Thursday, June 30, 2011

Serenity Now

I’m giddy. That doesn’t happen too often. I can’t stop smiling. I sometimes get bogged down with the day to day activities of feeding and caring for horses. I forget that I love riding a well broke horse. The last two mornings Zeke has been at the barn watching me walk away even though the rest of the herd has already raced out to the pasture. Bo and Zeke are friends but even Bo leaves Zeke.

I decided that Zeke was giving me a sign that he wanted some personal time. I loved on him the last two mornings but decided that this morning we would go for a short ride before work if he so chose to. What do you know, he walked right into the barn. I don’t know that he’ll willingly go into the barn tomorrow after finding out the barn means work. But we’ll see. Once I had Zeke in the barn he looked at me with disgust when I threw the saddle pad on him.

But we headed out for a quick ride anyway. There was just enough breeze to keep most of the mosquitoes off. It’s supposed to be 96 with a heat index of 105 so if I were to ride I had to go in the morning. I don’t get the opportunity to ride all that often so I jumped at the chance. The mornings are still bright enough that I don’t have to worry about not being seen out on the road, although at 5:30am apparently there is only one car on the road.

I walked Zeke for the first half mile and then we stretched out into a ground eating lope. I let him go a little bit faster. I didn’t want to push him to his limit since he’s not in shape but he’s not as fast as my old Arabian, Ace. I sure do miss riding that horse. Zeke is as close to Ace as I can find. I don’t know why I don’t ride Zeke more. We loped on for a quarter mile or so and then slowed to a walk to cool down. I didn’t want Zeke to get all sweated up (me either for that matter). We turned around and headed home at a nice leisurely walk.

Have I ever mentioned I love that Zeke! He is such a trooper. He didn’t once spook at anything and was so solid I didn’t worry about being on the road alone. The morning was absolutely gorgeous. Just enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes off and warm enough to go out without a jacket. Of course it’ll be scorching hot later.
But that little ride this morning (it was only two miles tops) is going to get me through the day today. I still can’t figure Zeke out. I can ride him in a wedding dress and he behaves like a gentleman. Ride alone and he’s as solid of a horse as anyone could ask for. Get him into a crowd and he freaks out. I’m betting he wants to be first and thinks it’s a competition. He also jumps water crossings. We’ll have to work on them. With all this rain, I guess I’ll just take Zeke out into the pasture and make him walk through the little creek that runs into the CRP.
I wanted to use Chaos for shows and riding in the Black Hills to give him experience. I’m thinking next year I’ll switch to Zeke. I really enjoy riding a well broke, level headed (when not in a big group) horse.

Here’s to a quiet and relaxing morning filled with serenity and good company.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sir Prize

Prize was a total character tonight. I snapped a few pictures while he was playing. He's a total ham.

Old Wives Tale

Holy cats. It’s the end of June already. Where in the world did the month go? The other day I had a realization. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m terribly wrong. Two years ago in July, we had cold summer rains. So cold I had to put a blanket on Queen because she couldn’t dry out and warm up. She doesn’t have the ability to warm up very well after she’s wet. We had a lot of precip two years ago. Two years ago we had snow, snow, and more snow. Hopefully we don’t follow down the same path as two years ago where we had feet of snow. I know it’s silly to worry about snow at the end of June. Heck, I don’t even have all the winter blankets cleaned and put away for the summer! And here I am worrying about winter already.

I guess it really hit home today when I saw the weather forecast. Tomorrow is calling for fog. Following the old wives tale, 90 days from fog is precip. When we are in an El Nino, it follows almost to the day. Two years ago, I followed the fog report and it was almost spot on. Last winter we must have been in a La Nina because we were nowhere near being close. Being in an El Nino makes my life a little easier. I can track and prepare for winter storms a little bit easier. I know it’s totally corny but the 90 days from fog is precip deal is frickishly accurate.

So, if we are in an El Nino and we are to have fog tomorrow, the end of June, we’ll have precip Sept 25th (if I did my math right). Let’s hope I’m wrong in thinking we’ll have another bad winter. I’m hoping we’ll have an El Nino and that we’ll have very little fog this summer.

My Big Fat Mouth

Well crap. I keep opening my big fat mouth and find myself in a pickle, again. How many times have I said “We are full?” Too many to count. I’ve been asked to take in younger horses but that’s not really the focus for Borderlands. Anything young will be here for 20+ years. If I take in a 20+ horse, he/she may only be here for a year or possibly a few years. I know some people think that old horses should be used and used and used. Then they dispose of them and don’t care where they end up after that. That’s where Borderlands steps in. The problem is, we are full and yet there are so many old warriors deserving a permanent retirement home.

Today, I opened my big fat mouth and voiced my concern for an old warrior. Because an old horse is too old for someone, they want to dump the responsibility on to someone else. That person in turn will use the horse and then dump it once they find no need or the horse doesn’t work for their purpose. Here in lies the problem. Where does this horse eventually end up? It’s a rhetorical question because we all know the final destination for many of these old warriors. Why do people think that it’s just the “old, skinny, and injured” that go to slaughter. The healthy go to slaughter too. But why do the skinny and old end up at slaughter?

Why do I do this to myself? I should not be looking at the ads? I should not look and see what horses are out there. I should not go to auctions and see the many faces. But I can’t. I have to look at the ads; I have to go to the auctions.

I know I’ve upset some by picking and choosing who comes to live at Borderlands. I wish that I could take them all; I wish that I could save them all. The young have a better chance of finding a place to land for a few years. It is the old horses who have bounced around, being used for one purpose or another that find themselves in need. So for those reading this where I have not taken in a young horse, I’m sorry. My heart lies with the old horses that deserve a soft place to land, a place to rest their weary hooves, and a place to finally call home.

One day perhaps I’ll finally learn to keep my big fat mouth shut.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bo's Vet Visit

Last Friday I took Bo to the vet. He’d finally gained enough weight that I figured he could handle just about anything that the vet needed to do to him. Should I have taken him sooner? Yes but I needed to make time with my paying job and ensure there was money to cover any additional expenses.

I always thought Bo was excited to be near a trailer. Nope. He gets nervous, nervous, nervous. I thought I would load him without many problems. I ended up loading Chaos first thinking that he could just go for a ride as a buddy. Poor Chaos took the brunt of Bo’s fright. I loaded Chaos and then worked on getting Bo loaded. There was no way the two big horses were going to fit into the front of the trailer. Chaos got banged around a little but luckily he’s a big guy and took the brunt of it with resignation in his eyes.

I unloaded Bo and loaded Skippy. He has a skin issue I wanted the vet to look at. I wasn’t sure how loading Chaos and Skippy in the front part of the trailer would work but neither seemed to really care much. Skippy was upset that Tommy wasn’t going with.

Then it was time to load Bo. It took a bit of coaxing and we did a bit of loading the front feet and then backing out. We took our time and he finally loaded. I figured I’d better not dilly dally around and we hit the road. I stopped at the gas station to see how he was doing. Complete lather. I figure that the last time Bo was loaded was when we took him home. And who knows any of the prior times he was in a trailer.

At the vets, we unloaded and Bo was very cautious but we walked in to the stocks with only a slight hesitation. I talked with the vet while the tranquilizer kicked in. Bo does not like his head handled. Not sure if that is a personal preference of if it’s from his past. The vet floated his teeth although he said they weren’t as bad as he thought they might be after hearing the condition he was in when we brought Bo home. Apparently Bo has a high tolerance for tranquilizer. He wasn’t dopy through the entire dental work. He would blow loudly through his nose at the vet. I’d bust out laughing every time. That Bo cracks me up.

There weren’t really many sharp points. The only reason Bo was thin was that he was starved. His teeth weren’t the issue it was the lack of food. He’ll always be a high metabolism type horse but that’s no different than a hard keeper. I expect that when Bo gets older, he’ll become a hard keeper but the only reason for his condition when we brought him home was lack of food.

After I took Bo back out to the trailer, I brought Skippy in. He’s been rubbing his hair off and I’ve been really worried. Every year it gets worse. The vet figures it allergies so we are trying some meds. It’s a little tricky to get the meds into Skippy with Tommy always around. I have to be better about giving Skippy his meds.

When the vet was all done with us, I loaded Skippy back up (Chaos stayed in the trailer much to his delight). I then tried loaded Bo. We did the two front feet only loading for a good five minutes. I figured there wasn’t any need to rush him. Rushing would only make the issue harder. About the time the vet came out to help load, Bo loaded. I’m sure that once Bo realizes that loading into the trailer isn’t bad, he’ll load like a pro. I’m sure there are bad memories in loading into a trailer. We’ll change that!

I was afraid that Bo would freak out having to hang out in the trailer afterwards. Nope. He stood like a champ the entire time. I may have to do some trailer loading practice with him to reassure him that trailers mean fun! He’s smart so I’m betting he’ll catch on quickly.

Happy First Birthday Mayhem!

Happy First Birthday Mayhem! We are so blessed you came out a plain ol' sorrel so that you could join us at Borderlands. Hope you have a fun birthday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Babe!

Happy Birthday Babe!! June also marks our two year anniversary together. You have taugh us so much.

Hope you had a great birthday Babe!

Call For Help

In the next few weeks I may be asking for help in networking. I'm going to ask for your help right now for another rescue. Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary ( based out of Sioux Falls, SD and Forest City, IA are networking for two Thoroughbreds in New Hampsire. I don't have the specifics in front of me but these are two beautiful horses.

Please find them on Facebook to find out all the details.

Once these two horses are placed, we may do a combined networking effort on a couple other horses (if they'll agree). :-)

So, get your contact lists updated and your computers warmed up to help save some lives.

Hot Laps, Halterng, and Feeding

Last night as I was puttering around in the house, Mike came in and asked if I wanted momma and baby outside their fence area. Uuumm, no! Luckily they didn’t wander far and were simply checking out the place. Thank goodness Savanna is all about food. She really loves her grain. I grabbed some grain, got them in to their pasture, and fixed fence. I’m going to have to do some fencing very soon. I don’t like electric. I prefer something more substantial. We’ll see how things progress and how quickly I can get to repairing fence.

It’s been raining for the past few days. I’d let Savanna and Prize out on the pasture and had walked out to the garage to go to work. As I was getting out of the car to shut the door, Prize whinnied at me. He was telling me his displeasure in the rain. He really does NOT like being yet! He is too funny.

The other day, Prize decided that he would do “hot laps” around the pasture. Of course because it’s been muddy everything is slick. So poor Prize couldn’t go full blast through the pasture but he did stretch his legs, running, bucking, and rearing. The funniest sight was Prize pushing momma around. At first I thought he had an itch. Then I realized he was antagonizing momma into moving. He wanted her to move and run! That little guy must have pushed pretty hard because he got Savanna to move around, not at his pace but at least moving. Prize really is a character!

Last night we dumped another round bale in to the mare (and Thor) pen. Last time we put a bale in the drylot, we didn’t have Sahara in there. The last time, I tied the horses to the fence but stayed close talking to them the entire time. Loud noises bother them (although they are getting used to the commotion as long as I am close and can talk to them an distract them). But this time I couldn’t tie Sahara up as she’s never been tied before. Of course, in my haste, I’ve lost her halter and had to find another one that was ill fitting. She worked through wearing the new halter but was unhappy about all the commotion. I made sure that when I opened the gate to have a good hold on Sahara. She was a real champion. She didn’t freak out when I opened the big gate and walked back to the others. She was very nervous when the tractor came in to the pen but she stayed by Babe’s side. She was curious and wanted to watch instead of hide. She didn’t get too upset. She didn’t try to pull me around the pen or try to rip the lead rope out of my hands. In fact, as long as she was close to Babe, and touching me, she was fine. I’m betting the next time we dump a round bale in the pen, she’ll be a pro. Having only been haltered less than a dozen times, Sahara has really progressed. I would rank the ease of haltering her up there with Mayhem, who was a breeze.

Mayhem is getting a little naughty with haltering but only because I haven’t worked with her. And in fact the only naughty part is standing tied. She wants to test her boundaries. But given that she will be exactly one year old tomorrow, I think she’s come along way.

These young ones really amaze me at times. I love the old ones; they are my true calling. The old horses are the true warriors but the young ones seem to make the old warriors feel young at heart. I love watching the young and old interact. I only wish I could offer more for the old warriors who deserve a soft landing for their retirement. I wish I could provide a retirement for more deserving warriors.

I also have two side notes for today. Although I won’t be able to bring anyone home, I plan on attending the July 15th horse auction in Mitchell. The catalog sale starts at 6pm, followed by open consignment and then loose horses. If anyone would like to come with, I would greatly appreciate the company. Also, it’s been three weeks since I asked everyone to “Pay It Forward”. I would love to hear what everyone has done. I desperately need that mental boost to know that even though there is so much bad that there is some good in the world.

Sir Prize Kind of Day

No matter the day, the situation, or the activities going on, there are certain horses that just make you smile.

It's a Sir Prize kind of day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Naughty Ponies at Play

Thought you might like to see the naughty ponies at play.

General Thoughts

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, economy, or a mix of both but I’m already seeing so many horses needing new homes. I wish we weren’t full. I want to focus on the oldsters but they come with a hefty price to maintain their health. The youngsters require training and lots of time. I’m very upset that I can’t do more. Oh I could adopt out some of my tried and true kids but I promised them a permanent home and I keep my promises.

I guess this is one problem with being a sanctuary rather than a rescue. There is only so much space.

I have a few more ways to eek out a bit more pasture but that too requires time and money for fencing. The pasture for the big herd is already starting to show its exhaustion and it’s only mid-June. I guess I have to worry about something, might as well be having enough pasture.

We had storms roll through last night. I thought they were going to roll through sooner so I got some skirtwork done but the storm still didn’t reach us. It was 8pm and I figured I’d better get out and start chores. Luckily chores these days don’t take long (one hour max). Summer chores are so much easier than winter chores. The yardlight came on just after I went outside to start chores. I knew it was a sign to hustle through my chores. The black clouds were headed our way. I finished up with my chores about 9pm and was just walking to the house when I felt the first sprinkles. I timed it just right! Five minutes after getting into the house, we had a torrential downpour. I always feel bad when the herd is out in rain but they do have shelter to get out of the worst of it if they want to.

I need to get Tommy and Skippy moved over to a different little lawn pasture. I put them on the one Savanna and Prize were on. They had eaten down most of the grass so I wasn’t worried about the ponies over eating anything lush. I’ll get them moved this weekend so I can pull them off the pasture early. Now if I could only find the time to fix fence and get Queen on pasture. She’s starting to look really tough.

I’m keeping a close eye on everyone these days to make sure they are maintaining their weight. Dick is thin but so far he’s maintaining. Queen needs to be on pasture but she too is looking really rough. Sam is on pasture and looks good but I noticed last night he might be dropping some weight. I can’t bear the thought of having to put anyone down just yet but I have the thought in the back of my head. As long as it’s rambling around there, I’ll be able to prepare myself when the time truly comes.

When I brought the herd in last night, Mayhem and Sahara were rather chatty girls. Guess they wanted to be worked. I didn’t get a chance to mess with them because of the weather. Maybe tonight I’ll find a little bit of time to do a leading lesson.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Herd Update

I felt guilty Saturday. I still feel guilty today. There was a sale at the Mitchell Livestock Sale Barn and at Kramers Sale Barn. I couldn’t bring myself to go. We are tapped out. I’m financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. I keep getting requests to take in horses but I don’t have any room or additional money. I feel guilty. I knew going to an auction would only add to the guilt.

So instead, I decided that I would play with the horses at Borderlands instead to try and ease my guilty conscience. I pulled King out (a non-rescue) to see if the easy boots would fit him that I bought a while ago. I should have brought them out when the farrier was out earlier in the week. Nope, the boots don’t fit. King’s feet are flared just a little bit too much. He has such flat feet. And being that in the summer he goes lame because of the acid build up in his muscles, I didn’t see a point in putting shoes on him. I may try putting shoes on him anyway just to see if that helps his feet. With the colder weather, I can actually ride King without having any muscle issues flare up (except he can only be ridden on soft ground because of his feet). I decided that I need to start messing with him. I need to go in search of a stretching and massage book. I think doing stretches might help with the sore muscles once we start seeing higher temps.

I putzed around on King for only a little while and then decided to work with the fillies on haltering and leading. I started with Sahara because Mayhem was playing the “catch me if you can” game. Sahara and I worked on leading and stopping. She did beautifully. We did a little bit of backing up but kept to simple forward motions. Considering I couldn’t touch her even a month ago, we are making huge strides. She does have a very small hernia. It’s no were near as big as Mayhem’s and I think may go away. Fingers crossed.

I switched to Mayhem and we worked on leading, stopping, and backing. She’s a quick learner too. Within two “whoas” she was stopping the minute I said the word. These young minds are so easy to mold. My knowledge is lacking immensely but what I can do on the ground with the fillies is fun. I love watching them learn, comprehend, and understand what I’m asking. I really haven’t worked with either filly very much but they both caught on quickly. I need to start saving for Mayhem’s surgery. There is simply no way that the hernia is going to go away. I don’t believe it bothers her as she was running and bucking yesterday but I don’t want to take any chances. So if life ever slows down and I can rub two pennies together, I’ll start saving for that surgery. When I talked with the vet before bringing Mayhem in, I was told the surgery would cost around $300 to $400.

I switched pastures around and put Tommy and Skippy where Savanna and Prize were (that’s a story I’ll tell later). Tommy and Skippy loved the bigger pasture. Those little pony legs were pounding the ground a mile a minute, running, bucking, rearing, and just having one heck of a good time. I don’t think anyone could match their glee in racing around.

I am going to have to begin preparing myself for a loss. Dick is not fairing as well as I had hoped. I had hoped that he would gain weight out on pasture but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The winter coat hid his age but now that he’s in his summer coat, the age is more obvious. I had hoped to wait until sometime in the fall but we may be looking at some time this summer. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on him to ensure that he’s not losing too much weight. If he can maintain his current weight, we’ll wait but if he begins dropping weight, I’ll be making that awful call.

Yesterday I decided to do a bit of round pen work with Maverick. We were in the bigger pen because Thor and the mares were in the smaller pen. I thought the ground work might be a little tougher but Maverick behaved for the most part. His running got Mayhem all stirred up. That in turn got Thor all upset. Luckily Maverick bores quickly with ground work/round pen work so we could go back to the normal routine. Mayhem wanted to run and run and run. I thought maybe Sahara would want to run too. Nope. She stuck to Babe’s side like glue! I had Queen out grazing on the lawn so there was less mare protection. Thor didn’t appreciate Mayhem’s antics and got upset but quickly settled down after he found his bearings again. Babe was the solid old mare that she always is. She didn’t care that Sahara stayed by her side the entire time. Sahara was a little black shadow against Babe. Mayhem would run right up to Babe and Babe would simply stand her ground with that “ho hum” attitude that I love.

I took Bo, Chaos, and Skippy to the vet on Friday. I’ll share that story in a little while, along with the adventures of moving Savanna and Prize to a new pasture.

Off Topic

Totally off topic but I had to share. These girls are amazing! :-)

Glad I didn't have to experience that adventure.

Queen's Outing

I don't yet have Queen out on pasture 24x7. She discovered a weak spot in the fence and is a fence pusher. So she's stuck in a drylot until I can find the time to add a couple extra strands of barbless wire. Her age is starting to catch up with her unfortunately. I try to humor her and let her wander the place when I'm home. The naughty girl prefers to be by the house. If there was grass IN the house I think she'd be there instead.

Doesn't Queen look cute in pink? Thanks D and M for donating a pink halter. All the mares request this pink halter for picture shoots!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Girl Time

It's amazing to see the calming affects the older horses have on the youngsters. I have been able to touch Sahara more in the last few days of having her in with the mares and Thor than I have the entire time since bringing her home.

Thor is adjusting to being blind although he's not comfortable to being out on a pasture. I've decided that I'll drylot Thor and keep Babe with him as a companion. They seem to get along. Mayhem is good friends with Thor. Of course, how can Thor resist the whims of four mares!

Figured I'd post some pictures of Thor and Mayhem.

I love Mayhem's wavy mane. With the exception of her mane, she looks identical to her mother Rabbit. I need to start working on picking up her feet so we can get her feet trimmed soon.

I was afraid that with going blind, Thor would get depressed and stop eating. He is loving the round bale. I rarely see him anywhere other than in front of the bale.

Mayhem and Thor hanging out at the bale.

Thor, Mayhem, and Babe.

Investigation Report

This is why we need to stay strong and fight:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bo Three Months Later

Thought I'd give everyone an update on Bo. Pictures speak better than words, of course these pictures don't do justice in showing how bad Bo really was.

Bo the day after we brought him home. The winter hair hids the fact that he's skin and bone. We outbid the killbuyer at the Mitchell Livestock Horse Sale March 12th.

This picture was taken two weeks later. We put a blanket on him to ward off the chill. Having the hair flattened shows off how skinny he really was. Keep in mind, this pic was taken after two weeks of constant food in front of him. The first pic doesn't show even come close to showing how thin he really was.

This pic was taken two months after bringing Bo home. He'd gained a considerable amount of weight but still has miles to go. By this time, we had started him slowly on grass. Again the picture doesn't justify or show how thin he still is even after two months of constant food. There's still ribs, backbone, and hips sticking out.

This pic was taken yesterday, three months (and two days) after bringing Bo home. He's been on pasture now for two-three weeks and put on even more weight. He still has 100+ pounds to put on but he's still steadily gaining. The hips are still sticking out a little as are the ribs but the backbone is now almost hidden. Bo is headed to the vet Friday to get his teeth floated. We could have gotten in done sooner but I wanted to give him time (and I needed to squeeze in the time with my paying job).

This is the other side of Bo. Now scroll to the first and second pictures and see the difference. Happy horse with a sparkle in his eye three months later. Love you Bo!


I realized I didn't have any recent pics of the horses. I had just a little bit of time after the farrier left to take a few picture before the mosquitoes carried me away.

Queen still wants to be out on grass but she's making the most of the round bale. She was leaning as far into the bale as she could to get the very center. Babe had her chest pushed against the bale. Sahara got herself stuck against the bale. I'm guessing she rolled into the bale and got stuck. She would have worked her way out but I was there to roll her to the other side. She was calm about it thankfully. She let me touch her legs and didn't freak out. She really is calm. When I started taking pictures of Sahara, Mayhem got jealous. Those two little fillies are going to be something else. I think Thor is loving all the girl time. He's doing much better and always preffered a smaller herd and now he has it.

I'll leave you with pictures of the mares demolishing er I mean enjoying the round bale.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Dick The Percheron

When we picked Dick up from his owner's back in March, a dear friend was there. She snapped a few picturs. I thought you all might enjoy them as much as I did.

Thank you J for sending the pictures to me. I do love looking at horse pics!

Gives you a good perspective of how big Dick is. I'm 5'3".

Dick has the biggest nose I've ever seen. I love petting the velvet on the tip of his nose. Love this big guy!

Picture Wednesday

Pics are a little old (when everyone still had the last bits of winter hair) but thought you'd prefer some pictures instead of my ramblings.

Dick and Rabbit

Sir Prize on the first few days of investigating grass

Mayhem. She has such a wavy mane. Not sure where she got that trait from.

Dick and Rabbit