Thursday, July 31, 2014

Diginity is More Important than Money

I'll be honest and admit that the paying job has slowed down enough to give me time to read some leadership books. I'm hoping that I can take a few bits of information from each book to try and better myself and the Sanctuary.

I had one bit of information that stuck and I wrote it down.

Dignity is more important than money.

True on so many levels. I am not interested in making money off of a horse, no matter his/her age. A horse is worth so much  more than just a few bucks. Their dignity and respect are priceless. I am always amazed at how people think that it's ok to dump a horse at auction just for a few bucks.

So what is the price of dignity? Some of those loose horses go for $10 to $20. Don't they deserve more dignity than that. I won't even mention those no-value horses. All horses have value. Just like each person has value. I cannot look at a person and say that they have no value. Sure, they may be misguided and need help in finding themselves, but shouldn't that be the same for a horse?

A horse's dignity is priceless. I have met horses that have such dignity that horses people simply levitate towards them. They are given dignity but what about those wall flower horses that don't seem to shine or can't shine under their current owners who aren't willing to do the work they so deserve.

These old horses that are tossed aside because they are too old, too arthritic, too slow, too thin, too much work deserve just the same amount of dignity as you and I. Do not send them to auction thinking that you'll get a few bucks out of them. Give them the dignity that they deserve. Give them the retirement that they deserve.

Most people I know work. And are working towards retirement. Why are these people being granted retirement if not everyone is granted the same opportunity. Why is it ok for a person to have the opportunity to retire but a horse can't?

It is time to give these old warriors the dignity they deserve. Give them their retirement. Do the right thing. Their dignity is worth more than a few bucks.

Close to Home

Yeah, another voice for horses is being heard! She's not far from us! And to think I used to live in Des Moines and never went to the race track. And now this fine lady is making a difference in Des Moines!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why We Need to Be Here

I totally understand and agree (except with the Ropers because I haven't been around Ropers...but it works for general horse people).

This is exactly why the Sanctuary is what it is. There are too many who treat their horses as a piece of equipment and when it's broken, get rid of it. That's why I want the Sanctuary to succeed. I want a place for these old timers to go so they CAN retire.

I was told the other day that I can't save them all and it should be up to their owners to do the right thing. Well, HECK YEAH! Of course! But those same owners WON'T! So what's to do with those old horses that NEED to be retired? They need a soft place to retire. Even if it's only for a few weeks or months. These old horses have given their all, done what their owners have asked and what do they get in return? Kicked to the curb (i.e., slaughter).

Sure, when you look at the Sanctuary right now, we only have young horses (young being teenagers). But that was before I figured out the real purpose of the Sanctuary and where my heart lies.

I guess I'm glad that someone else gets just as angry as I do when they hear someone say, it's just a horse and go get a new one and get rid of the old one. Do you replace your friends and relatives when they are no longer useful to you? Why is it acceptable to replace your horse? You are responsible for them.

With that said, auction season is right around the corner. About mid August people will be culling. What can we do to help save some of these old horses from an unknown fate? I would love to open our doors to an old horse for permanent retirement, but we need your help. The Sanctuary is run solely off my paycheck (which isn't much) and with the added medical bills, it's even less. Every last penny helps, every donation no matter how large or small is greatly appreciated. Don't have money but have time? We can always use the help fixing stuff up around the place. Have too much stuff and not enough space? Donate to the Sanctuary! It's time we ALL step up and do the right thing for these old horses that deserve a permanent retirement! I'm challenging you to help!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Much to my dismay, the days are getting shorter. The corn has tasseled out and now the Sanctuary always smells like sweet corn. It's not a bad smell; it just takes me by surprise when I step out of the house. We've had some cooler days and that puts some added pressure on me. Ok, not really but it makes me feel like fall is right around the corner.

The Sanctuary's hay is supposed to be getting baled up if the humidity every cooperates. It'll be a relief to have the hay in the barn although it'll be a bit complicated trying to figure out how to use the new tractor. The tractor the hay guy brought down fit almost everywhere and our tractor doesn't fit anywhere. So we might not be able to squirrel away all the hay in odd places like before. And the hard part will be to write the check. We finally got the hay tickets from last year's hay. This year's hay will have to be paid the first of the year (on request from the hay guy).

I desperately need to move corral panels around for the ponies. I had thought about moving panels last night but once again I messed up my shoulder so it wasn't a possibility. I'm hoping that tonight I can move the panels. No matter what I HAVE to move them by Thursday. Pain or no pain, those panels have to be moved. I also need to walk the other pasture for the mares. Their pasture is gone and I'm starting to throw hay so that means its' time. I just need to get off my duff. Here we've had strong winds and I don't go out to check fence but when I want to check fence there's no wind. I need the wind to keep the mosquitos away. But this week, no later than Thursday, I HAVE to check the fenceline and put the mares in the new pasture. Hopefully it'll hold out until winter but I have a feeling that it won't. None of the pastures seem to be holding. Although that's mostly because I've over grazed it again.

So I haven't really been doing much but thinking about pastures and hay. I'm trying to get a few things lined up for some upcoming fundraisers but it's a slow go. Anyone want to help?  Maybe with these shorter days, I can find some time at night to work on the fundraiser ideas... hahaha.. yeah, I know. I made a joke! No rest for the wicked at the Sanctuary.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Need Washing

I try to very rarely ever post little stories that don't come from the Sanctuary or post things that are passed around on the Internet but this one....this one I couldn't resist. It just reminded me this morning to put life into perspective even when it gets tough and complicated.

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.
It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning just inside the door of the Wal-Mart.
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.
I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
 Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, 'Mom let's run through the rain,' she said.
'What?' Mom asked.
'Let's run through the rain!' She repeated.
'No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit,' Mom replied.
This young child waited a minute and repeated: 'Mom, let's run through the rain.'
'We'll get soaked if we do,' Mom said.
'No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning,' the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
'This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?'
'Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ' If God can get us through this, He can get us through anything! ' '
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one left. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.
Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
'Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just need washing,' Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They got soaked.
They were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.  And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
 Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Take the time to live!!!
Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you'll need each other   --
and don't forget to run in the rain!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Happy Realization

I realized something the other day. This will be the first year that we don't have to say goodbye to anyone. Since 2007 with the loss of my very first horse, Tiny Dictator, we have had to say goodbye to a Sanctuary horse. The decision to say goodbye is always a difficult one and never taken lightly. Each time we have to say goodbye, a piece of my heart goes with. But I always say that I would rather have my heart scattered to the winds with each loss than to have a whole heart and not had the pleasure of knowing such amazing souls.
So this year, as fall and winter will approach, I won't be considering and making that final decision. It's actually a relief.
Although, with Bo and his weight issue, I AM now back to putting horses into the barn early and letting them either their grain mash. With the concoction that I make up, it typically takes the horses almost an hour to finish. Of course, what does Bo do? He channels Bob and makes a HUGE mess all over in his stall and then dribbles grain on the stall wall and gate so that he can lick it off later (and make the graining process take THAT much longer!)
I don't mind. I'd rather have happy horses with fully bellies and are content. It will simply mean that I'll have to change up my routine come this winter.
And that ornery Jim. If I GIVE him beet pulp, he won't touch it. But if it's sitting there and he can STEAL it, he's all for scarfing it down. Those darn geldings. They are going to be the death of me yet!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Curiosity Killed the Skunk

On Monday, I stepped out to do morning chores and I smelled corn. The heat and humidity makes it smell like corn. Of course, we are surrounded by corn. For those that don’t understand what I’m talking about, go get some sweet corn and take a deep whiff. That’s what it smelled like when I stepped out the door. Not a bad smell, just took me by surprise.

The temperatures have been all over the place as of late. I think it’s causing the varmints to not know what to do.  Just this morning while I was making my lunch for the day (darn paying job getting in the way of Sanctuary work), I saw a possum “scooting” along up the driveway.  At least that’s what Mike called it. I would have called it, hauling butt. I’d never seen a possum move that fast before but he was on a mission. He disappeared before we could “remove” him from the property. Hopefully he stays away but if you see them, that means there’s more than one and they are possibly finding a place to live.

The other day Mike also said that he was asleep in the chair one evening and heard something scratching at the French doors. He couldn’t tell what it was, even when he peered out the doors so went into the kitchen to see if he could spot it from that vantage point. He couldn’t so wandered back in. Want to know what he saw? It was a skunk! A skunk was trying to get in the house. Apparently skunks are very curious animals and will investigate almost anything. It’s not the first time that a skunk has visited Mike out of curiosity. I think Mike must somehow lure them in.

I went out to check the herd but those darn geldings wouldn’t come in when I hollered. Although Jim did wander up while I was standing there. He’s a sucker for grain. It’s a good thing he came up. His eyes are giving him problems. They are all weepy so I put a flymask on him to hopefully cut down on the sun glare. Guess he’s going to need a UV fly mask. If I remember right, he had some major problems last year about this time and I seriously thought he was going blind. Allergies, summer uveitis. It’s hard to say. But for now, I’ll pamper him and see if anything I do helps. He’s 26 years old and deserves to be pampered.

When I got Jim settled in for his evening meal, I heard someone else outside the door. Of course it was Bo and Zeke. Why they wouldn’t come up earlier I don’t know. But I let them in and gave them their grain. None of the other hard keepers came in so I left it at that. Right now, the only hard keeper is Bo. I hate to even say it but I don’t grain the horses once they are on pasture 24x7. Everyone except Bo is fat and sassy and looking rather nice. Bo on the other hand is not keeping weight on. He’s maintaining what he has but he’s not putting on weight. So I’m going to start slow on his grain ration and then increase it. I’ll have to start in on the nightly beet pulp, senior, sweet feed, calf manna concoction that usually seems to help. I think the only way for him to maintain his weight is with grain.  I guess I’ll always have to have at least one horse to worry about.

I was thinking about it this earlier this week. This may be the first year that we don’t have to say goodbye to any of the herd. Of course, we haven’t brought any horses in since the summer of 2011 and the oldest is Jim at 26 and he has a few good years left in him. We’ve lost all the others that were old and the rest are young (or what I consider young). So unless we have a pasture accident, we may be able to not go through the stresses and heartbreak of losing someone this year. I’m sure you’re thinking it’s a weird topic to discuss, but I’ve had to say goodbye to at least one a year since I lost my very first horse in 2007. It’s been seven years of watching as they grow old and me having to make that final decision. It’s heart wrenching and devastating. So this year will be an easy year for me.

Although, I would like to repay the favor and help others. I’m not sure how to go about it but I would like to assist those that might be considering having to say goodbye. It’s still a thought in my head that I haven’t fully fleshed out so I’ll keep it there for now. But when fall rolls around this year, I won’t be in such turmoil over saying goodbye.

Of course, my mind is always in turmoil this time of year because of the number of horses that are being dumped at auctions. But I’ll save that for a  different post.

I need to do some serious cleaning. Anyone want to come out and help? I need to get some barns cleaned out, blankets washed and repaired, the hay areas cleaned up in preparation for whenever we actually get our hay, get the roof back on the horses’ leanto, fix the barn roof, fix fence, put a new fence line in in the drylot.  There’s all kinds of stuff that we need to get done. Are there any takers?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I'm antsy. I've been antsy for the past few days. You'd think that by being antsy, that I would get off my duff and do something but I haven't. I've classified myself as lazy lately. It's an awful experience to feel antsy and lazy all at the same time.

By the end of the day, I've worked myself up into such a tizzy that I'm exhausted and can't function. It's a good thing that the horses are on automatic and all I do is check water and make sure no one is bleeding profusely. Otherwise, I don't get to see the herds.

I'm antsy for two reasons. The first is that it's haying season. I'm seeing everyone haying every possible field and ditch around. Unfortunately, we do not have enough pasture to hay, nor do we own any land or rent any land to put up hay (and we don't have the equipment either). So we are forced to buy all of our hay. We don't have our hay yet (we normally don't even get our hay until September or October anyway). But I'm wishing that we had land we could rent, and the equipment so that we could put up some of our own hay to help defray the cost. Instead, we have to scrimp and save to come up with the money to cover the cost of hay for the 11 Sanctuary horses (and I have to come up with more to cover the cost of my three personal horses). And the hospital bills are still there along with other bills (gigantic rock chips thanks to construction, new tires, etc.) so it's a struggle to come up with the amount we need every year.

The second reason I'm antsy is that it's that time of year again. In another couple of weeks, people will be thinking about kids going back to school, winter setting in, and that all means that more horses will be on the market. More horses will be shipped to auctions and run through loose because owners are too busy to put some elbow grease in to their horses to ensure a good home. So I'm already seeing horses online for free or very cheap. I can assure you the kill buyers will pick them up without a second thought and send them to slaughter. It breaks my heart because my hands are tied. What more can I do? I've been avoiding looking at Craigslist but started and I'm seeing a few I'd offer retirement if we had the space. There will be more....and soon. So I need to just sit and make sure that the Sanctuary horses are cared for. But it's heart wrenching and heart breaking to see these old warriors being treated like a piece of machinery.

So I think that's my reason for being antsy. My problem is, by the end of the day with the paying job, toddler, and other activities, there's nothing left of me, either physically, emotionally, or financially. Maybe a short vacation, which is already set on the calendar, will help but I'm not sure. I'm betting that I'll avoid the upcoming auctions because there's nothing I can do except tell each horse that they won't be forgotten and then take down information about prices and where they went (although we all know where the majority of loose horses end up).

So I guess I'm hitting that time of year where I get upset because there's nothing I can do. It's come earlier this year than others. Usually I don't get this way until mid August. This year it hit mid July. So now I'm even more motivated to do something about these old horses except that the exhaustion hits by the time I get home. I feel like I'm in a bit of a catch 22.

I guess all that I can ask is that you hang with me while I climb out of this stress pit. Moral support is always welcome. And if you ever get bored, I'd be more than happy to put you to work.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Trail Ride Fundraiser

I've decided on our next fundraiser. I'd hoped to do a playday but am struggling to find an arena so I'll keep working on that. If you know of anyone that would be willing let us use their arena, please let me know!

But until then, I want to do a trail ride! So, mark your calendars for...Sunday, August 24th.  The time is still TBD but it'll start in the  morning.

I'll need to ride the route and do a lot of prep work but hopefully if we start advertising now, we'll get plenty of people. The cost is $10 and there will be a meal included. Proceeds will go to pay for the winter hay. I'm also figuring on bringing other items for sale including horse shoe art, horse shoe nail crosses, horse hair keychain rings, up-cycled grain bags (they work awesome for all kinds of things), and a few other items that have been generously donated.

The Sanctuary horses will also be represented as I'll ride either Chaos or Maverick. I'm debating on bringing the ponies along just for kicks. Who doesn't like a pony??!?!

What: Borderlands Trail Ride
Where: near Larchwood, IA (in a conservation area so all grass and NO gravel)
When: Sunday, August 24th
Time: TBD (but it'll start in the morning)
Why: To raise funds for the winter supply of hay for the Sanctuary horses
Cost: $10 and includes a meal

(If you would like to donate items or money towards the  meal, it would help immensely).

Now the very hard part....advertising. I am in desperate need of help getting the word out for the trail ride. So please share with everyone far and wide. The more people that attend, the more money we can raise to help offset the cost of hay for this winter.

Lawn Pasture

Last week I had just enough time to set up corral panels to put the ponies and mares on the lawn. It didn't take them the entire week to eat down that part of the lawn. I was feeding hay by Monday night. I needed to move more corral panels around so I took advantage of the help and got a new lawn pasture set up for the ponies.

I debated on whether to keep the mares in with the ponies but opted against it. I don't think there's enough for the ponies to last even a full week, let alone add two more mouths. So instead I let the mares back into the road pasture and filled their water tank. I think they were pretty happy to get away from the ponies and find more grass. I don't think the ponies were as pleased about the new arrangement. I really think they adore hanging out with Rabbit.

Mike sprayed the yard (or what we could get to now that I have half of it taken up with corral panels). Hopefully that'll get rid of the  mosquitoes for the next week or so and make being outside more bearable. He used the last of the spray so hopefully we won't have to deal with too many more mosquitoes (hahaha, I know it's wishful thinking).

I figure in another week, I'll have to move the ponies again. I'm debating on were to put them. I'm leaning towards in front of the barn but we'll see what happens when the time comes. Where we had the ponies a few weeks ago, the weeds had taken over (in between the barn and the burned down chicken coop). Mike got after the weeds with the lawn mower and sprayed to get rid of the  mosquitoes. So hopefully we can go back and spray for the weeds as well. Now that we can actually get back to the fence (and pasture), I need to walk the mares' fall/winter pasture.

I was hoping that the road pasture would hold out a little bit longer but I don't think it'll happen. I am figuring that by the first of August that I'll have to move them. Unfortunately, I don't think this other pasture will hold them until winter. So we may be looking at feeding hay sooner than expected. Anyone want to donate some hay to help offset the pasture issue? For now, I figure the road pasture has about two weeks worth left before it's completely burned up. I'm also hoping for a little bit of rain to help. I doubt that rain will help make that pasture go farther but I'm a little worried that without any rain, it won't come back next year. Pasture management is not my strong suite.

I didn't get anything else accomplished yesterday and I'm finally finding the motivation to get projects started. Unfortunately, I seem to run out of day.

On a bright note, I think I've finalized our next fundraiser. I'll post a blog about it in just a few minutes!

We have many projects to work on and if anyone wants to stop on out and help, we'd greatly appreciate it. I'll even make sure you don't get the super crappy jobs either!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And So It Begins

It's a little early in the season yet, but I just saw an ad on our local classifieds for a horse sale, with loose horses to follow. That means selling season is just around the corner. August is really the month that people get rid of their horses. It's also the month that I long to bring in those old warriors.

I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head. Anyone want to help form a committee to get those ideas down on paper?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cooler Temps

We are experiencing a small cold snap. It's glorious! Everyone seems more relaxed and happy. The bugs aren't as bad and no one seems all that crabby. Of course I went out before the wind died down so it's hard to say.

I  need to move the ponies and mares again. Where I have them is done. I knew it wouldn't last a week so I started throwing hay to them again. I'll probably put the mares back out on their pasture and just burn that pasture up. There's still grass in that pasture but I had hoped that a month off would help make it last longer. But now the weatherman is saying we aren't going to get rain for a week at least. So not really sure what to do with that pasture.

But at least where they are at now, there's not much left for grass and not a lot of hiding spots for mosquitoes! I wanted to move corral panels last night but I'm still moving slow with that pinched nerve. And I didn't have a lot of energy last night either. It was a beautiful night so I should have taken the opportunity while I had it. I'm hoping to just keep pushing the ponies farther north up through the lawn so that they eat everything down. I'm sure that's not the right way to do it but, I'm running out of places to put them that has grass.

I need to walk to fenceline for the other mare pasture but I need a windy day or at least be able to do it not after 8pm when the wind dies down and the mosquitoes come out. I haven't walked the fenceline since last winter and with the snow, wind from the tornado, and tree branches, I want to walk the fence before I let them out. My goal is to have the mares eat that down this fall instead. And once they have that eaten, I can hire someone to come in and bury the burned down chicken coop. Maybe then we'll have more room to park trailers. No matter what, it'll be nice to have a bit more cleaned up around the place.

I hate looking around the place because it looks so dumpy. Oh for a manicured lawn, well kept fences, fat yet well muscled horses, painted barns, and anything else that would make the place look nice. Some day.

The weather is supposed to turn hot this weekend so I doubt that I'll be out working on much outside. Maybe with the hot temperatures, I'll be able to turn my attention to repairing blankets. There's so many to repair and I have no sewing ability (too bad because my great grandmother was a seamstress). There's always some project to tackle.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Coming Up the Ranks

I was invited out for a ride on Sunday and decided I would jump at the opportunity. With summer in full swing, it’s hard to find time to get anything but prep work for winter done (I know it’s a sad thought). I decided I would take Maverick again because he’s going so well.

Maverick crossed a flowing creek like it was standing water, watched cows, and climbed up and down hills like it’s nothing. Of course, he’s been on a few rides before so it shouldn’t come to a surprise but he’s not my “go to” horse so I forget that he has been exposed to a lot of different environments.

In the arena, it’s impossible to get Maverick to lope. At home, riding alone, I don’t want to try loping on him. But with riding with friends, we decided to see what he would do. Oh my goodness, what a dream to lope!  I’m used to the high knee action Arabians but Maverick is a fairly comfortable lope as well. We didn’t lope for very far but I wanted to keep going!! Maverick surprises me at every turn.

I’ve decided that I will take Maverick to the next drill team practice just to goof around with afterwards.  I had high hopes of making a Bo the next drill team horse but there’s no way I can work him like a drill team horse and have any hope of him gaining any weight. He’s been on pasture 24x7 for the past couple of weeks and he’s actually dropped weight. I’m going to revert back to graining him his standard grain ratio and see if that helps. He should be able to maintain his weight on pasture only but there’s something wrong.

But on the bright side, I think Maverick will be able to handle drill team with no problems. I’m anxious to try him out now and see how he goes. I want to see if he’ll lope in an outdoor arena or if he’ll get bogged down and think that he’s not supposed to. Either way, I think when it’s time to retire Zeke, I’ll have another horse coming up the ranks to use. I won’t feel so bad about working Maverick since he’s still so young. He’s actually in his prime so best to start using him to his full potential.

Maverick surprises me all the time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pinched Nerve

Whatever I did on Sunday, flared up again Thursday. Just moving those dozen or so corral panels (with help), made whatever is wrong with my back/should way worse. So last night, I didn't do much at all. I checked on the mares and ponies and the big herd was out in the pasture so let them go. Filled the mares/ponies water tank and that's about it.

I'd gone out earlier in the day to try the "sock protectors" (i.e., put tube socks on horses legs to help keep the flies from biting). Apparently I didn't something wrong because the tube socks were around Rabbit's ankles when I went back out in the evening to check on her. Surprisingly, she stood for me to put them on. I don't typically mess with her that much and she's a holy terror for the farrier. So me messing with her feet and holding up her leg, I thought, was going to be a pain. Instead she stood pretty well. Going to have to work on that. She's one smart girl.

Unfortunately, another night of not getting anything done. I'm hoping with a few days of rest that whatever is wrong will fix itself. I'm guessing it's a pinched nerve. At least today I can breath easier. And with being at the paying job, I move around a bit more (because I can't get comfortable sitting for hours on end). So hopefully moving will help loosen up whatever is going on. I guess we'll just play it by ear for the next couple of days. I'm am figuring it's going to be fairly low key at the Sanctuary for the next week or so until I'm back to 100%.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Corral Panels

I had a plan last night and I had exactly a half an hour to accomplish my goal. I needed to tear down the corral panels and put them up by the red shed so that I could put the ponies and mares there where there's grass instead of feeding hay to the ponies and letting the mares eat down the pasture.

Because there's a difference of opinion on what machinery I can use, I wasn't up for putting all the corral panels on my hay wagon like I did last time. That experience took a solid two hours to accomplish and I wasn't going to do that again (besides, I was still hurting a little and wasn't sure if I could lift too many panels).

I'd gone for a ride on Sunday and left the truck and trailer out. So I decided I'd be creative and load the panels in the trailer and haul them back. Worked like a dream. I'll remember that trick for the next time!

Lucky for me, Mom and Dad were here (Grandma and Grandpa Day!) so I was able to get their help in loading, unloading, and setting up the panels (all while watching the little Bear). It was a little tricky at times but we got it done! And got it done in a half an hour! So with some additional help, and the use of the stock trailer, what took me hours before alone with a wagon, took only a half an hour. I'm so tickled.

I also decided I would put the ponies in the pasture right away. I know, not a good move. But I didn't want to break open yet ANOTHER bale. The ponies did hot lapse around the pasture. It's not very big and with four mouths it won't last. But I'll take what I can get, when I can get it. I'll just have to move the panels around again when they eat it down. The goal is to pretty much have them eat the rest of the lawn down to nothing. I don't want to mow and it'll help keep the mosquitoes down. At least that's what I'm thinking.

I also put the mares in the little pasture as well. I'm not sure if they cared or not that they were in with the ponies. I couldn't read Rabbit well enough to know if she was pleased or disgruntled with them. We'll see. She's pretty tolerant of those ponies for some odd reason. It's a weird combination.

This morning when I went to check on them, they were all standing close to each other (within about 5 feet in fact). So I'm guessing that they are enjoying each others company once again.

Now to figure out where the ponies will move to for their next pasture in a week or so. Hopefully by then I'll be back to 100% and have this shoulder/back issue resolved. Just the little bit of lifting and hauling yesterday has me sitting in pain.  I have no idea what I did. Oh well. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Horse of the Month - Maverick

Maverick is our horse of the month!
Maverick is a 9 year old grade gelding that came to the Sanctuary as a 3 year old along with Brego. He'd actually been herd mates with Brego and Queen at his previous owner's place. I'd spent more than a year watching Maverick (and Brego) out the kitchen window.
He'd been sent to a trainer when he'd just turned 3 years old (or possibly as a late 2 year old). His previous owner used to ride him up and down the driveway but not often. So Maverick did have some training but when he came to the Sanctuary, he spooked me. I'm still getting over that spook after this many years. Silly I know. When he arrived, I wanted to move him to a different pen. After getting him settled in his new pen, I climbed over the fence, and accidently hit him in the head with my foot. When I got to the ground, he threw a hoof at me. I wasn't sure what I was dealing with after that. So when Maverick turned 4, I sent him to a trainer. Maverick came back well trained, although in an arena, you can't get him to go any faster than a trot. But there are worse problems to deal with than trying to get a horse to lope.

Maverick is actually a fairly goofy gelding. Not as goofy as Ivan but in his own special way. Maverick is a social butterfly, who always wants to meet new horses and is always willing to start up a conversation even if he doesn't know the horse.

Maverick has his quirks. You have to make sure you have him tied correctly. He has a tendency to play with his lead ropes, or anything within range of his mouth. He's a mouthy horse. Not harmful but he likes to put things in his mouth to figure out what they are and to make noise. I've caught him with his teeth on a fence line going back and forth to make the line bounce (he's not cribbing, just making the fence move).

Maverick a fairly solid trail horse even though I don't do him justice by riding him enough. Maverick is the type that needs a job and wants to keep busy. He'll pick a horse out of the herd and cut him just for the sake of cutting. He's never cut a cow before, but I think he'd enjoy it immensely.

Maverick is best friends with Jim. It's a weird combination, crusty old Jim and curious Maverick. But it's a combination that I can handle. Whatever keeps the horses happy is all that matters to me.

Maverick is most definitely a sorrel diamond in the rough. Most people my overlook a plain sorrel gelding but Maverick has something in his personality that just makes me love him. He's a kid at heart. He's never known the abuse of a bad home. We took him in to avoid him going through an auction. The neighbors had gotten him when he was a yearling, so unless he'd been run through an auction prior to that time, Maverick has never known the cruelties of an auction. Luckily for him, he'll always have a spot at the Sanctuary. If I can ever find time to ride, Maverick will turn in to the Go To horse that others can ride, because he's just that dependable of a gelding.

He's my Sorrel Diamond.

No Work

Unfortunately, I didn't get anything accomplished last night. I some how managed to hurt myself so all I could do was minimal chores. I'm not sure what I did but it pretty much rendered me a vegetable for the majority of the day. I had such high hopes of getting the corral panels moved so I could get the ponies out. But there was no lifting going on last night! I'm afraid tonight will be another night of minimal chores because I'm still having problems lifting anything very heavy. Here we have all kinds of vehicles and tractors to move stuff, and I'm still relegated to putting corral panels on my little hay cart or wheel barrow and pushing/pulling it along. I can't seem to figure that one out. :-(

It's a new month, so we need to introduce another horse!  Anyone want to choose? There's still plenty of horses to pick from!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Ride with Maverick and Jett

This weekend Jett’s owner, S,  invited me out for a ride. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I debated on who to ride.  With the temperatures soaring, I knew I couldn’t ride Rain and I wanted to give Zeke some time off. I really needed to ride Chaos, Maverick, or King. I figured we’d be riding some roads, so that eliminated King. So it was between Chaos and Maverick. I figured I’d better ride Maverick since I hadn’t ridden him in ages.  Oh sure, we did some ground work the other day but no serious riding.

So I grabbed Maverick and headed over. Silly me, I almost ran out of gas. I need to start carrying a few gallons of gas just in case. Thank goodness for friends!! They filled my tank up enough so there was no worry about running out of gas on my way back to the gas station after our ride. You’d think after almost 10 years of owning that truck that I would know better. Twice in the past year I’ve had that darn gas light come on. Knock on wood that I’ve been lucky.

But back to the ride. Jett is coming along nicely. We had a beautiful ride and the horses handled themselves amazingly well considering we had a dog come charging out to the end of the driveway and barking at us, deer jumping out of a grove of trees, and traffic (luckily the traffic was really patient and didn’t try to fly past us. I was very surprised.)

I wasn’t sure how well Maverick would behave himself but he did amazingly well. The only thing I did was try to be a social butterfly and whinny to horses that he saw along the way. Otherwise, he was a perfect gentleman. He really is a good trail horse. I’m doing him such an injustice by not riding him more. Hopefully this month I’ll be able to sneak in a few more rides.

We rode to a place I’ never been before. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. Normally I’m a nervous wreck but Maverick kept at an easy pace and we just wandered along. When it was time to head back, Jett picked up the pace, but Maverick, well, he apparently had no sense of direction because he didn’t pick up the pace when we turned around. In fact, he started walking slower. Crazy gelding. Considering I’ve been on him maybe a half dozen times this year (and it’s already July), Maverick was outstanding.

Jett was amazing as well. He had a bit of a different opinion on leaving the place, but after a mile of working with him, he headed on down the road like he was an old pro instead of just learning. Jett’s owner has done an amazing job with him. I wish that every horse would have the opportunity to have such an education.

I personally can’t train a horse. Oh I know, we are always “training” but to teach a horse to be ride able is beyond my abilities. So I commend those that can. I simply am not a good teacher.  From what I’ve learned about Jett’s daddy, I’m thinking that Jett may have a bit of an ornery streak in him like his daddy. But he does have a soft side to him like his momma, Savanna. I didn’t get any pictures of our ride, but I’ll have to go and get some pictures of Jett so you can see how he’s progressing.

Given time, patience, and proper education, horses like Maverick and Jett can go a long way. I look forward to watching Jett and see how his education progresses. And for Maverick, I’d really like to see what more he has. He has a lot of potentially that I haven’t tapped in to yet. He makes a fantastic trail horse but I know there’s more than he can do and he has a mind that’s sharp as a tack. It would be nice to engage that mind of his and get him to start thinking. We’ll see how things progress. Anyone have any cattle they’d let us play with? I think Maverick might be cow-y.

Weekend Activities

Hope everyone had a great July 4th. We had a somewhat productive yet unproductive weekend filled with family and friends. We spent a majority of the time with family, enjoying the long weekend. I always seem rejuvenated after a long and relaxing weekend hanging out with family.

We did get a few projects started so there was some productivity going on! Mike spent some time working on the tractor and the post hole auger. We are in business! The last time we used the post hole auger, we had to borrow a tractor and ended up not only ripping the shear pin out, but busting the auger itself. Mike was able to get it fixed and on to the new tractor. What a joy that new tractor is. We’ve already put it to good use a number of times since we bought it (ok, so it’s not totally ours yet but you know what I mean).

While Mike tinkered on the tractor, I pulled out some of the old blankets that were damaged either last year or the year before. I scrubbed them and figured out where all the tears and holes are. There’s no way of throwing them in to a wash machine to get them clean so I had to get out the hose and brush and scrub like crazy. They aren’t 100 percent clean but they are good enough now that I can bring them in the house and start fixing them. I’d love to pay someone to fix all the blankets but that would add up and we are putting every penny we have towards hay. So no extravagant pleasures like paying to repair blankets. Not sure I’ll be able to get them all repaired but I’ll get the majority fixed and then figure out how much it’ll cost to get the others professionally repaired.  Guess I’ll start saving back those pennies for blanket repair. But I learned my lesson last year. Instead of washing blankets in October when the high is in the 60s, I opted to wash blankets in the 80s. Amazing what a 20 degree shift in temperatures does to help the process along. I even tackled one that was so mud encrusted thanks to Rabbit ripping it off of herself and then smashing it in to the mud. I was only able to get five blankets/sheets done but its’ a start anyway.  I think I picked the worst of the blankets/sheets that need to be repaired. But anything is better than nothing.

I also started tackling the big project of scraping the hay barn to get it ready for painting. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to spray paint it or if I’ll have to do it all by hand with a brush. Right now, I just need to get all the old paint off. I spent an hour the other night and got the majority of the paint off the north side (at least up to where I can reach, which isn’t that high because I’m short). Unfortunately, there wasn’t that much paint to begin with. I’d been looking around our place a while back and realized that the Sanctuary looks dumpy. Not just the normal dumpy, but the neglected dumpy. We haven’t been able to do anything around the place in a few years so now I’m anxiously trying to figure out how we can get at least the old garage and hay barn painted before snow flies. I’d love to get the hay barn re-shingled or put up Ondura siding/tin but that won’t happen this year.  We have Ondura on part of the barn and it’s great. I’ll be happy at this point to get the tin fixed on the barn and the roof back on the leanto for the horses. All of the horses are trying to cram in to the leanto off the barn and there’s simply not enough room. Anyone want to help dismantle a roof and put it back up? Oh, and back on to scraping and painting. The hay barn is in desperate need of some repairs. It has missing boards and rotten boards that I want to fix before we repaint. There’s no point in scraping and painting boards that will be replaced. So my hope is that we can get the building fixed up and looking less scuzzy. At this point, I don’t care if it looks pristine, just as long as it doesn’t look like the pithole that it’s become.  Sad to say but I have winter on my brain. Where everyone else is thinking summer and fun activities, I’m thinking winter and all the stuff we need to have done before winter and in preparation for winter.

There’s just so much to do and no time to get it all done. Mike sprayed for mosquitoes last week and it was amazing. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are coming back.  Not sure if these mosquitoes are the second batch or what but it would be nice to be outside when the sun is setting and not get eaten alive.  

The ponies need to be moved to a different part of the lawn. We still have to put up corral panels because of the little Bear. The ponies tried to make a break for it the other day so I had to put them in their pen and start throwing hay. I do NOT want to keep throwing hay when there’s plenty of grass. If the grass is eaten down, then hopefully we wouldn’t have such a mosquito issue. At least that’s my hope anyway. So last night I went to move the corral panels but the wind had died down and the mosquitoes tried to carry me away.  I got hit five times in the same spot by five different mosquitoes. The dirty little buggers were out in full force.  I’d somehow managed to wrench my back so I ended up calling it quits in hopes that we’ll have wind some other night and can get to the panels before the mosquitoes come out in full force. I want the ponies and mares on the lawn by the red shed.

The mares need to be moved from their current pasture. There’s still plenty of grass but if I play my cards right and rotate the pasture, I might be able to use that pasture again for a little bit. If I give it a break, I can probably do a better job of rotating pastures. So if I get my poop in a group and get the ponies and mares out on the lawn by the red shed and then walk the other mare pasture to make sure the fence isn’t down, I’ll be as happy as a lark. (I think some trees feel on the fence when the tornado passed by us.) Of course, that all depends on the wind and mosquitoes. Unless we have a 30mph wind, I doubt I’ll be able to check the pasture where the mares need to go.

The alternative is to see if they will load and send them to Madison. I was originally planning on taking Brego and Ivan to help cut down on the pressure that the big herd is putting on the main pasture but we’ll see how it goes. I think Mom and Dad would prefer Ivan and Brego over Rabbit and Mayhem. Ivan and Brego are such easy keepers.

I’m hoping to haul Ivan and Brego up to Madison this weekend so that they can eat down a different pasture. This way, they’ll get a little bit of one-on-one pampering and maybe get some “barn time” away from the bugs. We’ll see how it goes. Transporting horses to Madison isn’t as easy as it used to be. Now that Highway 19 is closed from Humboldt to Madison, we have to go a different route, which adds a solid 15 minutes. I know I shouldn’t complain but it was exactly 30 minutes from our house to Mom and Dad’s house. I got spoiled. The added time and mileage adds up after awhile. But it’ll be worth it to see Ivan and Brego enjoy some time in Madison. I might start calling it the “Retreat” just for kicks.

So, we are still here and busy as always. If anyone wants to help with fencing, scraping, painting, fixing roofs, spraying weeds, or simply playing with the herd, let me know. We could use the help!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I know I haven't posted much but by the end of the day, I'm just exhausted. I am slowly working on another fundraiser idea so keep your eyes peeled for when I make the announcement. I need to double check a few things and then will let everyone know. I am excited!!! The fundraisers that we have held in the past have really helped with cutting down expenses with  hay (and the donated hay helps too!!!)

So, this weekend, while in the middle of hanging out with family and celebrating the 4th, I'll be working out some of the details for the upcoming fundraiser!!

And because we are going to have to put in our order for hay soon (if it will stop raining), I want to help offset costs more by doing a bit more fundraising.

We have 4 foot by ?? wooden pallets for sale. I was asking $4 but thinking that's too high. So make me an offer. We also have steel barrels that seal and make great containers for grain or storing winter blankets (so the  mice don't get them!!!) These barrels typically hold four bags of grain so you can stock up when grain is on sale. Barrels are $10-$15. We are also selling bridle/purse charms for $3. Mike is making horse shoe nail crosses for $10. And if you want some horse shoe art, let me know and I'll talk to Mike to see if he can't make some more. We have a horse shoe cross for $35. I know a few people have mentioned that they want certain designs, so remind me and I'll see if Mike can't get to work making them. We also have feed sacks that were repurposed/upcycled and now make perfect bags for hauling anything and everything. I have a few and I LOVE them. They've come in handy for hauling all kinds of different items. If you're interested in an upcycled bag, they are $10-$15. Quite frankly, I wish I had more. I went to a 31Party (where they sell bags) and I would rather have an upcycled feed bag than a 31 bag...cheaper AND more versatile.

We are also looking for an alfalfa supplier so if you know of anyone, let me know. Our old alfalfa supplier dug up all his ground (and he is busy fixing up his place after the tornado ripped through his place ruining buildings).

Mike also sprayed the yard because the  mosquitoes were SO bad. Last night I was able to go outside and actually DO stuff...ok, I just did chores but it was so nice. Now that the mosquitoes are gone, maybe we can start working on projects outside after the little one goes to sleep. We can maybe get to making the Sanctuary not look so dumpy and I can get some of our ToDo list done!