Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pony Play

The constant rain thwarted letting the ponies out on the lawn. Tommy and Skippy were both mad tonight that they didn't get to do any running around like they did last night Picutres are worth a thousand words, so I'll leave you with pictures of Tommy and Skippy stretching their legs. At one point, both Skippy and Tommy raced passed me at full speed. I must have been their finish line.

 Tommy did more bucking and farting than Skippy. Skippy just wanted to eat.

 The few minutes that both Tommy and Skippy settled down to grab a few bites of grass. Tommy did finally coax Skippy into running and bucking around the yard.

 Check out Tommy's extended trot!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Zeke streching his legs. Love this guy!

Chaos's Six Year Anniversary and Seventh Birthday

Six years ago during Memorial Weekend, we brought Chaos home. He was an unhandled yearling stud at the time. Boy was that a learning curve on my part. I’d only worked with older horses and thought being around six year olds was rough.  Chaos has taught me a lot over these past six years. I really did luck out with him. If he hadn’t been naturally laid back, I don’t know what I would have done.

I consider Chaos one of the first rescues. He was headed to an auction with a gigantic cut on his leg, wasn’t halter broke, and although he came from registered parents, there was a mix up with the paperwork leaving him grade.  Had be run through the auction as is, he wouldn’t have brought much money, mainly because he was still a stud at the time. I don’t know how to emphasis to people that taking a stud to a loose auction or a low end auction is practically a death sentence.

I really consider myself blessed to have been at the right place at the right time. Everyone thought I was nutz for even considering bringing him home. But he’s since turned into an amazing horse and a well-established fixture at Borderlands.  At the time we brought Chaos home, I thought I wanted to still be a rescue but over the past six years I’ve decided that I’d much rather be a sanctuary and let the rescues handle the young horses. But I will never regret stepping up and offering Chaos a permanent home.

And if my memory serves me correctly, the latter part of May is when Chaos was born. So he’s technically seven years old. How time flies.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Release the Herd

Saturday we let the herd out into the big pasture. It was a bit dreary and drizzly so the weather added to the horses' mood. I did take a bunch of pictures and posted some of the better ones.

The first set of pictures are of the herd minutes after letting them out onto the pasture. What I would have given to be at the top of the hill taking pictures instead of trying to catch up to them after opening the gate.

The next few pictures are of the herd after setting down for just a few minutes. They decided to settle down for only a few minutes to grab a few mouthfuls of grass and then start running again.

 Zeke and Brego. I'm not sure what discussion they were having.

 The herd finally settling down to grab a few bites of grass. Zeke, Brego, Bo, Chaos, Maverick, Jim, Dude, and King.
 Bo, Zeke, Chaos, Ivan, and Dude. I'm hoping that now that the herd is on grass, some of the harder keepers will be able to pick up weight. Bo is still too thin for my liking and Brego dropped a bunch of weight this month.
 Maverick stirring up trouble.

 The herd decided that they'd had enough grass for a little while and took off running again. I don't often get to see the entire herd run together (at least not lately).

 Rain was busy hanging out with Mayhem and Rabbit and didn't realize that the herd had taken off without him. So he took off as quick as he could.

 The herd running around.

The herd decided to come back to where I was standing (apparently that's where the good grass was at). It is a little un-nerving to have an entire herd coming right at you at a full gallop. But I trust them and they know if they get too close that I'll start telling them what for.

Bo is out front. Doesn't he look gorgeous all stretched out? He's got legs that never end. I can't wait until next year when I can take him on a few trail rides and see how he does. Bo, Ivan (yes he actually did more than a trot), Brego, and Rain)

Rain and Maverick stirring up the herd.  I think those two were the ones to get the herd running both times.

 Even Jim and King were bucking and rearing. I dont' know that I've ever seen either of those two do more than a little hop. But both King and Bo had all fours up off the ground.

 Jim feeling his oats.

Ivan and Brego after settling down to eat.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Awesome News!!!

Before everyone heads out for the long weekend, I wanted to share some amazing news. I hinted at it on Facebook but wanted to give you the full scoop here.  I was hoping to post pictures, but it’ll have to wait.

I mentioned not long ago that there was good news about Savanna. Just over a year after we pulled her from the auction, Savanna got adopted!! The best part, it’s a perfect match! How do I know it’s a perfect match? Easy!

The wonderful and amazing volunteer, Britt, from Gentle Spirits who has been working with Savanna over the past few months is the new owner! I couldn’t be more happy and excited for the pair. I’ve seen pictures (head over to the Gentle Spirits Facebook page to see the pics… I’ll try to post some here too when I can switch computers).  These pictures speak a thousand words! The love and caring each has for each other definitely shows!

After Savanna ran through the auction and things were quieting down in the pens, I remember Savanna allowing me to touch her and she put her head into my chest and let out a big sigh. That’s when I knew she was a doll baby with a crusty outer shell that simply needed to be cracked. 

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’d made arrangements with Gentle Spirits to take Savanna to help her find her a home. She would be lost and her true potential never found had she stayed. I’m so ecstatic to find out that Britt saw the same potential and brought that potential to the surface for everyone to see.

I absolutely love seeing the pictures of Britt and Savanna riding around. It’s a perfect combination.  Savanna is a totally different horse under saddle. She was meant to be a partner, not a baby making machine. I’m just so happy that Britt was able to discover this important fact and that the two can spend years together creating such a close bond.

I always knew that there was someone out there that could bring Savanna to her full potential. That for Savanna to be happy, she needed her own individual person to lavish love and attention that she so deserves and lacked for the first five years of her life. I couldn’t be more proud (although I didn’t do anything).

And if the news couldn’t get any better, it does! Savanna is going to stay local to the area! She’s going to be boarded at a local stable so I’ll get the chance to peek in every once in a while to see the happy pair. 

So anyone that ever says there are unwanted horses, Savanna and Britt are the exact reasons why there are NO unwanted horses. It just takes the right combination of horse and person to bring the best out of each other.

Congratulations Savanna and Britt. I am so happy for you and look forward to seeing both of you grow that special bond that you both deserve. For every horse, there is a special person. For every person, there is a special horse. I’m so happy that in this instance the special horse/special person combination is Britt and Savanna. Congratulations!!

Where Did the Week Go?

This week is flying by. Much to the horses’ enjoyment, they have been mowing down the lawn all week in preparation for their release to the pasture. I haven’t walked the pasture since Mike sprayed or fertilized but we’ve had decent amount of rain and heat.  I’ll still pull the horses off the pasture at night to try and make the pasture go that much farther. I expect we’ll have to constantly spot spray and most likely fertilize once more (as long as I can come up with the cash). 

After five days of being on the lawn, the horses have done a fantastic job of eating down the grass. There’s still quite a bit there so hopefully after the long weekend, I can start getting Mayhem, Rabbit, and the ponies adjusted to grass. But I can now see some of the noxious weeds and spray those to eradicate them. I’m sick of seeing weeds.

I’m tossing around the idea of hauling Rabbit to Madison. She’s such an alpha mare and is too hard on Queen. If Rabbit is on “vacation” for the summer, that would be less stress on the mare pasture next to the road. We lost our fall/winter pasture as my emergency backup pasture for the spring/summer due to the accident in February.  If I don’t haul Rabbit to Madison, she may join the “Pony Club” and have to hang out during the day with the ponies. I really want her on grass now. Her heaves are really starting to kick in even with being on medicine.

Queen is looking tough too. I may have to start graining her twice a day (which is what we did last year and it seemed to help). She gave me the stink eye last night when I didn’t let her out on the lawn. It rained and I wasn’t feeling the greatest to manhandle the big gate to let her out. She’ll get out tonight so everything will be better. Every morning I give her a handful of grass just as a peace offering for making her wait 12 more hours until I can get home to let her out.  She’s not impressed that the big herd is on the lawn. She likes to be closer to the house and barn for some reason. She really is a people-horse.  She’s such a doll. I just love her. You can just see the years of wisdom when looking at her.

Ivan has gotten a bit naughty when it comes to going out on the lawn. He’s losing what little ground manners he had. The other day I pulled Brego into the barn and Ivan spent the next half an hour going from the lawn to the drylot looking for Brego. I’ve never seen Ivan move that fast in my life. In the almost two years of caring for Ivan, I’ve never seen him move faster than a slow trot. But when he was searching for Brego, he was moving at a good lope. He could be a pretty flashy horse if he wasn’t so darn lazy. His whinny makes me laugh every time. So the entire time he’s searching for his buddy, he’s whinnying this high pitched whinny. It’s so unexpected because I just assume he’s a big horse and will have a deep whinny. Nope. In fact, it reminds me a bit of Dictator and Ace. Dictator had such a high whinny (even though he was a rangy old-style Quarter horse), and Ace being the petite Arabian, had a deep whinny. It makes me think of Ivan and Zeke. Ivan has such a “girly” whinny and Zeke (who people mistake for a mare), has that deep throaty whinny. It’s an odd comparison.

The other evening while the herd was out on the lawn, Maverick decided to roll. You know what that lazy boy did? He rolled, and then instead of getting up, stayed curled up and started eating. How lazy is that?

Every once in a while someone will forget their manners when I let them out onto the grass. Because it is just the lawn, and I only have to strands of electric (that aren’t on but SHHHH don’t tell them), I insist on haltering them and leading each horse one by one through the gate. King, Ivan, and Bo have forgotten their manners. King rushed the gate so hard he splintered off the corner of the gate. Of course he received a stern talking to. Rushing me and the gate is not allowed. He had to stay in “time out” for a little while. Even Dude got a little naughty and went into “time out” while I lead the others out into the pasture. Haltering and leading each horse out is a pain in the butt but I’d rather do that then have mass chaos with everyone running and bucking all at the same time.

Tomorrow morning I’m letting the big herd out into the pasture. I’m a little worried but they should be ok. I expect everyone will be happy to stretch their legs and run. I’ve had the big herd locked in the drylot since March to keep them off the pasture.  I’ll try to snap a few pictures of the herd once they hit the pasture. I took a few more pictures last night in between the rain drops. I’m sure not all the pictures are flattering but some always seem to go downhill just before they get on pasture for the summer. I am still trying to figure out how to resolve that so it doesn’t happen.

Not much more to report right now. All that’s been going on is nightly lawn time for the big herd and letting Queen eat down the grass by the blind pen. Almost everyone is shed out already and are enjoying the grass. I know it’s time to let them out on pasture. They are actually starting to waste hay. That’s the last sign that it’s time to let them out (and traditionally I wait until Memorial Weekend). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the pasture holds the entire summer and that the work Mike did has helped the pasture. I guess we will just wait and see.

If I don’t happen to post again, have a happy and safe Memorial Weekend. Remember the ones that have gone before us and appreciate those that are still with us. Have a great Memorial Weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lawn Pictures

Just a few pictures from the last two nights of the herd on the lawn. I will try to go back and label the pics so you know who is who. But tonight I'm beat and ready for bed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lawn Time

If I can get caught up today, I'll post pictures of the herd tonight. I have one week to get the big herd used to grass. Not sure that gives me enough time. Don't want to risk anyone getting sick. I was able to put some temporary electric fence up last night and let the herd out onto the lawn for about 15 minutes. I ended up doing chores in the dark but it was worth seeing the horses out on grass for a change.

We had some really happy horses last night. It made doing evening chores that much easier. I let Queen out to graze but she was disappointed she couldn't graze up by the house. So instead, she decided she would supervise Mike while he worked in the red shed.

I'm hoping that another week without horses (and with the fertilizer and rain), that the pasture will be good enough even for just the weekend. It sure would be nice to have everything fall into place for a change.

I may try to take a few more pictures tonight when I let the herd out. I'll do my best to post pictures but I  make no promises. It all depends on when I get in tonight from playing with the herd. If there's nothing on here, check out our Facebook page. I may just post the pictures there until I can post some of the better ones here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Ramblings

Huh, didn’t realize I hadn’t posted anything since Monday. I haven’t done much with the horses this week. I’ve been sick this week and the paying job has me swamped. It doesn’t leave me with much energy or ambition to get anything done with the horses (even though I’m so far behind) when I finally get home.

I had such high hopes of getting the horses out on the lawn to adjust to grass. I guess that’s my goal for the weekend. The weatherman is calling for rain on Saturday so not sure I’ll get anything done. I guess that’s ok since I have to go in for some additional tests in the morning. I don’t understand why doctors aren’t as up front as vets. My vet doesn’t sugar coat anything but he also tells me exactly what he’s going to do before he does it, tells me what he’s doing while he does it, and then explains any reactions that may occur. I don’t get that when I go to doctors. But I digress.

Last week Mike was able to get the sprayer rigged and the fertilizer figured out. So now the big pasture has been both sprayed and fertilized. It was definitely a learning curve. We ended up getting too much fertilizer so headed to Madison to fertilize Mom and Dad’s pasture after Mike finished ours. Monday we headed to Madison to spray Mom and Dad’s pasture. I’m hoping to take two horses up for two weeks to eat down their pasture and then give their pasture about three to four weeks rest before bringing two horses up there again. I want to try and keep as much pressure off our pasture as possible. I know we fertilized and sprayed but we are in “rescue” mode so it’s going to take a lot more work to get the pasture to recover. I may see if I can rent the neighbor’s pasture this summer. Using his pasture last year really seemed to help. It was a bit of a pain in the butt to check on them so many times, but it was worth it knowing they had lots of grass and I could rotate them to different areas.

I’ve been getting braver and letting Babe and Thor out when I let Queen out to graze. Queen prefers to stay by the barn and the house. Babe wanders some but not too far. Thor doesn’t go very far at all. He’s WAY more comfortable with his condition than he was even six months ago. I tried letting him out on grass last year and he freaked but he’s either used to being completely blind or just craves the grass so much he doesn’t care what he bumps in to. Either way, it’s nice to have at least some horses out on pasture.

We pushed a new bale in to the blind pen and I don’t believe Thor picked his head up from devouring the grass. The horses in the drylot looked on with envy (as did Rabbit and Mayhem). I need to get Rabbit adjusted to grass soon too. Her heaves are going to get worse with the higher humidity. Poor girl, I know exactly how she feels when it comes to not being able to breath.

I’m hoping the weekend will be fairly low key so that I can rest and recover. I’m also hoping I’ll have enough energy to get out and get the horses out on the lawn. We are camping over Memorial weekend and it would be so much easier to have horses out on pasture by then instead of checking on them twice a day. Luckily my family is understanding and knows that sometimes you just have to give up some “family time” for other times of “family time.”

I'm feeling guilty too. There's another horse sale tonight but I don't feel well enough to go. Not that I can bring anyone home but I still feel guilty for not being there. I know it sounds crazy but I want to be there to support those souls even if it is to just pray for them when they walk off the auction floor.

Oh, and I have fantastic news about Savanna. If I have time, I’ll try and put a post on here tonight or this weekend so you can all enjoy some fantastic news too!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amazing Savanna Update

Last night I received an amazing update. I can’t share all the details just yet but what I can share will hopefully lift your spirits as it did mine!

Please go to the Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary Facebook page or website and check out Savanna. She’s already riding like an old pro and it’s only her sixth ride. Volunteer Britt should get all the credit for really bringing Savanna out of her shell.  They told me last night that Savanna is a different horse under saddle; that there’s a spark in her eyes that has never been there before.

Savanna was never meant to be a baby making machine. She was meant to be a partner to someone and ride miles and miles of trail. I love seeing the transformation in her. This is EXACTLY why we do what we do. She was considered an unwanted horse just a year ago and now look at her. She is intelligent and sensitive. She’s willing to learn and catches on so fast. It’s amazing to watch her progress. I am so pleased and impressed with what Gentle Spirits (and volunteer Britt) have done with Savanna. We were able to pull her from her nightmare and Gentle Spirits and Britt were able to give her an education. 

Savanna is exactly why I don’t believe there is such a thing as an unwanted horse. Pardon my language but an unwanted horse is bullshit. Again, pardon my language. It takes time to find the right person. We all aren’t in the right place at the right time. Patience isn’t a virtue I was born with but it is something we have to learn in the rescue/sanctuary world. The right person and the right situation will finally arrive for each horse. No horse should be deemed unwanted. They simply haven’t found the right person yet.

There is nothing saying that you have to have one horse be the love of your life.   Take for instants Bo. I keep saying he is my heart horse. But he’s not the only one that I am bonded with. I’m bonded with all of them but some more than others.  But it was a matter of being at the right place at the right time to find each other and to have that bond form. Sometimes that bond doesn’t always start out as a strong and instant bond. Sometimes you have to work for it. But I simply don’t believe that any horse is unwanted. I believe that they simply haven’t found the right person and the right situation.

In Savanna’s case, she wasn’t meant to be a broodmare. She was meant to be someone’s riding horse and to be groomed and pampered like she deserves. Sometimes finding the right “job” for a horse is the key to bringing out their personality.

I want to personally thank both Gentle Spirits and Britt for doing such an amazing job with Savanna. Borderlands simply pulled her from a bad situation but you are bringing her to her full potential and it is an absolute joy to watch and experience the change. I am deeply honored to have been a part of such an amazing experience.

I know not everyone can rescue horses from bad situations or donate goods/money to a reputable sanctuary/rescue. But I do encourage everyone to do their part. You never know when your “little part” will play a huge role in someone else’s life.

Way to go Savanna (and volunteer Britt)!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Jett

Happy First Birthday Jett! Can't believe you were born one year ago today!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The other night while Queen was out, I rounded the corner and saw the most amazing scene. I wanted to share the beautiful sunset that blessed us earlier this week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Warm Whinny

When I can't find the silver lining, all I have to do is walk out to the herd. I'm always amazed at what a whinny will do to lift my spirits. I was late this morning in feeding and the majority of the herd let me know with their whinny.

I pulled some grass for Queen to try and satisfy her until I can get home tonight. Babe must have radar because she was by the gate in a flash snarfing up the little handfuls of grass too. The looks they gave me were priceless. You'd never know Babe was blind. Queen was even willing to share her blades of grass.

Rabbit's nicker melts my heart. She's so crusty and crabby but that nicker/whinny of hers is something else. It's rather deceiving but at least she's showing her softer side.

It's always nice to know you are appreciated. I might not be able to do much these days but it's still nice to know someone is happy to see me (even if it's only because I bring food).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Queen Update

I was planning on checking Queen around midnight last night but fell sound asleep until this morning. When I went out, Queen was her cranky self as always. I'm sure glad I put her in the barn. At some point in the early morning it rained. When I went to check on Queen this morning, she was pushing at the stall gate. I figured it was a good sign. I know she drank some water (at least from the night before) and had pooped at least once.

I opened the barn door and she wandered out to grab a few bites of grass while I haltered and led Mayhem back to her pen. Luckily Mayhem didn't get too cranky either. She's not exactly a lady but I havent' really been working on her manners lately either.

Queen did give me the stink eye when I put the waterproof canvas sheet on her but she didn't try to bite. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or a bad sign. Normally she gets really mad and will try to take a chunk out of me but instead she just swung her head around and gave me "that look." It's occassionally misting out and there's a bit of a wind so I don't want to risk Queen getting wet. The pen is a muddy mess so if she does decide to lay down even near the hay ring with the soggy hay, I want her to have an extra layer to protect her.

Queen seemed rather insistant when I tried to put her back in her pen. She wanted otu and stood by the gate until I disappeared. Queen must have been gossiping with Babe. When I opened the gate Babe came right over and tried to push through me to get to the grass too. Guess I may put those two old ladies out on grass for about ten minutes tonight and see what happens.

So far Queen is doing really well. I'm not sure if it was the weather or now that I think about it, I may give her a dose of wormer to see if that helps. Thinking I'll do a half dose of panacur and go from there. I need to worm everyone this week. At this point, I'm drawing at straws to figure out what set Queen to colic last night. If I could just figure it out, I would feel a little better. I may very well have to chalk it up to old age.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Queen Coliced Again

Queen coliced again tonight. I'm wracking my brain to figure out what triggered it. I haven't had her out on grass this week except once and that was early in the week (when these pics were taken). Since then she's been stuck in the drylot. It can't be the bale because we pushed a bale in mid week and she coliced early in the week on a different bale.

I'm stumped. The only thing I can think of is that it's weather related. The only thing is that we didn't really have any bad weather Sunday night although it had rained the day before and the weather was sort of iffy. Today the weather has been stormy and not the greatest. So that's the only thing I can think of.

I pulled her out of the pen thinking she was fine, but after wandering around for a little bit, she ended up lying down. She also sort of kicked at her belly (if she could kick). I gave her a dose of banamine and kept a close eye on her. She seemed to perk up a lot after the banamine.

We are supposed to get more severe weather overnight and I didn't want her to have to deal with it. So I ended up putting her in the barn with Mayhem for company. When I went to let her out of the pen, she was standing in the corner as close to Mayhem as she could get. So I figured Mayhem would be the best bet to keep Queen happy and hopefully comfortable.

That was around 7pm. I checked on her again at 10pm and she seemed alittle bit better but not her 100% self. Luckily she did come over and take a big drink of water, which I'll take as a good sign. I worry about leaving her in the barn because of her arthritis but I dont' want her to deal with any weather right now. She already has a hard time keeping warm and drying off.
I guess I better start preparing myself for the inevitable that will come at some point in time. I have been keeping my head in the sand on that thought but after watching her colic twice in one week, I better get myself prepared. I have to realize that she is 34 years old and won't live forever. She always goes down hill starting in March/April and she's looking pretty tough right now even with the grain she's getting (although none tonight because of the colic episode).

I think she knew I was upset tonight and wanted to comfort me instead of the other way around. Here she is not feeling the greatest yet she's standing right next to me trying to make me feel better. I don't know of any other horse that would do that (heck, not sure I know of too many people that would do that either).

I'll check on her again in a couple of hours to see if she's drank any more and to see if she's feeling any better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just weather colic. If she colics again, I'll have to see what the vet says/suggests. I know someone suggested I try probiotics and I have two containers of it but I've never had much luck seeing any changes or improvements. But I may try it just to see. I'm not out anything by trying it anyway.

Queen's colic on top of another request to take an old warrior which we had to decline is more than I can handle. Also knowing that I avoided another two horse auctions today didn't help matters. I'll admit my spirits are in the dumps right now so I'll apologize if I seem a crabby or unreceptive to ideas. It's all just more than I can physically and emotionally handle right now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tiny Dictator - My Dream Horse

The first weekend in May is special to me. While everyone else is excited for the Kentucky Derby, I remember and rejoice the first Saturday of every May for a different reason. The exact details are sketchy and fading from my memory. It was 17 years ago this weekend that I bought my first horse. He was a Colorado bred and raised registered Quarter Horse gelding named Tiny Dictator. He’d been used on a ranch for the first eight years. The rancher knew it was time to give some of the younger stock a chance and sold Dictator to my uncle.

We ended up visiting my uncle one summer and that’s when I met Tiny Dictator. I really liked him at first. The next few times we went out to play with him, I fell in love. (I believe in love at second sight.) My uncle had had other horses but there was something about Tiny Dictator that called to me. It could have been his size, his color, his demeanor; I don’t know. At that point, Tiny Dictator became my dream horse. I know at some point I informed my parents and my uncle that some day I would own Dictator. I was a patient girl and would wait for him.

As it so happened, my uncle decided he would sell Dictator to me (eight years later). With my parent’s consent, I became the proud owner of my dream horse. Of course, in a teenage girl’s world, everything is easy. Just load the horse up and haul him to South Dakota. What a blessing I have to be related to such amazing family. My uncle loaded Dictator and hauled him the 17-hour trip from Colorado to South Dakota, made longer with a flat tire on the trailer.

Dictator arrived that first Saturday in May. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to see him unload. I was at a track meet (but wishing I was home). By the time I finally got home, it was dark. My uncle had put Dictator in the barn so the only thing I could see of him was his big white snip. Oh how I wish it had been daylight so I could see my beautiful dream horse.

I don’t know of many who get their dream horse as their first horse. Oh it wasn’t all good. Dictator was used to men riding him so having a teenage girl bouncing around on him who didn’t know what she was doing made for some interesting trips around the yard. The first six months I swore I was going to sell him. But it was all a learning curve on both our parts. We were both 16 at the time. Dictator with years of experience and me with absolutely no experience what so ever.

But we grew together and learned from each other. Watching Dictator grow old was the prime reason why I switched from rescue to sanctuary. Dictator was one of the lucky ones. He only had three owners. Not many horses can say that. He was well cared for by all three owners and loved by all. Once while Dad was out elk hunting in Colorado, he came upon someone who remembered Dictator from his ranching days. It was amazing to know that Dictator had made such an impression on not just me but others.

Watching a loved one grow old is hard. At the time, I didn’t know what I know now. He taught me so much the entire time I was blessed to care for him. My only regret is that I wasn’t there when he passed away. I will carry that regret for the rest of my life. I had been preparing myself for his loss but when it actually happened, I wasn’t prepared. I should have been with him. That’s when I made the decision to be a sanctuary instead of a rescue. Because I promised myself that I would always be there until the end for each of the horses in my care. Every horse should be worshipped and loved until their final breath. Every horse should be loved and cried over. No one should be forgotten. Of all the lessons Dictator taught me, that’s the one that really stuck in my head.

He’s been gone now for five years. It still breaks my heart to not see him standing in the pasture but I know he lived a full and happy life. I will be silently celebrating Dictator’s and my anniversary tomorrow (even if it’s not the exact date). He was one special horse (as they all are).

I can honestly say I have been blessed. How many girls can say that their first horse was their dream horse? I can.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I had high hopes last night of riding Maverick. But by the time I got home from the paying job, caught Maverick, and had all the mud off of him, I decided against it. I need to pull the blind horses out of their pen so that I can do a little bit of ground work with Maverick before I swing a leg over. He’s been sitting for too long. I didn’t have the energy or feel well enough to tackle that project. Instead I just puttered with him. He’s so bored these days; I thought it would be good for him to stand patiently tied to the trailer and see if he could engage his brain.

There was still plenty of daylight after Maverick’s grooming so I figured I’d pull Ivan out and give him a good grooming. I had such high hopes of sending him to a trainer this year but that idea fell through. I won’t be able to ride soon so no sense in putting money into him just yet. And we still need to scrape up the money to repair Mayhem’s hernia. I have a master plan on how it’s all going to work out.

Ivan wasn’t thrilled with getting caught. I’m going to have to work on that. Good thing for me, he’s super lazy, although lately I HAVE seen him do more than a slow walk. Ivan doesn’t have much of his winter coat left but I spent some time pulling cockleburs and making him stand. He wasn’t too thrilled with the fly spry or the show sheen so I need to spend more time messing with him.

During all this time, I had Queen out enjoying some grass. She is always so much happier when she’s wandering the lawn rather than cooped up in that pen. I figured I might as well kick her out of the pen since we had to push a new round bale in to the blind pen. Happiness is a new round bale! I need to take pictures when we first push a round bale in for Thor, Babe and Queen. Thor simply stands there and eats from the top down (so does Babe for that matter). For some reason, it just looks cute to me. I’ll see if I can snap some pictures tonight.

I did take a few pictures of Maverick and Ivan but our internet is crappy at best so I couldn’t post any pictures this morning. I’m going to try and be better about posting more pictures. More pictures, less rambling.

Mike spent the evening getting the sprayer ready on the back of the farm truck. The weatherman said we were supposed to get severe weather but he was wrong (shocker). Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous with very little wind. Mike got the sprayer ready and headed out to the pasture. This is our first time figuring out the right levels and speeds for spraying. It’s all a learning curve. Hopefully we’ll get rid of all the weeds. We can’t do the bottom of the pasture just yet because it’s still soggy. We are supposed to get rain later this week so there probably won’t be any more spraying until next week.

Mike is headed to Campbell Supply tonight to buy his second toy of the week. He’s getting a spreader so that we can put down fertilizer. I’m excited to see progress on the pasture. Now that the weeds are sprayed and hopefully won’t rear their ugly heads, we can fertilize the grass and have it come back in all its glory. We are slowly getting there.

I love seeing progress be it educating the horses, fixing up a building, fixing/building fence, or general cleanup. I’m a visual person and have to see the progress before I can feel satisfied.

I don’t have any plans for tonight. I’m sure it’ll depend on the weather and how I’m feeling. Probably no riding but I’m sure I’ll mess around with a couple of the horses. Wonder which ones will come up when I show them a halter. Now that Ivan and Maverick had a chance to snitch some grass, I wonder if they’ll be right there or if they’ll hang back and be hard to catch. Dude is always so curious to know what’s going on. I may pull him just so I don’t have to fight him off to catch anyone else. Guess we’ll just see how things go. I’ll try to post pictures tonight and on our FB page.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pastures and Auctions

Our pasture isn’t going to make it unless we do some drastic measures. We are currently in “rescue mode” to try and bring some life back into the pasture. We haven’t really done anything with the pasture even when it started showing major signs of needing help last year. Last year was simply a mess, trying to please everyone and being stretched too thin to get everything done.

So now we are frantically working to get the pasture back to the right standards. Last night Mike bought a sprayer (his newest toy) to attack the ever increasing thistles and cockleburs. I’m excited to see that it’ll be really easy to go after those noxious weeds. Next is the fertilizer spreader. It’s a hefty chunk of money but it’ll save us in the long run. Oh sure, we could hire someone from the local elevator to come in and spray but that’ll be a one-time only deal and I’m afraid we’ll need to constantly work on the pasture this summer to bring it back to its fullest potential. Once we have all the equipment, we’ll be able to tackle any outbreaks. We both prefer to be self-sufficient when it comes to getting things done around Borderlands.

I’m excited to see progress already. I’ve been worrying for a while about what to do with the pasture. To be honest, we haven’t really done anything with the pasture since moving here. Last year was all about trying to please everyone else with very little focus on the land/buildings/fencing. The year before was our wedding. The few years before that, the pasture was ok but we didn’t start with a lush pasture. It had been over grazed from cattle when we moved in.

I’m excited to see how everything works. I won’t put the horses out on the pasture until Memorial Weekend. That’s the standard routine around here. I know some people have horses out on pasture already (lucky!) but the pasture can’t handle being grazed at the moment. I’ll start the big herd on the lawn this weekend. I know it makes me sound like a hick but it makes getting the horses used to grass so much easier. I can pull a few horses out at a time to get them used to grass and then be able to catch them without having to chase them all around the pasture. It’s easier to catch them in a half acre than ten acres. It’s not the greatest method but it’s the one that works for us.

I am still debating on whether or not to go to the Sioux Falls Regional Horse Sale this Saturday. We can’t take any in and I’ve avoided some of the more recent horse sales because of that knowledge. Having turned down two old warriors and then having to sit on my hands at an auction is heartbreaking. I’m not sure I’m emotionally ready. This upcoming auction is about the same time that we pulled Sahara, Savanna, and Jett last year. So I’m torn. Even if I go, it would be to simply remember those lost souls but I’m not sure I can handle it. I probably won’t decide until the day of the auction, unless someone wants to go with me for moral support. I’ve avoided this auction ever since bringing Sahara and Savanna home. Hearing reports from the October sale broke my heart so I’m not sure I can handle attending knowing I can’t do a damn thing. I guess we’ll see where my heart leads me on Saturday.

Summer Storms

I checked the radar just before heading home from the paying job last night and saw a huge storm headed right for Borderlands. I high-tailed it out of there and watched the storm drift to the north. Lucky for me, I only dealt with about six sprinkles.

After getting home and checking the radar again, I decided I’d better scurry out and get at least half of the chores done before the next storm blew through. Unfortunately, chores take me a lot longer to do these days. I grained all those that needed it and decided I’d head inside for a short break.

Had I known we were going to get drenched, I would have toughed it out and finished chores. As it was, we had only about 20 minutes before the first storm hit. I’m a bit paranoid about summer storms (about as paranoid as winter storms). The sky turned green but the clouds weren’t swirling (they were three miles to the west of us but I didn’t see those!) I decided I’d wait until after the storm to finish chores and hung out near the house just in case. Green sky means tornado. At least in my little world it does. Mike was happily playing in the red shed but I was as close to the house as I could get without being inside. I would have stood in the doorway if I thought I would have had a better view. Just as Mike was walking to the house, the first sprinkles started to fall so we headed in to watch what the weatherman had to say.

I think we missed out on the worst of the storm. The first wave went through without much commotion other than rain. Mike headed out to play with the new sprayer (that’s another story) but I decided I’d stay inside and watch the weather reports. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of getting caught in another storm and it was still raining.

When the second wave finally passed and the birds started singing, I knew I had to get out and finish chores. It was still raining but a little bit of water wouldn’t melt me (just make me rust). We had water standing everywhere. I’m not exactly sure how much rain we got but it was enough to make little rivers in the driveway. When I went to throw hay, Maverick was the only one in the big herd standing outside. Brego and Ivan were in the new leanto at the bottom of the drylot and Dude, King, Rain, and Chaos were in the leanto off the barn. I left Bo, Zeke, and Jim in the barn to finish the last little bit of their grain. No sense in kicking them out only to stand in the rain. When Zeke realized it had rained, he wasn’t interested in going out and getting wet. He cracks me up. I think he’s as sensitive to the rain as Rain and Brego.

It rained hard enough to blow more paint chips off the hay barn. I had high hopes of scraping and painting that building this summer but that project has been bumped to next year. A few of our projects that I had hoped to work on this year have been bumped to next year. Mike is working on a project that will keep him busy for the rest of the week (I’ll tell you all about it later).

I always like May and June. Usually by the time I get out to do chores in the morning, the sky is light enough that I don’t have to do chores in the dark. I forget how spoiled I am during the summer months with less chores and more light. It makes me rethink sleeping in some mornings.

I’m not sure how much rain we got last night but hopefully it won’t be too muddy. We have to push another round bale in to the blind pen. I have noticed that Queen is going downhill again. She goes downhill every late spring. I need to get her out on grass soon. I’m thinking I’ll let her wander the lawn for a little while tonight (but I’ll keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t get coli-y). It’s to be expected that she’ll start looking tough but it’s hard to watch. She’s getting beet pulp, grain, and free choice hay (no alfalfa right now because it gives her diarrhea). I’m hoping putting her out on grass and keeping her on beet pulp will help matters. She went through the same thing last year. I know it’s her age catching up to her but it’s still hard to watch. I know I can’t expect to keep her going for very much longer. I realize she’s at least 34 years old but I can’t bear the thought of losing her. Hopefully getting her out on pasture soon will help plump her back up (along with the beet pulp).

The weatherman is predicting more bad weather for tonight. Hopefully I can scurry home before the storms hit and get all my chores done right away. Guess this time I’ll just work through the exhaustion and aches and pains, and get everything taken care of before going in for a break.