Saturday, October 30, 2010


Hopefully tomorrow's trail ride will make up for today's horse auction. I had to leave early. I just couldn't stay. I tried saving an old skinny mare. She went for $5 to the kill buyer. No one saw me sitting there waving my hands. She was out the door before I could get anyone's attention. I left right afterwards. I'm heartbroken.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Horizontal Snow

Oh how I dread the word.....


It's an evil word around these parts because we are faced with it for six months out of the year (it feels like anyway). It's only October 27th and we have snow. It's not the light fluffy kind that gently falls from the sky. It's the hard pellets that hurt when it comes flying horizontally across the open plains and smacks you right in the face.

Luckily last night we had a reprieve from the rain. But the wind was terrible, terrible, terrible. Had there been snow at the time, it would have been horizontal (like it is this morning). The horses were happy to stay out in the pasture until I called Sam in for his evening grain. I need to start in with my winter routine instead of my summer routine. It gets dark so darn fast these days that I'm doing half my chores in the dark.

Luckily everyone behaved for the most part and were happy and willing to snarf down the grain and hay I threw out. Even Thor decided he'd hang out for a little while and eat some hay. I need to clean out the yards a little better so I have more places to throw hay.

A few weekends back we started building an open front. At the time we only had a skeleton frame for the building. Last night it was leaning pretty good. This morning it was in a heap on the ground. I was rather disappointed. I'd hoped to have it done by now. The fencing is contingent on the open front being done and now it's lying in a heap.

When I went to feed Rabbit, she was shivering like crazy. She still doesn't have enough weight on her since she's spending all her time feeding Mayhem. I did order some waterproof sheets but they didnt' come with leg straps. I've learned my lesson with putting a sheet with no leg straps on a horse that is not stalled. I decided that we'd go with a winter blanket instead. I know it's too early and she needs to get her coat on but I couldn't let her stand there and shiver the entire night. When I flopped her grain dish in front of her though, she did stop shivering. But I wanted to make her feel better so on went her winter blanket. She must have been pampered in her earlier years because she stood like a pro for me to put on the blanket. She didn't even spook, like the others do so I'm sure she's worn a blanket in the past. Mayhem wasn't so sure about the blanket but she checked it out to make sure "mom" was still under there.

This morning I woke to the roaring wind. The only problem with winter is that I can stay in bed listening to the wind howl and not realize that there is horizontal wind blowing. It's not until I step outside that the shock hits me. This morning was a shock to the system. I knew it was supposed to be nasty out but I didn't think it would be pelting snowballs at me. I was NOT impressed. Everyone but Thor was up by the barn. Poor Thor, I'm guessing he was out in the pasture somewhere. I may have to start stalling Sam (so he can eat his grain, alfalfa, and hay without being pestered) and throw Thor in too. Thor really likes being in the barn even if his stall is too small for him.

I've found that the older work horses love being in the barn. Dictator (my first horse who happened to be a Colorado ranch horse) loved being in the barn. I couldn't get Bob out of the barn. Sam hated the barn at first and now prefers to stand in there (of course the barn means food). And now Thor is loving the barn. So we'll see how it all plays out.

The weatherman is saying the wind won't die down until after 7pm tonight. So I'll have to deal with the wind for a little bit during chores. I can only hope that the weather gets better so I can scurry around and get some of my final projects done before the real snow hits. I'm starting to panic that I'll not get everything done that needs to be done before real winter sets in and we're dealing with a few feet of snow.'s an evil word.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winter is Here

Winter is most definately here. I'll be pulling out the winter coats, coveralls, hats, gloves, etc. I had hoped to get the utility room cleaned before I pulled out all the winter gear but it probably won't happen.

Last night I was late getting out to do chores. I had hoped the rain would stop or at a minimum not be pouring when I went out. No luck. By the time I came in for the night I was soaked to the bone. And to think, I spent most of my time under cover of a barn or hay shed.

I decided that it was time to start feeding everyone hay at night. I had hoped to hold off for another week but everyone looked so miserable. I gave them all a quick treat of grain and then threw hay. I'll have to come up with a different method of throwing hay this year.

I am trying to run through the old hay which is in the hay shed. I prefer to pull hay from the hay barn first since there's light and it's under cover. But I have too much hay sitting out under tarps that I want to use up first. That means I have to fight a gate and the ever present downhill slope that always seems to take my haycart away from me. I'm not sure what will happen when there's snow and I can't drag my haycart through the gate because of the snow drifts. It will be interesting to say the least.

The weatherman is calling for snow tomorrow sometime. I haven't seen a weather report in about two weeks so hearing about snow was a bit of a shock. I really am not prepared yet for snow and winter. I need to get a bit of fencing done before the weather turns and I haven't quite figured out how to fix some of our broken fence line. I need to fix the fenceline so I can pull the electric fence charger. Last year I forgot it and it was buried under a few feet of snow until spring when I found it again.

Everyone was up by the barn this morning except for Thor. Poor Thor. I really do worry about him. He has no one to protect and he hasn't buddied up with anyone either. Last night while everyone else was munching on hay, he wandered out to the pasture to be by himself. This morning everyone was all huddled up next to the barn except for Thor who I'm assuming was out in the pasture by himself again. I just dont' know what to do. He's depressed but at least he's eating. I'm really worried about him. I don't know what to do.

The rain is supposed to stop sometime today so hopefully the horses can dry off. We are in a high wind warning/watch so that will make chores a blast. I really wish I was prepared for this type of weather. I froze this morning throwing hay to Rabbit and Mayhem. I'm just not prepared for winter. Too bad winter is already here.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This past week we had a family emergency which took us out of state. All is ok now so no worries. But the past week's worth of family stresses on top of the current stresses have been just too much.

I'm afraid my mood is down in the dumps. I do have good stories to tell about Jim but will save those for a different day.

The weather is foggy, hazy, and drizzly. It adds to my mood. And I just realized that two weeks ago today we lost Joe. Hopefully by the end of the week my good spirits will return.

I am headed to the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock sale this Saturday so add another stress on top of the already big list of stresses.

I will try to return with good stories and pictures for all to enjoy. Until then, hug your horse and say a prayer for those souls that are lost.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Head in the Fog

There's so much I'd like to blog about but my mind is at a total loss. After the sadness of losing Joe (a week ago today), worrying about how Thor would handle the loss and adding him to the big herd, and the stresses of watching so many good lives lost at Saturday's sale I just don't know what to say.

Maybe I need to re-evaluate my outlook and start focusing on the horses here at Borderlands and the good they bring instead of looking at all the lost potential and all the lost lives. It's just stressful and beyond my comprehension how many lives were lost on Saturday. I can only hope that they were dumped into the auction circuit and someone will save them. It does make me more motivated to come up with some plan to pull horses from auctions. But the ideas haven't yet come flying off the top of my head as my mind is simply in a fog.

On a bright note, it sounds like our website will be up and running soon, which means I need to do a "spa" day for the horses so that they can all appear on the website. Maybe once we have a presence and people are more aware, I'll get off my butt and get motivated.

Until then, I may be sporadic in blogging.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hug Your Horse Tonight

Spent the afternoon at the Mitchell Livestock Horse Sale. The cataloged portion was decent. Very well bred horses but half No Saled. People started leaving during the non-cataloged. Most of the horses run through that part went for $500 or less. There were a few over that but not many.

The place was deserted for the loose sale. Most of the broodmares went for $100. The weanlings went for $5-10 and nothing more. I think the highest loose horse went for $250.

When we rode on a ride in September, I saw this poor old mare carrying a kid. She looked like she was on her last legs. Well, they decided to take her to today's auction. I tried bidding on her but they already said "sold" so they wouldn't let me bid on her. She went for $10 to kill. What a waste.

A thoroughbred that had been advertised went for $250. Very nice looking mare. I believe she too went to kill.

An appaloosa that had been advertised at first at $900, then $800, and then $600 was there and went for $250 to kill.

Pathetic. It takes a little bit of effort and elbow grease and you can have a very nice looking horse. Some of the cataloged horses no saled at $4,000. Put a bit of riding time and elbow grease and people want big bucks for them. Leave them untouched and they turn into No Value horses.

So do me a favor and go hug your horse. I hate auctions. Hate, hate hate them. I need to figure out a way to fundraise and save horses from these auctions. 90% of the loose horses went to the killbuyer. My only hope is that they will be run through the Corsica horse sale this Monday and someone else will pick them up. Otherwise they will be headed to Canada or Mexico.

So much potential lost. So many lives lost. Such a shame.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Riding to the Church

Here's one last picture for the day. I couldn't resist. Doesn't Dad look handsome riding handsome Chaos?

And to think Chaos was a rescue!

Shanna with Zeke and Dad with Chaos

One Year Ago Today

It's hard to believe that a year ago today, Mike proposed. It was the best birthday surprise a girl could ever ask for.

To celebrate that special day, I've included pictures from our wedding. Hard to believe it's only been four and a half months of blessed marriage. Crazy how time flies.
Shanna and Zeke. It's a bit difficult to get all the pettie coats and dress situated while riding a horse.

Shanna and Mike on the Chapel Car.

My beautiful rings. Mike has fantastic taste!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Future of Rescue

Just read some interesting news from the Horse Plus Humane Society (formerly NorCal Equine Rescue).

Here's the link to their blog.

I'm curious to see what will happen next. The future is so unclear. It's good news but it's also bad news depending on how you want to look at it. But at least it's a forwarning and rescues can begin preparing for the new future.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Playing Time

I know, I know. The saddle pad slipped. But I was really just playing around and wanted to see what the McClellan saddle looked like on Rain. Of course I didn't have the riggings done up right so the saddle was loose. The problem is the breast collar only works on Rain.

I should probably just sell the silly saddle and put the money towards rescue stuff. But I thought it might be interesting for people to see (of course that was a few years ago and it's been tucked away in my tack room ever since).

Maybe someday I'll figure out how to get it to fit properly (or I'll put it on the right horse). Rain's back doesn't work well with this saddle. I may try my luck with King, Jim, or Maverick since they have very straight backs.

There's a lot of upsetting things going on right now so I figure I wouldn't rant about it but would share in my playing with the horses.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Skippy - Description

It’s amazing how small the world really is. A co-worker asked me if I wanted any ponies. We very rarely turn down a free horse at Borderlands so of course we said yes! There wasn’t much information about the ponies other than my co-worker’s brother-in-law had two ponies he was looking to rehome. His boys had outgrown the ponies and had moved on to bigger and better things. If we weren’t to take them, they were headed to an auction.

It took a little bit to coordinate schedules, but the first weekend in February 2009 we hooked up the trailer and headed east. When we arrived, we didn’t get much more information other than one was named Tommy and one was named Skippy. We weren’t even sure who was who but we made a guess. Luckily both ponies jumped into the trailer and were ready to head for new adventures.

We decided that the sorrel and white mini was named Skippy. It wasn’t even possible to see his little ears while he patiently stood in the trailer.

Not much was known about either pony at the time. We just knew they couldn’t run through the auction. Who knows where they would have ended up. We proudly posted pictures of Skippy on the blog and got a response to his history.

Apparently Tommy and Skippy were once owned by someone located in Minnesota. The landlord said the ponies had to leave immediately, so the people contacted Horse Help Providers (DoupleHP, now known as New Hope Horse Shelter).

The ponies were then adopted out to a family with children. At the time DoupleHP did not have a contract with adopters stating that if they no longer wanted the horses or could financially care for them, they would be returned. When the children outgrew the ponies, they asked if they could/should rehome them and were granted approval.

That’s how Skippy came to live with my co-worker’s brother-in-law. Once their kids outgrew Skippy, the co-worker contacted us.

Of the two ponies, Skippy is much naughtier. He has a sweet personality and a naughty personality. Since he has one blue eye and one brown eye, we joke that one side is his good side and one side is his naughty side. After talking with DoubleHP, we found out that Skippy is actually registered. His registered name is D&W Spice’s Little Skipper and that his birthday is 5/14/2002. We were very happy to learn a little bit more history on Skippy.

Skippy’s only flaw is that he is very attached to Tommy. Wherever Tommy goes, Skippy follows. If we take Tommy out, Skippy whinnies at the top of his lungs. Skippy is a bit cresty in the neck as he wasn’t gelded until he came to DoubleHP. We do believe he kept some of his testosterone hidden away because he acts bigger than he really is. When there is a fence/gate between him and the rest of the horse herd, he torments them. It’s fun to watch as both the big horse and Skippy like to harass one another. It’s always fun to stand and watch the shenanigans. Like Tommy, Skippy takes a rider although we do not know if he’s broke to ride or if he’s only been used as a lead line pony. In either case, he makes the kid’s faces light up. I’m sure Skippy doesn’t think it’s much fun lugging the kids around so we always keep a watchful eye on Skippy to make sure he doesn’t make any “pony” moves.

When he first arrived he was a nipper. He’s since learned that nipping is not allowed in little ponies or big horses. He’s become quite a gentleman and always keeps one blue eye on everything.

Tommy - Description

It’s amazing how small the world really is. A co-worker asked me if I wanted any ponies. We very rarely turn down a free horse at Borderlands so of course we said yes! There wasn’t much information about the ponies other than my co-worker’s brother-in-law had two ponies he was looking to rehome. His boys had outgrown the ponies and had moved on to bigger and better things. If we weren’t to take them, they were headed to an auction.

It took a little bit to coordinate schedules, but the first weekend in February 2009 we hooked up the trailer and headed east. When we arrived, we didn’t get much more information other than one was named Tommy and one was named Skippy. We weren’t even sure who was who but we made a guess. Luckily both ponies jumped into the trailer and were ready to head for new adventures.

We decided that the black and white Shetland pony was named Tommy. You could barely see his ears while standing in the trailer. We were warned that he was hard to catch and he put on a good show when the previous owners were getting him ready for us.
Not much was known about either pony at the time. We just knew they couldn’t run through the auction. Who knows where they would have ended up. We proudly posted pictures of Tommy on the blog and got a response to his history.

Apparently Tommy and Skippy were once owned by someone located in Minnesota. The landlord said the ponies had to leave immediately, so the people contacted Horse Help Providers (DoupleHP, now known as New Hope Horse Shelter). The ponies were evaluated and the CEO of DoupleHP rode Tommy to find out his riding abilities. He is most definitely broke.

The ponies were then adopted out to a family with children. At the time DoupleHP did not have a contract with adopters stating that if they no longer wanted the horses or could financially care for them, they would be returned. When the children outgrew the ponies, they asked if they could/should rehome them and were granted approval.

That’s how Tommy came to live with my co-worker’s brother-in-law. Once their kids outgrew Tommy, the co-worker contacted us.

Tommy is most definitely a naughty little Shetland. He’s very sweet but has the typical naughty streak. His only real flaw is that he doesn’t like to be caught. But for the past year we only pulled Tommy out once or twice for children to ride and being caught really meant grass or a treat.

Through the different owners, Tommy has been very well taken care of. He has the cutest little white V patch on his nose while the rest of his face is black. He is a pretty black and white Shetland and loves to run and play. He is the boss of the two ponies and prefer to “play it cool” when the other horses are around. Tommy is most definitely a character.

Ivan - Description

Still working on telling a story about each horse at Borderlands. Here's Ivan's I mean tale.

We saw an ad in the local classifieds for a very cheap Thoroughbred gelding in July of 2010. We were worried that the $100 price tag on the Thoroughbred might attract a killbuyer or someone looking to make an easy buck. So we contacted the owners to find out a little bit more about this Thoroughbred.

He was actually located at a friend’s, which also happened to be on the way to Borderland’s “temporary home” for some of the horses. We made arrangements to see the horse on an evening and that’s where we fell in love with Ivan.

Not much is known about Ivan other than he’s an unregistered eight or nine year old Thoroughbred gelding. We have never met a more laid back, calm, and slow Thoroughbred (although we’ve not worked with Thoroughbreds personally). Ivan has such a laid back personality that nothing seems to bother him.

Ivan’s only flaw is that he has cellulites in his “man part”. The owners had seen Ivan in February 2010 and saw that his “man part” were hanging out in the dead of winter. The winter of 2010 was one of the coldest with -28 degrees below. They had seen Ivan in Iowa and thought the owner at the time wasn’t doing anything for Ivan. So they bought him and brought him to South Dakota. They took Ivan to the vet who stated that it was cellulites and gave them a game plan for fixing the issue.

The owners had advertised and actually had someone else interested but that person it appeared was concerned with Ivan’s cellulites issue. We, on the other hand, weren’t worried and decided that Ivan would be a perfect match and away he came to Borderlands. He is now best friends with Brego and Zeke. The “three amigos” hang out away from the rest of the herd. Ivan makes a perfect match because he’s so laid back, which is a good thing because he’s rather a tall horse.

We were worried that he was wormy since he was ribby yet had a huge belly when he arrived at Borderlands. We wormed him right away but with no results. We’ve since wormed Ivan two more times and discussed what additional options we can take to get rid of the worms before winter hits.

We also discussed Ivan’s cellulites issue. Unfortunately our vet did not believe that the “game plan” the other vet had for Ivan was actually working. It appears that the cellulites has actually caused permanent damage to Ivan’s “man part”. There are a few options but nothing that will really fix the issue. Because nothing was done originally, the color pigment has actually left and now Ivan is left with a white tip on his black “man part”. We have some additional options to try but for the most part, Ivan is going to the stay the way he is. Who knows how many owners Ivan has had and who knows how long he’s had the cellulites. If the owner would have taken care of the issue right away, Ivan wouldn’t have to deal with this issue for the rest of his life.

Because of his cellulites issue, we will have to make arrangements during the winter months when the weather gets cold. We’re looking at the different options of stalling, blanketing, etc. and hope to come up with a multitude of options to work with. So, if you have any ideas on how to keep Ivan comfortable during the winter, we’d love to hear!


It seems there have been many losses lately in other's lives. I saw the following post from a different blog (Shilo Horse Rescue) and thought it rather touching and wanted to share.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me.
Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland ~ 1847-1918 Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral ~ London

I will share later the life of Joe who crossed over yesterday. He should neve be forgotten but the memory of his passing is still too new and fresh for me to share this morning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Decided since all I've been doing is complaining that I'd at least show some pictures. I was messing with the horses the other day. I think I'm going to convert King over to english. His trot is too painful to sit but is super easy to post to (if you know how to post). King has some muscle issues that makes him unrideable during the heat of the summer. He's a good winter, spring, and fall type riding horse.

I did hop on Dude and ride two laps around the yard. He has hunter's bump so I don't want to risk putting too much weight on his back and causing him pain. But he did enjoy getting out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Too Much

It's just too much for my little brain to handle.

First I see that Joe and Thor's previous owner is trying to dump a couple horses, one of which is going completely bind. Never mind the fact that next week I'm faced with putting Joe down because something happened while in the previous owner's care and it was never taken care of (or the right choice made by euthanizing).

So today as I'm scanning the local ads, I see that this same person just spent lots of $$ to purchase a new horse for their facility. Ok, so why spend that kind of money when you could fix the issues of the current horses and/or do the right thing by the horse and provide proper care?!?!

And on this same person's website,they brag about taking in rescue horses and all this crap about how these horses have been abused, neglected, etc. and how they are providing a good home. Yet once these horses don't fit into their program, out the door they go.

Then I see a news article talking about an emaciated horse that had to be euthanized. The horse was 15 years old. The excuse was some intestinal disease. My foot it was some disease. Granted I've had a 16 year old mare that I had to euthanize but she wasn't emaciated when I made the decision. She was going down hill fast so I had to make the decision fast. I didn't give an excuse. I did what had to be done.

I'm furious. I don't get it. I'm beyond sick of what people are doing. I'm seeing all kinds of ads for people dumping their horses but that they want "good homes only" and they are "too good to be standing around in their pasture". What do you think is going to happen when you dump them at an auction or when you sell them to someone who gets sick of them after a few years. You obviously didn't want to keep them their entire life, why do you think someone else will?!?!?!

I know that it's the time of the season and that's why there are so many people dumping horses. The ads that say "I don't want to feed them over the winter" or "we don't need her any more" really bother me, right down to my core. I simply dont' get it. Horses are NOT a piece of trash you can throw away. You can't just use them, abuse them, and then throw them out or expect someone else to pay big bucks for them.

I wish there was something more I could do. Unfortunately I'm about tapped out physically, mentally, and financially. I could probably swing the mental part but the other two are beyond my control. My pastures are over full and my paycheck isn't good enough. I'm supporting all of the Borderlands horse out of pocket. Do the math. It adds up and gets spendy in a hurry. I just wish there was more I could do. My wonderful sister is working on getting us a presense and getting us further along to spread awareness. But in the time being, I'm at a loss and simply furious with people and their actions.

It's just too much for my little brain to take in.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Devil Returns

I had just a few small chores left to do last night when it happened (as it happens every year). I was carrying Rabbit and Mayhem's grain mash out the barn and past the buildings when I noticed Gypsy standing stock still and staring. She's a herding dog so I knew there was something. Yup, there was something alright. The dirty five letter word...


He was wandering between the tack room and the grain bin. Unfortunately Mike is used to me hollering at the horses so he can't tell the difference between me yelling at the horses and me yelling for him to grab the gun. I didn't want to make any fast moves to upset the dogs, which would startle the skunk.

I finally got Mike's attention and he raced for the house, which made the dogs take after him. And of course the skunk decided to scurry away. The odd part of the entire experience was that I never smelled him. It was dusk so I am not worried about rabies. But he never smelled. Before Mike could run to the house, grab the gun and shells, and get to the grain bin, the little devil was gone.

I wasn't on high-alert this morning when I went to do chores because I didn't smell skunk (although I did take my flashlight to scan the dark corners). I did opt to climb over two gates instead of walking in the shadows near where the skunk had been last night.

I didn't check the live trap or even wander in that direction. I dont' want to miss work because I smell like skunk. So I threw hay to Rabbit and Mayhem and finished getting ready for work. I am always cautious in the mornings doing chores becaues there are so many varmits around but I didn't see, hear, or smell any.

As I was driving down the driveway, I saw him. That dirty little bugger was still around. Of course I didn't have the smarts to call Mike to get the gun. Instead I herded him down the driveway into the ditch. I didn't want to startle him but I also don't want him to stick around. Hopefully he'll either disappear or we can "dispose" of him soon.

I do love fall but I hate the varmits that start coming out at dusk and dawn. And for those that ask, we live trap them and then "dispose" of them properly. We are not a live and let live type of farm. Varmits bring disease to the horses. I am not willing to live trap and move to a different location because then someone else has to deal with the issue. And for those that move these animals to the country, if they come on our property, we'll dispose of them to protect the horses. We've had to deal with a rabid skunk. I'm not about to risk the dogs or horses being bitten. We've also had possums and I'm not going to risk EPM because of those darn varmits. The racoons make messes and get very mean so I'm not willing to risk my "kids" getting hurt.

Keep your finger crossed we catch this darn skunk, or that he decides to take up residence somewhere other than Borderlands.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Damn Phone Call

I made the dreaded phone call this morning. I hate, hate, hate making these types of calls. It seems every year I'm stuck making this damn phone call. Why won't people be more responsible for their animals and the well-being of their animals? I know the answer. Because making that phone call and going through with it is so very, very hard. But it still makes me angry. Angry beyond words.

I've had Joe at Mom and Dad's since the middle of August. His back end has been bad from long before we brought him home. The pasture we had him in was too hard on him. Mom and Dad's pasture was much flatter so that's where he's been. He was beyond thin when we brought him home but he plumped up nicely between the different pastures (but always stayed on the thin side). But it appears that no amount of grain will put weight on him. He's been getting soaked mash, free choice grass, and hay but declines the hay for the most part.

Mom and Dad came down to work around the place this weekend and Mom mentioned that Joe's health is declining. I knew it was coming but wanted to ignore the situation as long as possible. Not having Joe here made it a little easier to ignore the true facts.

But the time has come.

I hate playing God.

I'm upset that the previous owner didn't have the damn sense to take care of the issue. Instead she pawned him off and made someone else make this terrible heart wrenching decision.

I'm tired of being the one to put these horses down. It seems I've lost at least one a year since 2007 and it's typically in the fall that I make the damn call. It's a cursed call. I hate it. Hate, hate, hate it.

But it's the right thing to do and I don't and won't let Joe suffer. My concern now will be Thor. He has been best friends with Joe since the MN rescue that pulled them from the auction. It's been at least two years together. Thor is a protector. I'm at odds on how to handle Thor as far as who he could possibly "protect" and which herd he should go into.

I think for a few more months there won't be any more horses coming in to Borderlands. Every time I'm forced to put a horse down, it opens old wounds that are still fragile from the previous death. I'm sure if you dig through other posts, you'll see the list of those that Borderlands has known and lost. But today I don't have the energy to list all of them.

I'm angry and heart broken. I need to go and take pictures so that everyone can see his weight progress. He gained weight so nicely (although he always stayed thin).

My one request to you all...go hug your horse. Someday they will be gone and you'll realize you didn't spend enough time with them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sam - Description

It all depends on how you look at life. Depending on how you look at the situation, Sam may be considered a rescue.

In November 2007 an ad appeared for an 18-20 year old Belgian who was located in Mitchell, SD. I desperately wanted to look at him since we’d just gotten Bob the Percheron in October. Unfortunately we never had the chance as the horse was bought by someone and the ad removed. Not more than a few days later some friends told us they had purchased Sam.

I don’t know all the details about Sam’s past. I do know that at one point he was used by the Amish. He has the scars to prove it (on his neck and hind legs). I’m unclear as to how he ended up in Mitchell or what other owners he had between the time he was with the Amish until he went to stay with the friends. As we are finding out, many Amish horses are uncomfortable around strangers and since we were strangers at the time, he flinched every time we touched him. I made a note to try not petting him so that I wouldn’t make him flinch. Poor guy.

Jump to spring of 2009. The friend’s other horse became sick and was eventually euthanized, leaving poor Sam alone. The friends were looking for a different riding horse and put Sam up for sale. I was shocked to see a picture of Sam and instantly sent an email saying we would purchase Sam. I was disappointed because I remember hearing that these same people would keep Sam forever. Circumstances change and I understand. But if you make a promise, you keep it, especially when it’s a promise to a horse. The asking price was low and we were worried that he would be purchased and then sold around until he ended up in the auction circuit and eventually the slaughter pipeline.

At the end of April 2009, we drove to Madison, SD and picked up Sam. I was shocked at his condition. Sam was thin. I was even more disappointed to see how thin he was because at one point he looked so good. I knew money was very tight for these friends but I was still angry that it appeared “fun” costs came before the care of their horse. Sam had not had his teeth floated in two years. I’m sure that for some, their horse(s) receive the best care they can afford and when money runs low/out, the “fun” horsey stuff stops. But the standard care to feed and maintain a horse should never be compromised and it looked like Sam’s health had been compromised.
We originally put Sam in with Brego since Brego is pretty passive. Within hours Sam and Brego became best friends. It’s a sight to see, tall Sam standing with petite Brego.

We let Sam gain weight and just be a horse. It took the entire summer for Sam to gain weight. We had planned to float Sam’s teeth in the fall after he’d recovered from his weight loss and was feeling better but in October 2009 Sam came down with a cold and ulcers. He dropped a drastic amount of weight. We were worried. We decided to increase Sam’s grain ration and Sam soon discovered that he likes eating beet pulp.

Because of Sam’s weight loss and struggle to gain it back, we purchase Sam a blanket (since Bob’s was too large). We wanted to make sure that Sam spent his time gaining weight instead of trying to stay warm all winter. It’s a good thing he had his blanket because the winter of 2009-2010 was rough.

We have come to the conclusion that Sam will always be a hard keeper. He loses some weight every fall/winter and it takes the entire spring/summer to gain the weight back. We’ve come up with a number of different grain mashes to try and think we’ve found the best one yet! Every evening Sam gets his grain and he not so patiently waits at the barn to be let in. If a horse requires grain, they go in the barn so there’s no competition and no fighting. At first Sam was uncomfortable being in the barn. We were forced to bring his best friend in the barn until Sam finished his meal. But as the same routine continued on, Sam became more accustomed to the barn and now bangs on the door demanding to get in (thanks Bob for teaching Sam that bad habit).

We have permanently retired Sam from all work. Sam is the happiest when standing in the barn eating his grain. He is such a character. For being such a large/tall horse, he has a fairly high pitched whinny. Before we started feeding him a wet mash, Sam used to have a mustache. It was the biggest mustache we have ever seen on a horse. But Sam has decided to keep his mustache to a minimum.

Sam really is a clown. He has such large ears that when he walks, his ears bob. For all the hard work he put in and all the different demands others have put upon him, Sam is still a happy go lucky horse. We are blessed to have Sam with us. And if you recall we mentioned that Sam originally flinched when we would pet him. He’s since gotten used to use and loves to be brushed and hugged (and given treats)!

Now you decide if Sam is a rescue. He was given a promise that was broken and not provided adequate food when he really needed it. He could have found a good home after being placed through the local ads or he could have wound up in the slaugher pipeline. You decide, is Sam a rescue?

Jim - Description

Last Friday I started writing up descriptions of some of the rescue horses at Borderlands. I finally had a few minutes and thought I would write about Jim.

I’m not sure if I’d classify Jim as a rescue or not. I’ll tell the story and let you decide. Ever since losing the very first horse, Tiny Dictator, I was on the lookout for a different horse. I had my criteria but I hadn’t come across a horse yet that matched. My criteria was as follows: gelding, short (14.2hh or there abouts), older, gaited, and local.

In the summer of 2009 I found a horse that matched all of the criteria. He was a 14.2hh, Tennessee Walker that was advertised as 18 years old (there’s more to that story), gaited, and only an hour away. The owner at the time was a bit hard to catch up with and other activities seemed to continue to pop up.

I kept noticing “Jim” in the local ads. Every time I saw the ad, I would drool over Jim thinking he was the perfect match. It took until November to finally schedule a chance to meet Jim. We drove the hour to Worthington, MN.

The owner did warn me that Jim was standoffish and a bit hard to catch until you got him into the barn. I wasn’t too worried. There are other horses at Borderlands that have similar quirks and we all seem to manage. The owner lunged Jim both directions and for quite some time. She said that he always needed to be lunged for riding. Instead of having the owner hop on and ride, I hopped on instead. I got the impression the owner wasn’t going to offer (since it was her daughter’s horse). Right from the beginning I thought I didn’t have any control. I was disappointed since Jim met all my criteria but I wasn’t sure about his riding ability.

I spent the entire month of November trying to decide. It’s a life altering decision to bring a horse in and keep him for life. Then the owner said that if I didn’t make a decision, she was taking Jim to a horse auction December 4th. I knew what the outcome would be for poor Jim if he was taken to an auction. His legs were toed out, he was older, and most people in this area prefer Quarter Horses to Tennessee Walkers. I knew she wouldn’t get her asking price. I thought about going to the auction and buying him there but didn’t want to take the chance. So I decided that Jim would come to Borderlands.

We made arrangements to pick Jim up the day after the horse sale on December 5th (I wanted to go to a different horse auction to see prices). The day was bitterly cold. I packed a blanket since I hate hauling horses in an open stock trailer. The now previous owner pulled Jim out and we talked for a few minutes about the prices at the auction she went to. As I predicted, the prices were low and the horses she brought didn’t bring much. She had consigned Jim to the sale but because I told her I wanted him, she took a different horse. I feel bad for the horse but at least I know Jim will be safe with us forever.

The day was so cold that by the time I had the blanket on Jim, my fingers were completely dumb. The previous owner handed me Jim’s coggins paperwork since we were crossing the state border. Jim loaded right up into the trailer and we headed home. We stopped a couple of times to check on Jim since it was so cold.

A few days after getting Jim home, I looked at his coggins. Jim was advertised as an 18 year old gelding. The previous owner said they had Jim for two years. The coggins said Jim was 20 years old. I don’t know if this was a simple oversight or if it was trying to pad the truth. In either case, I would have still looked at Jim. We didn’t get much chance to mess with Jim for awhile afterwards. The weather turned for the worse in December and it was all we could do to get everyone fed and watered every morning and night. The previous owner warned me that Jim occasionally gets soar in his front legs when ridden too hard or too long. When I would bring him his food, he would take to lifting one front foot. I was worried about him. Jim soon started losing weight after we brought him home. I was very worried. By the middle of December, I was worried I’d made a wrong decision. I knew we made the right decision by getting him out of there so he wouldn’t have to run through an auction and go to an unknown fate but he was SO standoffish. But Jim was depressed.

In the spring after the terrible winter of 2009-2010, I put Jim in with Maverick. They soon became best friends and are hard to separate. Soon Jim's depression went way. We then introduced Jim into the big herd. We had to force the issue with Jim being caught and going into the barn. I started graining him in the barn to convince him that getting caught wasn’t such a bad thing. He was still standoffish but if we approached slow, stopped for a second, and then approached even slower, Jim would allow us to walk up to him. Now that’s not my normal procedure but that seems to be the way Jim prefers to handle all situations.

Skip forward to fall of 2010. Jim turned a huge corner. He’s now the friendly little gelding I knew was tucked away. I was worried that we weren’t “his people” but it seems that we’re now friends. I’m not sure if it’s the new grain mash he’s getting or that we’ve taken to short rides down the road.

In either case, Jim is at the gate waiting for his grain every evening. He’s such an easy boy to handle that he’s fun to mess with now. Of course I realized that he’s actually a treat boy. He turns super friendly when he knows there are treats involved. I’m still shocked at his personality change but I’ll take it. He went from standoffish, to depressed, to standoffish but tolerating me, to tolerating me, to wanting to be handled.

We know that Jim’s previous owner’s daughter rode him as her sole riding horse. I’ve found that horses ridden by teenage girls tend to constantly be ready to run and go, go, go. When I test rode Jim, je was expecting to head out on a long, fast ride. We’ve since discovered that both Jim and I like to mosey along down the road and occassionally go into his running walk.

I didn’t ride Jim again (after the initial test ride) until late summer of 2010. He had been so depressed all winter and so standoffish until the fall that I simply wanted him to be a horse. The previous owner said Jim paced and was gaited. So I finally got the urge and hopped on. He was a completely different horse when I rode him. I instantly feel in love with him and knew I hadn’t made a mistake by bringing him home and saving him from going to auction. Riding with Jim is an absolute rush.

So you decide. Jim was meant to go into the personal herd but was headed to auction if we didn’t take him in. We paid $500 which was the asking price of the owner (although she jacked the price to $1000 in other ads). Had Jim run through the auction, he would have only brought in a couple hundred dollars and been tossed from one owner to another until he was caught up in the slaughter pipeline. So it’s hard to say if Jim is a rescue or if he’s a personal riding horse. No matter how we look at it, Jim is now a permanent fixture at Borderlands.

Equine Potomac Fever in SD

Every spring we vaccinate the horses at Borderlands. We've been very lucky (knock on wood) that we haven't acquired a large vet bill with the number of horses and the ranging ages. There's always the occassional scrape or cut but nothing serious, nothing life threatening.

I was shocked when I read the story about Honor. And even more shocked to find out Honor is only a few miles away from Borderlands and that it very well could have been a Borderland horse. I can only empathize and send prayers that Honor continues to mend from his bout of Equine Potomac Fever.

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