Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring, Where Did You Go?

After heavy rains, mist, fog, sleet, snow, thunder, lightening, and ever present wind along with wind gusts that take your breath away, I am ready for spring.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flower - Good News/Bad News

So here’s the good and the bad about Flower after talking with the vet.

Bad News
The prognosis isn’t good. She’s not putting any weight on the hoof and only puts weight on the tip of her hoof when she does move. Although she does use it to balance herself but would rather not put her foot down flat. She has to lie down a lot to relieve the pain on the other three legs.
Depending on where the nail actually hit and how we extracted the nail, it very well could have done serious damage. Unless there is a remaining abscess, the only alternative is expensive surgery. Of which, we will not be pursuing.

Maybe Good/Maybe Bad News
The original puncture wound stopped draining and closed. Instead the infection blew out in the coronary band just above the frog. I guess it’s pretty common. The vet called it a “quitter” and didn’t seem surprised at all. That infection drained a few days and is still sort of open after the last soak.

Good News
There’s still heat in the coronary band/upper hoof so it could be that Flower has a second abscess that has to blow out. She’s lying down but can get up without much difficulty. She still has lots of energy when it comes to grain and will push Queen out of the way to get to the grain.

I’m going to give it another week to see if anything happens. We will continue to give her bute/banamine (switching from one to the other every five days). She still has a few more days of antibiotics (missed a day here and there and want to finish it out). We will continue to soak and wrap her foot. I asked about wrapping and the vet said I didn’t have to but when I brought up the “quitter” still being open, we both decided that wrapping the hoof for another day or so until that closes would be good, especially now that we are dealing with snow, rain, and mud.

If Flower is still walking around on a tiptoe, there’s no heat in the hoof, and no abscess formed by next week, I will have to get serious about making a decision. I feel like I failed her. She’s been through so much. The least I could have done was give her a full year at Borderlands stressfree. This next week is going to be tough on everyone. I wish I could be the one in her place and spare her.

Winter Weather Has Arrived

I only caught a few minutes of the weather yesterday but got the gist of what’s to come. Luckily we aren’t going to see the worst of the storm. But knowing that we are to get snow, rain, and freezing rain I wanted to get everyone situated last night in preparation for the bad weather today.

In looking at the weather this morning, we are now to get .50-1 inches of rain with .10-.25 of freezing rain and 2 inches or less of snow. What does that mean? Lots of very wet and very grumpy horses. I was late in getting home and had to scurry out to get normal chores done and proceeded to prep for this winter storm. Oh sure, we are only in a Winter Weather Advisory but with 18 horses and half of them old or with some type of ailment, I had my work cut out for me.

I decided I’d risk leaving Queen and Flower out in their pen for the night in hopes that the rain would hold off for a little while. I did risk life and limb to change out Queen’s blanket. I lost her normal blanket in the pile of blankets in the barn until last night while I was going through the piles to find ones for Babe, Thor, Rain, and Bo. I know it’s supposed to be warm later today but I can’t risk those ladies and gentlemen getting wet as they are more prone to getting chilled.

Queen was happy to be rid of the red canvas blanket but gave me the stink eye and pinned ears when I put on her soft blue blanket. But it was worth it knowing if it started raining in the middle of the night that she would be dry. Flower was still wrapped up in her blanket as she’s still lying down (will post about her hoof later).

I wanted to get blankets on Babe and Thor. Those two are such champs. Just throw a little bit of food and they totally ignore me while I fumbled with the buckles and getting everything snug. I know Thor isn’t happy not having Queen around and neither is Babe. But Babe and Thor are adapting to each other. I saw Thor give Babe what for. I expect Thor thinks he’s still in charge and has to tell Babe where to go. Babe on the other hand would prefer to be left alone to dine on the round bale and not be bossed around by some dumb gelding!

I decided I’d better blanket Bo too. He’s starting losing a little bit of weight. He doesn’t seem to be affected by the cold weather but I don’t want to take any chances. She’s such a dream. He stood perfectly still while I fumbled with his blanket. I had such high hopes of showing him this summer but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now. But maybe this year will be a slow progress back into shape for next year’s showing season. I want to give him time to enjoy the good things in life. He’ll have had a year off to gain all the weight back and now we can work on getting him toned up and looking spectacular.

I also decided to blanket Rain. I knew I couldn’t get him into the barn so I coaxed him in to the hay barn. It didn’t take much coaxing. He ignored me while he snitched alfalfa. Rain has been trying to stay out of the wind as much as possible. Hopefully the blanket will help cut down on the wind. I thought we were supposed to get some major wind today but now it sounds like the really bad wind is coming tomorrow. At least Rain will be snug and toasty warm in his blanket. And when I say snug and warm, he’ll probably be roasting but at least he’ll be dry.

I also decided to take the red canvas blanket I’d been using on Queen and put it on Rabbit. I had to move them to a different pen and I hate where they are at but have no other option. I am going to do some brainstorming to see if I can’t move some of the corral panels around to a different location. Luckily Rabbit is pretty good about being blanketed. Once she was haltered and tied, she stood there with no problems. Unfortunately the blanket doesn’t fit her very well. She had the “Fat mare in a little blanket” theme going on. But she didn’t seem to complain. At least nothing like what Queen does.

This morning when I stepped out of the house just before 5:30am, I was expecting rain. Instead we had just a little bit of snow. At least everyone was already blanketed so I didn’t have to rush around in the dark morning trying to get everything situated.

I decided that I would put Flower and Queen in the barn for the day. With the chance of snow, freezing rain, and rain, I wanted to make sure that Flower had a dry place to lie down and rest for a little while. This way they are out of all the wind and I don’t have to worry about them.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather doesn’t get too bad. Luckily we aren’t in the blizzard warning. I’m sure I’ll come home to some grumpy horses this afternoon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Little One

This summer we took in a little farm cat. Cats at Borderlands come and go, it's a part of farm life. But when we were asked to take in this little kitten, I couldn't say no. She's already used at least one of her nine lives here at Borderlands and I have no idea how many she used before she came.

The kitten likes to help me with my chores and will ride in the little hay cart or will meet me in the hay shed when I'm pulling out hay.

The other day she decided she'd be brave and have a discussion with the horses. All went well until she met up with Maverick. I guess Maverick wanted to test the theory that cats always land on their feet. His conclusion that at least this little kitten doesn't land on her feet when tossed. Poor kitten.

I'll leave you with the adventure of the kitten.

Maverick - "Nope, cats don't land on their feet when they fall."

And yet the kitten came back for more.


Super windy today. Went out to do chores and had my breath taken away a couple of times. Hate when the wind is that strong. Flower and Queen were getting the brunt of this wind so I opened the pen gate and they walked right into the barn. At least now Flower will have a dry, non-windy place to lie down for a little while.

Bo came over when I was getting the mare their food. I promised him that if the wind is still blowing like this tonight for evening chores, that I will put him in the barn for the night too. I need to keep a close eye on him and Rain to make sure that the wind doesn't bother them.

Rain was standing down in the new leanto yesterday to get away from the wind. Today he was up by the bar away from the wind. I would put a blanket on him but he didn't seem cold. Flower managed to pull her blanket off sometime between last evening check and this morning when I peeked out the window. I didn't notice any tears so I'm guessing she slipped it over her head. The only thing I dont' like about that blanket is that there's something goofy with the leg straps so I don't have them on.

We are supposed to be in a Winter Weather Warning until 6pm on Wednesday. I sure hope the weatherman is wrong. Apparently winter decided to join us at the end of February instead of December and January. I sure hope winter doesn't last long.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quick Update

I've been trying to stay low and out of Murphy and Karma's view.

Tuesday I decided to leave Queen and Flower in the barn as their pen was muddy. I am doing my best to keep Flower's foot dry even though it's wrapped. When I got home, there Queen was standing with the geldings. I rushed over, climbed the fence and then saw Flower in with the geldings too. Some how Queen managed to open the barn door and sneak in and decided to take Flower with. When I went to put Flower back in the barn, Dude was standing in the barn. I'm not sure who's the culprit for opening the door. The latch has been getting looser and looser but I've been too busy to deal with it. I guess now is the right time.

The weatherman said a storm was coming for Thursday. When I stepped outside to do chores Thursday morning (5:30am) , not a single flake was on the ground. I thanked my lucky stars and headed out to do chores. I went in the barn to get hay for the big herd and when I emerged, it was snowing. When I got back in the house, I peeked at the radar to see exactly how much and what type of precipe was coming our way. Freezing rain almost right on top of us. Luckily I'd blanketed Queen and Flower to keep the moisture off the two mares. I bustled on to work and kept a not very close eye on the weather. We've had such a mild winter that I haven't been doing my "due diligence" and keeping an eye to the sky like I have in years past.

The weatherman predicted that the winds were going to increase and the gods apparently were with me and they let work out early. We had four to five inches of snow by the time I got home. I checked on the horses but they seemed pretty content. Everyone was hiding out of the wind. Thank goodness for the leanto we built in the big pen. The geldings have decided to actually use that building. Of course, I think Dude prefers the leanto off the barn but the geldings lower in the pecking order are actually using the leanto.

This morning both Babe and Thor were in their little shelter although there wasn't any wind in their area. Where I have Rabbit and Mayhem is usually windy. Luckily this morning there wasn't any wind so I didn't have to deal with a face and clothes full of hay.

Flower is still in about the same shape she was a week ago. I'm giving her this weekend to see if there is any improvement and then I'll call the vet. We have to go out of town next week for a couple of days and I was hoping that Flower would be on the mend by then (it's Mike's Grandpa's 95th birthday!). It may just be very slow progress to heal. I just worry about her other leg. She usually has to lie down for a little while each day. I left her blanket on to keep the chill away and to keep her dry now that we have snow and mud.

The weatherman is now predicting yet another storm next week Tuesday and Wednesday. I hesitate to put Flower and Queen in the barn because of their arthritis but it's sure making it difficult to keep their pen mud free.

Speaking of mud, we no longer have any white horses. Both Zeke and King have turned into brown horses. Even Tommy has decided he no longer wants to sport a white coat and is covered in mud. I'm so ready for spring but not ready for the mud and the pounds of horse hair I'll end up eating.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bad Karma and Murphy

I have learned two very important, albeit costly, lessons this afternoon.

1. We can no longer get by without a weekly garbage service.

2. I never, never, ever want a tin roof on my house.

Very distressing weekend. I believe karma has bitten us hard in the butt. I thought Murphy was gone but he made an appearance with Karma. Murphy and Karma together do not bode well for us.

I will explain more when we are over the shock. It may be a few days before I post anything.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flower Update

Not much new to report today. Flower is still not out of the woods. We soaked her foot last night and administered her antibiotics. She really is such a sweetheart. I think she spent most of the day down because her back legs seemed really stiff and she seemed to teeter on two legs instead of four. We are switching to banamine for a pain med. The vet only wants me to use bute for five days. Because Flower is still in so much pain, I want to keep her as comfortable as possible. Luckily we have banamine on hand. She’s not drinking anything so we are also keeping a very close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t colic. Hopefully the banamine will help too.

I decided that I would start haltering and tying Mayhem because she’s gotten naughty. She didn’t want to be caught at first but I wasn’t going to give up. Once haltered and tied, she stood for hours. After all the chores were done, I thought I would mess with picking up her feet. I know, it’s something I should have worked on when I first brought her home. She listened pretty well when working on her left side but her right is going to be tough. Not only did she decide she was going to pivot on her front right, she also wanted to take a chunk out of me. Of course, I let her know in no uncertain terms that biting is out of the question. I missed out on teaching her at a young age. I guess now that she’s 1 ½, we’ll have to simply work that much harder.

While I was messing with Mayhem, Flower got upset. She wanted to make sure that Mayhem stayed in her line of sight. I’d taken Mayhem around a tree and Flower became really distressed. We walked back to the fence line and Flower settled down. I guess Flower is attached to Mayhem now.

We are supposed to get a rain/snow mixture some time Monday. The weatherman has no clue if we are only getting rain or getting snow and if we are getting snow how much. I’ve heard anywhere from one inch to six inches of snow. That’s a big difference. But I don’t want to leave Flower out if it’s going to rain/snow. She is spending more and more time lying down so I don’t want her to get chilled or soaked to the bone. I wasn’t sure who I was going to put in the barn but I guess last night sort of decided for me. I hate to put a 1 ½ year old in a barn all day, but that’s just what’s going to happen Monday. We’ll see what happens Monday evening. I may put someone else in the barn (someone like one of the boys but not Skippy. Skippy figured out how to get under the gate and get in with Flower, much to Flower’s dismay).

I’m going to take advantage of the nice weather and soak Flower’s foot every day. I’m not sure what to do next week when the weather is supposed to be snowy. I may just keep her in the barn and soak her foot there instead. She’s pretty good but will only stand in the water for so long before enough is enough. I just hope that she pulls through.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to the horse auction tonight. I’m already running on empty with very few and very raw nerves. I guess it’ll depend on what I feel like after I get home and get Flower’s foot soaked. She may very well be my deciding factor. It’s not like I can bring anyone home. I’m looking at Jim and Thor’s vet bill from last month, Flower’s vet bill from this month, and spring shots are on the horizon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You Have How Many?

Last night I was late in getting to chores. I had to run to town after work to pick up vet wrap and gauze. I haven’t had a stockpile of vet wrap on hand in a long time. (Knock on wood) we’ve been pretty lucky to avoid major injuries that require a vet visit. Oh sure, there’s the occasional cut that requires antibiotics but usually those cuts are in funky locations and don’t require wrapping, rewrapping, soaking, etc. So, $30 later, we have enough vet wrap to soak and rewrap Flower’s foot for almost two weeks.

Because I was late in getting home, I didn’t get a chance to soak Flower’s foot last night. This morning when I went out to do chores, she was curled up in the straw. I gave Flower her bute so hopefully she’ll be able to enjoy a little bit of comfort today since I couldn’t do anything with her foot last night. I’m still worried about her. She doesn’t seem to be drinking so I’m adding extra water and turning her grain mash into a soup. At least that way she’ll be getting some water. It’s not enough but I don’t know what else to do to promote her drinking. She’s still not out of the woods.

I’m going to have to start working with Mayhem a little bit every day too. She may not yet be two years old but she’s really starting to fill out and discover herself. Of course, she’s been snitching Rabbit’s grain so I’m going to have to start haltering and tying her while Rabbit gets through her grain and meds.

Flower’s accident couldn’t have come at a worse time. We just got the bill for floating Jim and Thor’s teeth last month. I love our vets and they cut me a break wherever they can but it’s still a chunk of change. I’ve had people ask me how many horses I have and I typically get the same reaction. Of course, I don’t instantly tell them I’m a sanctuary. I’m not sure why. But I know people think that because we have that many horses, we have lots of cash. Oh sure, it may look like we are “well to do” but when you start looking at it, let me tell you, we aren’t. I know the six horse trailer is deceiving. Well, it’s not paid for and won’t be for a while. The truck pulling the trailer may be paid off but it’s an 04. In most people’s eyes, it’s an older truck. For me, it’s still brand new and has to last me another 20 years. The trailer may look nice but it’s also a serious upgrade from what we started out with. Our stock trailer is a rust bucket and needs major work before we do too much hauling with it. It’s literally rusting away. Until the big trailer is paid off, I have to continue driving my daily driver. Not a big deal other than it’s a 15 year old car with 200,000+ miles on it. Mike is in the same boat driving his beater of a daily driver. We pulled up for a meeting in our “good” car and realized that we had the oldest vehicle there. We spend our money where it counts and save/cut corners where we need to. I’m willing to buy whatever the horses need (in reason). I’ll cut corners for myself. You may laugh but my shoe laces broke on both my work shoes and my winter chore boots. No problem. I’ll just tie the broken laces together and hope they stay together for another season.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I just find it funny that people have a different perspective than what it really is. I wouldn’t give up any of the 18 horses that are currently standing in the pens. Each one is special and has a special place in my heart.

Tomorrow is the monthly Mitchell Horse Sale. I still haven’t decided if I’m going or not. I can’t bring any home, especially now that we have two major vet bills to pay off. I need to focus on the horses at Borderlands, but even if I can’t bring someone home, I could at least remember them so even though they may be lost, someone will remember them and pray for their quick passing. I’ll probably decide at the last minute. I’m not sure I’ve hardened my heart to what I’ll see.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joys of Plumbing

Flower seemed to be in good spirits when we soaked her foot last night. The infection is already starting to drain. My plan is to soak her foot every day this week. I know the vet said we could do it every other day but I’d rather not take any chances. The weather is supposed to turn next week so we may do the every other day soaking treatment then. But for now, I want to make sure that we do everything possible to help Flower. She’s such an easy patient. She’s definitely not out of the woods by any means but we did see her putting a little bit more weight on the foot yesterday when we got home from the paying jobs. I was hoping she’d lie down for a little while to take the pressure off all her legs but I can’t tell now if she is resting or not. I gave her bute this morning to see if that would help any. We’ll soak her foot tonight after I get home from picking up more vet wrap and gauze. I guess I’m going to stockpile the vet wrap just for Flower. Luckily I had two from some other injury from a long time ago (long enough for me to forget who it was and the stress we went through).

I think I’ve recovered from our water issue this weekend and thought I’d share. I can laugh about it now but at the time I was not happy (nor was I happy writing a big, unexpected check to the plumber). It’s sort of horse related, sort of not but it was a definite lesson learned on my part.

On Sunday, Mom, Dad, and Grandma came down to help around the place. We had a few inside projects to tackle including some plumbing issues. Luckily we are on rural water instead of well water. I grew up on well water and miss it but don’t miss all the water issues that come with it. Unfortunately, how the water is set up is messed up. All the water has to run through the house before heading to the outside (keep that in mind).

Because we moved in to an old farmhouse, the plumbing isn’t the greatest. We’ve always meant to tackle the bathroom plumbing and thought we would do a quick “home improvement” by switching out a faucet. Simple right? Just a few minutes of the water shut off (everywhere…including the outside water to the horses) and then presto we have a new bathroom faucet and water back on. A big fat wrong!! Because we are in an old farmhouse, the original pipes are cast iron (our long term goal is to replace all the cast iron when we can save back enough money). In the process of taking off the old faucet, the cast iron pipe disintegrated. No problem right? Just put a new pipe in and call it good so we can get the water back on right? Wrong. We didn’t have the right pipes, connectors, and whatever else that’s needed to replace the disintegrated pipe. We were in trouble. We were pretty much stuck.

When I say “stuck”, I mean we had to call a plumber to fix the issue. I’m no plumber so I wasn’t any help through the entire ordeal. But it also meant that we were without water both in the house and outside as there’s no valve that allows water to go to the outside faucets and water troughs. Now, you wouldn’t think much of it if it was summer. But it’s February. February, with cold-ish temps, and an automatic waterer that can’t pull water. Yup, you guessed it. The herd of 10 horses, the ponies, and Flower would be without water if we didn’t scramble and “improvise”. Luckily the mare pasture and the blind pen had 100 gallon water troughs that were nearly full but the automatic waterer was the biggest concern. If the herd drank the water down, the heating element would burn up and it would be yet another expense we hadn’t budgeted for.

Thank god for neighbors!! We loaded a 150 gallon tote into the back of the truck and headed to town to get water. We also had a spare 110 gallon water trough I typically use in the summer. I got everything set up while Mike went to fill the tote. I had to go in search of pallets because Chaos decided he was going to claim the water trough for himself. He ended up getting both front feet into it. I figured he was going to break the darn thing at one point. So up the water trough went onto two pallets so Chaos couldn’t get his grubby hooves into the tank. But wait, you remember, it’s February. How is the water going to stay open in the 110 gallon water trough without a heater? Luckily we had a spare. In my wisdom (or blind luck) I had picked up an extra heater. Unfortunately it has a bigger heater than our lines could take. We could either run the heater or keep the yard light on. So, off goes the yard light and we finished doing chores in the dark.

But it gets better! You think I forgot about the automatic water right? Nope. Because we didn’t want to turn the heater off and have everything freeze, we had to cover it. Mike went out originally with duct tape and a plastic bag but the bag didn’t survive for more than about an hour. I expect Maverick had something to do with that. So instead, Mike went back out to the automatic waterer and put duct tape all over it. The duct tape didn’t stop the horses from drinking a little but it was easier for them to drink out of the 110 gallon tank. We unloaded the 150 gallon tote into the tank and then made sure everyone else had their water buckets topped off with a few extra buckets to take to the house for the morning.

These are the times I wish our outhouse was functional. Because it was Sunday late afternoon, no plumber is willing to come out. Mike did find a fairly local plumber that was willing to come out first thing Monday morning. By the time we got done with chores, and drill practice pictures I was ready for bed but headed to Mom and Dad’s. I decided that I didn’t want to be without water. I also wanted to be in Madison Monday to pick up medicine for Flower.

By the time I got home Monday afternoon, the water was back on and I had not only a new bathroom faucet but a new bathroom sink (something we’d bought a long time ago but needed a plumber to install thanks to the plumbing issues we knew we were going to face).

Least to say there were a few lessons learned during this experience. First and foremost, never start a plumbing project Sunday late afternoon. As the plumber said, if you’re going to start on a plumbing project, start either Friday night or first thing Saturday morning. My lesson learned, never start a plumbing project in the middle of winter!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sheza Music Star - Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary

Last Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to stop over at Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. Savanna is headed to their sanctuary location to get a bit more one-on-one time to see if that will help with her standoffishness. The ladies at Gentle Spirits have done a fantastic job of bringing Savanna up to weight and getting her used to the idea that there will always be food and a kind word. What she really needs now is her own very special person to love her the way each horse deserves. In her short time on Earth, she has probably seen and experienced more than some people do in their entire life. Savanna needs a break in life.

While visiting with Savanna, I fell in love with Leeza. There are certain horses that I instantly fall in love with. Leeza is one of them. I was only around her for a very short time (it was freezing out last Friday). But in that very short period of time, Leeza made a HUGE impression on me. She’s only a seven year old and although she’s not trained for riding yet, she’s smart. Don’t let her age fool you, she’s simply never been educated. We all need education to further ourselves in life. I do believe that Gentle Spirits did back her to see how she would handle the experience. All went well. She is a super laid back mare and once she’s had a little bit of training will be a fantastic horse that will get you noticed in the show ring or out on the trail.

Leeza at ISU

I know I’m not supposed to play favorites but Leeza is more than a diamond in the rough. I wouldn’t insult her by saying she’s a diamond in the rough, she’s already a diamond and simply needs to be cleaned and polished for the right person.

Let me give you some further background about Leeza. She’s a registered black and white paint with a registered name of Sheza Music Star. Her number is 00826698. She came from Iowa State University with other horses Gentle Spirits took in. She is reportedly unbroken but other horses from ISU have turned out to be nicely broke to ride. She’s a very sweet mare and easy to handle on the ground. Gentle Spirits gave Leeza another chance. Now she just needs to find the right person willing to put a little bit of time on her.

If I wasn’t running a horse sanctuary, if I was simply looking for a project horse, or a horse I was willing to send to a trainer, Leeza would be it. I’m not really a mare person, but she really was someone I would be willing to take home and put some time and energy in to (not that I’m not willing to do that with each horse we bring in, but if I wasn’t a sanctuary, I would be considering Leeza). She’s an “in your pocket” type of horse that will follow you around and craves attention. I think she wouldn’t have minded if we’d stayed with the herd all evening just petting and talking with her. Leeza is most definitely a lover. She lowered her head to my chest and let me give her a great big hug (and let me rest my cold cheek and ear on her to warm up). She simply stood there taking in all the attention.

Now I know I should be promoting Savanna as she really does need to find her own person, but so does Leeza, and for that matter all of the horses up for adoption at Gentle Spirits. Leeza may be young and uneducated, but she has that calming personality. I have only found a few horses that have a presence about them and I do believe that Leeza has that “presence” about her. So, if you are looking for a project horse, consider looking at Leeza. She’ll definitely get you noticed and you won’t regret your decision.

Leeza at Gentle Spirits

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flower Watch

It's been a very rough weekend. We are on Flower Watch. Somehow, somewhere she stepped on a nail. The prognosis is not good. She's currently on bute and antiobiotics. We've soaked her foot in warm water with epson salt and betadine. We've wrapped her foot and she's in a pen close to Rabbit and Mayhem. She's wrapped in a blanket to ward off the chill and to keep her warm if she decides to lie down. She's not eating her hay but she's devouring her grain, beet pulp, and alfalfa. So far she's still drinking and eating (somewhat). Unfortunately, she stepped on the nail with her left front, which happened to be her good foot. Her right front has the ankle issue. I am debating on putting polo wrapps on her legs to see if that would help with the circulation in her front legs. But I don't know if they would interfere more or not. She is to be on antibiotics for the next 14 days. She's to be on bute for 5 days and then nothing for 5 days (as the meds are hard on their organs). We are also supposed to soak her foot every other day and keep it wrapped. I'm hoping to soak her foot every day. What's the worst that soaking could do? If she's still dead lame after this treatment, we will have a discussion with the vet to see if there are any other alternatives.

Please keep Flower in your thoughts. She's in a lot of pain but she's sassy enough to tell me "what for". She may have only been with us since mid-July but if feels like she's been with us for years.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Peppy Cutter King

I've discovered one thing with white horses, it's impossible to keep them clean. King has taken to adding new spots on a weekly basis. I have to do double takes on him to make sure that what I'm seeing are just mud spots instead of anything else.

I swear King likes to roll in the mud more than any other horse (or for that matter either of the dogs). On the bright side, at least King is happy and that's all that really matters.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Things In Life

The other evening I was late in getting out to do chores (which seems to be the norm as of late). But as I was puttering along getting everyone’s grain and hay ready for the evening, I noticed the moon. It was absolutely gorgeous. Had I been on schedule, I would have missed the big bright orange moon shining down. I enjoyed doing the rest of the chores in the orange moonlight. It seems a little odd to have a harvest moon in February but I’ll take it.

This morning when I went out to do chores, it felt like I was surrounded by thousands of tiny diamonds. We had a thin layer of frost and with the yard light shining, the ground simply sparkled. Even going into the shadows of the barn, the ground still sparkled. Everywhere I looked, I saw tiny diamonds glistening.

Sometimes the monotony of chores drags me down but then I experience little things like the ground layered in diamonds or the sky filled with a pumpkin orange moon. It’s those simple things in life that I look forward to. There’s so much drama and so much commotion that it’s nice to “discover” and appreciate the small things that we sometimes take for granted. Had I not been out doing chores that evening a little later than normal, I wouldn’t have seen the moon. This morning, had I stayed in bed (which I so desperately wanted to do), I would have missed the sparkling grass. So the next time you’re trudging along doing your routine day, something as simple as a warm breeze upon your face may just brighten your day.

In other news, not that there really is anything exciting going on at Borderlands as of late, the blind pen refuses to pull their heads out of the round bale in the mornings. The only time Babe, Thor, and Queen surface is in the evening when they demand their grain mash and alfalfa flake. Earlier in the week we put a new bale in and pushed the old bale to the fence line for the big herd to rummage through. They’ve pretty much devoured the rest of the bale, besides having their normal morning and evening hay. I sort of like having that little bit of extra food sitting out for those that get the munchies in between breakfast and supper.

Today is the last day of warm weather and then we are getting blasted with cold air. Of course it’s all relative. What I would call cold this year was probably a heat wave last year. We are supposed to dip down below zero Friday night and it doesn’t appear that Saturday’s highs are going to be any better. I hate going from the predicted 41 degrees for today’s high to 17 degrees for tomorrow’s high. It’s just so hard on the horses, especially the old ones. I may scurry around and blanket the older ones (and Rain). We’ll see what the weather is like when I do chores tonight. At least the highs are still above zero degrees!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ivan and Brego

Ivan sporting frosty whiskers. He's always keeping a close eye (or a cocked ear towards his buddy Brego).

I have no idea what Ivan was checking out. Where one goes, the other follows. I'm not sure who the shadow is either.

Robins and Geese

In my last post, I talked about what a difference a half-an-hour makes. Sure as could be, I had the same experience last evening. I so desperately wanted to get home early and play outside before the cold weather set in. Unfortunately work and other commitments interfered. When I stepped outside to get Flower started on her beet pulp a little over an hour after getting home, the temps had already started changing. I was shocked to hear the wind howling as loudly as it was. When I went back outside a half-an-hour later, much to my dismay, the wind was even more fierce and the temps had dropped considerably. No playing with the horses for me, just chores.

I haven’t been paying attention to the weather lately as we really haven’t had any. No major storms, no below zero temps, no below zero wind chills (knock on wood). Our mild weather is making life so much easier but I wonder how much it’s messing with everything. On Sunday I stepped outside and heard a robin singing. That’s right, the first of February and I heard a robin. I didn’t see it but I heard him. While we were visiting with family, I also saw and heard geese. It’s awfully early for all these birds to be migrating but the weather feels more like mid to late March rather than the first of February. Luckily the horses haven’t decided to start shedding out their winter coats.

It’s been fairly quiet on the home front luckily and I hope to keep it that way. The weather is supposed to be cooler the rest of this week so I expect the horses will be a little bit more grumpy than they have been. This morning I found Babe, Thor, and Queen buried in their new round bale we pushed in last night. I can always tell when we push in a new bale, I don’t see hide nor hair of those three until a few days into the bale. I guess they are searching for all the prime hay first.

Monday, February 6, 2012


It’s amazing what a difference a half-an-hour can make. I was reminded of that very thought this morning. I simply couldn’t get out of bed on time. It was early enough yet that Tommy wasn’t demanding his morning hay. But instead of fighting the ever tiredness that is sanctuary life, I caved and snoozed for an extra half-an-hour. Oh what a glorious half-an-hour it was.

I ended up going out to do chores about the time I normally come in from doing chores. What a morning it was too. I grumble sometimes to myself when I’m out at 5:30am in the dark and cold. But this morning made up for it. The moon was shining so brightly and gave off a yellow ting to make the moonlight less stark. The stars were out and I could see for miles. The overall feel this morning was one of calm and beauty. I wish I had a camera that could take pictures in the dark. What a gorgeous morning to do chores.

I finally made it back in from chores (about the time I was supposed to be headed to work). I finished getting ready and a half-an-hour later was ready to hit the road. Do you know what a half-an-hour difference makes? In that half-an-hour, the fog had rolled it. Luckily it wasn’t too thick and the skies were already starting to lighten (another difference a half-an-hour makes).

Had I gotten up sooner, I probably would have been able to enjoy a fogless drive to work and a full, beautiful moon for my drive. But that half-an-hour of extra sleep was oh-so-very-much-needed. I know that the days are getting longer, but running behind a half-an-hour also gave me the opportunity to discover how much more added daylight we actually are getting in the mornings. I am so looking forward to this summer.

As it is, the other day I was out doing morning chores (in February) and I thought to myself how much it felt like mid-March. I’ll never understand this crazy weather. Mother Nature always reminds me to never take for granted our surroundings.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Foggy Sunday Morning

Woke this morning to fog. Finally had a few minutes to snap a few pictures before heading out to hang with the family (gotta have that quality family time!)

Hope you enjoy, I'll return later with what little we've been working on.

View looking out into the big pasture.

Bo and Zeke


Brego and Ivan

Dude (sporting his bad roach job to get rid of the cockleburs last fall, King, and the cat with nine lives!) Chaos - "Aww mom, you know I don't like to take pictures. Where's my treat for doing this?"

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It’s hard to believe what gorgeous weather we are having. I was thinking to myself this morning during chores that it feels more like mid-March rather than the first of February. I’m very thankful that this winter has been so mild. I know for a fact I would be struggling if we were dealing with the 20 below temps and the 40 below wind chills we dealt with last winter. I do expect to get a decent amount of snow sometime in March. It’s just a feeling I have, no hard facts/evidence.

I’m hoping tonight to get into the drylot and do some serious cleanup. Although it has been warm, it’s always dark by the time I get out to do chores so I haven’t had time to do any cleaning. Now that we’ve had gorgeous weather for a week, I want to take advantage before the temps drop and the snow starts to fly.

I haven’t really been paying attention to the weatherman lately. I probably should. I know they are trying to decide which of the three weather models to follow for this upcoming storm. But as long as the winds aren’t screaming and the sky isn’t dropping feet of snow in hours, I’ll be content. I’m usually such a worry wart when it comes to winter but it’s been nice this year to sit back and enjoy the fantastic weather.

The horses are enjoying the mild winter too. Every morning and evening when I go out to do chores, no one is crabby; no one is fighting with another one. Everyone has a fairly even temper (although occasionally Chaos will go after Maverick or Bo). But for the most part, everyone is content and I love content horses. I’m hoping also with the milder winter that we won’t run through as much hay. I am still saving up for this year’s hay (long story). My hope is to not burn through it all so that I won’t have to buy any for the summer months. By the rate the blind pen is going through hay, I’ll have enough rounds to make it through until mid-summer. It’s not the highest quality (not like the big squares) but it’s still decent and what the blind pen doesn’t eat, we push to the fence line for the other horses to eat.

I was hoping to sneak a ride in on Maverick this afternoon but if I’m cleaning the drylot, I guess it’ll have to wait. It always seems like there’s something else that has to be done before I can go and “play”. Usually when we get a January thaw, we start getting ice and that means absolutely no riding. There’s barely any snow left and just patches of ice from where I’ve been walking. I expect when I go out to do chores tonight there will only be the snow piles Mike pushed up remaining. I’ve actually been rather shocked in the amount of snow that has disappeared over the past four to five days. I was tromping through snow earlier this week and now there’s just a little bit left. I won’t complain, that’s for sure. It just seems odd to not have snow in February. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 2012 will be mild winter!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Off Topic - Hometown

I was going to post today about our lovely (yet crazy) warm weather. But my mind keeps drifting back to last night’s news. It’s totally unrelated to life at the sanctuary but it does make me wonder what this world is coming to. I grew up in a small(ish) town (not as small as the town we live by now). I never really thought much of it. It’s the town I grew up in and the town I call “home” because that’s where my family lives; it’s where my relatives are buried and where someday, I expect to be buried. Oh sure, when I grew up I moved away but I came back (sort of; it’s only a 30 mile/30 minute drive). I have pretty strong roots and am loyal to my last names.

My hometown is very rarely in the news. Maybe once a year our local news does a story about our hometown (if that). Oh sure it’s a college town but the streets roll up at night after 10pm. As a teenager, I was always home before dark thanks to driving a little yellow car with headlights permanently stuck on bright and no dash lights (totally embarrassing for a teenager). As much as I grumbled about that car, it also taught me values (I am still driving the car I “upgraded” to when the little yellow car finally died). I’ve been driving my “upgrade” for 15 years and it has over 200,000 and to me it still seems “new”. Yes, I know, I’m weird.

Last night as I was heading to bed, the news mentioned a shooting in my hometown. I know no other information. But it’s scary to think that someone in a relatively small town would shoot someone (not on accident). Actions like these really make me wonder what is coming to this world. I’ve seen the cruelties dealt to horses (abuse, neglect, etc.). I shouldn’t be surprised that those same cruelties would be dealt out to people. I know there is good in people. I spent last night with a wonderful group of people. I was even commenting to Mike the other day. I’d had a bad day at work last week and out of the blue, I had a friend check in to see how things were going. Just a quick note to say “hi, how’s it going?” really cheered me up.

It may take more effort to do good things than bad, but afterwards you always feel better doing something good for someone else. Doing something “good” or nice doesn’t have to entail a huge plan or lots of money. So today, I’m challenging everyone to do something nice for someone else, a phone call, a pat on the back, even a sticky note saying “hi, was just thinking about ya”; it doesn’t have to be much, just something to bring a smile to someone’s face to let them know you are thinking about them.