Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oh Goodie...

From our local meterologist blog for the upcoming weather......

SIOUX FALLS, SD - 
Snow continues to expand across KELOLAND, with a general 1-3” possible in many areas today.  High temperatures will be very cold with readings near 7 in Sioux Falls, 0 in Aberdeen, 8 in Pierre, and 25 at Rapid City.  The snow chances will continue tonight as temperatures remain cold…below zero in many areas East River after midnight. 
Look for more cold weather the next couple of days.  Highs will struggle to get above zero through Thursday in many areas East River.  It does look dry, however, into Thursday as high pressure from Canada settles into KELOLAND. 
A warmer trend is ahead on Friday and Saturday, but more wind is expected and blowing snow could be an issue.  We’ll be watching those conditions the next few days.  We also expect dramatically colder weather by Monday with highs in both Aberdeen and Sioux Falls at -5 to -8.  This will likely be the coldest air of the season so far.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Weather Change Again

Where do I begin? This entire month has been a blur and the last few days have gone by so fast it’s hard for me to remember all that’s happened.
Saturday was beautiful! It was the nicest day we’ve had in a very long time. The temps were in the 40s! All the horses were enjoying the warm weather and not having to wear blankets. I know I enjoyed doing chores without having to deal with the bitter cold.
Gentle Spirits Horse (GSH) Rescue and Sanctuary hosted a Christmas party Saturday late afternoon that we were invited to. Of course we had to go! Oh what fun we had! It’s always so much fun getting to meet fellow horse rescuers and be in a place where we all have the same passion for helping horses. We met some of GSH’s volunteers and supporters so it was nice to put faces to names. We also had the opportunity to meet the current adoptables of GSH. I fell in love with Jackie, a 20 year old black solid paint mare. If we weren’t full and turning horses away, I’d be bringing her home. She reminds me so much of Queen that it almost hurts to think about it.  Oh don’t get me wrong, Butter and Flirt are drop dead gorgeous. I can’t tell the two apart but one of them has the most gorgeous golden dapples and amber eyes that are to die for. And to top it off, when they were both trotting around, I could see them in shows doing hunter, saddle seat or any other type of English. Those two saddlebred mares are going to be something else in the showring. I bet they’ll place every time with the right owner. They may be a little standoffish now but that’s because they hadn’t been handled until last year when GSH took them. They’ve come a long way and I bet with a dedicated owner, they’d be placing in shows by the end of the season. They have such a floating trot, it’s gorgeous. I had to wipe the drool off before it started to freeze to my face. Go check them out. You’ll not be disappointed. The pictures do not do these mares justice!
But I digress (as always when it comes to talking about horses!), after we met the horses, we went in to play games and hang out. When we arrived at GSH, the temps were almost 40 degrees. We were only able to stay for an hour (the Bear wouldn’t let us stay any longer). By the time we left, the temps had dropped 10 degrees. It took us only a half an hour to get home but in that time, the temps had dropped another 10 degrees.  I knew that cold front was going to come in but I didn’t realize it would come in that fast.  While we were at the party, the weatherman said that we were in a wind chill advisory! And by the time we got home, and I got bundled up to do chores, they were right! It was FREEZING out! I hadn’t wanted to blanket anyone before we left so I went about getting the mares and ponies out of the wind and bundled up first. Rabbit was very happy to get out of the wind and snug in her blanket. Of course, the evening meal of grain helped to keep her side tracked.
Once I got the mares and ponies settled, I started in with the big herd. Everyone was starting to get crabby so it took a bit more work convincing them that they needed to go where I wanted them to go. (Of course I hadn’t the foresight to get the stalls ready before hand!)  Luckily earlier in the day, Mike and the Bear had gone out and scraped the drylot so that walking was a lot easier and so that I could pull my hay cart with a little bit more ease (except when the horses go to grab a bite of hay and pull the entire wagon over).
Once I had everyone stalled, I went to work on getting them blanketed. I decided that Brego’s blanket didn’t fit him so he’d going back to the crappy Jeffers blanket and I’d put the new blanket on Jim instead. Jim’s canvas blanket is nice and heavy but it’s just not as good as the others that I prefer. So now Jim has his very own blanket that works fairly well. I’m not sure it’s 100 percent perfect but it’ll be better than nothing and shouldn’t annoy him like his old blanket. Out of the wind, the temps weren’t all that bad but walking back to the house, I was glad I’d put everyone in for the night.
Come Sunday morning, we were dealing with subzero temps again for the high. Let me just say, I am SO ready for spring to get here so we can get rid of these subzero temps. Anything that had melted and was slushy on Saturday is now a sheet of ice. If we get any more thawing and freezing temperatures like this weekend, the driveway is going to turn into a sheet of ice. As it is, in front of the barn is already a sheet of ice and I have to watch my step every time I come in and out of the barn (a bit tricky when hauling buckets of water back to the mare pen).
And now the weatherman says we are to get snow for the next three days. And following the snow is another arctic blast of cold air where the high is below zero. Oh I hate those types of days. It means extra hay, extra grain, freezing water buckets, and freezing fingers. I won’t complain about the snow. I’m hoping that the snow will help with the moisture and we won’t be in the middle of a drought any more. Oh how I loathe the word. But it’s so cold that the snow that falls now lacks any moisture so it’s more of a nuisance than anything else.  I’m sure hoping that the temps warm up and that what snow that does fall, is the nice heavy snow that is full of moisture!
I’m not sure what the next couple days will bring us other than more work because of the subzero temps. But I’m hoping to get caught up on a few things so that come 2014, I can focus my attention on the Sanctuary. 2014 is the year of the Horse so it’s imperative that we do something to celebrate it! Now, to come up with ideas. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue - Jackie

Gentle Spirits Horse (GSH) Rescue and Sanctuary invited us to their Christmas Party yesterday. I had the opportunity to meet to current adoptables and I fell in love with Jackie. She is a 20 year old solid black paint mare. If we weren't full and turning away horses, I'd be taking her home in a heartbeat. She'd be one of my heart horses for sure!

She reminds me so much of Queen who would notice when I was upset and come and comfort me. I think Jackie is the same type of horse to the right person. Seriously, I'm in love with her. She was so respectful of my space and stood perfectly still while Tiffany and Nina put a blanket on her. She's such a doll. Of course, I have a thing for black horses but there's something more about her than her looks. She has an old soul that just speaks of her wisdom and experience.

I think Jackie would be the type of mare that would flourish under the care of a young teenager (or younger). She's the type that would take care of her owner and bring comfort when needed. I cant' stress enough how much I'm in love with this mare. She's simply a sweet mare that needs her own owner that can pamper her.

If I remember right, Tiffany said she was a bit of a more dominant mare but she respected my space and didn't push me around. She was pretty content to just hang out with me and since I'd never met her before, I was pretty pleased with her desire to just chill out with me (and I didn't even have any treats).

If you're interested in Jackie, here's her description from the GSH website. The description and pictures do not do this mare justice. You need to go visit her in person to see the wisdom and kindness in this sweet mare's eyes!

Jackie was obviously well cared for in her old home but could no longer stay there due to the fact that her previous owner has past away and the kids were not into horses. She has been out in pasture for the last 10 years and has many a baby with her pasture mate Duke. She was confirmed in foal when she came into the Gentle Spirit program and had her foal, Sheldon, December 2013. She is now enjoying being a pasture buddy at the Renner location but would love to have her own person and her own pasture. She is one of the first to come up for attention and has been very respectful. She is alpha mare, and occasionally kicks out or chases the other mares, but nothing that we consider abnormal.
She's easy to catch, respectful on the lead with occasional pushiness but she is easily redirected. We've been working on picking her front feet up and she's improving, and using a foot-rope to pick her back feet up. We did take her to the vet/farrier on 6/20 to have her feet done under sedation to give her a relaxed, good experience, and she did very well. He said she has very good feet for her age, and for the amount of time it's been since she had a full trim.
At nearly 21, we are adopting her out as a companion horse, though that's solely because younger horses are a priority to train at this point. There is no physical reason - just her age- that would stop anyone from seeing if she is broke and/or training her to ride at this point in her life. She's a big, beautiful mare who has raised many babies and now deserves to just be Jackie for a while.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weather Change

Ah the joys of living in South Dakota....

From our local meteorologist:

Partly cloudy skies this evening will become mostly clear overnight.  Lows will fall to the teens and twenties by daybreak.
Saturday will be cooler with thicker clouds along with the passage of a cold front.  Highs will be in the twenties and thirties with increasing north winds throughout the day.  Winds will gusts as high as forty miles per hour on occasion as temperatures remain steady or slowly fall during the afternoon.  Along with the clouds and cooler air, scattered flurries or light snow showers will also be possible.  Any snow that falls will stay less than a half inch.
Sunday will be cold.  After morning lows in the single digits and teens below zero, highs will only make the single digits and teens above zero.  The cold air will last into next week along with scattered light snow.  While the moisture is limited, an inch or two of snow cannot be ruled out on any given day.

Relaxing

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I was glad to be home on Christmas Eve day to avoid the weird weather. The snow went from little flakes to big fat flakes and then to small snowflakes again but luckily we didn’t have any wind. The snow fell so quickly that while we were out playing (and doing chores), we were covered in a layer of snow.  Visibility was low but it made for a picturesque scene Christmas Eve.
Christmas at the Sanctuary was rather low key, which is fine with me after all the hubbub over the past year.  Apparently Jim and Maverick had a tiff a few weeks back. Now Jim is dining with King more often these days. I’m not sure what the argument was about but the best friend combo isn’t there. I think Jim prefers King’s laidback and slow personality rather than Maverick’s constant harassment and movement. Jim is getting older and would prefer a more relaxed retirement than to keep a young whippersnapper in line. I don’t think King minds the company either.
We are supposed to reach 41 degrees today so I pulled blankets this morning. I put the last new blanket on Brego during the last cold snap. It definitely does NOT fit him correctly. I think I’m going to switch that one over to Jim and save Jim’s for emergencies only. It doesn’t really fit anyone else but it’s good and heavy. I think Jim would benefit more from this newer blanket and would be a bit happier. I need to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t start dropping weight. I’m still tossing around the idea of buying a blanket at the local tack shop that’s on clearance. Not sure that it’s still there but I may call down there today or tomorrow and see. Brego really does need his very own blanket that fits him instead of the ones that I have.
The weather is supposed to stay nice for today and tomorrow. I thought I saw the high for tomorrow as 35. Then Sunday’s high is 3. That’s right. There’s going to be a 30 degree drop in temperature. Never mind that the low for Saturday night is below zero (if I remember right). So there’s going to be a HUGE cold front blow through Saturday. I’m going to have to get myself organized pretty quick Saturday night to get everyone snug in their blankets and stalls. Having such a shift in temperature is so hard on everyone. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on the weather for the next 72 hours.
I’m still enjoying a bit of relaxing before the new year rolls around. But when that new year arrives, I want to set my focus on fundraising and paperwork. So if you’re bored and want to help, please let me know. I’m hoping that 2014 is the best year yet for the Sanctuary.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wind Chills

With the temps not even reaching above zero, I knew I needed to put the horses in last night. Luckily I had the stalls ready so it didn't take me more than an hour to get everyone situated for the  night. The other night when I opened the haybarn and turned on the light, I heard a thud. So I'm guessing a raccoon is now living in the barn.

But I digress. I noticed when I brought Dude in that he's off in his backend again. He hasn't been off in more than a year but now he was a little gimpy. That or he tripped walking into the barn but I'm going to keep an eye on him to make sure it doesn't get worse. His condition will never get better and will only get worse so I want to make sure that he stays as comfortable as possible. I did some homeopathy/herbal stuff on him a few years back and it seemed to help but I lost my contact for getting access to herbs. So through the winter, I'm going to have to keep a close eye on him. I was wondering if anyone has ever used one of those magnetic sheets to help and if that would be of some help to Dude. I'm curious and if it wasn't a couple hundred dollars, I'd be willing to try. So I want to hear what others think of them first before I spend the money.

But again, I digress. I started debating on putting the horses in last night. It was cold but there was no wind. This morning when I stepped outside, I was glad I had. It was C.O.L.D.! The wind is fierce. Now I'm wishing I would have left the horses in longer. The wind is out of the east, which is supposed to bring warmer temps but so far the wind is better and cuts right through you. I think tonight inbetween wrapping presents and getting ready for Christmas Day, I need to do some sewing on some blankets. I need to make due with what we have for the time being and if the winter continues as it currently is, we are going to need all the blankets we have!

I am starting to think that I need to stall Dude more often. Or at least whenever I stall the hard keepers and "delicate flowers". I don't have enough stalls for everyone in the big herd so I leave the three easy keepers out (Chaos, Maverick, and King). They are all fat and healthy and can withstand more than the others. But when Dude is out, they (except Chaos) get pushed out of the leanto off the barn. But when Dude is in the barn, it seems that everyone is more relaxed and gets a chance to stand where they really want to. I always thought that King didn't like being inside. I now think that it's because of Dude. King's feet are always so tender that he can't move as fast and if he's in the way of Dude, he has to move quick which hurts his feet. He's got such flat feet but I can't shoe him in the winter. I need to find another way to keep him comfortable. But if Dude is in, those three can wander around at their own pace since they are all pretty well equal. Although there is a pecking order and believe it or not, I think King is in charge. When Dude is out, Chaos acts like he's second in command. He buddies up to Dude and gets all the good stuff. But when Dude is in and its' just the three, King is in charge and Chaos can't push him around. The dynamics of the herd always change depending on who is where. Its' rather fascinating.

I can't believe that today is Christmas Eve day. It's amazing how fast time flies. I know I've only posted a few times this month what with all the commotion going on. Hopefully life will slow down a little (hahaha). I've really put the Sanctuary on the backburner these past few months. I've been simply trying to get through each day rather than plan for the future. But I'm hoping after the holidays, that I can regroup and focus on some upcoming fundraisers and other ideas to promote the Sanctuary. The fundraisers we had this year were so successful that I'm motivated to do more this coming year. There is still a need for horse rescue and sanctuary and I want to be able to step up and offer a home to an old warrior this coming year. I don't want to have to say no to someone again!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chilly

Talk about massive cold this morning. The cold air and wind took my breath away, although I was expecting it. The last few days have been a bit of a blur so not really sure even what to report on. Trying to get everything finished up for Christmas, Christmas with the family this past weekend, dealing with subzero temps for a couple of days, and getting over the flu, yeah I’m in a bit of a fog.
I’ll be putting the horses in tonight and should have last night. I should have also put blankets on a couple of the horses too but no one really seemed all that bothered last night. I’m tossing around the idea of buying a couple more blankets. We have some blankets but they either don’t fit, are ripped, or aren’t turnout blankets. I feel a little guilty when I know there are some blankets that “might” work but these are awfully nice. But not sure that I can scrape up the money to buy them since they are a closeout deal and will be gone before the end of the week.
After today and tonight, the weather is supposed to warm up. I’m hoping that we avoid the subzero temps for the rest of the winter but I doubt that’ll happen. Winter solstice was only this weekend and we’ve already been dealing with subzero temps earlier in the month. I’ll be glad to see green pastures again!
I also need to schedule a time with the vet to float a couple of horses. I think that might be Brego’s issue. I know he’s a hay dunker but I’m starting to think that he also needs a float. So now I have to figure out how to scrape up the money and find enough extra time to take off from the paying job. With being sick and the holidays, I’m down to zilch vacation time so I’m going to have to do some wheeling and dealing (i.e., work my butt off so I can take off time later in the week).   Ah the joys of a full time paying job and a full time Sanctuary job (not to mention full time mother)! No wonder I don’t get the super important non-profit paperwork going. By the end of the day, I’m falling asleep on the couch. Many a night I’ve woken to realize I’d fallen asleep on the couch and have to get up in a few short hours to do it all over again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long Week

Where do I even begin to catch you all up on the events of the past week. Let's just say the past week has been a total blur. Between Mike being gone for almost the entire week, dealing with subzero temps, and then a sick child (who subsequently got me sick with the flu), means I'm run down, stressed out, and totally behind on EVERYTHING.

My son has been sick for going on six days, luckily he's getting better. But I caught the flu over the weekend. Luckily it wasn't long lasting because even with the flu, I still had to go out and do chores. Well, minimal chores anyway. I only threw hay because that's all the strenght I had left. I didn't grain anyone and didnt' haul water.

Speaking of water. The water tank in the mare/pony pen is going to be the bane of my existence this winter. We have a smaller heater and it doesn't seem to be keeping up. Ok, "seem" isnt' the right word. It's NOT keeping up. There's a small hole for the horses to drink out of and when the temps are in the 20s, there's plenty of open water but when the temps drop to subzero, that little heater only keeps a small hole open. I need to find the bigger heater but it's lost in neverneverland, i.e., somewhere in either the tack room, garage (one of two), the red shed, or the barn. But I can't seem to find it. Lets just hope that we wont' have to deal with too much more subzero temps this winter! It's keeping up but I'd like to not have just a small opening for the mares and ponies to drink out of. Call me picky I guess.

Last night was glorious to go out and do chores. It's amazing what a 10 degree shift in temps will do for everyone. No one was cranky (me included), and the horses weren't pushing everyone around. I pulled Brego and Dude's blankets off and now I'm wishing I would have pulled everyone else's blankets off. I will have to watch the weather before I go out and do chores tonight and see what's predicted. I haven't had any time to watch the weather in about four days so I have no idea what's going on or what's predicted.

Christmas is just a week away and I'm not ready in the least. With other activities, work, and trying to make up hours for work, I haven't really had much time to do anything. My brain has gotten rather scattered as of late. I know there was a bunch that I wanted to babble about but right now, I'm trying not to freak out about not having anything done and being so FAR behind on everything. I'm a little frustrated but there's really nothing I can do except plug along and make the most out of it.

I'm sure that I'll be chatty later so keep your eyes open for another post. I'll try not to go a week without posting. But it's been super crazy lately.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Freak Out Time

I know I shouldn't worry, and I know I should just relax but I'm freaking out. I shouldn't but I am. And it's really nothing to freak out over. It's simply learning how to juggle a full time job, a toddler, a husband on travel this week, and a Sanctuary with 14 horses in the middle of winter (ok, so we aren't "technically" into winter but in SD, we really are in the middle of winter).

So, the weatherman is predicting teens below zero Tuesday night and we currently have subzero temps right now with who knows what ungodly wind chills. I'm trying to figure out how to jump through all the hoops to get everyone taken care of before it gets dark and even colder. Oh what I would give for a 20 stall barn that I could just open the doors and have each horse walk in to his/her own stall without having to figure out who goes where and which is the best combination for stall neighbors, and if they have blankets on, which stall would be the best so they don't tear up the one or two remaining blankets that aren't totally destroyed. Yeah, a 20 stall barn would be nice.

We survived the 20 below temps Friday night. I rushed home from work and got everyone snuggled into their stalls immediately. It only took me just over an hour to get everyone all safe in their stalls. It was great. Compared to the three hours it took me to prep for the two days of subzero temps, having only an hours worth of chores was fantastic.

Well, I wouldn't be freaking out today if all I was dealing with was the normal subzero temps that have been hanging over us for the past week or more. But Mike left this morning for the week. So now I have to figure out how to go to the paying job, watch a toddler, and care for the horses all in an average day. Never mind the fact that we are supposed to have super cold temps come our way tomorrow into Wednesday. Thank goodness for a lenient job and a mom that knows how to calm my nerves.

So tonight, I'll rush out to do chores. Once I kick the horses out of the barn, I'll get the stalls ready for tomorrow night's teens below zero temps (never mind the wind chill), and then race to get my son and get back home before it gets too dark and it gets even colder.

I'll be juggling the single parent phase all week and nasty weather. I think by this weekend I'll be a walking set of nerves to make sure that I can get everything accomplished and keep everyone happy. So if I don't post, I'm here, just pulling my hair our rushing from one place to the next.

Come on summer, I'm ready for you already!

National Day of the Horse - December 13th

Friday December 13th is National Day of the Horse.
Here's a bit of a read for those interested in learning more....

http://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/12/09/december-13th-national-day-of-the-horse/

Friday, December 6, 2013

Deep Freeze

Baby it’s cold outside! The last couple of days have been an absolute blur and I’m running on exhaustion right now. I might have my days wrong but here’s what I’ve been so wrapped up in over the past couple of days.
Tuesday night I threw a blanket on Rabbit in preparation for the snowstorm. We hadn’t had any precipitation yet but it sure felt like there was a storm coming. The air was calm and crisp. The temps weren’t too bad and there wasn’t any snow on the ground so I was able to wrap up a few projects before heading in for the night.
Wednesday morning rolled around and I went out to do chores and was greeted with six inches of snow. I was a little surprised at the amount of snow. We were predicted to get 3-6 inches but hadn’t thought we’d be on the high side of that amount. Trudging back to the mare pen had me wore out! I was relieved that I’d put a blanket on Rabbit but had wished I’d blanketed some of the others.
By the time I’d gotten done with chores and headed back in to the house, my tracks were already being quickly covered up. I’d scooped snow away from the house door and there was already a solid third of an inch of snow on the ground. I figured that it was snowing about a half an inch an hour or so. And of course the weatherman predicted fierce winds to come in the afternoon, bringing the arctic air and making visibility hazardous.
I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going in to the paying job. If I couldn’t get home, what would happen to the horses? So instead I played hookie from work and puttered around watching the snow fall and the wind blow. I couldn’t go outside because our son was home too (supposed to be Grandma Day but we cancelled that because of the weather).
Luckily Mike kept an eye on the weather and when the wind picked up, he headed home. By that time, the roads were drifting over pretty bad (although the roads were worse in the morning than the afternoon so Mike said). When Mike got home, the snow was already drifting and blowing so it was impossible to know how much snow we accumulated. I’m guessing 6+ inches and then the drifting snow made the snow drifts even higher.
We pulled the carseat out and put it in the plow truck so Mike and Garrett could push snow while I headed out to do chores. I was so happy to go out and start chores at 4pm instead 5 or 6pm like it has been. I debated on putting the horses in the barn but figured that the temps were going to be in the double digits below zero on Thursday and Friday so I’d better hold off and get the barn ready instead.
I spent the first hour getting the barn ready and doing half of my normal chores. I filled water tanks and put straw and hay down in the stalls so that I would just have to open the doors and let the horses in on Thursday night. I spent the second hour putting blankets on horses and making sure that everyone was snug. I did a quick repair job on a couple of blankets and called it good. It’s not perfect and some blankets aren’t the right size but at least they have something to help fight off this cold. I spent the third hour getting the mares and ponies’ stalls ready in the hay shed. I hadn’t put up the temporary stall yet so had to make sure that I had that taken care of and ready to go. I was a little worried that the ponies would mangle something but so far so good.
By the time I was finished with chores Wednesday night in preparation for the deep freeze that was predicted, I had been outside for almost three hours working non-stop to get ready. I also broke into the hay in the hay barn instead. After pushing and pulling the two wheel wheelbarrow and the hay cart through the 1.5 foot snow drifts, I decided it wasn’t worth it.
But I’m sure glad I spent the extra time Wednesday night. The wind might have been chilly but if you got out of the wind, it was pretty nice. But come Thursday night, no matter what, it was COLD.
I got out to do chores immediately after getting home last night. I was out doing chores at 4:30pm. I was glad of it too. Once the sun set, the cold really set in. By 5:15, it was even COLDER! I ended up putting Jim, Dude, Rain, Ivan, Brego, Bo, and Zeke into the barn. Maverick, Chaos, and King stayed out but they had two leantos to go into and got extra hay.  I also pulled Mayhem, Rabbit, and the ponies into the hayshed stalls. That was a bit of an effort. Rabbit has a hard time seeing in the dark. I think that eye is giving her problems. She couldn’t see the grain that I had for her so I had to shine my flashlight so she could see. Mayhem was a little bit of a bugger and wouldn’t step over the little railing to get into the stall. It’s a sign that I have NOT worked with her enough and come trailer loading lessons, she’s going to be a pill. I’ll take the blame for not getting her around to loading and unloading like she should.  The ponies were happy to get in out of the wind.  (So was Rabbit and Mayhem for that matter although they were a bit confused).
By 5:30pm, everyone was tucked in for the night and I headed in. I was so relieved to be done just before it got super dark and the cold temps started to really plummet.
But with putting the horses in at night, it means morning chores take that much longer. Unfortunately, the temps are supposed to be even colder tonight so I wanted to do some additional prep work to make evening chores tonight go just as quickly.
I threw out extra hay to the big herd and then let them all out of their stalls. I think they were all itching to stretch their legs and get out of the barn. I threw out extra hay and emptied the water buckets so all I have to do tonight is put fresh water in the buckets, put their grain dishes in the correct stalls, and then lead each horse in to his rightful stall.
I still need to put hay out in the hay shed stalls but I was starting to run late and figured I’d take care of the mares and ponies right away instead of working on the big herd instead. I’m hoping the extra light will make putting those guys in the hayshed stalls a little easier.
I’m hoping to make tonight’s chores go as fast as last night. We are supposed to be even colder tonight. I am NOT looking forward to tonight’s chores. BUT, I’d rather get them over with in the daylight. I’m going to be in a bit of a pickle next week.
Mike is leaving Monday for training out of town so Garrett and I will be home alone. Trying to do chores with a toddler is impossible in the winter and then throw in the sub zero temps, I’m not sure what I am going to do. In fact, Tuesday’s low is supposed to be 20 below zero. I have NO idea how I am going to cope with getting everyone stalled AND take care of my son alone. It’s going to be a juggling act for sure!
And tonight after I get done rushing through chores, we have to jump back in the car and drive to Colton, SD. Colton is having a Festival of Trees this weekend. Last year the Sanctuary donated a tree to the silent tree auction and we are once again donating an arrangement. This time I got even more creative. Last year I took the top of a tree branch, painted it white, and hung red balls with the horses’ names from the branches. I thought it looked pretty neat. This year, I took some old barb wire that we had lying around and Mike turned it into a wreath. I added a sprig of somethingorother and some ribbon and wrote the horses’ names on the ribbon. It looked better in my head but at 10pm, working on a Christmas project that has to be done before the next day, well, anything that gets done is better than nothing!
So if you happen to be in the neighborhood and want to brave the cold, the Colton Festival of Trees is going on this weekend. I don’t know the hours but if you want to know more, I’ll get you the info.
I’ve been in “go” mode ever since I heard that we were going to be in an arctic freeze and with all the other activities and additional cold snaps coming along, I’m going to be in a frantic mode until at least next weekend. I’m sure hoping to catch a break and enjoy a little of the holidays.
I’m running out of stuff to say right now (hard to believe I know) but I’m sure to write more later today.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Storm

Six inches of snow and now blowing snow with subzero temps. The rest of the week is not going to improve. It's going to be a long week. On the bright side, most of the snow has blown into drifts so I either walk around them or plow through them. Mike and Garrett are out now plowing the driveway (which was plugged full of snow thanks to the wind).

I was considering leaving the herd out tonight and getting stalls ready for the next two nights but I may  stall them tonight. We'll see. I am going to blanket those that I can but I'm bummed I didn't get around to fixing all the blankets first. I may do some quick sewing here tonight and put different blankets on horses tomorrow. I wish the weatherman was wrong! I do not want 20+ below zero wind chills.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Winter Weather On Its Way

Oh goodie... Just read the winter weather advisory that will go into affect at 3pm today... I'll post more later today but figured I'd let you all see what we are going to be dealing with for the next 36 hours. 20 below zero wind chills do not sound like fun. Guess I better scramble tonight and get a couple temporary stalls set up in the hay shed for the ponies. Thank goodness Dad and Mike fixed the stalls in the hayshed for Mayhem and Rabbit. I think the next two days are going to be extremely long and stressful....

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO MIDNIGHT CST WEDNESDAY NIGHT...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SIOUX FALLS HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT CST WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TIMING... SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THIS AFTERNOON IN SOUTH CENTRAL SOUTH DAKOTA AND SPREAD TOWARD INTERSTATE 90 BY 6 PM. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES THIS EVENING. LIGHT SNOW IS THEN EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* ACCUMULATIONS... SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF THREE TO SIX INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* WIND AND VISIBILITY... NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH ARE THEN EXPECTED THROUGHOUT THE DAY WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THIS WILL CREATE VISIBILITIES AS LOW AS ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES... ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS.
* WIND CHILL VALUES... AS COOLER AIR MOVES INTO THE REGION AND WINDS INCREASE... WIND CHILL VALUES ARE EXPECTED TO FALL. WIND CHILL VALUES ARE EXPECTED TO FALL FROM THE LOWER 20S THIS EVENING TO THE SINGLE DIGITS ABOVE ZERO BY EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING. WIND CHILL VALUES ARE EXPECTED TO HOVER NEAR ZERO THROUGHOUT THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY... BEFORE FALLING TO NEAR 20 BELOW ZERO WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

(Sorry for the all caps. I don't know why weather people have to do that. I'm not yelling, honest. ) :-)

Interesting...

Interesting concept.....

http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2013/12/03/proposal-would-brand-horses-treated-with-bute/

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Prep Work

Hard to believe that one month from today will be Christmas day! I am SO  not ready for Christmas, or winter for that matter. The past two winters I was in such a daze but this winter I'm keeping an even more vigilant eye on some of the hard keepers. I've increased the hard keepers' grain ration and started doing a mix of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets (mostly because I had an extra bag of alalfa pellets from when I was feeding them to the drafts).

I think the combo of alfalfa pellets and beet pulp helped to get the hard keepers ready for straight beet pulp. We ran in to Sioux Falls Saturday to pick up grain. We stopped in at one store and went to the other and wouldn't you know, the price of grain at the second place was cheaper so I picked up a few extra bags. I should have looked at the beet pulp to compare prices but I was focused mostly on the safe choice original and sweet feeds.

Now that we are into winter, I'm not worried about the grain molding so I can stock up when it's on sale (if it ever goes on sale). I picked up extra because I had a 10% coupon and I didnt' want to mess with the holiday shoppers.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving will be here in three days. I remember in years past that the horses were still out on the pasture and I wasn't even beginning to start feeding them hay. But then again, that was a few years ago when we had less horses and hadn't over grazed the pasture or had such weird weather. Now the horses are enjoying their grain.

When the snow/rain and cold temps were predicted to blow in (and they did), I blanketed Rabbit. She's in a pen that isnt' well protected so I wanted to go the extra mile for her and keep her a little bit more snug (as a bug in a rug). I pulled the blanket off this  morning. Good thing because it's actually fairly nice out. And I dont' really care for the blanket I thew on her. It's the only one that is completely ready for use. I still have a bunch of blankets that I need to repair before I haul them out for use. But I better get a move on if I want to use the blankets! I read earlier this week that the first week in December, we are supposed to get another arctic blast of cold air. I want to make sure that everyone has their winter blankets on but I also need to make sure that the hard keepers (and delicate flowers) are protected.

So while everyone else is enjoying their Thanksgiving meal, I'll probably be sitting in front of the tv watching the parade, sewing up blankets. We are headed down to a tack store in Lennox tonight to pick up Rabbit's antihistamine. It's $50 for a container. If anyone would like to sponsor's Rabbit's antihistamine, let me know! Every little bit counts these days.

Well, if I don't post again, I hope you all have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Winter, Graining, and Yard Lights Oh My

Sorry for not posting lately. The days seem to fly by and by the time I put my feet up at night, my mind shuts off as well. The paying job has me hopping so I haven’t had much time to do anything outside with the horses.
I have noticed a change in the hard keepers, which I take as a blessing. I was so worried about Brego and Bo. I still need to get them in to the vet but for now, until I can find time to schedule an appointment, I think they are at the very least maintaining weight. I do think Bo might actually be gaining weight. I increased their grain ration and started Bo, Brego, Jim, and Zeke on an alfalfa pellet and beet pulp pellet regime as well. I need to start that same regime with Rabbit as well. I don’t think she’ll mind. Of course I soak everyone’s grain to be on the safe side but I’m not sure if that helps or not.
When Rain is done slurping up his grain, he typically has a brown mustache. I haven’t been feeding calf manna but when I was, Zeke would always have a pink mustache. I will probably increase everyone’s grain this winter to include calf manna but I want to wait until winter actually hits.
And speaking of winter, I think it’ll be here tomorrow. We are predicted to get one to three inches of snow and the low for Friday night is 7 and the low for Saturday night is either 2 or 0, depending on which weather channel you listen to. I’m going to have to do some fast work tonight to figure out what I want to do with certain horses (mostly Rabbit). If the weather gets down to single digits and there’s a wind chill, I may very well be putting horses into the barn and hay shed. It’ll mean more work in the dark, but it’ll be worth it.
We are still without a yard light but at least we have a full moon.  I’m getting used to doing chores in the dark. And in truth, it’s not really all that dark out. The other night I went out to do chores but I wasn’t out long enough and the moon was just coming up when I was finishing chores. It was like a spotlight was shining right on when the moon came out. Of course last night I was running late and the moon was hidden by clouds. Figures! The electric company DID come out  last week but we discovered that there’s something else wrong. It’s not just a burned out light bulb like we’d hoped. So our options were to replace the light for $400 or rent the stupid thing. Since we don’t have $400 extra cash laying around, we now have to do the silly thing and RENT a yard light. How ridiculous is that?!?! But if I want a light (and I do now that it gets do darn dark out so early), that’s the only option. So I guess I’ll start saving up and in four years, we’ll buy our own and have it installed and they can take their darn light and well…use it for someone else. Tehehehe
So the electric company came out early this week. I only know this because the light was off the windmill and sitting on the cattle chute. No note, no phone call, no nothing. So I have no idea if/when they will be back and I have a gigantic light that I have no idea if it’s new or not, sitting out waiting for someone to do something with. It does seem like that’s our typical luck these days.
I also keep seeing older horses that are in search of a retirement home. I wish we could offer them a permanent home but I’m worried about our hay supply. If we are going into some bitterly cold weather in the next couple of days, I can’t imagine how much hay we’ll go through when we get into the “true” winter season. I guess if you know of anyone selling decent (and cheap hay), please let me know. I am always on the lookout for hay these days. If we had more hay, we might not have to turn away horses that desperately need a soft place to land for the rest of their lives, be it a few years, a few months, or a few days.

Horse Abuse Conviction

So glad the judge is sticking to his guns.....

No Sentence Change For SD Horse Abuse Convict

November 20, 2013, 8:38 AM 

RAPID CITY, SD - 
A judge has refused for now to modify the sentence of a western South Dakota woman convicted of mistreating horses.

Terri Harwood is scheduled to begin serving a yearlong jail sentence on electronic monitoring later this month. Her attorney on Tuesday asked Magistrate Judge Shawn Pahlke to modify her sentence because her mother in Illinois is terminally ill.

Prosecutor Patrick Grode said he was willing to consider a sentence change later after Harwood has spent some time on electronic monitoring and started to make restitution payments. Pahlke agreed.

Pennington County authorities seized 69 horses from Harwood and her husband, Don, in January. They later were convicted on nine counts each of inhumane treatment of an animal. Don Harwood was sentenced to five years in jail but remains a fugitive.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Feeding Schedule

I started Brego and Bo on soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets. I think it’s more alfalfa pellets at the moment. I dumped what I had in a tub into a new barrel that Mike brought home but didn’t stir it up as good as I should have. I wasn’t sure Brego would eat it all but he polished it off and licked the dish clean. I gave Jim a little too and he seemed to snarf it all down. Guess it’s a good thing I started out with more alfalfa pellets rather than more beet pulp pellets. I’ve discovered beet pulp pellets are an acquired taste (they only taste good if you steal the mush from another horse!) 
But now that I’m starting in on that new feeding schedule, chores are going to take even longer.  Besides having to grain the hard keepers extra, I know have to haul water back to the mares and pony pen. I need to keep the water tank topped off so that Skippy can drink with ease. It’s a pain but as long as I keep up with hauling water, I should be ok. If I haul back about 15 gallons that usually holds the horses until the next day.
I do need to make a few minor adjustments to the water tank so that all of the water isn’t exposed. We pulled out the old wood box that was around a water tank a couple years ago (which survived the fire) and put it around the tank in the pen. Unfortunately that water tank gets the brunt of the wind and I wanted to try and cut down on the wind. We’ll see if it helps any.  
Rabbit is enjoying her solitude while devouring her grain. I may start her on beet pulp too. She seems thinner than I want and like going into winter. I may just call the vet and make a bunch of appointments to float teeth and see if that helps. Late fall/early winter always seems like the time where I have to go to the vet and see all that hard earned money disappear. But as long as the horses are happy, I guess I don’t care.
I am going to have to go in search of alfalfa (and more hay). I was in such a fog for the past couple of months that I wasn’t even thinking about finding alfalfa for the winter (or finding additional hay). So I think I’m going to start scrambling around to see if I can find any on the cheap side. We’ll see what happens but if you know of anyone selling, I’d love to get their name and phone number. 
We still have no yard light. The electric company was supposed to be out late last week and they never showed. If they don’t show up by tomorrow, I’m calling a different electric company. There’s more than one way to fight this game. If you want my money, work for it! (Sorry, I seem to be a bit testy these days).
We had gorgeous weather yesterday and we are supposed to continue that trend for at least one or two more days. The warmer weather always makes life (and chores) easier to handle. I know the horses are much happier when the weather is nicer. I’m hoping the farmer’s almanac is wrong and we don’t have such bitterly cold temps as they are predicting. 
Life is pretty quiet right now at the Sanctuary (knock on wood). I’ve been so swamped with the paying job and other outside activities, that I really haven’t done too much with the horses and brainstorming for any other fundraisers. I guess I’m just sort of “getting by” right now. Hopefully I can settle my brain down and start focusing again on the Sanctuary. I seem to be losing track of time faster these days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week in Review

Last week was a blur. I know I posted once last week but it wasn’t what I was originally going to ramble about. The Sunday before last, Mike was going to climb the windmill and fix our yard light. I convinced him (without much work) to hire someone to fix the light instead. With 20-30mph winds and gusts of up to 40mp it was easy to convince Mike that a $100 bill to repair the light would be easier to pay than $10K hospital bill for when he fell of the windmill. It’s been four months since our least hospital stay and I’d like to extend that time frame.
So, we are still without a yard light a week later. Although, Mike and Dad did work on cutting down trees that had grown up in the windmill and were subsequently blocking the light (when it was working).  So when we finally DO get the yard light fixed, we’ll have light shining everywhere. A little frustrated that they didn’t come out last week when we called but this week I’m going to put my crabby pants on and call them.
We did get our first snowstorm last Tuesday. I forgot what it was like to drive in the snow. I think a lot of people forgot. I know the horses weren’t all that thrilled with the snow but they didn’t really care all that much. I gave them a treat of apples and they were in heaven.  Judy N. stopped out that Sunday when Mike and Dad were cutting down trees and dropped off a blanket and apples for the horses. The horses have been enjoying apples ever since then. Even Dude last night finally discovered that he actually LIKES apples. I’m guessing he’s wishing he would have tried them a week earlier!
Last Monday we had fall and then the snow hit. The snow melted but we had winter after that. I’ve been dealing with breaking water open this past week. When the weatherman said that we were going to have a nice weekend but that a cold front was coming through for Veteran’s Day, I figured I’d better move pens and water around.  It took almost a week to find winter coats and coveralls. Morning chores now require coveralls and a heavy coat, where two weeks before that, I was running out in a heavy coat and that’s it (well, normal clothes underneath. I don’t’ do chores naked!!). I guess winter came early.
I am worried that it’s only mid-November and we are now feeding normal winter rations. In years past, we wouldn’t even start to feed this heavy for another month. I don’t think we’ll have enough hay to get through winter at this rate. The Farmer’s Almanac said normal snow but a lot colder temps! This morning it was three degrees. The horses were not happy and demanded their hay this morning!
So back to this past Sunday. We had temps in the 40s but with some cold wind. Luckily Mike and Dad were able to stay out of the wind and work in the hayshed. They decided to tackle the stall that Sahara had broken. They were able to fix the door and the wall that she obliterated. Now we have two working stalls in the hayshed. Dad and I also unloaded corral panels so I will be putting up a temporary stall in the hayshed as well. That way the horses in the smaller pen can go into the hayshed when the temps really drop and the wind howls.
Because of the temps, I had to move horses so that we had one water tank heater running instead of three like last year.  Last year we had a bunch of horses that needed to be separated but this year, I am able to put them all into two pens. If we had our winter mare pasture, life would be a little bit easier but that’s not going to happen for another couple of years. So for now, I moved Rabbit, Mayhem, Tommy, and Skippy into the smaller pen by the big drylot. So now all the horses are pretty well kept together instead of scattered.
I think Rabbit was loving having the ponies in with her. She pinned her ears and chased after them but I really think secretly that she was enjoying the extra attention.  I did set up a couple extra corral panels in the pen so that I can lock Rabbit in the pen while she eats her grain instead of having to either halter and tie Mayhem and the ponies (who won’t let me catch them) or stand by Rabbit to guard her from the ponies snitching her grain. I figured putting her in a pen would be so much easier. This way I can toss out alfalfa (what little we have left) so that she can enjoy some without being harassed by the ponies and Mayhem. I think she’s enjoying the solitude. I don’t like the pen that they are in. But with the two stalls in the hay shed and the temporary stall I’ll build, I’ll be able to pull the horses out of the pen more often and keep them in the stalls at night when the temps really drop or the wind really picks up. I am now going to have to hall water back to the pen each night. I have to have the tank topped out so that the ponies can reach the tank! I forgot what it was like to have to haul bucket after bucket of water. I would give almost anything to have a couple different automatic waterers. But I’d rather haul a couple buckets of water every evening instead of both morning and night and have to smash water each time. The only power outlet that can handle the water heater is the one on the red shed so that’s why we had to move horses yesterday.
I’m sure glad that we did. With a low of three degrees, I am SO not ready for winter.  We turned away two horses last month and I’ve seen three other horses that we should have taken in. Two were prime for kill buyers and another simply needs a soft place to land for the last bit of her life. But with the hospital bills and other expenses, we can’t take anyone else on. We ARE looking at doing more fundraisers next year. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve that we are working on, so we’ll see how it goes. But for now, I’m going to batten down the hatches and settle in for a long and cold winter. Hopefully it won’t be too dark of a winter either. I want my yard light back! If someone would like to sponsor a horse, we could open our doors to another old soul that needs a soft place to land for their retirement.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Winter Challenge

Winter reared its ugly head yesterday. I can say without a doubt, I am NOT prepared for winter. I also have a bad feeling that it’s going to be a long and weary winter. I am not prepared and am actually starting to panic that we don’t have enough hay.
I saw two additional horses for sale this week that are in danger of a kill buyer picking them up for some quick cash. Big, fat horses for super cheap. If we weren’t turning away horses that fit our criteria, we’d be picking these horses up even though they don’t fit our criteria. I get so nervous this time of year thinking about all the horses that people have forgotten or don’t care about. I was worried last night about making sure everyone had enough grain and hay. I made sure no one was shivering and that if they were, they’d go into the barn (but everyone was ok). But then I started thinking about the horses out on the feedlot in a town not far from us. I get so upset thinking about them. No one is worrying if they are cold or miserable. It breaks my heart thinking about them.
This time of year also makes me think about animals at the local shelter. I once worked at a high traffic animal shelter. It was an eye opener and about this time of year (every year), I get the urge to want to do more, to help more, to make a difference but I don’t know how. Right now my hands are tied. Our funds are low and if the winter is going to be like I fear, we’ll have to go in search of additional hay. So there goes any extra money that I might have been able to save up to help out.
Now that we are going into the holiday season, let’s focus on those that don’t have a home. There are a number of organizations that have wonderful pets just waiting to call your family home. Let’s make a challenge to see all homeless animals home for Christmas. With nasty weather around us, it’s nice to snuggle under a blanket and watch our fur kids relax and know they are happy.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Let There Be Light

I’ve been doing chores in the dark for the past few days. And let me just say, it is DARK. Not just dark but pitch black to where you can’t see the hand in front of your face dark. The yard light burned out awhile ago and I’ve been struggling to do chores in the dark ever since then. I didn’t realize how much I relied on that yard light until this past week. When we had the full moon it wasn’t a big deal but this past week we’ve had no moon and lots of dark clouds (and blinding fog). The plan is to get the light fixed this weekend (fingers crossed that all goes well)!
The past couple of mornings it’s been foggy and pitch black. I have my little flashlight that I carry. I used to carry a maglight but it burned out or the batteries died or something. It died when I was up tarping hay. So I have a tiny little flashlight that doesn’t give off much light but works because it fits into my pocket.
The other morning I went out to do chores and I was struggling to carry hay and the flashlight. The hay hid the light from the flashlight so I was pretty much walking blind. I stood up from moving a pile of hay to be greeted by a gigantic head standing at my shoulder. It took me a minute to figure out who it was. It was Ivan! Then I turned around and about jumped out of my skin. Zeke was standing right behind me. Being that he’s a white horse, it was easier to spot him, whereas Ivan is dark brown/black.
I have been having a heck of a time picking everyone out to make sure they are up for breakfast and supper except for the two mostly white horses (King and Zeke). The rest are a lost cause unless I can make out their star or blaze.
Yesterday morning there at least wasn’t fog during morning chores but it was again pitch black. I was carrying an armload of hay and the flashlight was hidden under the hay (so no light whatsoever). And I walked smack dab into the back of a black horse! Luckily it was once again Ivan. I swear that horse is loving not having a yard light on. He is always right by my side trying to steal hay out of my arms without me knowing it. I’ve run into him at least three times just this week. I think he secretly likes the extra attention.
I had been debating on going to the auction scheduled for tomorrow. It’s the same auction were we rescued TenMan, Savanna, and Sahara (and unbeknownst to me Sir Prize (aka Jett)). Unfortunately, we’ve been turning away horses so I was torn on whether to go or not. If I can’t help one of the horses, what good is it for me to go except to give them each a pat and let them know that they won’t be forgotten. I’d cry the whole way home knowing that I didn’t do anything to help and I’d be heartbroken. But I was still considering going. But then I was able to finally catch up with my farrier and he suggested that we do some trims Saturday morning so now there’s no way that I’ll go to the auction. I won’t feel so guilty about not going because we are doing something horse related instead. I’ll still feel guilty but at least this way, I won’t be sitting on my butt doing nothing. I would love to stop turning horses away and also have the opportunity to rescue one or two horses from auction in the late fall/early winter. Maybe some day.
I’ve been throwing out hay this week both morning and night. The pasture is gone and the horses are anxious for their hay. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to start throwing hay until later but we’ve been throwing out hay at night for the entire month of October and this past week we’ve been feeding both morning and night. I’m worried that our supply of hay won’t last through the winter. If it’s going to be as bitterly cold as they’ve predicted, then we most definitely won’t have enough hay. So now I’m starting to worry about what to do. For now I guess I’ll just wait and see how things progress but we are already burning through more than a bale a week and I’m not doing heavy hay feeding yet. Even with having lost Babe this fall so there’s one less mouth to feed, I’m still worried that we don’t have enough. I guess I prefer to have extra in case we bring someone else in instead of having to worry about making sure we have enough or having to go in search of more hay. So the hay situation is weighing heavily on my mind already.
I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming for fundraiser ideas. I’ve received a lot of great ideas and I’m now trying to figure out if they will work for this year or next year or I few need to table them and work the kinks out in another year or so. It’s fun to hear all the ideas and it really gets me excited to do another fundraiser.
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s already November first! The days are just flying by and I’m not ready for winter. There’s so much more that I’d love to get done but the days are getting shorter very quickly. I know this weekend we’ll gain an hour but that really messes with me because we don’t really gain any sunlight, we only gain an extra hour of dark. I wish we wouldn’t keep switching. It’s hard on the horses (and the little Bear). But maybe that’ll give me time to get a little bit more accomplished each night. My hope is to sew up ripped blankets each night but so far that plan hasn’t happened. I’ve been busy with work or have been falling asleep early each night (trying to put Garrett to bed at a decent time and Mike and I are the ones falling asleep instead!) But we desperately need to get the blankets repaired before winter hits. I have a feeling we’ll be using the blankets a lot this year! I sure hope I’m wrong. But the weatherman is calling for another system to roll in Monday night into Tuesday so we may throw sheets on a few of the hard keepers and older horses so they don’t get chilled (or that I worry about them).

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Terrible Thing

Looks like winter will be here tonight. 80% chance of rain/snow for tonight and then a 70% chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m already starting to worry about the hay supply. I’m not sure if we have enough. I have been throwing out hay since the first of October (in the evenings) but this morning I started throwing out hay in the mornings as well. Only Zeke was up to snag all the hay but hopefully someone else will come up to enjoy. I don’t want anyone to lose weight before going into winter.
I am going to have to cut back on the ponies’ hay. They are fat. I’m always worried about Bo (and probably always will) but Rabbit is not to the weight that I’d prefer her to be also. She may go in the barn tonight. Now that she’s older, she has a harder time warming up. I can’t put a blanket or sheet on her while she’s in the pasture because she tears them to shreds. I would rather keep them out of the drylot for a little bit longer so they can graze. I don’t really like that small drylot because there’s not as much protection from the wind. I’m hoping that maybe I can convince Mike to help put up a better wind break. There’s always so much that needs to get done before winter hits.
I am definitely not ready for winter. I need to repair the two stalls in the hay shed before winter and get corral panels set up also so that we have an extra temporary stall in the hay shed. I have a terrible feeling that if we don’t have a bad winter, we will at the very least have a bitterly cold winter, which makes life miserable for everyone. I want to make sure everyone can be snug in a stall and out of any fierce winds that we may get. I worry for those horses that can’t find protection from the wind and cold this winter but at this point, there’s really nothing more I can do.
I was just thinking back to last year. It was a year ago this past weekend that saw me in the Emergency Room. I am happy to say I didn’t go back this year to make it a yearly event. I am hoping that our hospital visits are over and that everyone in the family stays healthy. I keep thinking that the other shoe will drop and we’ll have to go in for another major health scare. Hopefully I am just oversensitive to all the hospital visits. I would much prefer a quiet winter this year!
I’m hoping that the weather doesn’t turn too quickly. We still need to clean out the drylot and spread the manure in the farmer’s field. I’m not sure there’s enough time though so we’ll see. There’s also the big barn door that requires repair before we get too much more wind. I’m afraid between the horses and the wind, the barn door isn’t going to stay on for very much longer!
I did get to enjoy some time outside yesterday after a day of riding with friends. Mike and Garrett were in Madison for the day so I had a couple of hours to mess around outside. I decided that I better take care of some cocklebur issues. I know, I’m a terrible horsey mom for doing it but…I roached Mayhem, Rabbit, Tommy, and Skippy. Tommy and Skippy look rather cute in their new haircuts. I feel bad for having to roach them but there really wasn’t much of an option other than to spend a good couple of hours pulling cockleburs. I decided that they could go with a shorter look for the winter. I forget that the ponies have different patterns on the other side of their neck so it’s fun to see. Skippy doesn’t look like a total hairball now that he isn’t sporting an afro forlock. Same goes for Tommy!
I was worried about Rabbit’s eye. I think she has uveitis in the right eye so we keep a fly mask on her almost all the time. I decided that with the haircut that we would pull the fly mask and keep it off for a while. I need to see if I can get a better flymask for her to protect her eye from the blinding sun on the snow. I’ve also taken to graining her now that the cooler weather has set in. That means, I have to halter Mayhem so that Rabbit gets all her grain along with her heaves medication. I should have been doing it all along but figure now is better than later. Mayhem surprisingly stands patiently while I hang over the gate to get the halter on. In the past she started getting naughty and running away from me when she saw the halter. Now she patiently waits while I fumble with the halter and hang all over her. I’m calling it “training” but in reality it’s just me being awkward about getting a halter on. I’m hoping that the heaves medicine will help Rabbit. She always has heaves but it seems like it’s actually worse when I grain her. I always turn her grain into a mash so the heaves aren’t caused by any dust. Rabbit definitely has some health issues (heaves, uveitis, and a lame/weak back end).
I also figured that I’d better top out the water tanks while the weather was fairly nice. Apparently I ruined a hose by leaving it out. It was taking FOREVER to fill a water tank. I thought we were having a water pressure issue. No, just a hose issue. So now we need to go buy another 300 foot hose to replace the one that I ruined.
While I was out doing chores last night, around 6pm, you could tell that the cold front was coming through. Just before I was going to throw out hay, the wind picked up. I forget how much I loathe wind and hay (at the same time). Luckily I was able to be up wind when throwing the hay (except this morning when I got a face full). I’m already dreading the daily dose of hay in the face, down the shirt, and in my ears! I got spoiled with round bales last year. We may be in search of more hay in the middle of winter so we may very well go with round bales.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Playday Pictures

Here's just a few pictures from our playday. Go to our Facebook page to see the rest of the pictures! We know how to have fun!!!!






Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Ramblings

Another busy but non-Sanctuary related day yesterday. The paying job has me hopping so there’s not a lot of extra time to get anything done other than minimal chores. Hopefully by next week I’ll catch a break and get some breathing room again from the paying job.
The days are definitely getting shorter and much colder! I know winter is just around the corner and it shouldn’t take me by surprise but it always does. I was hoping that the pastures would hold out for another couple of weeks but I’m afraid they are done and the big herd is over grazing. I’m going to have to figure out how to wake up earlier and get out to do morning chores on time. I’ve been sneaking out just before going to the paying job to feed the ponies but I need to start feeding the big herd both morning and night.
I haven’t really had much time to do anything with the horses. The horses decided to play “hairdresser” and “unicorn” and styled their manes and tails with cockleburs. It’s bugging me seeing them in such a state but I haven’t had any time to take care of the mess. Hopefully this weekend I can sneak out and to a bit of de-cockleburring. I have come to the conclusion that I’m roaching the ponies. They have such a mess that it’s going to be impossible to get the burs all out. Their manes grow back quickly so it won’t be such a disappointment to have to roach them. I’ve had to do it in the past too. It pains me to cut their manes but it’ll be less stress and less of an ordeal if I just roach them and they look silly for a month.  I lost my showsheen. It’s around here somewhere but I just can’t seem to find it. Hopefully I can find it and go to work on cleaning everyone up this weekend. At least that’s my goal.
Now that we have another successful fundraiser under our belts, I’m anxious to start planning the next one. I’m torn between two different options so we’ll see which one I end up going with. It’ll be a lot of work but so worth it. Everyone’s generosity humbles me.
I didn’t get home last night until 10pm to do chores. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a yard light so I had to do chores by the light of a flashlight. Not exactly an easy task. I may go and buy one of those flashlights I can attach to a hat. Hopefully I can make some phone calls and get it fixed by early next week.
I know I mentioned it in an earlier post, but there is an auction coming up next weekend. I’m debating on going. It is silly for me to go because I am turning away horses and I know if I go, I’ll want to help. Or I’ll see one that has to be helped. But I haven’t gone in close to two years and I’m uneducated in the prices of loose horses. So we’ll see if I can handle sitting on my handles idly watching good horses go to slaughter or if I bale and stay home to get things down around the Sanctuary. If someone wants to go with, then I’ll have no choice but to go and not feel guilty!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Ramblings

I think it’s winter. We had snow yesterday morning and again this morning. I was worried about Rabbit getting chilled so I threw a canvas sheet on her. Big mistake. She’d trashed the last one I’d put on her last year but I thought things would be different this year. Nope. She trashed another one. Hopefully I can repair it but I have to walk the pasture to find the missing parts. She did an amazing job of tearing it all to pieces. I’m a little mad because that was the one and only waterproof sheet that was fully intact and had no rips or tears. Can’t have anything nice when it comes to horses!
It’s been fairly quiet the last couple of days (knock on wood). Last night I was able to get out to do chores before dark. The yard light is officially gone so now I am doing chores in the dark. The night before last I was out after dark. One little flashlight does not give off enough light when you’re in the dark and the moon is hidden behind clouds. Hopefully we can call someone by the end of the week and get it fixed before too long. I don’t like being outside in the dark during the fall when all the wild critters are out. At least I let the dogs out to run around when I am doing chores and they tend to scare away any critters that may be wandering around. Farley is a big lug and although he wouldn’t hurt a fly, most critters don’t want to tangle with him.
I’ve been wrapped up with the paying job the majority of this week and it looks like the rest of the week will be the same so not much is going to happen at the Sanctuary. I’m already starting to brainstorm ideas for the next fundraiser. I have two different ones in mind so now the hard part will be deciding which one to go forward with (or throw caution to the wind and do both)! I don’t want to burn anyone out on all these fundraisers either (or myself for that matter)!  But I do have a few ideas I want to try out. So far the two fundraisers we’ve done have been a complete success. We will definitely do another playday next year and we will definitely do an Easter Basket Silent Auction (and have activities for the kids!) for Easter. I had a great time during both events so hopefully others will too!
I’m not sure when we’ll do the next fundraiser but keep your eyes peeled because we will definitely have one. I was already looking at the calendar for 2014 to decide when we’ll do the Easter Basket Silent Auction (and other activities). Easter is in April so we’ll plan on having the event sometime before Easter. So mark your calendars now for a great event!
My mind has pretty well turned to mush after the playday fundraiser on Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get into the swing of things a little better after this week. I have to turn my mind off and not think about the upcoming winter. I’m a little worried that we don’t have enough hay. I guess if we do run out, hopefully we’ll be able to find a few bales at a reasonable price. I’d feel more comfortable if I had about 10 more big bales in the shed but beggars can’t be choosers. Of course, if I had 10 more bales in the shed, I wouldn’t be turning away horses that deserve a retirement home.
There is an auction coming up next weekend but I’m not sure I have the stomach to go. I haven’t been to an auction in about two years. I have no idea what prices are like for the loose horses. We’ll see if I go. If someone else says they’ll go, then I’ll definitely go. I’ll have to sit on my hands of course but it would be good for me to educate myself on the current prices of loose horses. I hate auctions this time of year though so we’ll see how it goes.