Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Scavenger Hunting

We had a great time at the Tri-State Horse Expo this past weekend.

We ran a scavenger hunt for the kids. I'm not sure who had more fun, the kids, the parents, or the vendors! I know I had a blast watching the kids hunt for all the hidden cartoon horses. I hope the vendors who participated in the scavenger hunt had fun as well. It's definitely something to do again next year!

We met a lot of great people and I definitely got my "horse fix" after talking with everyone about horses. The Tri State Horse Expo is a great way to kick off the riding season and I'm so thankful that we were able to be a part of it this year.

We had freezing rain Friday so I didn't get to blanket the horses like I had wanted to. We were running so late that everyone didn't seem to mind getting a little wet except for Brego and Zeke, and they ended up going into the barn for the night (but were ready to get out first thing in the morning).

Of course, the day-to-day care of the horses comes first so we had to get our morning chores done before heading in to the Expo. Unfortunately, we also needed to put hay in Sunday morning. Of course, we judged it wrong and waited until Sunday morning when we should have gotten up and put hay in Saturday morning when the ground was still frozen. Oh well, at least the tractor didn't get stuck.

I would have waited to put hay in for another couple of days but Mike headed to Fargo this morning so it's just me wrangling horses and kids. I also wanted to get the hay rings out of the mud and onto the concrete so that we don't have to worry about getting the tractor stuck the next time we put hay in. We'll be moving the mares and Junior once they polish off the bale we put in last week. They are tearing up the pasture. I hate to stick them in mud, but we need the pasture for them this spring and summer.

There's lots to catch up on but I am behind on everything so I'll have to post again later with all the thoughts rambling around in my head. But for now, I wanted to tell everyone thanks for stopping by the booth during the Tri-State Horse Expo. I had a lot of fun and am excited for spring to finally arrive!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Feeling Frazzled

So I'm slightly freaking out. I hate being unprepared. I'm a planner and like to be organized yet I seem to find myself in unorganized situations that I bring on myself.

The next few days are going to be a blur. We found out, a little last minute, that we will be attending the Tri-State Horse Expo and hosting a scavenger hunt that's happening this weekend. Should be an awesome time and I'm totally looking forward to it. However, I am unprepared for everything. I've been sick since Sunday and haven't been able to plan anything or prepare anything. I'll be lucky to have my wits about me by the time the Expo starts. I have no hope of having my wits by the end. Our booth may not look like very much I'm afraid.

It wouldn't be a big deal, but there's a storm rolling in, starting tonight and they are talking snow and ice. So now I need to prep the horses with blankets and possibly get stalls ready to make sure no one gets chilled. On top of that, the Expo runs later into the evening so I need to make arrangements for the kids. It's all typical parenting stuff really and living in South Dakota. car is apparently dying as well. Again, not a big deal. We'll look at some cars after the Expo. Wrongo. Mike leaves for Fargo Monday morning bright and early. So if I'm left with a dead car, I'll be left with no way to get to work, and no way to get the kids to daycare or school. I doubt that'll happen but now I have an unreliable car. I drive 45 miles/minutes every day just to get to work and an additional 40 miles/minutes to pick up the kids after daycare and another 20 miles/minutes just to get home. I put on the miles so if something were to happen out on the road with my kids while Mike is in Fargo, that doesn't really give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I also heard rumors of another storm rolling in around Monday. Go figure. That's usually what happens. Mike leaves for training and we get a storm and I have to figure out how to care for all the horses and make sure the kids dont' get into trouble. :-)

And I just realized, we'll need to put hay in before Mike leaves so after we do the Expo probably Saturday night, we'll have to go in and put hay in. That'll mean a late night. Not a big deal really but I'm just now getting over whatever I had earlier this week so I'm a bit drained. I've been crashing by 8pm so that means NOTHING has been getting done.

So, as usual I am totally unprepared. So if you see me at the Tri State Horse Expo and I look frazzled, now you'll know why.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Seven Years Ago

Yesterday marked the seven year anniversary of when we pulled Bo from an auction, emaciated and near death. It also marked the two week loss of him leaving this Earth. It was bitter sweet and I couldn't seem to put words to anything that I was feeling.

It's so hard to not think of him. It's so hard not to think I need to go out and do chores and feed Bo. I've spent almost seven years worrying about Bo, feeding him, and wondering what to do right to make him gain weight and feel better.

I will cherish the time we had together. I'm still heartbroken over his loss. Gone too young.

The first three pictures are of Bo the day after we brought him home. It was late when we finally made it home that day and wanted to let him settle in (we weren't sure he'd make the night). The pictures don't show the extent of his condition but you can see the shell shock in his eyes.

The following is from Bo about two weeks after. I'd thrown a blanket on him to help ward off the chill so now you can actually see the devastation his body went through. Winter hair hides much weight loss.

This next one is of Bo two months into his recovery. Gaining slowly the weight he lost.

And sadly, this is Bo after his prognosis of heart failure back in October. The weight we'd worked so hard to put on and that would easily drop off was falling off and staying off.

And this is Bo during the winter. Already the blanket doesn't fit as nicely as it had (or should). He'd lived in that blanket this winter to try and keep the chill off of him. It was painful to watch his condition and know when to make the right decision to say goodbye.

So yesterday and today is bitter sweet. Others have come and gone and made an impact as well but for some reason Bo's loss leaves a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

But as the saying goes, in death, life goes on. And we will continue moving forward to care for more senior horses and horses as deserving as Bo. God speed Bo.

Attending Tri-State Horse Expo

We have exciting news! We are attending the Tri-State Horse Expo this weekend (Fri-Sun). Not only are we there to represent senior horses and to talk to people about horses, we are also hosting a scavenger hunt for kids. I'm still working out the finer details on the hunt but it should still be fun for everyone involved.

I'm looking forward to getting my "horse fix" and chatting with others about horses. I shouldn't complain about the long winter as it was only on December 21st that true winter set in (not just winter solstice but the first snow storm). We've had other years that winter dragged on for much longer.

But I am happy to see the days getting longer and the weather warming. For now my focus needs to be getting ready for the Tri-State Horse Expo. I'm not very organized this year so we'll see how it goes.

So if you get a chance, swing over this weekend to the Tri-State Horse Expo at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds and stop over to say HI!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Blizzard

We are finally getting over our March blizzard. I'd stayed home from the paying job Monday knowing full well that bad weather was on its way. I'd woken at midnight to thunder. We normally don't get thunder in March. We normally don't get rain in march either. We normally get snow.

So when I woke up at 5:30 and headed out at 6am to do chores and was faced with a full on rain storm, I knew we were in for  trouble as the weatherman was calling for it to switch to freezing rain and then snow.

I'd had the good sense to blanket everyone that I could Sunday. Although I did question myself Sunday afternoon as it was in the 40s but with a biting wind. But I was sure glad when Monday morning rolled around and everyone was snug in their blankets, even if they were wet (but still dry on the inside).

At one point I couldn't tell if we were getting sleet or hail but by 11am we were getting snow. And I was sure glad I was home because the winds had picked up as well! The wind was so bad that it was actually coming straight out of the west. Normally it's north west so we are a bit more protected but not Monday. The wind blew the snow so much, that it blew right into the barn and now I have a snowdrift IN my barn.

I went out at noon to let horses into the barn. I figured, even if they had to stand in their stall for 24 hours, that they might not mind. The first horse at the door was Jim and his blanket was actually frozen in place. He was snug but the outer edges were a sheet of ice. I ended up letting Jim, Rain, Brego, and Dude into the barn and left the others out. I also put in Mayhem, Lace, and Junior into their stalls in the hay shed.

When I went back out to do my actual chores, I put Zeke and Lightening into the barn as well. Of course Brego and Dude broke one of the stalls so I need to figure out how to fix it. We don't have nice stalls and if you watch any of our videos in the barn, you can tell. They were all supposed to be somewhat temporary but the temporary stalls have turned permanent. I'd love to have something different but until there's time and money available, they will simply have to work.

The wind was so bad that by noon, there was no travel advised everywhere and by nightfall there was no travel on all the roads. That continued into the morning. I let the horses out of the barn and they were more than ready to get out and stretch their legs. I also put Junior, Mayhem, and Lace back in their stalls but I don't think they were nearly as excited. Their stalls are slightly bigger but they all seem to go with the flow a little bit better than the bigger gelding herd.

By the afternoon everything was back to normal. I had planned on pulling blankets last night but the temps were still too chilly to do anything with the blankets. We'll see how the temps wand weather go. We are supposed to get another storm this weekend so we'll see.

We do have robins. Those first few are always here way too early but it is a nice sight to see and I love to hear them. It makes it feel as thought spring is right around the corner and any winter storms we get now will all be gone in a matter of days.

What little snow we did get has already melted to some degree. Although the bottom of the pasture is now flooded with all the rain. It floods every year but with all the rain we received Monday, I expect the pasture to flood and to even back up into the field that surrounds us.

I'm ok with the snow and the rain as long as the horses are happy and dry. The more moisture we get, the less likely we'll be in another drought. I barely survived the first drought in 2012 and the dry conditions last year so a full on drought this year would be detrimental to us. I say, bring on the March snowstorms!

Jim's Choke

The last few days have been a blur. Unfortunately, I've been a bit under the weather during all of it so there's very little getting done except basic chores and such.

I've seen our vet three times in just over a week. As much as I like them, I'd rather not see them that often on a professional basis. At least that's what I was joking around with them about the last time we were in.

So I took Farley in Friday, February 23rd and then took Bo in Monday, Feb 26. Then Jim choked his past Friday and I ended up taking him in Saturday before our blizzard. Sure glad I did. So you may be wondering what happened with Jim.

On Friday night, I let Jim in to eat his grain like normal. It felt weird because Bo wasnt' there. I hate to admit it, but Jim wasn't up to the barn all that week (without Bo hovering, Jim didn't know), so I bypassed graining Jim. Yes, I am a bad horse owner but I was also not feeling the hottest and Jim looks fantastic for 30. So I wasn't too worried. but still bad horse owner I know.

Friday, I figured I'd better get back into the routine. It just felt weird walking into the barn without having Bo pacing outside or whinning in the barn not so patiently waiting for his grain. During the week from the time we said goodbye until Friday, I would sneak into the barn as quietly as I could, thinking that Bo would hear me but then I'd remember....he's not here. So I was struggling. It's only been with Bo and Ivan that I've had a hard time walking into that barn. Every other time, I wouldn't twice but these last two, so close to one another, made me take a step back. I've lost three in less than a year. It's a hard pill to swallow.

So anyway, Zeke was right on Jim's tail so I let Zeke in as well. I don't really like leaving Jim in the barn alone. He gets mad at me. So off to do my other chores and I figured when I got done with those, Jim and Zeke would be done. When I walked in, I noticed Jim was facing the door and his grain at barely been touched. That's when I noticed he was choking. It wasn't like he was choking on a big wad of hay or a big mouthful of grain. It was senior feed.

I had gotten out of the routine of soaking grain because Junior's dish would get compacted with the frozen grain. He has to have an over the fence feeder or he knocks it all out onto the ground. So I got lazy and it cost Jim. I had Mike go out and look at Jim as well and then I went back out to see if I couldn't help.

By that time, Jim had gotten the grain unstuck but he seemed really off. I left him with water, a flake of hay, and Zeke to keep him company.  Then I had to head in because I wasn't feeling well and crashed almost instantly after coming in for the night.

In the morning, I went back out and Jim hadn't touched anything and he still seemed out of it. So our wonderful vets let me sneak Jim in to get a good overall exam on him. I was able to get the truck hooked up, Jim loaded, and to the vets in just over an hour (it's a solid 40 minutes to our vet) but I drive slow.

The vets were pleased with his overall condition when I pulled his blanket (I'd put one on in case he went down in the barn and got chilled). They ran some bloodwork and all looked good so they ruled out a number of other issues. They gave him a shot of banamine, a shot of penicillin, and a shot of dex. He perked up almost instantly when we got home an hour later.

What the vet said was because Jim is 30, it would be very similar to a 90 year old choking. There would be shock and necessary time to recover. I've known of people who have choked, and two days later died from it (even though there was no food left in their was simply the shock from the experience).

I was supposed to give Jim banamine (orally because I hate giving shots) and unimprim (powder because I hate giving shots). Jim turned up his nose at the grain and unimprim but I was able to convince him with a lot of grain to eat most of it. At least he's good at taking banamine. But he's avoided the barn ever since (until the rain and snow Monday).

Jim has and continues to be a bit of a touch me not. When Bo was around, Jim would be there right at the door waiting to get in but without Bo watching for me, Jim doesn't seem nearly as interested in his grain any more. I expect some of that is due to the choke.

So now I need to remember to haul warm water out to soak their grain. A hard lesson to learn and remember. I'd started soaking grain when my first horse choked and I'd been doing it ever since but with Junior's need to have his feed in an over the fence feeder, I slipped.

The joys of old horses.

Monday, March 5, 2018

One Week

It was one week ago today that we said goodbye to Bo. The skies were blue and temps were warming up and it was a decent day for the end of February.

Today, we are in near blizzard like conditions. I'm glad I stayed home but wishing that everyone in the family were home. I was smart enough last night to put blankets on everyone that had blankets. I started to doubt myself because the temps were in the 40s but the wind was from the south east which bites. I'm glad that I went ahead and put blankets on.

At midnight, we had thunder. I'm not sure about the rain but there was definite thunder. At 5:30 when I rolled out of bed, I was extremely happy to have put blankets on everyone. When I managed to get out at 6am to do chores, it was a downpour. I didn't see anyone so I'm guessing they were standing in the sheds or somewhere out of the wind.

All morning long, I've been watching the weather. It would rain and then sleet. At one point I couldn't tell if it was sleet or hail. But about an hour ago it switched over to snow and now we are in near whiteout conditions. I'm thinking I'll head out soon to put Junior, Mayhem, and Lace in their stalls for the day. I am sure they won't mind being stuck in their stalls for a little extra time.

Weather like this makes me panic. I'm not exactly sure why. I guess it's the farmer genes in me. I always seem to find myself out in the worst of it. But it's usually to make sure that everyone is comfortable during bad weather.

..short pause...

ok, I'm headed out. I can't handle the thought of the horses being out in this and I want to check on them. Always the worrier I guess but the horses aren't just horses. They are family and I was taught at an early age to always take care of your family.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Life Lessons from Bo

When I reflect back on the time I had with Bo, I realized that Bo taught me two very important lessons. Each horse will teach you a lesson; its' simply a matter of recognizing that lesson and putting it to use.

Bo had a hard life. I don't know his entire past nor will I ever know but I do know that at one point, he had it very hard, to the point where he nearly died. You would think that all he'd been through, all he'd experienced, that he would be angry. But he wasn't.  Here in lies the first lesson from Bo's Book of Life.

Forgive and Forget
Bo never once held a grudge to me or any other human for the poor treatment he was dealt that nearly killed him. He was never anything but a gentleman. Even on that fateful day almost 7 years ago, when I put that halter on him to lead him to the trailer (instead of rushing him through aisles as loose horses are typically loaded), Bo raised his head a little higher. It was almost as if he was proud to wear that halter and to know that he was owned and loved by someone. And this even though he was emaciated and near death. For all the terrible things that he'd experienced, he'd forgiven and forgotten.  In the seven years we were together, Bo never carried a grudge.

And that leads me to the second life lesson.

Be Happy
Bo was always happy. He never looked at his past as something to dread. He looked to the future and was always happy. Even though he was bottom of the pecking order, he knew how to avoid the aggressive horses and was simply happy to be near his best friend, Zeke. I have never known a happier horse.

He was handed an unfair lot in life and yet he never let that get him down. All the misfortune he went through even after coming to the Sanctuary, he never let that get him down. Only once did I see him ever be anything but happy and that was when Lightening tried to steal Zeke away as best friend. Otherwise, Bo has always been happy.

We would all benefit from taking a page from Bo's Book of Life and to read and understand more on how to look at the world differently.

I know that I do not forgive nor do I ever forget a wrong done to me. I need to be like Bo and simply let it go. Its' in the past and I need to walk way from it because there is more and much better coming. And that which is coming, shall make me happy. I come from a long line of worriers so simply being happy is a bit harder to do but I want to follow in Bo's foot steps and simply be happy.

So in honor of Bo, I'm going to spend the month of March showing you all what makes me happy. I'm sure some days will be difficult but even the simplest things can and should make me happy. In a world full of "stuff" and "gadgets" sometimes it's the simple things like a sunset or a soft breeze that really makes one happy.

So here's to you Bo on making sure I am happy.

Thank you for teaching me these two very important life lessons.
Love you always Bo

Goodbye Bo

I've struggled to write this post all week. I've composed it a million times in my head but when it comes right down to putting thoughts on paper (or online for that matter), I just couldn't bring myself to do it until now.

We lost Bo Monday.

It is odd how timing all came to play into the decision. I've been waiting for Bo to give me the sign he was ready and he hadn't ever given that sign. When I was in to the vets on Friday with Farley (he wasn't feeling well and I didn't want to go into the weekend with a sick dog). The vet informed me that starting March 1st (today), rendering services will no longer pick up animals that have been humanely euthanized (even the sedative used to castrate, which is the second sedative when euthanizing) is not allowed.

I spent Friday night in a tizzy with much crying. Bo still hadn't given me the sign he was ready so how could I even though he's going downhill? I did weigh the options all day Saturday and the thoughts sat very heavy on my heart and mind. If I chose to put him down, was I ending his life too early but if I waited would he go down? This time of year is a terrible time to have a horse go down. We don't have the option to bury. I certainly cannot afford to hire a backhoe or excavator to bury a horse.

We are a Sanctuary that focuses on old horses. Since losing my first horse February 25, 2007, we have lost 17 horses (counting Bo). That's 17 horses in 11 years. Along with that, we've lost 3 dogs, and a number of two-legged family members in that time frame. I have not had a year in 11 years where I have not lost someone I've loved (either two legged or four). It's a hard loss when I think about it. We focus on the senior horses so we are going to have more come through our doors and not stay for very long. It's a more common occurrence so when the vet told me of the news, I became worried. This changes everything for us.

Sunday morning I checked in on Bo and I knew. He gave me the sign he was ready. Maybe he'd been giving me the sign all along and I was too blinded to see it but it was very clear Sunday morning. Had I had the opportunity, I would have let him go right then. His hips were bothering him too much for him to feel comfortable. Even in the evening when he came in for his grain, he did not let out his gigantic whinny to show his excitement for supper. So he was clearly giving me the sign that I needed to let go. I'm sure he'd given me the sign many times before but I was too blinded what I don't know but I was too blinded to let go. I guess I was selfish in wanting to keep him around. Fate seems to have played him a cruel hand at life even if he didn't see it that way.

So on Monday, I called the vet to make arrangements. Even though later this week would be much nicer, the opportunity for us to have the rendering service take him was limited to three short days and Monday was the nicest day. I wanted him to have a warm day, even if he couldn't have grass in his belly, I wanted sun on his back when he went.

He hated the vet, he hated needles so I was worried. Because of his heart failure, it didn't take long and he was gone within a blink of an eye.

I've noticed it twice now when having to lose horses. I'd stopped to get gas before heading to the vet and the world seemed too loud. It's fairly quiet at the Sanctuary. It's the way I want to keep it so that there's very little commotion and stress for the horses. But the real world seemed all too loud Monday morning. I had that same experience when I had to take Rabbit in to the vet as well. I wanted the world to come to a stop and for everything to be quiet.

The place doesn't seem right without Bo standing at the gate waiting for me. In the evenings, I sneak into the barn thinking Bo will hear me and then realize that he's not here. On that Monday morning, I'd let Bo out to wander because I'd do that for him every once in a while. Even his hoof prints in the snow are slowly melting away and I have no physical reminder of him.

I have lost others but for some reason Bo had a strong old on my heart...and still does. Sometimes you choose your horse and other times, they choose you.

Goodbye my sweet, sweet Bo. Until we meet again.

Born - 2001
March 12, 2011 - February 26, 2017

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday

This Wishlist Wednesday, we wish for beet pulp. Even though it takes bit of convincing for the horses to eat, we wish for beet pulp to help pack on the pounds of the hard keepers. Even though the horses are on grain and 24x7 hay, some of the hard keepers start to drop weight this time of year. We add a little beet pulp (and have to convince them they like it) to add a little bit extra weight. 

The picture is of Jim from this summer before we was on beet pulp. Once he steals someone else's grain that has beet pulp, he'll devour it. It's all about convincing them they like it (it's like convincing kids the like vegetables). 

Jim eating his grain mash

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


We lost Bo yesterday.

It's very difficult to write those words.

His death was 11 years and one day after the loss of my very first horse, my dream horse. It's a hard pill to swallow.

I started to think about all those that have gone before Bo. 17 horses in 11 years. For me, that's a lot of loss but I remember each one so fondly. In between those 17 horses, we also lost dogs and humans, all who supported our endeavors. We have not had a year without loss of someone.

But that is the life of a Sanctuary focused on senior horses. It is the part of the job I hate. But it is also the part that must be done that others will not.

I will share more but  not today. Today, as I did yesterday, I mourn. I also rejoice in knowing that Bo is pain free and can share his happy personality with others in heaven. But for me, left behind, I mourn.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bad News for Horse Owners

I was at the vets today (Farley wasn't feeling well) and they told me a very upsetting bit of information.

Starting March 1st, no rendering service will pick up horses that have been humanely euthanatized with the standard serum. I've heard one excuse for this change but I'm not sure if it is legit or just talk.

But this is a huge blow to horses. How can you promote humane euthanasia if you have no way of disposing of the body? Now the only means is to shoot the horse and I can't do it. I can't be there for such a method. We have had to use that method twice and neither was preferred but it was the option that kept everyone safe and everyone calm. I didn't want to put any undue stress on them anyway and loading them into a trailer and hauling them to an unknown location would only cause more problems as they were both becoming aggressive (Longhorn the donkey who had foundered and we pulled from auction for $10 and Sahara who was a crippled yearling filly we pulled from auction for $5).

If an owner chooses to humanely euthanasia, they will have to find other means for the body and in most instances, it means burying the horse. But that adds up depending on who you go with for a backhoe and then there's the issue of having to bury a horse in the middle of winter! You can't. And what of those that board their horses?

I foresee more senior horses headed to auction and entering the pipeline. That worries me and makes me physically ill.

I hope that there is talk of other means and methods for human euthanasia. These old horses deserve a retirement. They deserve to spend their golden years enjoying time off from all their hard work. They shouldn't be shipped off from one auction to another simply because there is no other option for euthanasia.

And as the days slip by and Bo's condition worsens, what do we do? The ground is frozen and I cannot bear to shoot him. That is not what you do to an old friend and family member. And yes, he is like family. We are either going to have to make a decision quickly about Bo or simply see if he can hold out until spring when the ground thaws enough. But how many can we bury at the Sanctuary before there is no more places?

This is all news I was not looking for nor needing right now. I've been under the weather for the past month and it's taking its toll on me. I haven't been able to get anything done and I've now lost out on a couple of opportunities. Even if it's one step forward, it's four steps back.

I guess for now, put your thinking caps on and lets come up with a way around or find a loop hole in the system. I do not want to see senior horses who have worked their entire lives sent off to auction simply because there is no "alternative" for human euthanasia.

Happy Friday

Happy Friday

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday to last summer with Mayhem

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday
This Wishlist Wednesday, we wish for salt blocks. Even in winter, we need to make sure that the horses receive enough salt in their diets.

A white salt block costs about $5 and will last the big herd a month (and the other two pens longer). You can find white salt blocks at TSC and Campbell Supply. I'm sure there are other locations as well.

Zeke at the salt block

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thinking About Bo

I cried myself to sleep last night. I don't think Bo has much time left on this Earth and I think he's going to leave it to me to make that decision rather than go on his own (but most have forced me to make the decision for them as well). It's always a tough decision. It's devastating for me but for some reason, I'm really struggling with Bo.

The other night, I went out to let him out of his stall and he let out the biggest whinny. It's the same whinny I get when it's time to eat, but this time it was simply to say hello. Or it could have been, LET ME OUT because I'd left him in with no friends. Jim rushed at him trying to get into the barn and I'd had enough of Jim's bad behavior rushing the door and either pushing Bo out of the way or trying to cram two bodies in through a door the size of me.

But that whinny. That loud, vocal hello (or get me outta here, whichever it was), is too much for me. His mind and spirit are still so very, very active and yet his body is breaking down right before my eyes. He always comes up lame, every 6-8 months and it's never the same foot or leg. But this time, it's painfully obvious that his entire back end hurts, more so his right rear.  He's also starting to drop weight even though he's on a heavy ration of grain that helps with his ulcers.

Maybe I'm being selfish. Maybe I'm keeping him around only to be selfish because I don't want to make that decision. I'm going to have to make that phone call pretty soon though. But it hurts and he hasnt' told me he's ready. His body has but his mind has not. How can I be so unfair? How is it fair to keep him going when his body is falling apart right before my eyes? But how is it fair to say goodbye to someone who greets me at the gate and demands his grain every day?

Bo has always been a complicated horse and I can see now that even in his upcoming, death, he's going to be complicated. Normally I can easily make the decision. Don't get me wrong. Easy is not spoken lightly. I simply know. I know when they are failing and need help. It's not an easy decision nor is it taken lightly. But it's written as plan as letters on a page but with Bo. It's there but I can't seem to read the writing. Maybe I'm being selfish. I don't know. I don't want him to go alone but I also don't want to stress him out because he hates being in a trailer and despises the vet. So that adds undue burden to him. But I don't want to take Zeke because then Zeke will "know" and I don't want to sacrifice one horse's wellbeing for another.

So I wait and I watch and I worry. I would say I'll have to make a decision sometime in March but I just dont' know. That would have given him an additional 5 months from his prognosis in October. It's 5 extra months to have enjoyed Bo's company but it's still only 5 months.

I'm feeling selfish but I'm also not seeing all the signs I normally see. So I don't know. So instead I wait a little longer. For what, I have no idea. It's not like the outcome is going to change. But I wait and I cry myself to sleep thinking about Bo.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Random Ramblings

I still can't put my finger on what's wrong with Maverick. I checked him last night, and he was fine. This morning, he was again hiding in his official spot in the lean to. Of course that spot is becoming a coveted spot so maybe that's it. I don't know. My brain and emotions are a bit tapped out as of late. There's all this stuff I'd really like to do and right about the time I find the time to get to it, something comes up and I'm taking two steps back. I guess that's the nature of the beast.

Yesterday was gorgeous, in the upper 40s. I was so ready for spring to get here although it's much to early for that just yet. And today, as the day progresses, the temperatures are continuing to drop and we'll be dealing with single digits again overnight. It's a hard shift on animals and people alike. I worry every time we have a temp change that's drastic. I worry about colic and who it'll be. I guess I'm a bit nervous after losing Ivan and now watching Maverick, trying to decide what's going on with my spunky red gelding that doesnt' seem to be himself lately. I could have sworn I heard and saw a robin this morning during chores. It's much to early for them to arrive but it was a bright moment nonetheless.

I've been fairly quiet on the blog as of late and I may unfortunately continue that trend. I've been under the weather for awhile and I need to get back into the swing of things before I can tackle any big projects. And that's a bummer because I had hoped to move forward with a couple of ideas but that seems to be stalled right in its tracks. I guess we'll see how things go but I don't expect anything to come of it for awhile.

On the bright side, Junior is looking good. I don't believe he's lost any weight. I can't tell if he's packing it on or just leaving it on but in any case, he's looking good for being 30 years old. I honestly didn't think he'd make 30 when we took him in. He was 26 at the time and I figured one or two good years would be all he'd have left in him. Boy was I wrong. I do love it when the horses prove me wrong.

And Brego, oh my sweet, sweet Brego. I went out to do chores the other night and I wasn't feeling well. Brego knew there was something wrong and wouldnt' leave my side. He walked with me all the way from the bottom of the drylot to the barn, never once leaving my side, walking as slowly as I was and stopping every time I needed a break. That boy really knows when I need a bit of comfort. I always thought I'd only get that kind of attention from the older mares. I was wrong. Brego just seems to know. Yet another reason why I do adore him so. He's simply the sweetest horse we have at the Sanctuary.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday to last summer with King (and no the big squiggly thing on the right is not a snake, it's just a branch. Lord help me if I ever see a snake that big!).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be My Valentine - Bo

Meet Bo
Bo has been a special case since they day I laid eyes on him. We rescued him from an auction when he, along with his emaciated herd mates, were ordered to go to auction. There are many rumors that have swirled around Bo. I've even been accused of being the one to send him to auction. Only those who actually know me would know what a laughable statement that is. But we outbid the killbuyer and brought him home for $110. I wasn't sure he was going to even make the trip home.

We nursed him back to health but he's always been a difficult one to care for. From the get go, he's been classified as a hard keeper. Every year one thing or another would happen and we'd be faced with more challenges: severe lameness, ulcers, weight loss, breathing issues, and now heart failure.

The minute the vet uttered "heart failure" my heart broke because there was  nothing more I could do for Bo. I can keep him comfortable and as happy as possible but I cannot bring his body back from the wreckage. So now, as the days pass, we constantly watch to ensure Bo's quality of life is where it needs to be.

Even with the abuse and neglect he endured  before coming to the Sanctuary, he is still a happy horse, always greeting me with a huge whinny (it's because of the grain but I'll take it). I think Bo knew he was close to death and there seems to be a different bond between him and me than any of the other horses. He still has no ground manners and will run me over if someone challenges his space. He's the lowest on the pecking order but has figured out evasive maneuvers to get away (which include running me over if need be).

But Bo is sweet. He has a kind heart and wants to love and be loved. He watches me just as closely as I watch him. If only his condition wasn't to this point. If only we could have met years ago. I believe we would have been an amazing riding team. We did go for a short ride but his previous life stressed him out for riding so I only took him once on a short excursion before realizing that from no on, he needs to stay home and stay quiet.

He's best friends with Zeke but now that he's in the barn over the winter eating, he's getting to know Jim a little more. They tolerate each other in the barn but I was hoping they'd at last hang out a little bit in the big herd, but so far that's not happening.

Bo has taken to sticking to himself, patiently waiting for his evening grain and hanging out with me.

I wish that I could speak more eloquently about Bo to show you how much of an amazing horse he is. I hesitate to post pictures because his heart failure is taking its toll on this body and we've always fought to gain any ground on his weight problem. But pictures dont' do justice to Bo's spirit and energy. He doesn't have the demanding presence but he has a different presence that for me is somewhat calming. There's just something about Bo that I can't put into words that I wish I could share with you all. Bo is a very special horse and although he won't be on this earth for very much longer, I would love to share him with you so you too can see what an amazing horse he is.

If you'd like to sponsor him, monthly sponsorships are $50 and it would go to buying Ramona feed (which is what keeps the ulcers at bay) and senior feed (which hopefully keeps some weight on him), along with a weight booster supplement and buteless supplement (to ease the aches and pains he's experiencing during this cold snap). In return, you'll receive monthly updates and pictures of Bo (mostly eating his grain!)


Happy Valentine's Day

Hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Health Issues

I'm stressing over sick horses. I wasn't expecting Maverick to not feel well. He's my tried and true, my ever present, always happy, always healthy horse and he's not. I have a sneaky suspicion that it's the hay giving him problems.

Last night he was very pensive and downright grumpy, which is something he is NEVER. He had good gut sounds so it's definitely not colic and I thought maybe in the  morning he'd improve. This  morning I checked on him and he's still "off". He's farting but he's still not right.

We put in hay Sunday morning and Sunday evening I saw him, Lightening, and King all curled up snoozing. I am always a little paranoid when someone lies down but they all seemed ok. I didn't get a chance to really look at the herd Monday, too much chaos and commotion going on to really notice. And then all of a sudden it's Tuesday night and Maverick has this look on his face. No one else would notice it but I did.

Mike is going to pick up a 10ml syringe tonight at TSC so I don't have to try and give two doses of banamine. I know he's good about taking meds but that won't last for long if I have to give him two or three doses every time. I'm planning on pulling him out of the big herd and putting him in a smaller pen. He'll hate it but then I can keep track of him a little closer. I'll throw good small squares of hay and if he perks up, I'll know it's the hay.

This isn't the first time we've had problems with hay. I don't know the field where this hay came from. I don't know the true quality of it like the stuff we normally get. I'm wondering if there isnt' some switch grass in there causing problems. I only say that because a few years back when we had to use CRP hay, Queen would colic every time we put  a new bale of hay in. And it almost matches the same symptoms and time frame. No one else is having problems but that's not to say there isn't buildup. This hay has been ok but there's chaff and I don't like dealing with chaff. I want to go with our old hay guy.

If it truly is the hay, I'll be making a run up to Madison to buy Maverick a big bale of good, dairy quality hay and he'll simply be stuck in that pen until the big herd is done with those two bales. I expect it'll take more than a week to eat it down. That means hauling water twice a day, all the way back to the red shed. It's a pain, especially when I'm running late in the  mornings but it needs to be done.

On top of Maverick not feeling well, Bo's back end is bothering him. I hope it's just today that is bothering him. It comes and goes but today was bad enough for me to notice. He hides his pain but you can tell simply by the way he stands and shifts his weight. That sign tells me he's ready to let go but when he looks at me, his eyes don't tell me he's ready to go. His eyes are bright, happy and energetic. His mind and spirit are still there but his body is failing him. So when is it the right time? What am I waiting for? His body is failing him right before my eyes and I seem to be waiting for what? A miracle? Something to change the inevitable? I keep waiting and hoping that everyone is wrong as his body continues to fail. But his mind and spirit are still strong. They are still very present in the moment. So what do I do? Instead I wait. I don't want him to leave this worth with snow under his body and clouds in the sky I want him to  leave with grass in his belly and sun on his back. So I wait. I watch. I worry. Bo and I could use some good thoughts right about now.

Be My Valentine - Chaos

Meet Chaos
Chaos is the first horse to officially come into the Sanctuary. In May 2006 we welcomed an unhandled yearling stud. It was a true wakeup call because we'd only ever handled older horses. We accepted Chaos sight unseen but are definitely glad we took the leap of faith on him as he's been our go-to horse for many and seems to catch the eye of many as well.

Chaos has come a long way from that gangly yearling stage. He's now 13 and completely sure of himself, which makes me appreciate him more. He has self confidence that pours from him. There are certain horses that exude personality and confidence and Chaos is one of them. He demands respect and gets it from the entire herd (except Rain).

We've gone through many ordeals with Chaos include a foot stuck in a concrete loading chute, a nail in the hoof, getting caught up in the fence and cutting both back legs, and a few others that I can't remember right now. I honestly think that Chaos has and is a blessed horse with someone watching over him because he has been accident prone when he was younger.

Chaos is always one of the first to greet you at the gate and if you have treats, he'll be your best friend forever. He's carried me through countless trail rides and carried novice and expert riders with the same care. He's a bit on the lazy side and prefer to simply hang out but will pick up the pace when the herd goes on a gallop around the pasture.

Chaos is one in a million and I'm very glad we took the chance on him way back in 2006. He's a very easy keeper and only requires hay and his salt block. Would you like to be Chaos's Valentine this year and provide a monthly sponsorship? $50 monthly sponsorship would go to buy his winter supply of hay, countless salt blocks, and some treats that he does absolutely love. In return, you'll receive a monthly update and pictures of this hunk-a-hunk horse.

You can pay for sponsorship through paypal at or via mail at
Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
PO Box 164
Humboldt, SD 57035


Wishlist Wednsday

Wishlist Wednesday

Our Wishlist Wednesday is a wish we are always asking for...hay. We are always in need of hay (and alfalfa) in any shape or quantity. We are not picky on what type of hay we get (round bales, big squares, small squares, etc.). We are always in need.

It's amazing how quickly the horses go through hay and how even $5 can buy a bale of hay and keep a senior horse fat and sassy.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Be My Valentine - Zeke

Meet Zeke
I'm not allowed to have favorites but Zeke, well, he's special. The first time I swung my leg over the saddle on Zeke, it was like I was riding my first Arab that I had retired. It felt as though I was picking up where I had left off except with a different horse.

Zeke was just that easy to get along with that after only six months, I was more than comfortable riding him to the church in my big poofy wedding dress for my big day. That is how much I trust him, and I still trust him. Don't get me wrong, my biggest spill also came from Zeke but that's all my fault.

I wasn't looking for a horse but I'm prone to notice arabs for sale. I found him in September 2009 and bought him as my personal horse. We did everything together. He's been my trail horse (although failed miserably because he'd prefer to jump creeks rather than walk through them), participated in parades, and was involved in not one, but TWO drill teams. In fact, he was the oldest horse on the team and keeping up with the younger "pups" and showing them off. He knew when it was the real deal. I'm guessing he once was a show horse in a previous career but we'll never know.

But at the age of 24, he told me that he was tired of performing for drill team so I retired him at that season. He's been enjoying retirement to the extreme since then. When I retired him from drill team, I put him into the Sanctuary program and he's been very happy ever since.

I knew Zeke was special but this past year has shown me the extent of how special he is. He's the typical arab but seems rather down to earth. He's always hung out with Bo and even Brego and Ivan when Bo was in eating. He isn't one of the pushy ones and is lower on the pecking order. But he takes everything into stride.

When Ivan was colicing last November, Zeke stuck fairly close to him. I thought it was odd. He went to far as to touch Ivan's belly where it hurt. Zeke was trying to make him feel better. After we lost Ivan, Brego went into a depression. I was worried sick for Brego. I shouldn't have worried. Zeke was there to bring him out of his depression. Now I see them play fighting all the time, tormenting each other. If Brego isn't picking on Zeke, Zeke is picking on Brego. It's so good to see Brego out of his depression and it's good to see that Zeke is moving around like a typical young arab instead of an old duffer.

He still watches over Bo. There was a bit of a tiff when Lightening came. Lightening immediate went to Zeke for protection and to follow. It was like they were one and the same but in the past few months Lightening has found his own stride. That's a good thing because Zeke is back to watching over Bo. I think Bo and Zeke have always been fairly close friends because Zeke knows that Bo has never been 100% healthy.

Zeke is very special and even at the age of 26 he doesn't seem like he's slowing down in his retirement. I'm looking forward to pampering him during his golden years because he deserves it. He's taken care of me countless times, kept me safe during all our rides, and now deserves (and will get) a retirement where he can be spoiled every day of his golden years.

Would you like to help spoil Zeke? You can sponsor him monthly for $50, which will buy him a bag of senior feed and ensure he gets the needed trims to keep him balanced and comfortable. In return, you'll receive monthly updates with pictures. I know Zeke is special to me, but I'd love to share this special horse with you!

You can pay for sponsorship through paypal at or via mail
Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
PO Box 164
Humboldt, SD 57035


Be My Valentine - Mayhem

Meet Mayhem
Mayhem came to us as a three month old filly in September 2011. She was Rabbit's last baby and the owner didn't want either Rabbit or Mayhem as Mayhem was guaranteed blue roan and she obviously didn't come out blue roan. There are no guarantees in life other than death and taxes. So the owner wanted to find them a new home. We'd been looking for an "older" horse for our late 20s mare and there was Rabbit. The catch was Mayhem. We could either keep Mayhem for $50 or bring her back after she'd been weaned and he'd find her a home. I was worried because she was registerable but the papers weren't filled out properly so she never did get registered. She also had an umbilical hernia. Not many would take on that challenge and being sorrel, she'd be easy pickings for slaughter. So we kept her.

Mayhem had already had two strikes against her so she came to live at the Sanctuary. She's had a few additional strikes against her. We thought she was colicing and took her into the vet. We discovered instead that she has colitis. I will take full responsibility for that one. But in the  mean time, we also discovered that she has a heart murmur. Then during one of her runs through the pastures, she poked her eye and there is now a white spot on her left eye. She can see out of it but as she ages, I expect that she will have difficulty seeing.

So Mayhem is a bit of a horse who has been able to outlast the normal three strikes and you're out theory. Mayhem really does stand up to her name.

Personality wise, she's been around old horses so she's a bit of an old soul. But she also brings out the playfulness in the older horses, which is always a good thing. Mayhem is inquisitive but also a bit shy and unsure of herself. I blame that on me as we've never really done much with her. She always kept getting pushed to the back burner because another older senior needed our time, attention, and funds.

Mayhem likes everyone and seems to blend will with whoever she is in with. She can hang out with the ponies, or Lace and Junior. Or she can tease the boys and taunt them with her filly silliness. But overall, she's a solidly built mare who reminds me so much of her mother but with the carefree spirit that all horses should have.

Mayhem still has the umbilical hernia but we have the funds built up to get it repaired. We are currently waiting for the weather to warm up and for our vet to heal for an injury before we proceed. Until then, Mayhem is a very easy keeper and only requires hay. I'd love to send her to a trainer but that's not in the cards as I use my personal money for all horse training and there's a lack of funds right now for me.

If anyone would like to sponsor Mayhem, it would be $50 and would go directly to her hay bill and keeping a salt block in her pasture. She's a growing girl so she powers through the hay like no one else can. In return, you'll receive a monthly update with pictures.

You can send sponsorships through or via mail at
Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
PO Box 164
Humboldt, SD 57035


Monday, February 12, 2018

Lost Penny Day

A penny might not seem like very much money and in fact, in some cases, it's rather a nuisance. But we've all stashed pennies away for a rainy day and realized that pennies do add. up.

Lost Penny Day is the perfect day to take a moment to recognize that despite the fact that pennies may not seem like they are worth much, they can still be found and used to help those in need where very penny counts and adds up.

We count our pennies every day and it's amazing how quickly a few pennies can add up and help the Sanctuary horses. Would you consider donating a few pennies on Lost Penny Day?

You can donate through PayPal at or send your pennies via mail at:

Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
26160 457th Ave
Humboldt, SD 57035

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Be My Valentine - Brego

Meet Brego
Sweet and mello. That's the words to describe Brego. Brego is the gentlest horse at the Sanctuary and would never hurt a fly. Brego came to the Sanctuary in October 2008 on a rainy night. He was the first horse we dealt with that was thinner than we would normally have liked. We've struggled with his weight until we finally went to round bales and now he's nice and plump. I think he was so passive, that he let others eat his food.

Brego is a 13 year old grade quarter horse gelding.

Brego is a sweetheart with a heart of gold. He's always curious to know what I'm doing but never gets into my space without first asking.

When Brego was five, I sent him to the trainers to become a good riding horse only to discover that he should never be ridden. We can only guess that he has a back/hip issue that causes pain. So instead, he is now a pasture pet.

This fall he lost his best friend and I was terrified that he would fall into a deep depression. Luckily, he had adjusted well and seems to be back to his sweet self once again. I cannot believe how residential Brego is.

Brego is lower in the pecking order but doesn't seem to get pushed around either. He always seems to be congenial and sweet tempered. I don't know that I have ever seen him pin his ears at anyone.

Would you like to sponsor this sweetheart of a horse? Brego's monthly sponsorship is $50 and covers the cost of grain and will ensure that he gets a winter blanket. He has a blanket but it's starting to show its wear. Brego hates being cold and loves to wear blankets. It's one of his special perks of being a thin skilled QH. In return for sponsoring Brego, you'll receive monthly updates and pictures.

You can donate to or send via mail to
Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
PO Box 164
Humboldt, SD