tired so I'm not as gunho to step in and fight wrong doings.  I think once we start working on our fundraiser ideas, I'll become more energized and excited. Being around people who are willing to help and support us really makes me want to get out there and do more. I'm not good at asking for help but being a sanctuary really does require me to say those words. The generosity of others humbles me and leaves me with such a deep feeling of gratitude.

I'm really looking forward to 2013. I'm looking forward to the possiblity of meeting new people and new supporters. I'm looking forward to spreading awareness about the plight of the horse. I'm looking forward to enjoying some great activities. I'm looking forward to meeting new horses. And most of all, I'm looking forward to not having to say no when an old horse needs to find a new home to live out the rest of their days. I know that we can't save them all, but we will hopefully be able to make a difference in at least one horse's life.  Each horse that has come to stay at Borderlands has taught me so much. I look forward to learning in 2013 and possibly instilling new and additional values.

Good Blog Post

Wow.... I couldn't have said it better.

http://www.habitatforhorses.org/the-keeper-of-the-gate/?fb_source=pubv1

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tucked In

Christmas Eve and Christmas day had below zero temps for overnight. Both nights I put some of the big herd into the barn. With Bo and Babe under the cover of the Hospital Ward and in blankets, and no one allowed in the old mare pasture, I was able to put some of the other horses in for a change. Of course I have to put Rain, Zeke, and Jim in the barn as they are more "fair weather" horses. But I also decided to put Ivan and Brego in. More because they could share two stalls instead of me trying to man handle a corral panel as I have in the past. I also decided to put Dude in. I'm not sure if that's the best. I figure if he's in the barn, it'll be easier on his joints as he gets older. But after one night in the barn, I wasn't so sure. I put him in a second night and he seemed to do a little better. I did decide to change the stall arrangement so that Dude was the last in and first out Christmas day. It seemed to go better. Dude has to be the first at everything.

We pushed in round bales Saturday so that we could spend Sunday enjoying our family Christmas. The herd has done justice to both bales of course. Having six of the nine horses in the barn overnight for two nights did seem to make the bales go just that much farther. But we did start dipping in to the big squares.

I gave up using the rounds on the Rabbit, Mayhem, and the ponies. It's been so cold, I've been giving them extra even though Rabbit is in a blanket and protected from the elements. She seems ok with the blanket and the extra hay. The ponies and Mayhem were playing when we got home from visiting family this afternoon. It's good for Mayhem and the ponies. I need to find ways to keep them entertained during these cold winter days that seem to drag on forever.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Beings that this was the Bear's first Christmas I think I was more excited than I have been in years for Christmas to come. We are going to draw Christmas out at our house. It takes forever for a four and a half month old to open presents (and he got a lot of presents from his parents and Santa!)  :-)

The weatherman is calling for more snow in the forecast. Sounds like it'll start snowing tomorrow (of course because I have to go back to the paying job) and it won't stop until Friday sometime. I haven't caught how much snow we'll get but I'm sure it'll be enough to make chores a pain in the butt to do. But I would rather take snow over this fridged cold weather. My fingers can't take this cold. Some days I wonder why in the world we opened a sanctuary in South Dakota of all places. But this is where family is at so this is where home is.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and here's to looking forward to the New Year. I'll leave you with just a few pictures from this fall when Dude and King were staying with Mom and Dad.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

May you have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow!

Yesterday was a bit of a surprise when I walked out the door to do morning chores. I wasn’t expecting to see snow, and so much of it at that! The weatherman hadn’t predicted that we would be in a small band of a snowstorm. The snow was coming down at a pretty good pace. By the time I was finished with chores (which only take a few minutes because the herd is on round bales), my tracks were already covered with a light layer of new snow.
I’ve been doing a better job of keeping up with the water in the mare/pony pen. Mike left work early yesterday so that he could push snow. I think the weatherman said we got about five inches of snow. I believe it too. It was nice to not have to wade through a bunch of snow but underneath was slick. I slipped a half dozen times before I ended up flat on my backside by the mare/pony pen. Luckily no one was around to hear my curse words. I hate falling on the ice/snow.
I have decided that once we are done with this round bale for the mares/ponies, I’ll switch to the big squares. Now that I’m fighting a good half foot of snow to get to the hay, it’s just not worth it. That’ll make the rounds go a little bit farther and I can sure handle that. I’m getting spoiled not having to throw hay all the time. I do miss getting to hang out with the herd, but it is safer this way. I don’t have hungry horses trying to run me over. If my calculations are right, the round bales should last until mid-January. Then it’ll be back to the big squares. But by then, they’ll need the better quality hay.
I’m excited for the snow. Maybe now we won’t be in such a severe drought next year. I’m still worried but I think I’m required to worry about something. I’d prefer not having to deal with snow and ice but if it means that we won’t be in a drought any more, or at least not such a severe drought, I say bring on the snow.
I can’t believe that Christmas is right around the corner. I’m so unprepared this year.  I guess what gets done, gets done and that’ll be that. I should be happy that at least some things are getting done.  I’m planning on taking a few days off around Christmas but I doubt we’ll be able to get any major projects started let alone finished. I think with all that’s going on, we’ll probably just hang out with family and enjoy some family quality time.
I’m fighting a head cold thanks to the Bear. Hopefully it’ll be gone before Christmas but we’ll see.  I’m not sure how much more I’ll post until after Christmas. I’m trying to get caught up on a few things before I take time off of the paying job.  I am definitely looking forward to some much needed family and Bear time. This year I’ve tried to focus more on family but I’m hoping to spend the next year focused more on fundraising and bringing awareness to the plight of the horses.
Sorry, I’m sure this post isn’t making much sense. I think this cold is having an effect on my thinking process. I’ll try to post a few more times before Christmas but if I don’t, have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Picture Day

Thought you'd prefer some pictures instead of my blabbing





Monday, December 17, 2012

Rain in December

What a weekend. Who would have thought we would get rain in the middle of December? I don’t know how much rain we got but it was enough to make everything a muddy mess by Saturday night. The weatherman wasn’t sure where the cutoff was going to be for rain, freezing rain, and snow. Luckily we had rain and then snow and barely any freezing rain.
I braved the elements and took Rain to a riding clinic. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember what I learned and use it on Rain. One downfall of having a four month old is that my time is limited so that I the only time I get to ride is when I’m at drill team practice. I guess it’s better than not riding at all. The worst part of the drive was our gravel road. The county hasn’t maintained our road very well so we are turning back into a mud road instead of a gravel road.
We normally push in round bales Saturday morning but with all that rain, there was no way we could do any hay pushing. We would have either torn up the yard, gotten stuck in the mud lot (er…drylot), or broken a bale in the yard. We opted to wait until the ground froze. The horses didn’t eat as much on the round bales and had plenty to get them through for a few more days. Thank goodness for that cinch net.
Sunday morning the ground was nice and frozen but we had an appointment in town so we couldn’t mess around with pushing bales in. It usually takes us two hours to push bales and we have to wait for the Bear to go down before we can do it. Not conducive when we have to be in town at a specific time. I thought maybe we could push in bales when we got home. Nope. The ground was nice and hard but it was too late and we were all too exhausted (except for the Bear who was wide awake).
So hopefully tonight when I get home, the Bear will go down early and we can go out and push bales before the temps drop later this week. I don’t want to be throwing hay just yet. We have round bales to get through first.  I need to work up to the thought of throwing hay both morning and night.
I also discovered that I have to keep a close eye on Bo to make sure that he drinks water. He’s the only one without a heated water tank. Once there’s even a light coating of ice, he won’t drink out of it. I’ve taken to hauling warm water out in the morning. I’m not sure how much he drank this morning but at least I know he drank.  I need to figure out some other way to get water to him at all times. The mares and ponies are going to kill me with hauling water. Mom came up with a solution but we still need to implement. Until then I’m forced to haul back 10 gallons of water at a time. My body can’t hold out much longer. It was warm enough Saturday morning I pulled the hoses out and topped off their water. But I haven’t had time to haul water since then so I’m sure they are down to ¾ empty (I must be in a glass half empty kind of mood today).
 We are supposed to have decent weather until Thursday when it’s supposed to snow again. But we had flurries this morning. It was rather pretty even though I was out in the dark and cold this morning. I can say with 100% assurance that I am ready for spring to get here already. Sad when the shortest day of the year isn’t even here yet.  Hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. I’ve been frantically trying to get everything done but I’m exhausted.
 I put Brego on my “watch” list. He’s turning in to a hard keeper. Even with a bale in front of him 24x7 he seems to not be flourishing like the others. Frustrating. Guess I’ll be bringing him into the barn as well to grain. He usually turns into a hard keeper around March but I think with this quality of hay, he’s having a tougher time adjusting. It’s probably a good thing we aren’t in a really cold snap as of yet. But Brego is on the watch list, along with Babe, Bo, Rain, Zeke, and Jim.
 I finally have pictures from this summer. Once  I dig them out of the thousands of pictures, I’ll try to post some. As always, I’m late but at least the thought is there.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strenght of Character

I read a post today that had the following saying:

Strenght of character isn't always about how much you can handle before you break; it's also about how much you can handle after you've broken.

It's a fitting saying for me today. I feel broken. I have some family matters to attend to so won't be posting for a couple of days. Please keep our Borderlands family in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joe, Thor, and Flower

Joe, Thor, and Flower on the days we brought them home to Borderlands to live out their remaining time (Joe and Thor in June 2010 and Flower July 2011). Poor Flower had a bad right ankle and she was still used as a riding horse even though she was lame and limped when she did anything more than a slow walk. I don't care if people tell me that they are old (mid twenties aren't old to me). We brought Joe and Flower back to proper weight in only a few months. Miss them dearly and wish they would have been treated with more kindness in their younger years. All had hearts of gold.









More Weather?

I heard rumblings of another storm rolling in for this weekend. Why should I be surprised. Every time I have something planned, the weather turns. I guess I shouldn't complain. We are finally getting some much needed moisture. But, couldn't it wait?!

Here's what NOAA says we'll be getting for this weekend:

Friday Night - A slight chance of rain or freezing rain before midnight, then a chance of freezing rain and sleet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday - A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

So I guess I'll be blanketing and stalling  much of the herd again Friday night. I don't think some of the more "delicate flowers" can handle getting wet and then dealing with colder temps although upper twenties aren't all that cold. I just hate freezing rain and having to go anywhere, let alone haul a horse trailer. I guess we'll wait and see what the weather does before I make any rash decisions on changing plans.

I think this year will be the year of best laid plans gone awry.

But on a brighter note, I have to say, thank god for moms! Yesterday was "Grandma Day" for mom and the little bear. They get to spend the entire day together. Because Mike was home recovering from the flu, Mom volunteered to help me with my chores. I have no idea how many buckets of water she lugged back to the mare pen but I am definitely grateful. She came up with a plan that I think will make my life much easier when dealing with water for that pen. We'll try it out first and then I'll tell you all about it. I don't want to jinx myself in case it doesn't work.

Now that Mike is feeling better, maybe he can push some snow around so that this weekend I can try out our new water hauling method and I won't have to tromp through snow and snow drifts. I guess I could have been brave and tried pushing snow but there's a definite artform and I didn't want to break the truck. It's amazing how many things can break on an old truck when you really need it to work. I figured maybe I better not mess with it (at least for now).

I've been so exhausted these last few days that I've had to shut my brain off when thinking about all those slaughterbound horses. I know worrying doesn't do any good but I still do it. Worrying is in my nature. I'm hoping that after all the hubub of Christmas, we'll bea ble to tackle some of the fundraising ideas and really start promoting the sanctuary so that we no longer have to say those evil words "No, we are full." I  never want to have to say those words again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busy Weekend and Bad Weather

The last three days have been exhausting. I can say with 100% assurance that I am ready for spring!

Saturday rolled around and we needed to push in bales to everyone. Some day we'll get a tractor that can actually lift round bales. When we can finally afford one of those, it'll be a godsend. The current tractor is out of commission so we use the plow truck to tip the bales on to their tops and then drag them in to the drylot or for the hopsital ward, we push them in. It makes for an interesting experience. We use a long cable to tip and drag the bales. It's a heavy duty cable and sometimes it kicks my butt. Mike is the one who drags and pushes the bales where they need to go. I'm the cable girl, dragging and lifting the cable wherever it needs to go. Mind you, it's much easier now that I'm not eight months pregant!

Unfortunately, to push bales in to the drylot, we have to wait for the little bear to fall asleep. Being that it is way easier to push bales in when there are two of us, we've learned to push bales in on the weekend when there's plenty of time, even if the herd isn't done with the bales. We wait for the little bear to fall asleep, suit him up in his snowsuit, buckle him into the car seat, and secure him in the truck so he can help move bales around. The last couple of times have worked out well. He's definitely a kid on the move.

I have the herd locked out of the pasture so that they wouldn't tear up what little pasture we still have. So when we push bales in, that means I have to either halter all nine horses or put some in the barn. At least the horses are learning that when I halter them, it doesn't always mean work. I need to start working with them so they'll never know when they'll be caught for work and when they will be caught for other reasons.

We pushed two bales in to the drylot and then had to push a bale in to the hospital ward. I had Bo tied up but he was going balistic. If I thought he was lame, I stand corrected. He was pawing, prancing in place, and kicking out at everything he could.. Once he made contact with his back legs, he continued to kick out. So there goes the thought that he's lame. I decided to untie him until we were ready to push his bale in. He was getting himself so worked up that I wasn't sure I'd be able to get him cooled down before the weather turned. He was starting to get lathered up. When I released him, he trotted sound. Not a falter. I think he may have a pinched nerve. We finally got the bale in to Babe and Bo's pens and then went to tip another bale for the mares.

I've been a little naughty about hauling water. That used to be Mike's job. I have a bad hip and bad wrists so Mike used to haul water for me. Now that we have the little bear, I'm out there hauling water. I haven't been keeping up with the mares until now. I made a number of trips the last couple of days trying to keep up with the water levels. Mayhem drinks so much water. I remember Chaos drinking a bunch of water too when he was young. I'm half tempted to put Bo back in with the big herd and put Mayhem in with Babe so that I don't have to haul water as far. But we'll see. If my body starts to give out, that'll be the route I have to go. Until then, I'll just haul water in two 5 gallon buckets at a time and hope I don't spill most of it on the haul back.

We had plans on Sunday but the weather changed them, along with the flu bug. The bear has been a little off but Mike caught the flu bug and it knocked him down hard on Sunday. It's probably a good thing because a blizzard set in on Sunday too. Oh sure, our county was in a Winter Weather Advisory but the next county over was in a Blizzard Watch. I hate to tell people but the weather doesn't stop at the county line (although in some cases it oddly does). But as far as I'm concerned, we were in a Blizzard Warning.

I went out Sunday morning to get some of the chores done after being up half the night with a sick baby and a sick husband. It was already snowing by then. It was actually snowing the night before while we attended a Christmas party. But the snow kept falling and by the time I went out Sunday  morning, we had a bunch of snow.

The weatherman was calling for sub zero temps by Sunday night. I was NOT prepared to hear that news. It was snowing so much and the horses were getting soaked. I decided I'd better throw blankets on a few of the horses that wouldn't be going into the barn. It took a little bit but everyone was pretty well satisfied after they had their blankets on.

A few years ago, I bought some Jeffers blankets. I've never really been satisfied with them because they fit everyone really goofy. I decided that I would put one of the Jeffers blankets on Rabbit and keep the brand new blanke for Bo. Bo has always had hand me downs and it's about time that he has his very own blanket. I think I had it on him one other time. But now it's going to be designated for Bo only. I threw the Jeffers blanket on Rabbit and it fits beautifully. I have a second Jeffers blanket so we'll have to try it on another one of the stoud quarter horses to see if it fits. I was rather tickled that Rabbit now has a  blanket that fits her perfectly. Babe didn't really care one way or another if she was wearing a blanket but I feel better.

I petered out after getting blankets on and doing morning chores. I had hoped to get a bit more ready for evening chores. I prefer to open the barn doors at night and have them all walk in instead of having to get everything ready. I had thought I would go back out early in the afternoon but sick baby and sick husband made other plans. So it wasn't until early evening as the sun was setting that I was able to get back out there to do chores. By that time, the cold front had set in. I was SO glad that I'd thrown blankets on some of the horses. The other horses were happy to get into the barn.

I woke Monday  morning to sub zero temps as I went out to do chores. I had to go and get a hammer to break open Bo's water. I hate that he's not able to share Babe's big 100 gallon water tank but he doesn't play nice. I have a heated water bucket I might try but we'll see. There's only so many extension cords and circuits I can use before I start blowing stuff up. I ended up staying home Monday to make sure everyone was recovering ok from the flu. Interestate was still closed for a portion of my drive to work. I didn't think it necessary to go to work when interestate was still closed. Call me lazy, but if interstate is still closed in the vacinity that I have to drive in, then I think it's best if I stay home and avoid the backroads that I would be forced to drive.

I didn't really do too much yesterday other than putter in the house. The horses hung out, devouring their round bales. Bo kept his head in the bale. The only time I didn't see him at the bale was when he went back into his shed and fell asleep. Bo is gaining weight back but I'm sure glad he has his blanket on these last couple of days. I'm going to have to pull blankets tomorrow morning. The weather is supposed to get warm again for Wed and Thur.

I went to do chores this morning and it was snowing again. I won't complain too much about the snow. We need the precipe but I'd be much happier if it would come in the form of warm rain. But I guess we are pretty luck for it to wait until December to snow.

Which reminds me, three years ago on December 9th, we brought Jim home. I was reflecting on that adventure while doing chores Sunday during the snow storm. Three years ago I ended up going to a horse auction on Saturday. Jim was slated to go to a different auction that Saturday but we said we would take him and pick him up on Sunday. I'd wanted to know what the prices were like. I'm kicking myself for not having just bought Jim at the auction. It would have been cheaper but at least this way he was saved from being exposed to different diseases and I got to get information from the owner. We picked him up that Sunday and it was SO cold. I remember trying to put a blanket on him but my fingers had gotten so cold that they wouldn't work any more. Jim stood like a champ, patiently waiting for me to stop fumbling around. When we finally got him home that evening, we heard that a snow storm was on it's way. And boy did it ever! I think that was the winter where we had so much snow! I have picutres to show how much snow piled up and drifted in the yard. I should pull those out and show the time lapse. But is it sad that I can remember brining a horse home because of the snow storm that ensued? Guess it makes for a good story. Here's to hoping that we don't have any more blizzards for the year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reflections

It's finally starting to snow. The weatherman is contradicting himself (as far as I can tell). I'm not sure if we will get 1-3 inches of snow or what. But it's nice to see the snow falling straight down. Horizontal snow isn't any fun. But the white stuff we are getting right now is pretty and at this very moment, calming.

I'm not sure what type of winter we will be dealing with. I'm not prepared in the least. But we have enough hay and everyone has a dry and warm place to stay. My thoughts will be with those that are less forutnate. I can only hope that in 2013 we can provide a comforting home to a few old souls.

This coming year will be an adventure and I'm looking forward to the challenges. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to meet new horse people. If my brain can function on all cylanders, hopefully I'll learn a few new concepts.

This year has had it's ups and downs. So much has changed for me this year both personally and with the sanctuary. I've struggled with the knoweldge that we can't bring anyone else in for a little while. That knowledge is heart wrenching. There is so much more we could/should be doing. I hope that 2013 is the year that we can do those things we could/should be doing.

As the snow falls and puts the white blanket on 2012, I'm sure I'll reflect more on the past year's adventures. I am excited for new beginnings but will also remember the past so that we can learn from our mistakes and move forward. I am hoping to have more brainstorming meetings in the near future (after the holiday hubub). Keep your eyes peeled for some new ideas coming to Borderlands in 2013.

Because of Love

Theresa from Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue posted a beautifu post. I've read the story before and I'll read it again. It warms the heart, quiets the soul, and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. We are all so busy this time of year but it's also a good time to remember others less fortunate and those that have gone before us.

I'll leave you with the post to read.

http://bhfer.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/here-it-is-again-because-of-love/

Intersection

I am a little rattled. I think I have been since last night after getting home. Mike mentioned on the news that there was a terrible accident at a corner that I always have to stop on my way to and from work. I’ve always said it’s a bad intersection and one of these days I’m going to get hit. Last night, someone was hit and killed at that intersection. I was apprehensive about taking that route this morning, not wanting to cross where someone had been killed. It seemed almost sacrileges to me.  I know it sounds weird but that’s just my thinking. This morning as I pulled up to the stop sign, the only evidence was some broken glass. There was no other indication that there had been an accident and that someone had lost their life at that very spot. It makes me realize how precious life can be. One minute we are here, and the next gone.
Then I started thinking about the horses that are slaughtered. Who will remember them? Who will mourn for them? Who will keep their memories in their hearts? One minute they are on this earth and the next they are gone.
I know my logic isn’t here this morning. When certain things rattle me, my logic isn’t always explainable. All I know is that one of my biggest fears is to be forgotten. I know many years from now, I’ll be mentioned by my great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren in passing so I won’t be forgotten. But what of the horses? Who will remember them? It seems that the minute they are tossed into the auction circuit, they are forgotten as individuals.  I’ve seen a number of ads for people in search of their horses that they sold at auction. 
We each have our own path in life. People come and go, horses come and go. We each make our own decisions but not every horse is given an opportunity.  Maybe it’s the mom in me where I have to keep tabs on my son (and the horses). I want to know where they are at, at all times. Once they leave my possession (the horses not my son), I don’t know what will happen to them. Maybe it’s a control thing, or maybe it’s my Type A.
I don’t really know where I was going with this post, other than to let you know that I’m rattled. When we know a loss is coming, we can prepare. When a loss is sudden, it’s harder to handle. I guess with sanctuary life, I can prepare for loss. And those that we have lost will never be forgotten. The horses will be remembered by multiple people. I guess I’m just worried and sad for those horses that are not mourned over when they leave this earth.
I’m sorry. I know this post doesn’t make any sense. I can’t seem to pinpoint down the emotions in my head.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Upcoming Weather

I haven't been paying much attention to the weather lately. We haven't had any rain or snow in so long that I forget that we are now into winter. I've taken to leaving stuff out because I know it won't rain. I was leaving stuff out during the summer months in hopes that it would rain. You know what I'm talking about. If you leave your windows rolled down, it'll rain. If you leave something outside that you don't want to get wet, it'll surely rain. Nope, hasn't happened. We have been leaving stuff all around the place in hopes of rain but no such luck. Unfortunately, we were caught the other day with all our clutter scattered about. A company that does arial photography flew over the other day and stopped out. Yup, we looked really trashy with everything sitting out. Least to say, we passed on the photo.

But I digress.

I caught some rumblings the other day about potential snow in the forecast for later this week. I'm a little excited and a little apprehensive. We desperately need the moisture but I hate dealing with snow. There's still a bunch of stuff sitting out that we need to put away. I tried to put some of the stuff away or at least tuck it under cover for the night because I wasn't sure exactly when it's supposed to snow. It'll be a full day project to get everything ready for snowfall. So we finally got caught with our pants down. I guess I won't complain. We are finally getting moisture.

I know we are desprate for moisture but I hope the snow doesn't make it too difficult to push the round bales in to the big herd on Saturday. The mares and the hospital ward ran out of their round bales last night. I decided I wouldn't even bother trying to tip a bale by myself in the dark last night. It was easier to just cut a big bale open. I swear the minute the big herd heard me cut that twine, they were lined up along the fence. Apparently the bales we have out there now for them aren't the greatest. Usually by now, they have the bale without the cinch net on completely gone. Guess that bale is junk. I'm not surprised. We'll get a few bad bales in the bunch.

But the herd was eyeing me when I tossed the good hay over to Rabbit, Mayhem, and the ponies. I also figured that I would give Bo some extra hay just to help with putting on more weight. He's been slowly putting on weight and I'm excited to see his ribs go away. I knew he was a hard keeper and figured that in the summer that he could handle not being grained. I was wrong. He has to be grained year round. Maybe when he's out on pasture he won't need as much grain but this year has been such an odd year that he requires grain no  matter what. It won't be long before he's back to his right weight. He's definitely taught me a lot. Apparently with Bo there is a huge learning curve for feeding a very hard keeper. Even the oldsters were never this difficult to keep weight on. But he's worth it.

I can't believe that it's already December. I lost so many months this late summer/early fall. I don't think I can make up for lost time. Everyone in the herd seems to be doing well now. I swear that fall is the worst time of year for the horses. Every time I start thinking that we can take in another horse to save them from starvation, auction circuit, or the slaughter pipeline something comes up and we are faced with  massive vet bills. No one is lame (knock on wood), no one is colicing (knock on wood), no one has any medical emergencies (knock on wood). Babe is recovering nicely from her puncture wound. You can barely tell there was anything wrong. King has some weird skin condition but we've dealt with it before so it's nothing too earth shattering. It's a little mind boggling because I can't figure out what it is or what caused it but I know it'll go away soon so it's not an emergency vet visit.

We had a very successful fundraising brainstorming meeting last week. We have a few ideas in the works. I'm looking forward to focusing our attention on fundraising so that we can stop saying no to the old horses that really need a soft place to land for their retirement years. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them. You can leave your ideas on our Facebook page or email them to borderlandshorsesanctuary@yahoo.com.  I'm really hoping to get our name out there for 2013 so that we can do more good for the horses. Apparently there is a poll going on in a couple of the Facebook groups I belong to and what a disappointment it is. They asked if people were pro or against horse slaughter. So disappointing to see that my fellow horse people are pro slaughter. I simply can't stomach the thought that anyone could be pro slaughter. Just look at Bo. He was headed to slaughter had we not been there. Same goes for Savanna (and Jett), and a bunch of other horses that we've taken in either through auctions or prior to them reachin the auction circuit. The world is a better place because those horses are in it. It's devistating to think that well trained horses are ending up in the slaughter pipeline simply because people believe that slaughter is the right decision. It's not a discussion I want to discuss right now but there are good horses that deserve better. And I want to make sure that happens in 2013.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Little Bummed

I'm a little bummed. I should be estatic but instead I'm a little bummed. Neither Chaos or Maverick will be representing Borderlands in the drill team. I have a hunch that Maverick wouldn't work out. The way he was trained makes it hard to get him into anything but a walk in an arena. I think if there were cows in that arena he'd be a little different.

Chaos was just being lazy. I need to start working with him a lot more. Any time you push him into a lope, he decides that he doesn't want to go that fast and gives a little crow hop. Unacceptable! But he's so out of shape and so lazy that he doesn't pick up his feet. We'll be loping the pattern and Chaos isn't a good fit at this point in time.

I'll be pulling Rain out next to see if he can handle it. I was afraid that with the hot weather, he'd have another heat stroke or have heat exhuastion but maybe if we work him up to it he wont' be so bad. Usually the heat exhaustion kicks in after we've been trail riding for an hour or so. We'll only be in the arena for a short period of time so maybe he'll work out just fine. I know he has a bit higher step than Chaos. I swear all Chaos does is shuffle.

On the bright side is that they both were fairly decent for having been on paternity leave for the past year. Yup, we pulled Chaos and Maverick out of pasture, threw a saddle on them, lounged Maverick only because of my past experience with him not for any other reason, and then hopped on. We could have gone on a trail ride. They acted more like 20 year old quarter horses rather than the 7 year olds that they are. So there's hope that they will make superb trail horses but they'll never make a drill team horse. I guess each horse has their preference of jobs. I don't know that trail riding really fits Maverick's personality but for now, that'll be what it is until we can find a small herd of cattle to work (with guidance from an experienced person telling us what to do).

So we'll see if Rain is the next drill team horse on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed that he's the one.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Already?

How can it be December already? I see all kinds of Christmas lights up and I still have fall decorations!
Saturday morning we pushed round bales in to the big herd. They were more than willing to chow down on the bales once we let them go. I opened the barn door and let whoever came up to the barn in to stand instead of haltering and tying the others. Dude, King, Chaos, and Jim all went into the barn. When I let them out, they all went galloping around the pen.
It’s so much fun watching the herd run, buck, rear, and enjoy themselves. King is usually so poky slow but he was bucking and rearing straight up at one point. Guess he was feeling his oats. Maverick would grab a bite and then run around trying to stir up more commotion. I think he’s really bored.
But we’ll have the fix for that soon. I’m either using Chaos or Maverick for the second drill team I’m on. This way we will no doubt represent rescue horses. I’d rather take Chaos because he’s prettier (sorry Maverick). But Maverick really needs a job. Tonight I’m hauling both boys to an indoor arena and riding around to see who will be the best fit.  I have a sneaky suspicion of who it’ll be but I’ll wait and see if I’m right or not.
Babe is doing much better. She still has the infection but it’s slowly healing. She’s been such a trooper through the entire experience. I’m so glad my fears were false in thinking she was going to need her eye removed. I guess I’m always thinking the worst case scenario so that if it ever does happen, I’m not caught by surprise.
 I really think Bo is back to normal. Yesterday I loaded Zeke up for the Hartford Parade of Lights. Bo went ballistic. He trotted back and forth in his pen and he never took a wrong step; he never once indicated that his leg or shoulder or backend was weak. In fact, at one point, he let out a pretty fierce kick with both back legs. I don’t know that we’ll ever know for sure what was wrong with him. I still want to keep him in the hospital ward for now. I want to make sure that he won’t regress. If we give him another month of rest maybe then I will put him in with the big herd. I prefer that he have 24/7 access to hay, which he does and Babe much prefers his company as long as it’s on the other side of the pen. She knows that Bo is near but not with her. She put her nose through the top rung of the corral panel to try and coax Bo over.  They will eat nose to nose in the round bale. Babe still lets out a squeal every once in a while if Bo does something she doesn’t like. While we were loading Zeke, Bo kept running back and forth whinnying. That in turn would upset Babe and get her whinnying. It was almost a three ring circus by the time we left.
 This morning when I walked out to do chores, the weather was actually warm. It felt like a storm was coming but I know better. There’s not even any talk of a storm until possibly the end of the week. Just the other day we had that same feeling where I would have sworn a storm was coming but instead it was a cloudy day and nothing more.  Usually we put up a snow fence to block the snow from coming up the driveway. We haven’t put it up yet and I’m beginning to wonder if we should even bother with it. I’m not complaining about not having snow but we are in desperate need of some moisture. I prefer to not drive on snow and ice but if we could get some warm rain that would be wonderful.
I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll do this week. We are busy with drill team practices and that’s about it. Nothing too exciting (knock on wood). If you happen to have any yearling or pony halters, Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary is collecting. They will be shipping off a box of halters to help in the rescue efforts that are currently underway in southern Minnesota. I don’t have all the details in front of me but it’s a large undertaking by one rescue with many emaciated horses. If I remember right, there were a total of 58 animals removed from the property. But I don’t have all the facts. If you want me to post more, just let me know and I’ll find out all the information and post.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Forget!

Don't forget, this weekend is the Colton Festival of Trees. Borderlands is donating a tree. So if you'd like to see our creativeness, go check it out. The festivties are free and all the proceeds go to a good cause.

Also, if you have time and want to get into the Christmas spirit a little bit more, we will be at the Hartford Parade of Lights. I'll be riding Zeke (although he's not a rescue he can still represent Borderlands). We'll be riding for the Cowboy Way Riding Angels Drill Team.

We are also having our brainstorming meeting Saturday evening at 5:30pm.  If you can make it, let me know so I know how many pizzas to order. If you can't make it but have ideas, email us at borderlandshorsesanctuary@yahoo.com. I am looking forward to hearing everyone's fantastic fundraising ideas.

Drought

I'm starting to worry. Ok, worry more than normal. I know that worrying doesn't do any good but I'll still do it. I can't remember the last time we had any rain (or snow) that soaked the ground. I don't know what's going to happen if we don't get some moisture into the ground.

If we don't get some decent moisture, we are going to continue this drought. Our pastures won't hold out at this rate. Awhile back we got a little bit of rain and the pasture started to perk up. If the pasture doesn't come back, we will be feeding hay. I'd rather not feed hay year round to the herd. As it stands, I still haven't paid for all of this year's hay. We are still saving up to cover the cost .

If the drought continues, I forsee an increase of horses headed to auction. That thought really bothers me. There are too many really good horses headed to slaughter.

So if anyone knows a rain dance, want to show me how it's done? I normally follow the old wives tale of 90 days after fog is precip. Well, so far that isn't holding true. Of course it depends on if it's an El Nino year or a La Nina year. La Nina doesn't work. Do not sure what this year is supposed to be. From my records, we were supposed to get a fairly decent amount of precip over Thanksgiving because we had fog that last weekend in August. But no dice. Still no precipe to account for anything.

On a happier note, Bo is really starting to come back both in reduced lameness and increased weight. While I was hopsitalized and unable to care for him afterwards, Bo dropped a bit of weight. But  now that he's on a round bale 24/7 along with a grain mixture, he's starting to look good again. He's also acting like there's no lameness. I am sure I'm being over cautious by pulling him from the big herd but I feel better knowing he's on soft ground and won't get pushed around.

I have spooked him twice now. I was busy doing my chores while Bo had his head buried in the hay (he and Babe are separated by a corral panel but I swear they eat with their noses touching). So when Bo finally heard me messing with his water, he spooked. I figured his spook would cause some damage to his leg but it didn't.

Last night after I got back from drill team practice (I'll talk more about that in a later post), Bo was going crazy! He was loping back and forth in his smallish pen. I sat and watching him looking for any sign of lameness but didn't see anything. So I don't know what's going on. I'm keeping a close eye on him but it's impossible to keep him quiet in that small pen. So we are still doing the "wait and see" method. But I'm about half tempted to throw a saddle on him and putter around the yard to see how he does. I am afraid my weight will be too much for him just yet and I want him to pack on a few more pounds before I do any riding of any sort with him. But if he appears to be sound with no issues, I may start working him a little to build back the muscle that he lost.  But I'm not going to push it and I won't be disappointed if he turns into a pasture pet. But it would be really  nice to ride him so that he can represent Borderlands AND that a super thin horse isn't always an old horse AND that it's possible to bring back a horse from the brink.

If Bo does stay sound and keeps the weight on, I may start using him for drill team.  But for now, either Maverick or Chaos will represent Borderlands on the drill team. It's nice to show off horses that would have potentially been lost to the auction circuit.

This weekend is supposed to be goregous so hopefully I can sneak a short ride in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Missing You

I thought the blog was looking a little bare so I thought I'd go into the archives and look to see where we were at a year ago this time and so forth.  I came across pictures of Bob and I started to cry. I miss that loveable guy so much! These pictures were taken the day before we had to put him down. He was our first draft horse and boy was that an experience. He taught me so much, as each horse at Borderlands has. 

The more I look at these pictures, the more I miss him. I wish everyone would be given a chance to retire. Bob lucked out that we were able to give him a few years of leisure before we had to say goodbye. This is exactly why I want to fundraise and be able to provide deserving horses a place to retire. They work hard all their lives and now need to be pampered and know that their final days will be filled with food, friendship, and love.

I miss you my sweet Bob. The place has never been the same. I need to go now before I can't stop crying.




Hospital Ward

Last night we rearranged pens again. Hopefully this arrangement will work. We put Bo back in with the big herd Saturday but he seemed like he was off more Sunday and Monday. But on Tuesday when I looked, he didn’t seem as bad. But I don’t want to risk him getting hurt again or being off still. I don’t  know what’s wrong but my theory is that if he stays off concrete, doesn’t get pushed around, and stands on fairly soft ground (soft for it being almost December), then maybe he’ll come out of whatever it was. Maybe it was something neurological, maybe it was a severe pinched nerve. Who knows?
So last night after everyone had their grain, Mike and I hauled corral panels in to Babe’s pen. We divided the pen into two smaller ones. I have nowhere else to put Bo otherwise. I don’t want him in with the mares and ponies. I don’t think that’ll give him any relief. And right now there’s no round bale in front of them so not as ideal for gaining weight quickly before winter sets in. 
The dilemma is water.  We have the 100 gallon tank with heater in the pen but dividing it means that someone won’t get the warm water. We opted for Babe to have the big tank even though she won’t drink that much. We need to encourage her to drink so that’s who gets the big tank. Mike is working on a new game plan for Bo so that he can have warm water all the time too. We divided the pen so that Bo would have 24/7 access to the round bale. When we push in a new round bale in another week or so, we’ll rearrange the pen a little bit different to give Babe a bit more space.
 Babe was very upset last night when we brought Bo over. She didn’t realize that she was in a pen by herself because she could still hear Bo. I know she was depressed being alone and now maybe this setup will work better. Bo can’t push Babe around and maybe will simply keep his head in the hay bale until he’s fat (which is hard to do).
Where Babe and Bo are currently used to be the pony pen, and then it turned into the naughty timeout pen. Now it’s the hospital ward. Babe is recovering from her head wound and Bo is recovering from his leg injury or whatever is wrong. So the pen is not so lovingly dubbed the hospital ward until further notice.
This arrangement will work out well for me. It’ll make graining Babe and Bo easier. Last night I fed Bo in the barn and had Zeke, Jim, and Rain in too. Rain snuck under the chain dividing him from Bo and stole some of Bo’s grain. I gave Rain an earful when I found out he was snitching. Ivan wants to be in the barn at all times too. He loves his grain.
The weather is supposed to be fairly nice this weekend. Hopefully I can pull out the temporary fence in the mare pasture before the ground freezes. So not looking forward to winter. We have just a few more little projects to do outside before winter sets in. It’s nice to be able to tick off a few of the projects on our list. I can pass on the snow but we do need precip soon. We are still in a drought and if we don’t get anything soon, we are going to be in a world of hurt soon. We need rain and at some point, I’d even be fine with snow (just not yet).  If we go into another year of drought I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to the horse market even more. But I guess that’s a topic for another discussion.
I can’t believe that it’s almost December. I’ve always been at least one or two months behind. I lost half my summer and all of the fall with the G-Bear’s arrival (but it was worth it). Now it’s time to buckle down and get a few more projects done before the end of the year. I’m looking forward to 2013 and all the adventures we’ll be having.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1000 Posts

As the title says, this is our 1,000 post! Hard to believe that I could find enough to talk about, and yet I do. I know much of what I talk about is boring to most but it helps me keep track of our day-to-day activities and more importantly, when we say hello to a new member of the family.

We have seen a number of new family members and said goodbye to a number of family members also. We have been blessed with new friends. Some have come and gone, others stay (probably for the sheer amusement of the next funny story like chasing Zeke and Bo when I'm two days away from my due date...see picture).


I started the blog in March 2009, with some rambling thoughts and continue to ramble now three and a half years later. This year saw less rambling and will probably continue with that lack of daily posts until I can get into the swing of caring for an infant and caring for 15 horses.

I enjoy blogging although I need to be better about adding more pictures. We have grown as a sanctuary both in numbers and in knowledge. Much of the experiences have been an adventure but I look forward to sharing more adventures with you.

I would like to spend 2013 fundraising so that when the need arises, we don't have to say no to another horse that deserves a soft place to land. I am curious to know what you would like to see more of at Borderlands. More pictures, more posts, more about each individual horse, a newsletter? I'm game to try just about anything but am curious to know what others would like to see. Keep in mind I might not be able to do much but I would at least like to have the thought in the back of my mind so that if the time permits, I could do something more. So if you have an idea or a request, please let me know. Send me an email at Borderlandshorsesanctuary@yahoo.com or leave a comment on our Facebook page. If you are a follower, you can leave a comment on this post.

I look forward to hearing your ideas and to writing another 1000 posts. Thanks for sticking with us!

Festival of Trees

To get everyone in the holiday spirit at Borderlands, we decied to participate in the Festival of Trees this coming weekend. We are donating a tree for the silent auction. All fundraising monies will be given in memory of Darla Van Asselt to the Feeding South Dakota Backpack Program at Tri-Valley and Chester schools. We may be small and a private sanctuary but everyone needs a little help now and again and this is one way we can help. 

So, if you would like to get into the spirit of Christmas (or want to see the tree Borderlands donated tree), stop on out and bid on a tree!

Festival of Trees
First Lutheran Church
Colton, South Dakota

Silent Auction and Music

December 1st and 2nd from 2-4pm to view and bid on the donated trees (and wreaths). Enjoy piano and vocal Christmas music (and if it's the same lady singing, GO and listen. She is absolutley amazing! If she had a CD, I'd buy it, she's that good.)

December 2nd 4-5pm Organ Christmas Concert
December 2nd 5pm they announce the auction results.

http://www.augie.edu/related/flccolton/forms/2012%20Festival%20of%20Trees.pdf



Borderlands will be at the festivities on Saturday. We will miss out on who gets the decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, etc. but we will be getting ready to participate in the Parade of Lights in Hartford, South Dakota. So if you happen to be in the Hartford area, stop on our. I'll be riding Zeke. The parade starts at 5pm. I'll be riding for the Cowboy Way Riding Angels drill team.

Hope to see you at the Festival of Trees on Saturday and at the Parade of Lights on Sunday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekend Activities

The past few days have been filled with family and lots of laughter. We had a well-deserved break from sanctuary/rescue work (not that it looks like we’ve been doing much as of late).

We’ve been treating Babe’s head wound. I think it’s getting better. Her owner came out early last week and gave her a “sweating to the oldies” headband look. I busted out laughing when I saw it. I know, I know, I’m being mean. But she looked so cute although I feel bad for her.  I think the infection is slowly healing.  I need to get out and do chores before it gets pitch dark out. I missed the injury until it got bad because I haven’t been out during the day since daylight savings time. I’m doing thorough body checks now to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Saturday we pushed in round bales to the big herd. We bought a cinch net and tried it out this last time. It saved the bale and we could have waited to push bales in for another day but having only one cinch net, two bales, and nine horses, there wasn’t enough room on the bale with the cinch net to let all the horses at the hay. The weather was decent so we buckled the little G-Bear in the truck and worked as quickly as we could to get the bales in. I’m going to be pinching my pennies so that we can buy another hay net. What a handy thing for all horse owners who feed round bales to have. There’s no mess and it makes the bale last a lot longer. Granted the bales we have aren’t the greatest and that’s why we are using them now instead of in the middle of winter when they can keep their head buried in the bale longer.  When the real cold sets in, we’ll have high quality hay to feed instead.

I’m also wondering if the cinch net wouldn’t work for Rabbit. She can’t be on a round bale because of her heaves. Her heaves flare up even when I just toss hay, although pitching it from the round bale into her pen seems to keep the heaves down. But I’m wondering if she can’t bury her head in the bale, if that would help. It’s a theory I want to try. At some point we won’t be able to get our big squares and will have to convert to rounds (something I’m not really looking forward to until we get a tractor that can actually lift round bales).

I also decided to put Bo back in with the big herd. I don’t think he’s 100% sound yet but I had no choice. I’m keeping a close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t go totally lame again. We still don’t know what was wrong with him. The blood work came back negative for everything so maybe it was a severe muscle pull but I don’t think so. I think there may be something neurological but who knows. He’s a bit off but he was still a bit off when he was in with Babe. But the other night he kicked the crap out of Babe and she was a hurting girl. Luckily it wasn’t too severe and she wasn’t lame on the leg for more than 24 hours. But I do NOT tolerate bad behavior towards the blind horses. Makes me furious. So, if we have to pull Bo out of the big herd, I’ll have to do some rearranging to see if I can get Bo back in where I have Babe right now but have it so that they aren’t in together. For now Babe will be alone until she recovers from her head injury and to make sure that the kick to the shoulder/leg doesn’t flare up.  (We seem to be having a rash of bad luck this fall, like every fall it seems).  Babe’s owner suggested that we might get a goat because she used to be in with a goat. I’ll keep an eye on Babe’s demeanor and then decide what to do. The neighbor has goats so I may see if I can’t snag a goat for a little while to see if that helps Babe’s mood. She’d been down in the dumps ever since we lost Queen and Thor in September. Putting Bo in with her was a bad mistake. She got more flighty and was very uncomfortable with him pushing her around all the time. So we’ll see how things go with her being in a pen with a bale in front of her 24/7 first before we make any more herd adjustments. I had thought of putting Brego with her but for now, we’ll just let her come down from all the changes.

In other more up-beat news, Borderlands is participating in a Festival of Trees this weekend. I don’t have all the details but it’s going to take place Sat Dec 1st and Sun Dec 2nd in Colton, South  Dakota.  There is a silent auction where you can bid on decorated trees. Borderlands is donating a tree for the festivities. As always, we are going the unconventional route. So if you happen to make it to the Festival of Trees, you’ll be able to spot our tree with ease. I don’t know the times but it takes place at the Lutheran Church in Colton, South Dakota.  I’ll try to post more of the details later but thought I’d give you all a heads up in case you wanted to sneak over to look at all the beautifully decorated donated trees and enjoy some holiday festivities to get you into the mood.

Also, we are going to have a fundraising brainstorming meeting this Saturday, December 1st at Borderlands starting about 5:30pm. I would love to see you there.  Just let me know so I know how many pizzas to order. Of course I have to feed you if you help! That’s the rule at Borderlands. If you help, I can’t pay you but I can sure feed you. It’s the least I can do. So, if you’re free this coming Saturday please join us to come up with some fundraiser ideas. I want to focus 2013 on fundraising so that I don’t have to say no anymore. There are too many well-deserving horses that need a soft place to land be it for a few days, weeks, months, or years. Everyone deserves a retirement.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fundraising Meeting December 1st

For those interested, we are having a fundraising brainstorming meeting Saturday December 1st at 5:30pm at Borderlands. Just let me know if you can make it so I know how many pizzas to pick up!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

From our herd to yous,  Happy Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wrapping Up Projects

It's been fairly quiet on the homefront (knock on wood). The last couple of days I've had just enough time to do chores in the dark and that's about it. I  miss being able to do chores in the daylight. I've been rushing through chores the last few days that I missed that Babe had cut herself.  The pen she's in now isn't ideal. But any other scenario I ran to put her in a different pen didn't work either. Luckily Babe is making the best out of the situation. She's such a trooper, love that mare. She somehow managed to bang her head the other day (not hard to do, poor thing). So now she's sporting a swollen eye and a cut just under her ear. I'll never know what she cut it on. Mike looked all over the place to see if there was something sticking out but couldn't find anything.

I wasn't able to catch the cut right away. It's hard to do a thorough exam of horses in the dark. But she's on antibiotics now just to make sure that she kicks the infection immediately. With the weather turning colder, I want her system to be prepared for weather and not run down. Always when I see injuries, I think worst case scenario. Maybe I've been hanging out with our vet too much. My biggest fear was that she was going to lose the eye (granted she's blind in that eye but that we'd have to physically remove the eye).

I guess I'm a little gunshy at the moment. We've had a rash of injuries as of late. It always seems to happen in the fall and I can't figure out why. Horses get sick or injure themselves in the fall right when I'm trying to pay for hay. Or they hurt themselves right before a weather change.

Today is our last really nice day. Hard to believe that it'll be in the upper 60s today and by Friday in the 30s. Don't get me wrong, I love nice weather but I worry that the temperature change will affect the horses. But when I look at the herd now, we don't have as many oldsters as we used to. The oldest is Babe at 30 and the next oldest is Jim at 24.

We were able to tackle one of the projects that have been hanging over my head for awhile now worrying me. Having moved into an old farm that used to have cattle, the drylot wasn't exactly in tiptop shape for fencing. Cattle and hogs are really tough on fencing. Horses are hard on fencing but I think cattle and hogs may be even harder. When we moved in, there was a dead tree right next to the drylot. We didn't want to take the tree down for fear of taking the fence down. Unfortunately no fencepost or tree can withstand the amount of runoff from the drylot (from the nitrogen in the ground from the cattle). So many of the old fence posts were starting to rot off. I expect they were close to 30 year old fence posts. In the mean time, the fencing started to decline and then this summer the big old dead tree finally came down, right on the fence. Luckily we only had one horse escape. Can you guess who it was....Chaos of course! On Sunday Mom and Dad came down to put up new fence so I can rest easier this winter knowing that the horses won't escape.  We'll have to do something different next year. It's not a permanent solution by any means but it'll withstand a few good snowdrifts for sure.

Now I can go into the old mare pasture and pull down the temporary fence there too. I still need to call someone to come and do some major cleanup (another story I'll share at some point...still in shock even though it's been months).

While Dad and Mike were busy in the drylot, Mom, Garrett, and I headed over to the neighbor's to finally pull down the electric fence. I had such high hopes that we would be able to use the one last portion of the pasture but there wasn't enough time and now there's really nothing of nutritional value. We'd gotten a cold rain come through the first of October so I brought everyone home. It just wasn't worth keeping them over at the neighbor's even if I didn't really want to start feeding hay. No one seemed to upset about being back home though. I'm relieved to have that project done too. I didn't want our neighbor to think we were ungrateful for such a kind offer of letting us graze his entire pasture. It held almost the entire summer and fall.

We did push in two new round bales for the big herd Saturday morning. That was after we went and picked up three round horse hay feeders. Someone was moving and selling their hay rings so we picked them up. They all need a little bit of work but it beats the old cattle hay rings that we were using. We also put on the cinch net. At first I was annoyed. Trying to put on a cinch net in the dark for the first time, I had a lot of foul words fall out of my mouth. Because it's literally like a gigantic hay net and I fight with hay nets all the time. Luckily Mike has more patience than I do and we got it on. And I will say one thing! WOW. I  need to go buy another one. The horses dont' make such a mess and they can't power through an entire bale in a few days. I'm really loving this cinch net. Wishing we could afford a second one even if we won't be feeding rounds all winter. But for now, it's a dream. I'll be pinching my pennies so that we can get another one. It'll pay for itself in no time.

So we are now ready for winter snow if it hits. I could handle nice warm rain but I doubt that'll happen. But we are prepared, at least somewhat prepared. I'll never be totally ready for snow, it's always such a shock to my system. But the major proejcts are taken care of. There are a few little projects I want to wrap up this weekend if there's time. Hopefully the snow will hold off a little longer. I'd love for another open winter but we desperately need the precip. So if we could get a little bit of snow and a lot of rain, I'd be just fine with that too.

And if I don't happen to hop on tomorrow, I want to wish you all a safe and happy thanksgiving.  This past year has been an amazing rollercoaster ride for me. I want to thank all of Borderlands' friends and supporters. It is so nice to know that although we may be small and now not as active as we once were (thanks to the little G-Bear), it's still a comfort to have that support and friendship. We truly are blessed at Borderlands.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happenings This Week

Earlier this week we put the ponies in with Rabbit and Mayhem (much to Rabbit's dismay). I wish it hadn't been so dark otherwise I would have gotten some really good action shots. Those ponies did hot laps around the pen, bucking and rearing and getting everyone else all stirred up. Even the big herd was riled up, racing around watching those ponies. Mayhem joined in with the running and bucking. She must have watched Zeke a few times because she kept her tail raised like an arabian instead of the Quarter horse that she is.

Rabbit was most displeased by having ponies in her pen. I thought maybe she would have a tough time adjusting to two little monsters in her pen now that she's blind in the right eye but he doesn't seem to care. She put the ponies in their place every once in a while. For being blind in one eye and a little lame in the backend, she can still flatten her ears and take two huge lunges at the ponies to get them to move. I secretly think she's loving having the ponies in the pen to boss around. Mayhem is too laid back for her to boss around so Rabbit doesn't really have anyone to pick on. Now she has the ponies to pester. It looks like she's annoyed but I really think she enjoys the company. I had the ponies in with Rabbit a couple of years ago and it seemed to work out just fine. So hopefully this arrangement will work out for winter.

I'm also starting to believe in miracles. I was devastated to see Bo so lame. None of the tests came back with any reasoning for his lameness. The next step was x-rays but I needed to hold off on doing that until after paying a few vet bills down (which are still sitting on the kitchen table). But before we moved Bo and Babe to their winter pen, I noticed that Bo was moving around a lot better. He is still a little off but not to the same degree. I figured Bo would go lame again when we moved him to the winter pen because he was pacing the fenceline. He did get a little bit more sore than I'd wanted but he seems to be getting better. We still don't know what happened to him but he seems to be improving. I expect it's something neurological, which is devastating but Bo seems to be able to go through anything. I can't keep him as quiet in his winter pen because it's not adjacent to the big herd. But if it seems like Bo is getting better, I may put him back in with the big herd. But it'll be a few more months before that happens I'm afraid. Through all that he's been through, he's still a happy-go-lucky horse.

This weekend is supposed to be nice so I'm hoping to get over to the neighbor's and tear down the temporary fencing. I've been meaning to get over there since we brought the horses home at the end of October but there doesn't ever seem to be any time. I want to get a few things buttoned up before winter really sets in. We still need to do some serious fencing in the drylot. We had a dead tree take down some fence and only because we keep the horses occupied with round bales have they not escaped. So I'm hoping this weekend to do some serious fencing so that when the first serious snowfall arrives, we'll be ready for winter.

I also heard a report of a mountain lion in the area. Someone saw a mountain lion chasing a deer a few miles north of where we live. I was a little concerned for the ponies, until I realized they are in with Rabbit and she's bossy enough to take a mountain lion down. I was also worried about Bo and Babe but they are closer to the house and I can keep a close eye on them through the kitchen window. It's a little un-nerving but I guess that's the price we pay for living in the country.

Avoiding Another Auction

There's another horse auction tonight that I'll be avoiding. Why do I feel so guilty for not going? I can't bring anyone home, I can't promote any of those loose horses, and yet I feel guilty.  Why do auction days cause me to have a heavy heart? I should be doing more but I don't know what more I can do.  Oh sure, there are things I could do but there are more time constraints on me now than there ever was before.

I know I need help in publicizing the sanctuary and therefore possibly bringing in more funds so that we could take in a few of the older, deserving horses that need a soft place to land for their remaining days on this earth, be it a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years.

We are thinking of having a fundraiser in January. We were going to try for Christmas but there's so much going on and we are too far behind now to get the fundraiser going so we are thinking of pushing it off until January. Would anyone be interested in helping? If there's an interest, I'll explain more in an email but if we don't get it off the ground, no sense in boring you all with the idea. :-)

Maybe this coming year we can focus on the necessary paperwork and fundraising. I forsee another tough summer for hay next year, which means even more horses without a home for winter. I don't want to keep having to say no to those old warriors that deserve a retirement.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comfort Horse

When we lost Queen in September, I lost my “comfort” horse. You all know the one, the horse that you cry in their manes, the horse that you tell your secrets to. 

Last night I was just in a bad mood for no apparent reason.  None of the horses seemed overly interested in me except one. When Brego saw me climb over the gate, he walked up and stood right next to me. For some reason, Brego knew exactly when I needed the most comforting. He stood there and let me hang on him and kiss him while the others just stood and watched. I’m not sure if Brego was simply lonely for attention or if he knew I really needed a bit of attention myself.

This is actually the second time that Brego has caught me off guard. I don’t consider him my “comfort” horse. We’ve never formed a very tight bond, not like with Queen. Oh sure, we enjoy each other’s company and know what to expect but to really know what the other will do before they do it, I haven’t gotten that with Brego…yet.

This summer Brego surprised me again. When we had them at the neighbor’s Brego came up to investigate my gigantic belly. He kept putting his nose on my belly. I’m not sure if he was smelling or just wanted to keep his head at that level. But it seemed like he wanted to comfort me (and the baby).

So it may be that I have a new “comfort” horse. Only time will tell but it was nice last night to give Brego a few extra kisses and a hug before heading back in for the evening. I guess blessings come in all shapes and forms and when you least expect it.