Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prize (aka Jett) Update

Hard to believe that Prize (aka Jett) will be seven months old. His adopted mom (and guardian angel while he was at Borderlands) posted pictures. I couldn't resist and wanted to share. Sorry for the first pic. Blogger is hating on my pictures laterly.

The first pictures is of Jett the day after he was born. So small and mouse gray.

Here Jett is at almost seven month old, racing across the pasture. He's definitely going to be a stunning horse. Thank you S for adopting Jett and giving him a loving home to grow. We are truly blessed to have known this little guy. I can't imagine what life would have been like had we not been at that awful Easter auction.

Prize playing with Newman, one of the most awesomest dogs I've ever met!

Doesn't he look all grown up already?!!? He's one stunning little man.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Green, Brown, and White

I know, it's not a picture of a horse. But it's hard to take pictures when it's already dark when you go out to do chores. I'm already missing the color green but luckily we aren't dealing with any white. I did hear a rumor that we might get a little bit of snow this week but for now, I'll enjoy the color brown but will resort to pictures to see green.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Prince Update

If you want to continue following Prince’s new adventures, check out Gentle Spirit’s website and Facebook page. Here are two experts from Kathi at their Sanctuary location in Forest City, IA (don’t forget to support this fantastic rescue/sanctuary!!!):

Prince has settled in beautifully! He has walked the entire edge of the fence and can find everything. He even finds the corral panel that separates him from the herd… he’s in the small pen with Blake, George, and Chip. An incredible beautiful and smart boy. (Friday November 25th)

It’s amazing how Blake and Chip know Prince is blind…they are so kind to him. Prince follows right behind Blake and Chip is always standing close as if to guard him. Chip is mellowing and seeking out attention since Prince came in. (Monday, November 28th)

I knew Prince was smart. I’m glad that others get to experience and learn about his intelligence. A big Thank You to Gentle Spirits for taking Prince in and to G for reaching out to help your boy find a new home. I wish there were more owners who cared so deeply about their horses rather than dumping them at auction.

Best Blessings

Our Thanksgiving weekend was packed full of amazing friends and family. As I reflect over the past few days, I am still thankful for everyone’s support.

On Thanksgiving day we loaded Prince to take him to Gentle Spirits. Prince wasn’t so sure about loading but after a little bit of time, he decided that it was alright and he loaded like he’d been doing it for years. I guess as long as it’s his idea, he’ll do it. We unloaded Prince at Gentle Spirits and put him in their round pen. Instead of introducing him to the Renner, SD herd, Gentle Spirits decided to put him in to the Sanctuary in Forest City, IA. He’s in with a few of the older horses (if my memory serves me correctly) so that they can observe him and begin his evaluation for more training. We were blessed to enjoy Thanksgiving with Gentle Spirits. Let me just say one thing, those ladies know how to cook! We had a wonderful afternoon and I met some amazing horses that are up for adoption through Gentle Spirits. Those ladies are fabulous. If there is a local rescue to support (besides Borderlands!! ), I strongly urge you to support Gentle Spirits.

While at Gentle Spirits, I saw Savanna. Let me say, she looks fantastic. She’s almost downright fat. I’m so happy to see a nice full butt and no ribs or hips sticking out. I knew once Prize was weaned and she could concentrate on herself that she would pack on the pounds. I’m ecstatic that she was able to put on so much weight before winter actually hits. I’m sure once the snow flies, she’ll be up to her right weight and by this spring she’ll be downright fat. Thank you Gentle Spirits for doing such a fantastic job on Savanna. I’m so glad she gets a second chance at life and that you’re helping to find her a home that will love her forever. She deserves just that!

We fell into a food coma Thursday night but woke fairly early to do final prep work for our winter supply of hay. The weatherman forecasted a calm day, so our hay guys decided to deliver the hay. I ordered extra hay not knowing exactly who we would have with us. The guys arrived with a semi and a flatbed full of hay. They had to run back to get a second flatbed full of hay after lunch. By 2pm the hay guys were back and quickly unloading the bales and putting them under cover. There really is nothing more comforting than a barn full of good quality hay. By 4pm all of the hay was stashed away into the hay shed and hay barn. I need to figure out how many round bales the blind pen will run through and then use up the remaining round bales for the big herd before I switch over to the good big squares. Once the herd gets a taste of the big squares, they’ll refuse to eat the round bales. The only misgiving I have with the hay is the price. Now that I have the hay sitting in my buildings, I have to come up with the cash. After having just paid last year’s hay bill, I am not excited to try to find the money for this year’s hay already. Luckily I’m not paying the standard price for this hay but it is higher than last year. So, if anyone would like to donate towards the hay, it would be most appreciated.

Babe seems to be enjoying Prince’s absence. It does feel a little weird not having him here. Even though he was only with us for four months, he was such a ham. Of course, I’m sure Babe is happy not having someone snitch food right from her mouth. She does seem to be calmer already. I still haven’t decided yet what I’ll do for herd arrangements. Queen seems to be in the “outs” with the other mares in her pasture. I’d prefer to keep her in that pasture because it has better protection but she’s getting pushed around even by Flower. I still haven’t figured out what their disagreement was all about. But it may be that Queen would be happy with Thor, Babe, and Sahara. We’ll see though. I’m still just trying to get things done before the ground freezes and I can’t do any more fencing repairs.

We were planning on putting up a temporary shelter in the blind pen but I didn’t read the instructions before pulling the box out. Apparently we need three hours and at minimum two people with lots of tools that seem to have gone MIA. I swear all of our tools disappear. We finished putting up the snow fence on Friday but had to go in search of yet another pair of pliers as the ones we were using disappeared. I swear tools simply grow legs and walk away.

Saturday we didn’t do much with the horses. But I did get to enjoy some quality family time and hide inside away from the 40mph wind. I also didn’t get to do much on Sunday as I was having an “off” day and thought it would be safer if I stayed away from heavy machinery or for that matter most of the tools that I could find. If it could break, it did. I thought it would be safer to hide in the house instead.

I still can’t bring myself to call the vet for Sam and Sahara. I’m putting it off for another week. I’ve been using some power ulcer medicine and that seems to be helping although it’s not a cure-all but rather just a mask. Sam is slowly losing his weight and I know the inevitable is coming. It’s just hard for me to let go.

I’m hoping the weather holds so I can get a few more outdoor projects done before winter sets in. We’ve had such a fantastic fall that it’ll be hard when the ground freezes and the snow flies. But I’ll take every opportunity to enjoy this nice weather. There won’t be much time to do anything extra with the horses until the end of the week. I have a few errands to run and by the time I get home from work on any given day, it’s already dark. I need to start planning to work on my projects during the weekend. We’ll see how that goes.

I did get to see a few pictures of Prize this weekend. Prize is now proudly renamed Jett. I’ll post a few for everyone to see later. He’s growing like a weed. It warms my heart seeing all of these horses grow and discover themselves. Watching Savanna and Prize (aka Jett) grow and become super healthy is the best blessing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter Hay Supply Arrived

Ever since we moved to Borderlands, we've had a little saying that if you're going to do it, go big. Yup, that's exactly what we did Friday. Our winter supply of hay was delivered. I sure do love these guys! There are few sights better than a trailer load full of hay.

I call the semi the Jolly Green Giant. That semi always brings me hay and it always makes me happy (and it makes the horses happy too)! I ordered a few additional bales not knowing exactly who all would be at Borderlands. Those extra bales screwed up my poor hay guys. They had to come down twice with the flatbed loaded full of hay.

Lucky for me all of the hay is under cover. I wasn't sure if we would get all the hay in the hay shed and hay barn or not. Lucky for me, our hay guys knows how to really pack those bales! I still have to tarp everything but with the wind we had Saturday, I thought I'd prefer to keep my feet on the ground instead of going tarp (er...kite) flying.

Now the hard part of the hay, paying for it. Unfortunately, the price of this hay did go up but that was to be expected. With the drought down south and my hay farmer digging up a good chunk of his hay ground for beans and corn, I expect that the prices will continue to rise. I pay by the ton so it's a little bit cheaper in that respect. But it's still a big chunk of change considering that I pay for the entire hay bill out of my paycheck. Hopefully once we are non-profit I can search for grants. Until then, if someone wants to donate to the hay fund, it would be most appreciated.

We have to figure out how many round bales remain from when we bought the 40 in October. I want to have enough to get the blind pen through the winter months. It's best to keep Thor and Babe happy with a full belly.

But it does feel good to have our winter supply of hay tucked away. I'll never say I'm ready for winter, but if we were to get snow, the horses would have full bellies. Lets hope that we have a mild winter.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From my herd to yours, Happy Thanksgiving



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be blunt. This year has been tough; tougher than other years. But even through all the tough and rough times where I feel like I’m coming out of a losing fight with a bull, I’m still very thankful and blessed.

I’m so very thankful for the moral support everyone has given this year. I know I’ve been hard on some of you. Many personal, physical, financial, and emotional issues flared up this year that I struggled with. I know I’ve said and done things I regret and I’m thankful to those that stuck by my side. For those that I offended and who no longer run in my circles (but possibly read the blog), I’m sorry and hope that we can simply agree to disagree and continue being friends.

I’m truly blessed to have so many caring people in my life. Words escape me and I don’t know how to show my gratitude. A simple thank you doesn’t seem like it’s enough. I’ve met so many new people this year and am thankful for the opportunity to spread the word of what Borderlands does. Lord knows we aren’t flashy or boisterous about the cause, but we are dedicated. Some days it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle, and then I talk with someone. Even just a simple “hey how’s it going?” really does seem to lift my spirits and gives me courage to continue fighting the battle to educate people about horses.

I know I’m opinionated and sometimes set in my ways (it’s that Type A personality that I have), and I know I’ve offended some this year. But I am very thankful to those that plugged their ears while I ranted on about nothing and still stood by my side. It really does mean the world to me. Again, words escape me.

I’m also very thankful for all the wonderful horses in my life. They can be a pain ( Skippy Tommy ), but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Each horse has such a distinct personality. I genuinely enjoy my time with them and appreciate the little bit of quality time I have with each.

People have mentioned before that they don’t know how I do it. I’m forced to make the decision to euth when the time comes and it’s a devastating decision. But it’s worth it. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be the care taker of a horse be it for years or just a few months. Someone once said (paraphrasing because I can’t remember) “Rescue isn’t about the length of time you are with an animal, but the quality of the animal’s life.” Sometimes a dignified death is better than a long drawn out painful life. My hope is that I do justice by each individual animal to ensure their quality of life and to ensure that they have a dignified life and death. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong. Each loss takes a piece of my heart but I would rather have my heart scattered to the four corners of the Earth knowing that I did right than to never have loved and lost.

I’m also very thankful to my family (two-legged that is) for all the support they’ve given me this year. It’s been a tough year for all of us but I see life getting better and getting easier for us all. I cannot describe the gratitude I have for my family. There aren’t many willing to dig fence posts with a bum arm, clean countless stalls, figure out how to move hay (round bales) when the only equipment available is a truck, travel distances to pick up materials to make my life easier, haul hay (with a smile), or simply be there to catch me when I stumble and lose my faith in myself. My only wish is that there were more people like my family in the world and I only hope that I have half as much strength and stamina as my family.

I am blessed and from the bottom of my heart thankful for all that I have, the friendships I depend on, and the support to continue running Borderlands.

I hope you all get a chance to have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your thanksgiving day (and all the days to come) be blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving

Four Corridors

I know some might think I’m a little over excited about winter weather. If I worked close to home, I probably wouldn’t be as concerned (although I’m not sure). To give a better perspective of my typical drive, I deal with the I90-I29 corridor. For you folks in South Dakota, I’m sure you’ve heard the news/weather talk about it. For you folks in other areas, it’s a magical and mysterious place where odd weather hits.

It’s actually rather odd. I live in the south west corridor. I work in the north east corridor and drive through the north west corridor from home to work. Each corridor I travel through is different. Take for example this morning, I heard a report about fog so I hopped on interstate instead of taking my beloved back roads. No fog at home (south west corridor), and had I traveled my backgrounds, I would have encountered some light fog in the north west corridor, and we were socked in with dense fog in the north east corridor.

So I know I sometimes I get freaked out and talk about it. That’s because I drive through three of the four corridors and each corridor can (and occasionally does) have a different weather environment. It’s hard for me to estimate the weather, especially when the bad weather typically comes from the west, so I head straight in to bad weather.

My favorite is when a blizzard warning is issued for the county next to ours. Unfortunately, we live only three miles from the county line. Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to those county lines. There is a weird phenomenon with the interstate though, so I blame those four corridors for my interesting and sometimes hairy drives to and from work.

So the next time I ramble on about work and you can’t figure out why I’m over reacting, keep in mind I’ll be driving through possibly three different weather environments before I can reach home. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll be an easy winter.

High School Drama

I thought when I walked across the graduation stage I’d be done with petty high school behavior. It’s ridiculous how some can act. And yet, I’m smack dab in the middle of it. Lucky for me, I’m the “principle” in the matter and not one of the high schoolers. I’m sure you’re all scratching your heads trying to figure out what or who I’m talking about.

It’s those mares! I swear they are more like teenage girls than old mares. I don’t know who said what to who and when but all hell broke loose last night. I still am having problems figuring out who is mad at who but I know for one thing Queen is the one taking the brunt of the disagreement. I’m glad I’m not in the middle of it but I am going to have to figure out a resolution fast.

Before Savanna went to Gentle Spirits, Rabbit was with her. When Savanna left, I put Flower, Queen, and Mayhem together. Let me tell you, those people who say that the “mother/daughter” combo needs to stay together are wrong. There is absolutely no love lost between Rabbit and Mayhem. In fact, Rabbit was downright hard on Mayhem for a little while. Unfortunately, that bad attitude has rubbed off on Mayhem to some degree.

Rabbit is now in charge of that little herd of mares and it’s taking its toll. When we brought in Flower, she stuck to Queen like glue. I couldn’t pull Queen out of the pasture/pen because Flower would freak and trot on her bad leg making her limp even more. They’ve been best friends ever since Flower arrived, eating out of the same grain dishes, eating from the same hay pile, etc.

Until last night.

I have no idea who started it but Queen has been pushed from the herd. I realized lately that Rabbit has been a bit harder on the other mares but she has made it her job to keep Queen away from the hay these last few days (don’t worry I put out additional piles). Apparently, that bad attitude has rubbed off on Flower. Now when I went to grain Queen and Flower, Queen squealed and spun away (well, spun as fast as a 33 year old mare can spin). I’m furious. I threw hay out and even Mayhem came over and pushed Queen out of the way. Actually, I think Mayhem wanted to eat with Queen but by that time Queen was skittish of everyone.

I’m furious at both Flower and Rabbit. I have always believed in respecting your elders, be it two-legged or four-legged. I don’t care. You give Queen the respect that she deserves or your ass is getting booted out of the pasture.

I had thought of just pulling Queen out and putting her in with Babe and Thor (once Prince leaves for Gentle Spirits) but didn’t really like that idea. It’s that much farther away to lead Queen to the barn where she will have to be stalled during the super cold months. She doesn’t have the ability to stay warm and can’t warm up/dry off once wet. So I want her in the barn where it’s about five degrees warmer at night. The pasture that she’s in is just that much more protected too.

I don’t really like where I’ve had to leave the ponies. I’d rather that they had more room so I’m devising a plan. I had thought of dividing the blind pen to give Babe some relief from Prince. But now that Prince will be leaving us very shortly, I didn’t think I needed to divide the pen. But it does leave me space to do some maneuvering. So I think I’m going to divide the blind pen (although it’s going to be tricky trying to get the round bale in to the blind pen only (Rabbit can’t be on a round bale because of her heaves and the ponies should never be on a round bale). But Babe and Thor don’t need a gigantic drylot. They prefer to hang on the round bale most of the day anyway or soak up the sun. I think for the winter months, I’m going to put up a temporary fence and put Babe and Thor on one side and Rabbit, Tommy, and Skippy on the other. Then all the horses will be in close proximity. Rabbit stayed with the ponies all last winter and it seemed to work out just fine. She keeps those naughty little ponies in check. I’ll still have to do some wrangling to get everything figured out to work properly but I think that’ll be the best solution.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Flower will go back to her sweet self if the problem “teenager” is removed from the situation. Perhaps in the spring/summer they can all go back together but for the winter months, I am not going to risk Queen’s safety and happiness over a trivial little squabble. Now, if the squabbling continues between Queen and Flower, I’ll have to simply open up the blind pen and put Queen in with Babe again, put Rabbit in with Flower and Mayhem, and stuff the ponies back in their protected winter pen and leave it at that. But we’ll see. I at least have a couple different options to work with.

I can never figure out why I’m so exhausted at the end of the day. I think just keeping everyone happy and healthy is a full time job at Borderlands. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my plan will work. I hope that I can get all the switching done by the end of Friday. I thought I heard another nasty rumor that we are to get icky weather again on Saturday. Yeah, that’s right, I said icky.

Here’s to hoping the high school drama will be resolved soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attach of the Round Bale

I can’t believe that in three days, it will be Thanksgiving. Labor day was just last week I swear! I seem to lose my days faster than I lose my train of thought. I didn’t have any motivation this weekend so I wasn’t able to accomplish anything. I’ll blame it on the weather. Luckily Thanksgiving weekend is supposed to be gorgeous (for this time of year). Hopefully I’ll be able to get a few little tasks wrapped up and feel better about the impending winter.

I had hoped to sneak out last night to snap a few pictures but it was pitch dark when I finally made it out. And let me tell you, a half unraveled round bale still hurts when it falls on you! I’ve been feeding the herd hay that we picked up in October. Unfortunately, it’s round bales instead of small squares or the big squares I prefer. I can’t just dump the round bale in the big herd because not everyone would get their fair share. I can’t dump a round bale in the old mares’ pen because Rabbit has heaves. So instead, I unravel a portion each day for the horses. No one is really impressed by this method because I can’t gauge how much I’m actually portioning out each morning and evening. I try to over load them a little in the evenings in case I don’t throw out enough in the mornings.

Last night I was fighting the old mares’ round bale and it started to get tippy on me. I wasn’t paying any attention and WHAM! Darn round bale fell right on my head and right shoulder. You know me, I let out a few choice curse words and continued on with feeding. But I’m a little sore this morning. Silly how a bale could do a little bit of damage. I’ll be glad when we get our winter supply of hay and I can start feeding the big squares instead.

Unfortunately I’ve broken my little hay wagon. It wasn’t all that great when I bought it. The first one was fantastic and lasted for a few years but this one I bought last year is junk. I’ve managed to rip the sides off and it has the knack of rolling an extra three inches from where I originally placed it. Frustrating at best. But now that the little wagon no longer has a side, I can’t use it to contain the hay. I’m left with the wheelbarrow. Not a big deal but I have to make multiple trips and it gets tippy. Of course, whenever some hay falls out and trips me up, I end up letting a few choice words fly. I forget how hay can go everywhere. I’m wondering if I couldn’t compose some type of poem for my dislike of hay in inappropriate places.

This morning when I went out to do chores, I discovered that Skippy had managed to pull the sled full of hay close enough for him to devour his morning hay ration. OOOOOo that little pony! He’s absolutely naughty some days and drives me nuts! But he’s just so darn cute, how could I resist. That’ll teach me to leave the morning hay in reach of a pony!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Update

It seems we missed out on the freezing rain and snow. Hopefully we'll be able to do some last minute fencing. I had hoped to do some fencing this weekend but the weather forced me inside. Alright, not really "forced" me, but the weather wasn't pleasant on Saturday and it was darn right cold Sunday. To be truthful, I was pretty well played out by the time the weekend rolled around.

The sun was shining Sunday when I went out to do morning chores. Sahara was stretched out soaking in the sun (some days it's good to have a black coat). I could tell that Babe was starting to fade. She just had that look about her. Prince and Thor were busy at the hay bale.

While I was feeding the big herd, I heard Babe. She was nickering, but to who I have no idea. She is rather talkative, which normally gets Thor to talking too. But when I looked, Sahara was stretched out fast asleep and Babe was curled up. I can say I've only heard/seen a horse nicker while laying down less than a handful of times. It was so hard not to bust out laughing.

I'm not sure if Babe was telling her herd to leave her alone while she took a quick nap, was trying to figure out where everyone was, or if she was nickering herself to sleep. And what do you know, I didn't have my camera to catch the scene. Babe looked way too cute all curled up.

Queen, on the other hand, gave me the stink eye Sunday morning. I'd thrown a canvas sheet on her Friday while she was eating her grain. I didn't want her getting chilled because they were predicted freezing rain. Any bit of rain and Queen can't get warm. Of course I didn't have any grain Sunday morning but I thought the hay would be good enough.

Nope. Queen turned her head a couple of times to give me the stink eye. Each time she did, I told her she wasn't allowed to bite me. Queen HATES to be blanketed but it's the nature of the beast now. She's too old to not be blanketed but I have to be very careful when I do throw a blanket on her. Thank goodness for big heavy coats. Whoever said horses don't have feelings never met Queen. How many horses give you "the look" when you go to blanket or unblanket them.

I can't believe that this week is Thanksgiving. I'm so far behind. I've spent all of this fall repairing things that have broken. But it comes in waves. We'll spend one entire year simply fixing things that break and one year building new and then return to fixing other things that break. It's frustrating and never ending but I guess that's the price we pay for moving in to an old farm that once had cattle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Weatherman predicted snow for today, along with freezing rain. It could be worse....

Just kidding. No snow so far although we've heard reports of snow and freezing rain. Hopefully Borderlands can stay in this litte protected pocket. But at least it isn't as bad as the winter of 2010. I'll leave you with some "off topics" pics from that winter.

Gypsy's ears dont' tand up on their own. It was that windy!

Can you find my trailer?

Friday, November 18, 2011


I had the holy bajeebers scared out of me this morning. I typically feed the ponies first in the mornings, then feed the older mares, and finish up with the big herd, which is exactly what I did this morning. It's dark. The moon is out and the yard light is on but it's still dark. The yard light only shines so far.

I had just finished tossing hay to the ponies, turned around, and saw something coming at me. My mind wasn't thinking fast enough and I couldn't comprehend even what would be walking towards me. It wasn't something small like a skunk, dog, raccoon, etc. It was something tall. Actually, my mind thought "who in the world is that walking towards me, there shouldn't be any person out at this time of morning."

Then my mind registers what it is that was walking towards me. Any guesses? Oh come on, you know you want to guess.

Have you guessed yet?

Still waiting....

Alright, I'll be nice....

It was.............


That's right. Our little yearling filly some how managed to get out of the fence and was coming to see what I was doing. I seriously almost fell over from shock. Of course, then I start to look around for the other three older mares. If Mayhem is out, that means the others should be out. But I looked and no one was around.

Luckily Mayhem isn't like Sahara and I can easily handle her. We walk to the barn together. More like, Mayhem followed me to the barn. Luckily she's a smart girl and didn't want to be alone any more. I opened the barn door to get Sam and the mare's evening meals started (soaking beet pulp) and Mayhem decided to join me.

I just tossed a lead rope over her and led her back to her pasture. At first I didn't see any broken boards and assumed she jumped the fence like she did one other time (darn filly). But I hadn't noticed any scraped legs or injuries so I wasn't positive she'd jumped the fence.

I had to have a disagreement with Flower about who was coming in to the pasture and who was staying in the pasture. She was ready to come out. Now that she's up to about the right weight I don't do morning grain and she's very displeased with me.

Once I got Mayhem back into the pasture, I looked around. She's just small enough to get her head in between the boards to snatch the fallen hay. I figure she must have put her head through the fence and jerked back pulling the board down. How in the world she managed to get under the other boards, I have no idea.

I propped the board back up and put another couple boards in the way. It's yet another fencing job I need to take care of tomorrow before the snow hits. I had such high hopes of wrapping up some of my fencing jobs this weekend but that doesn't look to be the case now.

So besides finding all the waterproof sheets/blankets for the oldsters, we'll have to do some additional fencing to make sure we don't have another escape episode. I swear, these mares are going to be the death of me yet!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Ready

I've not been near a tv to hear the weather in about six days but I've heard an ugly rumor that this Saturday we are to get rain and snow. There go my plans to really wrap up some major fencing and other projects. I may be outside despite the rain and snow to finish up a few projects that absolutely have to be done before the ground freezes.

I'll be honest, I'm not looking forward to winter. I never really do but it's even more so this year. With so many oldsters, I'll be worried sick. Any time there will be a chance for snow I'll worry about what I should do. Do I stall them in the barn, do I blanket them, how cold will it get, do I need to start feeding extra hay/grain, etc.? It's a never ending debate in my head to make sure that the horses are well taken care of during these colder months.

I'm not exactly sure when our winter supply of hay will be delivered. Luckily I have the CRP hay we picked up last month to feed the herds. I just dread the thought of winter and all the additional chores.

Luckily Mike had the forsight to plug the water heaters in yesterday morning. Unfortunately the water in the blind pen is not as protected and was frozen over before we realized how cold it really was. I'm so grateful to Mike. He's now taken it upon himself to keep the water tanks full. So while I throw hay during the winter months, Mike fills water troughs. I really am spoiled. Hopefully some day we'll be able to put in some new water lines for additional automatic water troughs. But that's all in due time.

I need to pull all the blankets out and assess the damages done last year. I never did get around to repairing blankets last spring and I want to have everything repaired, waterproofed, and labeled for size so I don't have to fumble in the dark and cold with a wrong sized blanket on a cranky horse.

I'm sure there's more I could ramble on about but I'm exhausted. The last few days have been draining (and could be why I haven't seen the 10 o'clock news/weather in awhile). I'm hoping that life will finally settle down now and I can tackle some important projects that I've tabled over the past few months, including taking more pictures!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flower Power

It's been awhile since I last mentioned Flower's weight gain. I really didn't know if she would pull through when we picked her up in the middle of July. Had we taken her in now instead of July, we would be looking at other options. Luckily she's made a full recovery. That girl has a special place in my heart. There are a few that come in to the sanctuary that instantly feel as though they've been here all their lives. Flower was one of them (along with Queen). We are truly blessed to have Flower in our herd and I enjoy her company immensely.

Flower still has a few additional pounds to pick up but she'll get there. The weight increase has been incredible. The pictures don't do it justice and it's hard to show the weight gain on an appy! :-) But I'll leave you with a few pictures to show how much weight she really has gained. Sorry for the poor quality pictures. The only time I could sneak a few pics was just before the sun set.

The first few pictures are from a week after bringing Flower home. She had been sick at her previous home with what I don't know. But she's a trooper!

It's hard to see in this picture but her hips, spine, and ribs were all protruding. Where her spine and her hips connect along with her whithers is where I watched the most. Those are one of the last places for her to fill in but she did it. That girl loves to eat.

Four months later, she's back to the right weight. I'd prefer her to be a little overweight but I'll take what I can get. Enjoy the remaining pictures of Almost Fat Flower.

I love the two little white marks on her leg.

No more ribs, no more hips, and no more protruding whithers. The only thing that will take her down now is that right front ankle but she doesn't let that bother her. When it's grain time, she trots to her dish while Queen sedately walks (of course there's an almost 10 year age difference between those two girls...Flower is 24 and Queen is 33).

I look forward to seeing Flower fatten up even more. I love watching her eat grain. She gets the same expression I do when I eat chocolate. It's comforting to know she'll have a safe and loving home until her time comes. Watching her gives me the strength to continue on with rescue/sanctuary work. Every ol' girl should have a good retirement.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Some of you may have noticed my absence in blogging or posting on Facebook. It’s not as though we aren’t swamped at Borderlands. In fact, I can’t seem to see the end of the “to do” list any time soon. Well, as long as the ground doesn’t freeze that awful “to do” list seems to keep getting longer.

My lack of blogging isn’t because I’m angry, upset, mad, depressed, etc. I was talking to a very wise woman and she suggested that I “unplug.” I was explaining some of the pressures I’ve been dealing with lately (horse related and non-horse related) and she mentioned that she “unplugged” for a few weeks and thought I could benefit from “unplugging” also. I thought it a wonderful idea and have been “unplugged” to some degree for the past two weeks. I’ve been lurking in the background but simply not posting on Facebook, blogging, responding to emails/texts, etc. At first it was hard not to comment or let you all know what I was doing, but it got easier as the days went on.

I don’t mean to ignore or offend anyone by not responding. But I simply needed a break. As the wise woman said, those that stick around during your absence will be your true supporters. So I want to thank those who contacted me personally to check in and make sure that I was doing alright. I am truly touched by your concern and generosity. It gives me that “warm and fuzzy” I needed to continue on. I really couldn’t continue without your support.

I have a number of hard decisions to make in the near future so I may stay “unplugged” but I wanted to resurface for just a little while to get you up to speed. I’ll refrain from delving in to my personal life, as I’m sure I’ll bore you to tears. But here goes what’s coming up in the near future for the horses.

We are going to lose Sam. It’s becoming more and more obvious that I have to call the vet and make an appointment in the next week or so. I hate this time of year. Thanksgiving always means death to me. I’ve already lost a two-legged family member this month, now I have to “play god” and make that decision about a four-legged family member. Sam’s ulcers are causing him pain. I took him off his grain diet and had him solely on beet pulp and timothy hay pellets/grass hay. He was on the ulcer medicine (I’m drawing a blank on the name.. .OmnisomethingorotherthatIcan’tremember). He was on the meds for two weeks straight, slowly getting better. But the minute he went off, he started going downhill again. I have no choice but to euth. I cannot afford the medicine. For a month’s supply of the ulcer medicine, I was billed $240. That cost was not planned and now I have to figure out where that money is going to come from. I’ve decided to not use all of the ulcer medicine and see what happens (I have him on a different powder ulcer medicine which doesn’t seem to be working…it’s a big ulcer). Sam is losing weight because of the ulcer and because he’s not on any grain ration. I figure he’s already lost 20 pounds. I need to call within the week and make an appointment. I just hate calling. It’s that awful call. I’ve already lost too many family members this year. Sam has been with us for a few years now and it’ll be hard to not see that gorgeous guy or hear him let out his goofy whinny. I’m devastated but at a loss as to what my other options are.

I am also euthanizing Sahara. I expect I will offend some by that statement. If she was my sole horse, if I had more knowledge, if I had more time, I could maybe work with her every day one-on-one and maybe she’d turn around. But I can’t. Any time I get near she pins her ears and turns her butt to me. I know a more knowledgeable person could work with her but I am already stretched thin with 20+ horses to care for. I also can’t risk getting hurt or having someone else get hurt. She’s pinned her ears and turned her butt to other people who have entered the pen. I can’t risk anyone getting hurt. She has crocked legs that means she will be a light rider or a pasture pet. Her attitude does not qualify her for a broodmare in my opinion and she is also grade. She has too many strikes against her. I’ve done my best; it wasn’t good enough for her. She was dealt an unjust life. The only thing more that I can do is ensure that she is given a proper death. It’s not right, it’s not fair, but that’s the only choice I see available to her and me at this time. I will euthanize her the same time we take Sam in.

Prince was supposed to go to Gentle Spirits last weekend but I needed to stay home in case my winter supply of hay came in (which it didn’t). I’m hoping that he’ll go this weekend. He’s been too hard on Babe. I’m sure Babe will enjoy the sole company of Thor after Prince and Sahara go. I worry about Babe as she much prefers a smaller group of horses instead of a pushy gelding stealing all her hay. Prince really needs to have more one-on-one because he’s a fantastic horse. I can’t say enough good things about him. I really don’t this his “disability” will disqualify him from becoming an amazing riding horse with the right person. The difficult part is finding that right person to take him to his fullest potential. I’m anxious to see how he progresses.

Thor cut his head again. I have no idea on what. At least this time it’s not a big gapping cut but it’s still a cut and it concerns me. Poor guy has done everything asked of him and he still gets hurt. I am keeping a close eye on both Babe and Thor as they are both not doing as well on 24x7 hay as I had expected. Granted this hay is CRP hay so it’s older and tougher. We’ll just wait and see. It could be that I change up how we handle winter feeding.

Every year winter feeding is different because of the types of horses we have. This winter will be even more difficult for me as there’s such a variety. I need to move the corral panels and form a small pen in the big drylot. I am planning on putting Maverick in during the winter when I have to blanket. Otherwise I won’t have a single blanket unscathed. Maverick loves to eat blankets and drives me insane.

Luckily we did almost finish the leanto we started building last year. We opened it up for the herd to go in but after we left they didn’t seem too interested; go figure. But I’ll feel better knowing that the big herd now has additional places to go to get out of the wind.

Everyone is still covered in cockleburs. I haven’t had time to do anything with the horses. We’ve been trying to repair fences and fix things that have broken all summer. I need another two months to get everything finished before winter. We are going as fast as we can but there doesn’t seem to be enough daylight these days. I guess I’ll just have to plan my days a little better so I can accomplish all my tasks.

I was thinking of having a “volunteer day” this Saturday but I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in helping out. There are so many projects but not sure how “down and dirty” everyone wants to get. I think it would mostly be fencing that needs to be done but I’m sure I could come up with other just as “exciting” projects to work on.

I know there is more that we’ve worked on but it all involves preparing for winter and would simply bore you to tears if I went on much longer. I’ll try to do better in posting but I really got spoiled with the whole “unplugged” lifestyle. I expect I won’t be able to stop blabbling on now that I’ve started again. But if you don’t see me online for a while, just drop me a line and I’ll respond and let you know what’s going on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Noblest Creatures

Mankind has often enforced a savage dominance over the horse, and for that he should apologize. These magnificent beasts toiled mightily over the centuries to help us tame the wilds, plow and harvest our fields, and transport our possessions, even die in our wars; and sometime under the cruelest of master. I am proud to say that I never participated in their abject slavery. Even so, I humbly request forgiveness from every horse that has crossed my path, for they are truly God's noblest creatures.