Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weathering the Weather

This weather is getting ridiculous. Yesterday was gorgeous. The temps were in the low 40s! Unusual for January. This morning, we are in the teens. And wouldn't you know, it rained before it turned to snow so now we are dealing with a sheet of ice besides the ice from the melting snow. I had to be careful this morning climbing over the gates that I wouldn't slip.

And of course, while I was out at 5AM, the stupid yardlight decided to go out. Never mind I'm in a pen of 10 hungry horses while it's snowing and blowing and windy.... and now D.A.R.K. I was not a very happy camper this morning. The light DID come back on, but then went out again. I said a few foul words to the light and the company that installed it and went on my merry way, skating back to the house.

I know, I know. I need to call but I've been under the weather lately. I've caught some bug that is wearing me out and I'm sound asleep in the recliner by 8:30 every night for the past two weeks. And to stop the rumors, no it's not the same little "bug" I caught the last time. ;-) I'm waiting to hear back from the doctors on the test results.  Speaking of test results, although not Sanctuary related, our little min pin, Trouble, is not doing very well. Although she's 12 or 13 years old, she's been pretty spry until just this week. We took her to the vet on Tuesday and the prognosis wasn't very good. So please keep her in mind as we continue to go through more tests. I'm tired of tests and not knowing what's going on.

I know there's more to mention but my mind isn't working correctly at the moment. So instead of rambling, I'll sign off and try to post a better update when I'm feeling better.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pre-Emptive Strike Against Cold

We are having some crazy weather around here lately. Sure makes me wonder what’s going on.
On Friday, we had temps in the upper 30s. It was fantastic.  But about the time I was heading home, the skies opened up and it started to rain. That’s right, rain in January! At least the temps didn’t drop while it was raining but in the evening the temps did drop and made everything a sheet of ice. We are now dealing with ice everywhere (except, surprisingly in the horses’ pens). The ice is making chores a lot more difficult (at least hauling water). I’m not a fan of hauling water but now with the added adventure of ice underfoot, I’m really struggling to keep the mares’ water tank full. It’s going to be an interesting remainder to winter.
Saturday was nice. I can handle temps like that. Luckily the sun came out so we were able to warm up just a bit but come Sunday, look out! When I went out to do chores Sunday morning, the temps were in the 30s. It was absolutely gorgeous out. I knew that the weather was supposed to turn bad later in the day so I wanted to do a pre-emptive strike and get the stalls ready so that I wouldn’t have to fight crabby horses that wanted to steal all the hay and push to get into the barn. I must have taken an extra hour to get everything done Sunday morning but I was ready for whenever the cold front was supposed to blow through.
After I went in, Mike went out to work on the stock trailer. The lights on the driver’s side all blew out (except the tail light) so he’s fixing that for me. Unfortunately, by the time he started working on the trailer, the cold front was starting to blow through. By the time I went to drill team practice two hours later, the temps had really plummeted. We lucked out and missed the majority of the snow (and the blizzard warning). And in fact, the local school didn’t even cancel or postpone classes for today. There were a few times that I looked out the window and noticed whiteout conditions, but we missed the really terrible weather.
When I got home from practice, I figured I’d better hurry up and get my chores done. I was so glad I’d thought ahead to get everything ready (I even got hay ready for Monday night’s cold temps!) I wasn’t late in getting to chores but the horses were not happy having to be out in this weather (even though they were all standing in the leanto off the barn!)
I filled water buckets and got the mares ready. I decided that with the wind chills as bad as the weatherman was predicting, that I’d throw a blanket on Mayhem. This would be the second time she’d ever worn a blanket and she was a doll for it. I’m hoping that with me fiddling with her, that we can progress to saddle training soon. Both Rabbit and Mayhem were ready to go into their warm stalls out of the wind. I was worried that the horses might fall by the hay shed when I led them into the stalls. There’s an icebank now and it felt like we were walking on a sheet of ice. You know it’s slippery when you see bird tracks in the snow, and then feather printers in the snow as well. Guess the little sparrow was making bird angels. I finally got everyone into the hay shed stalls and progressed to the barn stalls.
I think I was pretty darn lucky last night to not get hurt. The horses were all riled up by the time I finally got to putting them into the stalls. Dude wouldn’t listen and I think he crow hopped with me right behind him. I could very well have gotten seriously kicked. That darn gelding! Bo tried to run me over so I gave up and let him into his stall early. At least he knows exactly where to go and not bother checking out the other stalls for grain. I was trying to get some of the other horses into the barn (fighting Ivan off from going in until I was ready for him). But Zeke tried to run me over (as did Bo). I need to find my driving whip. The horses respect me a bit more when I’m on the ground and have a driving whip in hand.  But yesterday was exceptionally bad because they all wanted in to their stall and get their evening grain.
When I finally got in from chores I looked on the radar. It said that the temp was 4 degrees and that it was a 20 below wind chill. Tonight is supposed to be just as bad or at least I think so. I’m so glad that I pulled extra hay and piled it up for tonight’s feeding. All I have to do is throw the hay that’s already in the barn into the stalls so I don’t have to fight the horses and their bad attitudes. All I have to do is smash out the ice in their buckets and I’m ready for another cold night.
At least we aren’t dealing with another polar vortex. Although, the weatherman did say that we would be below zero for 30+ hours. I’m now wishing that I would have thrown out a bit more hay this morning. I guess I’ll have to rush outright away when I get home and get everyone into their stalls. The high today is three below. That shouldn’t be allowed. I think the low for tonight is 15 below. But at least we’ll start on a warmup.
This cold weather is slowing down my progress with Maverick. He has such terrible manners when it comes to picking up his feet so I’m working on that. If I want to use him like I do, he’ll need to be a bit more respectful of a few things and I want to take care of those now before riding season sets in. If it ever warms up, I may start messing with Mayhem and getting her used to being saddled. I won’t train her to ride, but if I can get her used to being saddled and bridled, then maybe her training will go more quickly.
There’s always something to look forward to even during these cold days.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good News

Here's some good news on the horseslaughter topic but we still need to work on finding homes for those that are shipped to Canada and Mexico. Actually, we need to start working on the "problem" (i.e., over breeding)...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 Ideas Needed

I know I shouldn't be complaining about the cold temps. We ARE in the middle of winter but this year seems to be dragging on. I guess if it wasn't for the weather I'd be complaining about something else, probably about the horse industry and the talks of opening a slaughterhouse in the US.

I know I should be doing more with the Sanctuary. There's so much that needs to be done and get done but at the end of the day, I seem to fall asleep after just sitting down. Even last night, after putting my feet up to watch a tv program I hadn't seen in months (not sure why I even watched it since I don't know what's going on), I found myself waking up at 4am with only an hour more of sleep. I fell asleep before the weather report came on. I'm starting to feel old. Ok, change that. I FEEL old. 

Tuesday night after doing chores, I went ahead and got stalls ready for Wednesday night's blasted cold. I'm learning that I need to get the stalls ready BEFORE the next day, otherwise I have horses trying to "help" me. This weather is getting crazy. Last night was teens below zero. Today we are into single digits above zero. Tomorrow we are supposed to be in the upper thirties with a chance of precip. You know what type of precip we'll get? Rain.

And rain turns into freezing rain, which turns into sleet, which turns into ice. Sorry, obvious breakdown of weather. But by Sunday night we are supposed to go back to below zero temps so we'll have more ice to deal with. Hopefully that means no more blowing snow. But the weatherman said that with the crust of snow we have, the new snow can't stick (because it's so light) so that's why we have blowing snow. I think from now until we go into spring, we'll be dealing with blizzard conditions more often.

I'll be excited when we don't have to deal with below zero temps any more. I shouldn't complain because we don't have much in the way of snow. I need to start focusing my attention on the horses and what we can do to promote the Sanctuary and horses in general. This IS the Year of the Horse!

So what's something you want to see the Sanctuary do this year in honor of the Year of the Horse? I'm looking for ideas on how we can promote the Sanctuary. The more publicity, possibly the more funds that come in so we could take in another horse.

Speaking of taking in another horse, we can't right now. But that doesn't stop me from thinking about it. Back in November we had to turn horses away and we still do. But I cant' stop thinking about Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary's Jackie. We don't have space for her and she's save at GSH. But I can't stop thinking about her. We can't take her in because we don't have the funds and we've turned away a couple of horses. But if we were to take her (because I think she'd be a good heart horse), she'd free up some space at GSH for a horse that could potentially go to an auction. It's a bit of a catch 22. If we take her, we definitely don't have any space for any that need it. But she's also taking up a space at a rescue that takes in horses and finds them homes. So I'm torn. And I'm sure she wouldn't fit in very well with Rabbit. She would with Mayhem but Rabbit is boss mare no matter where she goes. If life were only easier.

 I guess I have a little bit of cabin fever causing me to be down in the dumps today. I should be happy, we actually have SUN! I'll simply be happy with the fact that we have happy horses who are safe.  I've been avoiding reading discussion boards and looking on Facebook at some of the horses. I'm not sure why I can't stomach the thought right now of horses being neglected. Probably because its' been such a terrible winter. I'm still not recovered from taking in four emaciated horses in 2011 (2012 doesn't count because I was pregnant for most of it!) :-) I would like to start going to auctions just to get an idea of prices and potentially bring someone home, even if it's simply to rehome them into a better place. We'll see how it goes.

But for now, I guess I'm curious to know what everyone wants to see from the Sanctuary this year. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas. I am always looking at ways to try and improve the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is only me but I want to try to keep improving wherever I can. I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Stepping Up

Of course people dont' want to take responsibility for their actions. Here's an article about some somewhat local people being charged for inhumane treatment. Doesn't it scream guilty if the one is a fugitive? It's not like they are getting sentenced to too much. Electronic monitoring means NOT in jail right?? These people are getting off pretty easy. Too bad the horses didn't catch such a break.

Rapid City Woman Appealing Horse Abuse Conviction

January 23, 2014, 10:53 AM 
January 2013

A Rapid City woman convicted of abusing horses is appealing her conviction.

Forty-four-year-old Terri Harwood was sentenced to a year in jail and eight years of probation after a jury last fall convicted her and her husband, Don Harwood, on nine counts of inhumane treatment of animals.

Terri Harwood is serving her sentence on electronic monitoring. Her attorney, Connor Duffy, is challenging a January 2013 search of a barn that resulted in the seizure of 69 horses.

Don Harwood was sentenced to five years in jail but remains a fugitive.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Save the Date - April 12th Easter Fundraiser

Please save the date for April 12th. We are having our annual Easter Fundraiser! It’ll take place at the Celebrate Methodist Church in Brandon, SD from 1-4pm. We’ll have Easter baskets to bid on (for the silent auction). We’ll have an Easter egg hunt, get to meet the Easter Bunny, have crafts for the kids, and coloring for the kids. We’ll also have a bake sale and other items for sale. All proceeds will go directly to the horses.
There will be an entrance fee this year of $5 for the entire family. Last year was such a great success even with very limited advertising. Hopefully this year we can spread the word a little farther. Please mark your calendars and let your friends know. I’ll start talking more about the fundraiser but I wanted to let everyone know what the date is so you can make sure to attend!

What: Borderlands Horse Sanctuary Easter Fundraiser
When: Saturday, April 12th
Where: Celebrate Methodist Chruch in Brandon SD (Directions coming soon)
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Why: To help raise money to care for the Sanctuary horses

40 Degree Swing

As the weatherman said this morning, “We are in the middle of winter” but these temperature swings are tough to handle.  For some reason I ignored the weather for the weekend. I guess after getting through the Polar Vortex, I really didn’t care what was going to happen because it couldn’t get any worse. Well, then we had that ground blizzard. That’ll teach me not to pay attention to the weather! Of course the ground blizzard caught a lot of people off guard. That Friday was nice and the weather just kept getting nicer and nicer.
By Sunday morning, I decided to pull blankets because the temps were supposed to reach almost 40 degrees. It was so nice out. I think all the horses were happy to get their blankets off. I decided to leave the blankets off over night and into Monday. Until I heard the weather report on Monday. So Monday morning during morning chores, I started blanketing horses again. That’ll teach me to start blanketing horses first thing when winter hits! Rain objected to being blanketed but I knew if we were to get bad weather, he’d be the first to get chilled and feel miserable.
Everyone was a bit of a pill to blanket. I don’t blame them. It was still nice out Monday late morning. I’m sure they all thought I was crazy to be sticking them back into blankets.  I did skip blanketing Zeke and Jim because I knew it would be a battle unless I ran them into the barn and I didn’t figure they would go in first thing in the morning.
We had a family activity to attend Monday afternoon. About the time we got to where we needed to go, it started snowing. I was pretty glad I’d blanketed the ones I had and wished I’d fought a little harder to get blankets on some of the others. When we pulled into town it was 30+ degrees. We were in town for just under three hours. In that time, the temps dropped ten degrees. When we finally got home (after dealing with near white out conditions), the temps had dropped another five to ten degrees and we were into single digits.  It’s pretty hard to go from 30 degrees to 5 degrees in just a few short hours.
The horses were happy to get into the barn. Luckily I knew this weather was coming so I’d gotten the stalls ready. Everyone was happy to get inside. Chores still took an hour but at least we were done just before the final glow of the sun disappeared. The weatherman said we’d be below zero and we definitely are. In the past 24 hours we’ve had an almost 40 degree s wing in temperature. It’ll be a wonder that the animals don’t get sick. I guess that explains why our family (two-legged) has been sick.
And now the weatherman is saying that we aren’t done with the cold weather any time soon. We have another chance for a below zero cold snap later this week and next week there’s talk of more below zero temperatures. Oh goodie. Please not the sarcasm.  
I was grumbling yesterday about having to blanket the horses. I’m tired of seeing a sea of green. I like seeing green because that means green pastures but green in the middle of winter means blankets on horses instead of seeing blacks and browns. I guess I need to find some cheap blankets in colors other than green!
Tonight after I kick the horses out, I’ll have to get stalls ready again for Wednesday night. Guess it’s supposed to be teens below zero again. I just hope that we don’t get a lot of wind. With the little bit of snow we have received, we’ll be dealing with blowing snow, near whiteout conditions, and blizzard conditions until this darn snow melts. And speaking of melting, I love the warmer temps because it does melt the snow but now with the colder temps setting it, we are dealing with ICE. There’s nothing better to damage your pride than a patch of ice. I was climbing over the gate and hit a patch of ice the other morning and landed flat on my side into a snowdrift.  It’s probably a good thing no one was around (except the horses). Here I was, lying in a snow pile with my feet all tangled up on the gate. Once I got up, I realized I’d left a very neat impression in the snow pile. Ice is very humbling.
But I now have to be extra cautious because what little snow we did get, covered up the ice patches. There’s a skating rink in front of the barn door. I can’t get the big door open so the horses have to go through the smaller door (if I want to get them out of the pen). And the mares and ponies have to deal with a skating rink in front of their stalls. The next few weeks are going to be interesting weather wise.
We are also starting to think about our upcoming fundraiser in April! It’ll be our annual Easter Fundraiser. I’ll write more but its coming. So if you want to donate, please let me know. We can always use donations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jett Update

Just saw an update from Jett's owner. Here's what she had to say about this very lucky boy!

So proud of this little guy. I've only been on him a few times, but today we trotted circles and then loped in circles and even chased a couple cats! No buck in him today. .. even going into the lope. The pictures are after our ride.

Doesn't he look like the spitting image of his momma, Savanna?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ground Blizzard

We are in the  middle of a ground blizzard. I just hope that by the time the sun sets, that the blizzard will be over with. It also looks like all the roads around the Sanctuary are currently "No Travel Advised". I decided to work from home (for the paying job) and I'm sure glad I did. There have been times where I haven't even been able to see the barn. And I think the barn is only about 300 feet away from the house (although I'm a poor judge of distance (but it takes 2 100foot hoses and 20 shorter hoses to get to the barn so I'm guessing 300feet).

I'm glad I had to the good sense to blanket some of the others I hadn't blanketed earlier in the week. After the wind dies down we are supposed to get colder temps. It's been an odd morning of terrible wind and then calm and then major wind and then calm. Now it's major wind and I dont' expect that will let up until evening. To avoid hay in my face, I think everyone will be going in for the night.

Ahh the joys of winter. Even if the weatherman says the blizzard warning is a county a way, plan for a blizzard anyway!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blizzard Warning

What?!! We are a county away from a Blizzard Warning. Oh good grief. At least we are on the far side of the county but I don't think there's much difference between a Blizzard Warning and a High Wind Warning, except the amount of snow!

All of our current snow has turned into ice and our driveway is now a skating rink. I slid into the car yesterday and while hauling water, I about fell over while dumping water into the mare's trough. I'll be glad for spring.

Luckily I left  blankets on. The temps were actually below zero. I have no idea if we ever actually hit the 30 degree mark that the weatherman had predicted. But I expect tomorrow will not be nice if the wind is blowing. I bet we'll have below zero wind chills even if the temps are above zero. I haven't even bothered to look except to notice that we are one county away from a Blizzard Warning. Too bad the world can't come to a stop when a Blizzard Warning is issued so we could hunker down and stay warm in the house (or barn)!

On the bright side, the days are getting longer. I didn't end up going out to do chores until a quarter to 6pm. It was getting dark but for the month of December, if you aren't outside by 4:30, you're doing chores in the pitch black. So at least now the days are getting longer, even if we are in the midst of winter.

But we are doing a lot of planning (for the saddle club I run), so now there's a lot to look forward to. Now if I could only get myself motivated to get that paperwork going and get some fun activities set up for the Sanctuary! Any takers on helping?

MN 2014 Trainer's Challenge of the Unwanted Horse

Maybe SD can look into doing something similar. Until then, let's support Minnesota:

The 2014 Trainers' Challenge Application is now available on the MHARF website--please share with anyone you know who may be interested in joining the challenge this year!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


At least the weatherman got this weather right! Holy moly talk about wind! The forecast yesterday late afternoon/evening was that we were to get a chance for freezing rain and drizzle. I ended up blanketing some of the horses because we were also supposed to get a temperature drop. I figured with being wet and then cold, that it would be best to have the hard keepers blanketed.

I'm sure glad I did (although Zeke and Jim wouldn't let me near them so I didn't push the issue). I was able to get blankets on Rain, Rabbit, Bo, and Brego. As I was putting blankets on yesterday, I realized a bit of an odd coincidence. The horses with the first letter of their name of "R" or "B" had to have blankets on. I wonder if that's a sign? Just kidding. Although, I've not had any luck with bays. Supersticious...perhaps!

Anyway, I was a little paranoid about putting blankets on because the temps weren't all that bad. But I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull myself out of bed in the middle of the night to blanket or early in the morning if it was raining and cold (well, I'd do it if I had to). I'm sure glad I followed through. I don't think I would have been able to get a blanket on this morning. It would have blown to the next county before I could have gotten it on a horse!

Doing chores last night was so nice. It was warm out, the horses weren't cranky, it was calm. Chores are always easier when there's no wind (and when I mean no wind, I mean only a slight breeze instead of a stiff wind). I woke up this morning at 4am to howling wind. Of course then I couldn't go back to sleep. I was running through all the stuff in my head to make sure I'd gotten everything closed and latched. When I finally got outside at 5:30 this morning, I thought the wind was going to pick me up and toss me into the next county (which says a lot cuz I've been eating too many holiday goodies!)

All of the horses were hiding out in the leanto off the barn or standing behind a windbreak. Smart horses. I'm sure glad I got those blankets on when I did! None of the weather sites could make a decision on what the low is supposed to be (at least last night when I looked). There was a ten degree difference (not that that makes a big difference but with wind, there's a wind chill and I need to know if the horses have to go in the barn if the wind chill is below zero).

The wind does make chores a lot more interesting but luckily the wind is out of the north west so now worries about hay getting blown back into my face or down my shirt or into my eyes. I'm so ready for spring!

Friday, January 10, 2014

To Blanket or Not to Blanket

The temps are starting to warm but I ended up leaving the blankets on because the forecast called for freezing rain and drizzle. I thought that weather wasn’t supposed to roll in until Sunday but it’s South Dakota so anything is possible. Right now we are dealing with fog.  Sure wish I could get out and take some pictures of the herd with the fog in the background. I haven’t taken any pictures lately of the herd. Of course, it’s more a sea of green than sorrel, black, and bay.
For some reason the majority of the blankets we have (and use) are green. I’m not sure why that is. I just picked up blankets along the way and the ended up being either clearance or just what was on hand when I ordered. Any blankets that were donated are of a much prettier color. I guess we need to start looking at different types of blankets and check out patterns. Of course, I’m typically only looking at what’s on clearance and affordable. I need to spend a few evenings sewing blankets so that they are serviceable again.  Right now the blankets are sitting in a heap on the utility room floor (taking up what little space we have left in that room)!
I’ve been ignoring the forecast as of late. After dealing with the polar vortex I just don’t have the energy to look at the forecast to see what the weather is going to be like. But I did catch a rumor that the temps will be warmer but we are supposed to get winds from the northwest. So who knows if we’ll actually have warmer temperatures. That wind can really bite through anything.
I know there’s a lot of debate going on about blanketing, especially during this latest cold snap.  Gentle Spirits Horse Sanctuary had a really good blog post about blanketing versus not blanketing. We follow the same theory and blanket based on individual horse. The horses currently wearing blankets are those that are harder keepers or thin skinned. A few blankets will come off after today but we’ll monitor the weather before we pull blankets or put blankets on. Go check out GSH’s blog post! It’s a good read:
I’m hoping with the warmer weather, that I’ll get a chance to sneak out and mess around with the horses.  A few of the horses found a cocklebur bush so their tails have a few “jewels” I need to remove. I’m hoping that we’ll eradicate those blasted weeds this year! I think all the horses are craving a bit of one-on-one time (as am I).
If the weather is nice, come on out. I’m sure the horses would enjoy the attention and I could always use the help!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I’ve been tossing around an idea of doing a fundraiser in February but I’m afraid we might be too late in getting anything started. We’d have just a month to prepare and less than a month to advertise. Advertising is where I fall flat and advertising is exactly where we need to be to get more people involved.
So I’m not sure what to do. I know by February I’ll have cabin fever and working on a fundraiser idea would help keep that fever away. And if we did it right, parents would be able to get out of the house for a few hours so their kids could burn off some of their energy too. But I just don’t know if it’s possible to do in such a short time frame. I’m thinking it’ll end up falling by the wayside and we’ll focus our attention on the Easter Fundraiser but it’s a shame to miss such an opportunity.
I guess I’m curious to see what everyone thinks. Would it be fun to have a fundraiser in February and if so, what would you be interested in seeing?

In other news, the weather is finally getting nicer. Yesterday morning I was expecting frigid temperatures and they were below zero but it felt nice. This morning when I went out to do chores, the temps were above zero but the wind was howling and made life miserable. We are supposed to get warmer but now the weatherman is calling for wind (i.e., gusty/breezy/windy…take your pick). So I was hoping to pull blankets because of the temps but with the wind the way it is, I doubt I’ll be able to. That wind cuts through anything.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Good Bye Polar Vortex

We survived the Polar Vortex. Not without a lot of pain and suffering on my part but we survived. Next time I’ll remember to NOT put my hand on even a small piece of metal when it’s 11 below with a wind chill of 21 below.
I was late getting out to do chores last night so everyone was anxious to get in out of the nasty weather. This morning when I stepped out of the house, I was expecting a cold blast to take my breath away. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was still below zero but there wasn’t much of a breeze and the temps weren’t nearly as frigid.  The horses however weren’t quite ready to get out of the barn bright and early this morning. I think they wanted to stay in for a little bit longer (and I would have too had it not been for having to go to the paying job!)
I think we are now on the upswing of the cold front although it’s supposed to be almost into the teens below zero again tonight. But it’ll be the last night. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get out to do chores until after the sun sets so I’m sure to have grumpy horses again tonight.  I’m still waiting for the days to get longer but so far it’s hard to tell just yet. I’m already starting to dream of this spring and summer when we have green pastures.
I’m afraid I’m starting to get cabin fever. Usually it doesn’t hit until some time in February but with the weather and the temps the way they’ve been this winter, it’s a wonder I haven’t gone stir crazy earlier. I think the holidays helped offset the cabin fever. But instead of getting cranky, I’m going to start focusing on the upcoming fundraisers. We will definitely have our Easter Fundraiser so mark your calendars for April 12th. But that date is so far away, I’m looking at having another fundraiser some time in February to help ward off the winter blues.  We’ll see what I come up with but it should be fun and educational. If you have any ideas, please pass them along, maybe we can incorporate them in to the upcoming fundraiser. It’s all just brainstorming right now but I’m always interested in hearing your ideas.
So as we say good bye to the Polar Vortex, we can now say Hello to Winter Fundraising ideas!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Keeping Up the Battle

Missouri is putting up a fight to make sure horse slaughter doesn't happen in their state. Here's a good blog read....

Sunday, January 5, 2014


One word describe's tonight's chores....brutal. I'd had the foresight to do half my chores this morning before it got deathly cold. I'm sure glad I did. Mike also pitched in and hauled a few buckets of water to help speed up my chores.  I was only out for an hour but I think the temps dropped while I was out. But then again, the sun was setting when I finally got out.

When I came in I checked the weather. It's currently 11 below and the wind chill is 39 below. That's too darn cold. Dude was rude and pushy tonight. He was ready to go in immediately! Everyone was happy to get inside. I threw extra hay and I know they were all ready to go in by the time I finally got out to do chores. 

I can't even think about the horses that are stuck outside with no shelter. I'm thinking of those feedlot horses that are having to suffer through this weather. I decided though that instead of complaining about this weather, that I would go through some of the pictures from our trip to the Black Hills. At least this way, I'll see green! I thought maybe you'd enjoy some green pictures too. Aaah for green and lush pastures. Soon...spring will be here soon.

Horse of the Month - Jim

So here's Jim, our featured horse of the month. Jim sometimes gets left out of pictures and the limelight because he's a bit antisocial. But he's a sweet horse and I wanted to feature him first as he's now our oldest resident at age 25 (pretty young in our books).

I'd been looking for a Tennesee Walker for some time for my dad to ride. When I saw the ad for Jim, I thought it would be a perfect match. The ad said Jim was between 18-21 years old and had been a 4H horse. So I thought it was perfect. He was a tad on the smaller side at 14.2hands but had a ton of experience. I'd emailed the lady who owned him and we talked but it took a few months before we could connect for me to come out at meet Jim. I'm afraid I was already set on bringing Jim home when I saw him. He had a lot of get up and go and didn't really respect my commands (but that's changed since that time). The owner mentioned that if we weren't interested in buying Jim, that she would be taking him to an auction in Minnesota. I KNEW that a horse of his age that wasn't a quarter horse, meant a definite death sentence. I debated on just waiting to buy the horse at auction but I figured the money she was asking for him also meant that I was buying the information along with him. So it's a bit of a toss up as to whether you want to consider Jim a rescue or not. But no matter what, he's a Sanctuary horse and will live out his days here.

Jim came to the Sanctuary December 9, 2009. We hauled him home just before a terrible snowstorm that dumped a ton of snow. I didn't put him in the big herd right away knowing that it was getting late and there was a storm coming. He spent a few weeks in that pen until we could dig out the corral panels.

The rest is a bit of a blur to be honest. I've used Jim a few times here and there. He used to be jealous when I would pull someone else to go for a ride. He's since gotten used to the retired life. On occasion I'll pull him out to go for a short ride down the road but he prefers the life of a pasture pet. He's now out of shape so I try not to use him all that much. We have enough younger horses to represent the Sanctuary so I figure I might as well let him enjoy his retirement years. 

I don't really know too much more about his past. When we bought him, they were selling him as between the ages of 18 and 21. The coggins that the owner gave to me said 21 so we are going with that age. That now makes Jim 26 years old (if I did my math right).

He likes his grain and is one of the first into the barn every night. The only other horse that will beat him into the barn is Rain. He and Rain don't get along. I think their personalities are too much alike.

 Up until this year, Jim has been best friends with Maverick. They weren't quite two peas in a pod but they would typically hang out in the pasture together. Recently though Jim and Maverick must have had a tiff because now Jim hangs out with King during morning and supper feedings. I'm thinking it's more because King moves slower and Jim prefers the slower life rather than the activities of a nine year old who likes to goof around and pick on other horses.

Jim is a bit of a hard keeper as he grows older. But we don't mind. He deserves to retire and enjoy the life of luxury with no worries. Although he's a bit standoffish, if you have treats, he's in your pocket. Jim has the most gorgeous mane and tail. Of all the horses, he has the most luxurious mane and tail, it's so thick and I could see in his younger years how he could have been a show horse.

It's an honor to care for Jim in his final years. Although he is our oldest resident, I have a feeling he'll be with us for many more years to come.

If you would like to sponsor Jim, please let me know.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Worryin'

I’m starting to get nervous about this upcoming winter storm. I’m not prepared. Silly that I should be so worried. I have at least one day to prepare and get everything situated but I’m still nervous. Maybe it’s because I’m worried about getting the flu (I know, I am a worrier), or the fact that I want to make sure that everyone is comfortable and I’m not sure that I will.
I’m running through the list in my head of who doesn’t have blankets and who can go into temporary blankets that will help ward off the cold but may not fit perfectly. At this point, as long as they stay dry and warm, if a blanket doesn’t fit perfectly, they’ll be fine.
I can’t get over the thought that Monday is a high of 13 below. I thought Sunday’s high of seven below was bad until I saw Monday’s prediction. I guess I’m also a bit worried about later today. We are supposed to be up to almost 30 degrees but the wind is so bitter that although it may melt the snow, it’s going to cause even more problems.
I think the Farmer’s Almanac was right. They said normal amounts of snow but a lot colder. Wish they weren’t right this time. I’m going to have to go out Saturday and get everything ready for the next three days of bitter cold. I am NOT going to want to be out in that nasty weather.  If I had any hay in Madison, I’d probably haul a couple up there for Mom and Dad since their barn is a little bit easier to manage than ours.  Oh what I would give for a 20 stall barn where all I have to do is open the big doors and the herd can walk into whichever stall they want instead of having to fight gates, and chains and corral panels to make sure everyone has a place to stay for the night.  I guess for now I can always dream of a big barn and keep plugging along working towards that goal.
I am so wrapped up worrying about our Sanctuary horses that I don’t have the heart to worry about those stuck out in pastures and in the feedlots waiting for their fate. What I would give to offer one or two a home so that they could have a dry, and cozy stall and be snug in a blanket. Now I’m really kicking myself for not ponying up the money and buying those blankets on closeout at the local tack shop. Teach me to be a penny pincher. I may dig through my tubs of ruined blankets and see if I can’t do some quick hand stitching to make a few last through this next arctic cold snap. Let’s hope that this is the only cold snap we’ll have the rest of this winter!

First Massive Storm of 2014

Holy cats we are in for some cold weather in the near future. (Lets just hope that the flu doesn't hit me like it has the rest of the family).

Here's the forecast (a high of 13 below is simply wrong in my books). I am going to be one exhuasted lady after this next storm passes.....

This Afternoon Patchy blowing snow before 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
  • Tonight A slight chance of rain, freezing rain, and sleet before 1am, then a slight chance of snow between 1am and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10. Blustery, with a south southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming northwest 20 to 25 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Saturday Patchy blowing snow before noon. Partly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 7 by 9am. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
  • Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around -9. Wind chill values as low as -21. North northwest wind 10 to 15 mph.
  • Sunday Scattered snow showers before noon, then a chance for flurries. Partly sunny and cold, with a high near -7. Blustery, with a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
  • Sunday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around -21. Blustery.
  • Monday Partly sunny and cold, with a high near -13. Blustery.
  • Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around -19.
  • Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 2.
  • Tuesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around -4.
  • Wednesday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 17.
  • Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 6.
  • Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 22

Yeah, I am ready for winter to be done!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 - A Year In Review

It's a bit hard for me to write a year in review without joining both Sanctuary life and my personal life. The two were such opposites it's hard to fathom.

For the Sanctuary, 2013 was absolutely amazing. We held our first fundraisers ever and we did such a huge success I am so motivated to see what 2014's fundraiser's will do. We were blessed with the opportunity to raffle off some horseshoe art at the Cowoby Way Church booth during the SD Horse Fair. We also had our first annual Easter Fundraiser. I learned a lot from that fundraiser and will hopefully make each subsequent year better! We also held a playday in October that was great. I learned a few things so hopefully the next playday we have will be better. Considering I'd never been to a playday before, I learned a LOT. So hopefully those that attended will forgive my mistakes and attend this year's playday!

With all our health scares, I learned that we have some AMAZING supporters. It's hard to find people willing to go out during the coldest  night of the year and do chores while we were stuck in the hospital. But we did. I swear we have guardian angels watching over us. I consider those volunteers my guardian angels because  no matter what, they said yes to any of my requests while I wasn't able to get to the horses. And never once did they complain about going out in subzero temps in the middle of the night. Then we had guardian angels willing to step up while we were in the hospital again to push in round bales because the pasture wasn't ready yet for horses. Without a word of complaint, people volunteered to help us out. With all our ordeals, I learned that we have so many people we can rely on. It restores my faith in humanity and humbles me to think of the generosity of people.

We were able to reseed our pasture thanks to Mike and L. Hopefully the pasture will come back this coming year and we won't have to deal with any droughts or flooding. I'm always amazed at how people are willing to step up and help people out. We may call ourselves a Sanctuary, but in truth, we are just two people trying to make the lives of a few horses better and more comfortable until their final day on this earth.

I would love to thank everyone by name for all their support with the Sanctuary but I'm afraid I may accidentally leave someone out (not on purpose). There's been so many people that have helped us this past year it is quite humbling. We arent' doing anything extraordinary. I do believe those willing to help us out in our dreams and goals with the Sanctuary are the ones that are extraordinary.

We did have a few sad times at the Sanctuary with the loss of our biggest supporter, my grandmother, Shyrlee Roling.  This place is just not the same without her  moral support and encouragement. Such a wise woman that I can only hope that I can be half as wise. We also lost Babe, our beloved blind Appaloosa mare. She taught us so much about patience and dealing with what is handed to us in life. Of all the horses, I believe she has taught me the most (in multiple areas of life in general even!)

2013 was a whirlwind of excitement for the Sanctuary and I can only hope that 2014 will be an even better year. I'm hoping that with 2014 being the Year of the Horse, that more positives will come.

On a personal level, this year was a living nightmare. Mike and I were talking the other night and I think we are both still in denial or shock over this past year. I can say the words but I don't think they have or ever will sink in, that I almost lost both Mike and Garrett in 2013. With Mike's heart scare and subsequent heart surgery, I am more leary of our health as we grow older. Growing older you realize that you are not invincible but this year was a true wakeup call for me. I stall cannot get over almost losing our son to menincole meningitis. To realize how close we were to losing him is unthinkable. I cannot put into words or even clear thoughts what would have happened had the outcome been different. I thank my lucky stars every day that Garrett came out of that scare with no lasting affects and that he's a happy and healthy little boy (although he seems to be getting the flu a lot more this winter). Knowing how close I was to losing both of them leaves me dumbfounded.

I am absolutely grateful that they both recovered without any lasting affects. The only affects we had from the ordeals was in our pocketbooks. We've been feeling the pressure of the hospital bills ever since Garrett was born (with his stay in the NICU and my emergency surgery and third trip into the ER). I had hoped that we would be able to take in an old horse this past year but with all the hospital bills, we'll be lucky to bring in another horse in a year or two instead. The Sanctuary is run completely off my paycheck (and don't get excited, I don't make a lot in the paying job. We simply sacrifice in other areas). The fundraisers this past year have really helped and I am eternally grateful to all those that have donated and helped out to make the Sanctuary what it is today. I hate having to turn horses away and the funds people donated have helped ease the pressures of caring for the current herd. But it would be so much nicer if we had more funds coming in. I hate to say no.

I am hoping that with this being a new year, we will be able to restore our health and have no more trips to the ER, that we will be able to enjoy our health (and the horses' health), and have a great 2014. I am excited to see 2014 in front of us. There are so many opportunities I can hardly wait to get started on them all. I have never in my life been more excited to see a year behind me than this past year.

So here's to the Year of the Horse. And for all those that have helped us this past year, even if it's simply giving moral support (which I despeartely need...always), thank you. The horses may be the reason why we do what we do, but we couldn't continue without your support. Your support and generosity humbles me.

Goodbye 2013, HELLO 2014!!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a bit of an interesting start to the year. Actually, interesting isn't the word I'd use. More like stressful. When I went out to do chores New Years Eve, I wasn't expecting to put horses in but Rabbit and Rain were shivering so that changed that idea. So into the barn everyone went. The wind was terrible so I was fine with getting them into the barn as fast as I could.

I hadn't expected to see the new year roll in but we did. Our son got the flu and we spent the night up with him. So, not the exciting New Years party that everyone was expecting but at least we were surrounded by family.

When we got home, I let the horses out and got the stalls ready for tonight. The weatherman was saying that the temps would be -17 for the low tonight so everyone had to go in. The high tomorrow is -2 so it's going to be a rough morning. I cant' remember what the low is for Thursday night but I know it's below zero.

The problem is, the weather is supposed to warm up for the weekend and then we'll get another arctic cold front come through and we'll be super cold Monday into Tuesday. So far it's supposed to be the coldest weather so far this winter. Not something I'm looking forward to AT ALL.

I missed out doing a cheat sheet last year with all the commotion of hospital stays and all that. So hopefully I can do a cheat sheet of everyone in the Sanctuary along with pictures. I also want to feature a horse a month so you get to know each of the horses a bit more. I'll probably try and do another write up to sum up 2013. For the Sanctuary, it was amazing and fun. Personally, scary as H. E. double hockey sticks! But I'll probably ramble about that later. Hopefully this year I'll be able to post a little bit more than 2013. We'll see.

Here's to hoping that the Year of the Horse is a good one for the Sanctuary!