Friday, May 31, 2013

Swallowing My Pride

The other night I took the Bear out for a stroll on the gravel. We were waiting for Mike to finish up a few tasks before pushing in round bales (that's a story I'll share in a little bit). I don't like walking our gravel nor do I like riding our gravel. There's just enough traffic and just enough people who don't respect people on the road be it walking or riding, that I just don't feel safe. But I thought I'd go for a quick jaunt and stay as close to the edge of the road as I could.

We were headed back when the neighbor appeared. There's been a lot of activity over there for the past week or more. I wasn't yet ready to swallow my pride and ask to use his pasture. But I went fishing. Of course, no bite. But I figured I'd just wait a little bit longer and see. We had a good chat and off he went.

Last night I thought I'd take the Bear for another short stroll. I saw people over at the neighbor's and assumed it was the neighbor working over there. I thought it a bit odd since he hasn't been over there in months but figured he'd gotten some project.

When we walked up the driveway, it wasn't the neighbor who appeared but the neighbor's daughter. I didn't realize it at the time though. We started talking and she introduced herself as our  new neighbors. So, I guess I don't have to worry about my pride and asking the neighbor's to use their pasture, because we have new neighbors and I'm not about to ask at this point. Luckily the neighbor's are related to the old neighbors and they are very friendly.

At the time we were talking I didn't realize that she was related to the neighbor otherwise I would have been more free with information. I was so taken back by the realization that we have new neighbors that I didn't think to offer a warm welcome like I should have. Oh well.

So we may have lost the potential pasture but gained new neighbors. They seem quiet and if I remember right are fairly newly married with no kids unless you count their furbabies as kids. I'm sure we'll strike up a similar friendship as we did with the other neighbor. I am such a creature of habit that change is hard for me. But I expect this will be a good change.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catching Up

Talk about extremes! Last year we were going into the drought. Now we are dealing with extensive rain. Unfortunately the rain this weekend came down so quickly that I doubt it did much good in soaking into the ground.

We didn't do much with the horses over Memorial Weekend. Instead we spent quality time with family enjoying everyone's company. The weather wasn't as cooperative as I had hoped. We tried our hand at camping with a nine month old. Very interesting! We also had to deal with a major thunderstorm that dumped a lot of water. Luckily most of the rain went south of our campsite but ended up being closer to the Sanctuary. As we were driving home, you could tell water had run over the road and much of the land was covered in water. I won't complain. We lucked out and missed the eight inches of rain and only got three inches.

This is the first year we haven't put the horses out on the pasture during Memorial weekend. Unfortunately, they are locked in the drylot for another month until the new grass is established and can handle the horses. I may go and beg the neighbor but we'll see. I'm afraid my pride might get the better of me.  I also don't want to take advantage of our neighbors. After being taken advantage of with the neighbor's horse (a different neighbor, not the one with the pasture), I most definitely want to make sure I don't over step my welcome, unlike others.

I have been putting the big herd out on the lawn for a couple of hours every night. What I can't figure out is why the horses have taken to eating the hay instead of the grass. The round bale from the neighbor's horse is still sitting in the yard. The horses have taken to eating that instead of the grass. Is there no grass left or is it that poor quality that they would rather eat hay than grass? Or do I just have weird horses? I figure it's more the latter than the former.

Mayhem jumped the little divider gate I had to keep her out of Babe's pen. But Babe seems to be enjoying the company. But I  may separate them again for a few days as  Mayhem is getting bossy and pushing Babe around. Not Allowed. Poor Babe. I was hoping to put Babe and Mayhem out on pasture and then either put Rabbit in a pasture by herself or put her in with the ponies. I doubt the ponies or Rabbit would like that situation but I cant' have Rabbit in with Babe and I'm not sure I want to give up the east pasture just yet. I may put Rabbit in for a month and then give the pasture a break but we'll see. I need to get a plan going on how to manage the pastures a little better. No matter what, we will be pulling horses off the pasture at night so they aren't eating 24x7. We now have too many horses and not enough pasture to handle that type of setup (gone are those days).

I haven't done much with the horses as of late. My schedule hasnt' allowed it and it doesn't look like I'll get to do much with the horses in the coming weeks. Although we DID have a volunteer come out last Thursday. And oh what a godsend he was! K volunteered to come out and work on any project that we need finished. There's so many different projects but one of the projects high on the list was repairing a gate. We have three gates in the big drylot. One out to the pasture, one out to the lawn, and one out to the hay. The gate to the hay has been in some decline for awhile. The original owners had put up a nice fence and put concrete around the post. It worked wonderfully for him but after 30+ years, fence posts rot. We have been contending with a rotten fence post and a gate that was precariously attached to the post and the barn. K and Mike worked their magic last Thursday to redo the gate. The gate now hangs off the hay barn instead of the rotten fence post. We'll replace the fence post later when everything dries up. But  for now, there's no worry that a horse wont' take the gate down (and subsequently take half the fenceline down too!) The gate is also about two feet higher in the air! Now the horses can't lean over the gate (putting even more pressure on the rotten fence post). I was always afraid that a horse would get tired of standing in the drylot and simply jump the fence. I've seen it happen before! I can't tell you how giddy I was Thursday night climbing over that gate! It looked so nice. We haven't been able to do any repairs on the place due to my pregnancy and subsequent health problems (and Mike's health problems too). So it was nice to finally see some progress at the Sanctuary. Of course, I'm also very amused and entertained by simple things (including a fixed gate).

We are to get more rain. My fingers are crossed that the bottom part of the pasture doesn't flood out. All that grass seed will be for not if we get much  more rain and we can't afford a devastation like that. As it is, I'm going to be feeding hay for another month. Come on sunshine! We need the grass to GROW!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pasture and Mayhem

I'm exhausted beyond belief today for no apparent reason (other than having a nine month old at home). I wasn't sure if I'd be able to put the horses out on the lawn yesterday. We've had a bit of rain and it's glorious. In previous years, a sprinkle would send me into the house. After a terrible drought last year, I was pretty hard pressed to head back in doors due to a few tiny sprinkles. But we did get some substantial rain Saturday night. We've had overcast skies since then and a few more rain showers. I'm hoping we can continue with the gentle rainshowers with rain falling staright down instead of horizontal. But I won't complain either way. We are getting moisture (and not in the form of feet of snow!)

I normally let the horses out onto the pasture over Memorial weekend but that's not going to happen this year. After reseeding the pasture, we have at least another month before we can let the herd out. I'm disappointed and hadn't figured on an extra month. Now I either have to go in search of hay that I can't afford or go and beg the neighbor to see if he'd be willing to rent his pasture for a month. I'm hoping on the later but I hate to ask. So if you happen to drive by the Sanctuary and dont' see horses, it's because they are stuck in the drylot until either our pasture comes up or they are at the neighbor's.

After putting Bo in with the big herd (and keeping an extremely close eye on him), Mike suggested that I pull Mayhem out of the bigger pen. Here I was hoping to be free of an extra pen. So I moved Mayhem to Bo's pen next to Babe. For the first 24 hours after Bo was gone, Babe was upset and constantly whinnied. When I put Mayhem in, she constantly whinnied (and Babe stopped whinnying).  I think it's a good move. Mayhem was picking up Rabbit's bad habits and that is NOT allowed (although I am trying to work with Rabbit to break her of her crabby habits). But now that Mayhem is in one of the front pens, I see her every time I look out the window. Which makes me feel guilty. So now I've decided I better start working with her. Oh sure some day soon I'll send her to the trainer's but until then I better start messing with her. She's three and no where near ready for much. I'd prefer to make the training experience go smoothly and easily for both the trainer and Mayhem. That way, maybe the trainer can put a few additional queues on her. We'll see.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Pictures

Last night I had just a short window of opportunity to work on getting temporary fencing up for the herd. I was able to get the herd out last night for just a little bit and again this morning. I think the horses were happy to get out. I know Bo was mad that he didn't get to join the herd last night so I put him in the herd this morning. He's now in with the big herd. Fingers crossed that he wont' come up lame. I think some of his issues may stem from his hooves. He's due for a trim too. I also let Rabbit out this morning too. I was hoping being out on grass might help with her heaves.

You know what these stinkers did both last night and this morning. Half the herd tried to snitch Babe's hay and alfalfa. All the grass they could eat and they'd prefer to eat hay. Crazy horses.

I'll leave you this afternoon with a few pictures from last night and this morning.

 Dude and Chaos

 Maverick and Jim


 Ivan, Jim, Brego (and Dude's butt)

 Jim after he discovered that I'd opened the door.


 Ivan, Brego, and Chaos

 Zeke, Maverick, and King
 Maverick, Ivan, Brego, and Bo

The Sanctuary

Friday, May 17, 2013

Remembering TenMan and Blondie

Five years ago today we said goodbye to our first auction save, TenMan, and our first rescued mare, Blondie. I have no digital pictures of TenMan and only one digital picture of Blondie as that was back in the days when we didn't have a digital camera yet.

TenMan was a rescue from the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale. We rescued the little bay for $10. The only reason we got him was because the auctioneer, after running the price down asked "Would anyone take him for $10?" Of course I raised my hand. :-) I remember the experience. Having to go home, hook up the trailer, drive back to the auction, load an unknown horse into the trailer in the rain and dark, and drive home. Oh how I wish I would have done a few things different. I would have brought a blanket and filled the trailer full of hay so deep he would have had to eat his way out. All things I've learned over the past few years of rescuing horses from auctions. Poor TenMan was emaciated, covered in lice, and had something wrong with his manpart. We helped him cross over the Rainbow Bridge as the vet figured he was into his 30s.  I wish I would have had the opportunity to get to know him a little better before we said goodbye. It is one of my few regrets in life.

We picked up Blondie from the same owner that had King. King is not a Sanctuary horse but Blondie definitely was. She was a registered palomino Quarter Horse. Her body was riddled with scares. At one point she had been a loved and pampered mare. But in looking at her body, she must have gone through a terrible accident. She had a scare on her chest/neck where you could see that she'd been stitched up. She was blind in one eye and both hips had scars from having to lie down all the time. I can't remember exactly how old she was when we brought her in to the Sanctuary. Her age didn't match her body however. She was only 16 when we said goodbye. She had a whopping 12 teeth, with six on either side. Three on top, three on bottom on both sides. The teeth barely matched up but they worked enough for her to survive on grain, grass hay, and alfalfa mash until the vet got in and messed with her. She was my only Palomino. The place still doesn't seem the same without her. It feels like we are missing a color when I look out into the herd. She was also my first mare. I've only been around geldings so the mare experience was definitely new. Least to say, I'm crabby enough for the both of us. Rabbit reminds me of Blondie at times. But maybe it's just a mare thing.

You  may be gone, but you are not forgotten. Both TenMan and Blondie made a huge impression on me, as all of the horses that have gone before me have.

Blog Post

An interesting blog post about meat prices and such. Not sure I agree with everything in the post but wanted to share none the less.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I realize these aren't horse pictures. I need to find batteries to download whatever pictures are on the camera. I'm afraid there's about five months worth of pictures on the camera. oops! 

But this blog has been looking a little dreary lately so I wanted to add some pictures. We are finally getting some much needed rain. If I thought it would help, I'd go outside and do a happy rain dance. I'm hoping we'll keep getting rain and that will trigger the new grass seed Mike put down last weekend. We desperately need the pasture this year.

Here's to rain showers and green pastures! Wish our pasture looked as green as the foliage in these pictures from last June.

Thursday Ramblings

It's been fairly quiet at the Sanctuary lately (knock on wood). Monday night the farrier came back out to trim Dude and Rain. We still have a handful of horses to trim. The hard part is scheduling the appointments (oh and paying the bill).

We are so far behind on everything this year. It's only been in the last week and a half that we've had nice enough weather to think about going outside and getting things done. Usually by this time I've had horses out on the lawn for at least a couple of days. I can say with assurance that the horses will not be going out on the pasture over Memorial Weekend as they have in the past. We'll be throwing hay until the first of July to give the new grass a chance to grow. I  may have to find the neighbor and beg to use his pasture for the month of June. I hate to ask but don't really want to be using expensive hay. Only by having to buy extra hay are we actually not panicking currently about hay. Of course I had an opportunity to buy hay but there's no money right now. I'm still collecting money to pay for last year's hay. And now we have spring shots right around the corner.

When time permits, I have taken to haltering Rabbit and letting her out to eat her grain and meds and then snitch some green grass. She really has been served an unjust life. Had she found her own person to make her shine, I think she would have been a much happier horse in life. Instead she was turned into a broodmare and not handled much. I need to  make a point to mess with her more.

I had plans last night but was so exhausted I could barely think. So instead Mike and I opted to stay home and turn into vegetables. I quiet weekend with rain would be a nice reprieve. Then I wouldn't feel guilty about not doing anything except napping. But you know that wont' happen.

I can't decide if I'm going to go to the monthly Mitchell Horse Sale or not. I'm so exhausted and not sure that either my mind or my heart can handle the pleading looks from those in the back pens. There's no money to bring anyone in what with all the bills we are currently facing. It breaks my  heart to go but it breaks my heart to not go. It's such a catch 22. I just don't know what to do. I wish there was a sign of some sort.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Uplifiting Story

I'm in a bad mood. I'm not sure why. But instead of ranting and raving as I thought I would, I'll leave you with a link to an uplifiting story instead.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Catch 22

As the days progress, I am more and more behind. The past couple of weeks have been an absolute blur. The paying job has me so busy that there's absolutely no free time to do anything extra other than normal chores.

But this weekend we were able to squeeze in a little bit of work at the Sanctuary. We are finally getting nice weather, which we desperately need. Saturday morning rolled around and Mike was up before dawn to get the tractor he rented. He and L had a plan for reseeding L's and our pasture. Unfortunately there was a very expensive learning curve to the seed drill. Hopefully there will be some lush pastures in our neck of the woods.

While Mike and L were working in the pastures, the farrier came out to do some much needed and long overdo trims. We started with King. What a disappointment. We found out that King has textbook laminitis. I am devastated. Oh sure, there's nothing I can do about it now and there's probably  nothing I could have done to stop it but I still feel bad. The horses are in "my" care. If they come to me with laminitis, so what. But if they get it while in MY care, that's a problem, at least in my eyes. I'm here to protect them from such things and instead I was part of the problem. So least to say my heart dropped when I heard the news. Apparently laminitis starts in the left front foot, goes to the right front foot, and then works its way to the back feet. It's not too severe in the left front but it's there and there's early signs of it in the right front. I was actually thinking of using King this year. He has to have shoes on but I'm going to look at putting boots on instead. I bought them specifically for him but he was lame and then I was pregnant so that stopped all riding on him. But this year I want him to get back into shape. Maybe it was the pasture, maybe it was the hay. Who knows. He was on a couple different pastures last year. Tommy and Skippy however dont' have laminitis. I'll be curious to see if anyone else is showing signs. If anyone else in the big herd is showing signs, I'm guessing it'll be due to the pasture but  maybe not. King was never across the road at the neighbor's but he was in Madison with Dude last summer. But in the past we used to run four horses in the Madison pasture. Who knows what caused it.Now we need to focus on making sure it doesn't progress.  I may consider a grazing muzzle for him. He came out of winter plump.

Tommy and Skippy also had their feet trimmed. Skippy was naughty and gave the farrier a run for his money. The farrier is to come back out tonight. I can't decide who to trim up at t his appointment. We still have Rain, Ivan, Dude, and Maverick to trim but I have a meeting at 7pm I need to get to so who knows which will be the easiest. I also got half of Rabbit trimmed up Saturday too. I'd like to get her trimmed up better but she's a handful when it comes to trimming. Her heaves are getting worse.

I decided this weekend that I might as well use those last two round bales that broke open earlier this winter/spring. Not gonna happen. We lost a bale. When I started unraveling the hay, I discovered mold. So now we have a rotten bale. Makes me mad. Hay is at a premium and we lost at least one bale if not two. I haven't dug into the second bale yet to see if that one is no good but I have a feeling they are both bad. Hay is too expensive to lose even a half a bale to mold. Now we need to figure out how to get rid of this bale.

I am hoping this week to start doing some fencing in the yard to get the horses out on grass.  It'll be a lot tougher because the grass is only just now beginning to grow. The other catch, the new grass seed we just put down will probably start sprouting and taking hold about the first of June. The horses shouldn't be out on that grass until the roots of the new grass are established enough so that the horses don't pull out the grass and make it all for not. But if that's the case, we either need to look for emergency pasture for a month or have to find more hay. The other catch is that I haven't yet paid for all of my hay this year. I was hoping to not use all of this past winter's hay so that I'd have a small amount of carryover for emergencies during the summer and a few bales to get me started in the winter (to help ease the cost of hay this year). It's all a catch 22.

So lots going on but almost all of it caught up in catch 22s. I know there is more going on but my mind is blank. By the end of the day, my mind is mush so I struggled to find time to post anything. But we are here and we are slowly plugging away.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Still Here

We are still here. The paying job has me overwhelmed right now. Hoping that with the nicer weather I'll be able to get out and actually play with the horses. If I can catch a break during the day, I'll try to post more. But if not, just wanted to say, we are still here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snow, Raccoons, and Bullwhips

Not since 1976 has this area had snow. Guess that’s a record we broke today.  We are having very weird weather today. Mom came from Madison this morning and it was clear until she got half way to the Sanctuary. Then the skies opened up and it started to rain. A few miles outside our little town of Humboldt, the rain switched to snow. I was a little surprised to see snow on the ground when I stepped out to do chores but I shouldn’t be surprised by anything these days. Just three days ago we were enjoying 70 degree weather and now we are back to dealing with 30 degree weather.
The I29/I90 corridor changes everything. I drive through three of the four corridors and each was a little different on my way to work this morning. At least it was light enough out that I didn’t have to worry much about the roads.  Figures, I put away the tank heaters and now it’s going to be cold and snowy. I guess that’s the joys of living in South Dakota.
Our drill team practice was cancelled last night and I think it was a good thing. I was able to get all of my outside activities wrapped up before this latest storm blew through. I wanted to top out the water tanks with the hoses before they got buried under four inches of snow again. I was smart this time and brought them back into the house. I ended up putting Jim and Zeke in the barn along with the neighbor’s mare and filly. I left the mare and filly in the barn today. The mare can’t handle any cold temperatures right now. She’s still too thin and has her summer coat on already. Poor girl has been through too much. I’m hoping to kick her out of the barn tomorrow but I have a blanket ready and waiting for her tomorrow if she goes out.
I think I figured out Jim’s problem. It’s the neighbor’s mare. I have had the neighbor’s mare here for four months now and that’s about the length of time that Jim has been depressed. I think having him in the barn overnight last night helped brighten his mood. I’m going to have to start pampering him a bit more until he gets out of his funk. I think he was mad at the neighbor’s mare because I haven’t been running him into the barn. I figured I’d let him and Zeke in to grain and give them a small sliver of alfalfa.  It’s time to get back to pampering my horses instead of the neighbor’s horses.
Now if I could just figure out Bo’s deal. He’s perfectly sound until I start thinking about pulling him out for a ride to get him in shape. Then he acts like he’s got problems in the backend. When I put him on concrete, he turns up lame.  I think there might be an issue with his feet. He’s sound on soft ground but the concrete makes him hurt. It’s a quandary. I don’t have the funds right now to do the investigation on him. I still have the hay bill to pay and yearly shots are coming up fast. I’m also past due on trims on everyone.  If the weather would ever cooperate, I could get the farrier out but every time I think it’s finally nice, we get a dang snowstorm.
I was going to post earlier about the blasted raccoon but figure I’ll just add the story here. That blasted raccoon! So the other night I was soaking Rabbit’s hay and tossing it over when I stood up from tossing hay (and grumbling to myself), when I noticed the raccoon. He was slowly (and trying to be sneaky about it) walking on the leanto off the south side of the hay barn. There’s a big enough hole where a board broke that varmints can get in.  He saw me and was trying to be sneaky but then I noticed him. He stopped, looked at me, and continued to try being sneaky to get into the barn. I gave him a tongue lashing but that’s about all I could do. I know he thought he was getting away with murder.
My thought was “Oh great, now I get to finish up chores with a coon in the barn and tomorrow he’ll be in the barn and I’ll have to deal with him during chores.”  But that raccoon proved me wrong.
I went and grabbed the live trap and drug it over to the haybarn. Of course I had to haul it through the pen with the mare and filly, lift it up and over the gate to the big pen (by the way, the gate is more than six feet tall so it was a good “heave-ho” before getting the trap up and balanced on the gate and then not dropped it to the concrete and damage it!) So as I was gently lowering the trap to the concrete (and managing to not fall while hanging off the gate), I climbed down and looked up only to see that blasted raccoon! He was out of the haybarn and waddling over to get under the garden house.
Of course when I saw him, I gave him a piece of my mind. He just stood there and watched me.  When he got tired of me cussing at him, he trying to act all sneaky and scoot under the garden house.  I happily set the trap in hopes that he would investigate but I didn’t bate it.  I’m going to have to move the trap and find something tasty. That raccoon was my nemesis that night.
But what do you think that blasted raccoon did, the next morning he was out bright and early to greet me for my morning chores. He was climbing up the hayshed wall to get to the hay barn. I’m not sure what he had in his mouth. I think he’s living in the haybarn. The grain bin apparently got too crowded. There’s another raccoon living in the grain bin and I hear them fight often.  He and the other raccoon were having an argument this morning. I heard them screaming at each other. It always makes the hair on the back of my neck raise up. Now, to actually trap the little bugger and “remove” him.
On the bright side, I think most of the horses are going to turn into great mounted shooting horses.  I had Rain at drill team practice the other night. We’d finished up and were tying horses up when someone got out a big bullwhip and cracked it a couple of times. All the other horses freaked out. Not Rain. He even got kicked and he just walked by my side like it was nothing out of the ordinary. Guess it pays that Mike shoots a lot of varmints on our place. I’d just as soon not have to but if he does, I guess the horses are used to the crack of a gun (or in this case a bull whip).