Monday, April 29, 2013

Week In Review

And what a week it was! Last Monday we saw a snowstorm blow through that dropped a good four inches and blew snow into two foot snowdrifts. On Tuesday we had below normal temperatures thanks to a cold front. On Wednesday we had more rain and in the evening the scattered rain switched over to snow.  I’d left the neighbor’s mare and filly out Thursday night thinking that the temps wouldn’t get too cold and that it wouldn’t rain. Sure enough, dark clouds roll in and it started to sprinkle so back out I went to put the mare and filly inside. But by Friday we had 70 degree weather. Crazy how we can go from a snowstorm to beautiful weather in just four short days.
This past week has been a blur. The paying job has me hopping so there’s very little time left for me to do anything but minimal chores and back in to work more. But I have been in the saddle a lot more in the past three days. I was sick Thursday night so couldn’t go to drill team practice. But I went to drill team practice Friday night and had a great time. Saturday we loaded up early to attend the Horse Power Horse Show and perform with the Cowboy Way Ridin’ Angels at noon and then headed home. Mike worked on the plowtruck to turn it back into the spray truck. He even got a chance to spray some of the weeds in the pasture. I think he’s jumping the gun a little bit but I won’t tell if you won’t. Sunday, on a spur of the moment, I decided to go on a trail ride with the Lake County Boots and Saddle Club. I took Rain and realized not too far into the ride that I needed to take someone else. Luckily the clouds rolled in otherwise, I think Rain would have gone into Heat Exhaustion again. That poor horse. I forgot that once the temps reach 80, he’s no longer anything but a pasture puff standing in the shade. But that also means I need to get Chaos and Maverick going as trail ride horses. My goal this week and coming weekend is to work with them.
A number of the horses are overdue for their trims. I need to call the farrier this week and get it scheduled. The problem is the weather. The weather has been my holdup for so long. It’s been so crappy for so long that I can never predict the weather long enough to schedule an appointment. Every time I turn around it’s storming out. I guess I wont’ complain because it is moisture.
I filled water tanks last night and pulled water heaters. I’m wondering if I didn’t just jinx myself. We are still in the 70s for the next two days but there’s supposed to be a 20+ drop in temperature from Tuesday into Wednesday. I’m always a little nervous when we have that drastic of a temperature drop. I always keep a close eye on the older horses to make sure they won’t colic. Not that it’s ever happened, but I know it can.
I think Jim is depressed. I can’t figure out why he’s acting different than normal. He’s been this way for awhile and I can’t put my finger on it. I’ve taken to pulling him into the barn to let him eat a little bit of alfalfa. I haven’t been graining him lately because the mare has been in the barn. But I will have to resume graining to see if that makes him happy. There’s just something wrong with him and it’s bothering me that I can’t place it. I have such a hard time dealing with depression in horses. I don’t know how to fix it.
Rabbit’s heaves have flared up something terrible again. I haven’t been giving her medicine because she’s in with three others that would steal her grain. I am going to have to set up a little pen so she can go in and eat without being bothered. Maybe that way she’ll actually get her medicine. Until I can get pens together, I’ve started a different feeding method. I read somewhere that if you soak the hay, the dust, etc. wont’ be so bad and horses with heaves can eat a little easier. For whatever reason, in the winter when she’s only eating hay, her heaves don’t act up as much (although maybe they were and I didn’t’ notice because it was always dark when I was feeding her). So last night I drug out a tub and filled it with water and soaked her hay. I either need a bigger tub or less hay to soak. I didn’t think it worked at first because she was still breathing heavy. But then I noticed she wasn’t coughing. I guess we’ll be soaking her hay from now on. I soaked her hay overnight last night and tossed it out. I didn’t hear her cough this morning either although in the mornings I don’t think her heaves are as bad thanks to the  moisture/dew. But we’ll see how it goes. Maybe tonight I can move some corral panels around and get her situated in a pen away from the others so she can start back on her meds. I’m afraid she really does need to be on her meds all through the spring, summer, and fall. I had hoped that the heaves were getting better. I should know better.
We have another beautiful day today although maybe not as warm. I’m hoping to get just a little bit more done tonight and tomorrow night before the cold front moves through. Keep your fingers crossed that I wont’ regret pulling the water heaters out of Babe and Bo’s tanks!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sure Enough

This morning doing chores was beautiful. Rarely do I get to enjoy a quiet and still morning when doing morning chores. Of course I was running a half an hour late and the horses let me know in no uncertain terms (even the neighbor’s new filly let me know she wanted out of the barn!)
The days are getting longer and the mornings aren’t so dark any more. Last night while finishing up chores, I was able to take a few minutes to watch the sun set. This morning I was able to watch the sun rise on my way in to work. It’s days like this that make me appreciate were we life (of course there was no wind so that helped!)
On Monday I said another storm was on the horizon. Boy was I not kidding. Within an hour of posting that blog post, we had snow. I’m not talking a dusting, a full on whiteout drifting type of snow. The drifting was bad enough that I couldn’t go on my normal route to work. There was a two foot snowdrift blocking the way. It was high enough that I didn’t think my car could bust through the drift!
Of course I left the hoses out but the sun came out late yesterday to help start the melting process. So we survived the snow, although I don’t believe we got six inches of snow. I think we were more in the four inches of wet heavy snow instead.
But again, I have been ignoring the weather and what do my ears happen to hear as I’m walking out the door to get to the paying job, we are to get more moisture. I have no idea if it’ll be in the form of rain or if it’ll be snow. But either way, we are predicted to get more moisture. Oh sure, when I finally let the neighbor’s mare and filly out, what does the weather do, open up and snow/rain! I didn’t let them out yesterday because I’d move corral panels Sunday to clean the drylot and I was too played out to move them back. Their pen was such a muddy mess yesterday so I didn’t bother letting them out. And it was nasty cold. So I decided they better get out and stretch their legs today. And sure enough, it’s going to rain. At least I had the good sense to throw a blanket on the mare. I hate that blanket, the belly strap doesn’t fit ANYONE! But a big heavy blanket is better than nothing and it’ll keep her dry. Sure enough, when I least expect it, we'll get another storm.
I took Babe’s blanket off. I need to worm her again. She ripped the tail flap all to heck so I need to repair it before I can put it back on her. I don’t think she really needs it. I prefer to keep it on so she doesn’t get wet and then chilled. But she’s looking just fine without it. I’m afraid she has cushings so she can’t shed out. The only reason that she doesn’t look like a cushings horse is because I do leave a blanket on her for parts of the winter to keep her dry. If she doesn’t shed out, we’ll have to shave her.  I wanted to shave her last summer when it was over 100 degrees for a number of days in a row but I was too pregnant at that time. Hopefully we won’t hit the 100 degree mark for more than one or two days.  But I’d prefer to shave her so she’s not huffing and puffing when it does get hot.
 It’s going to be a fairly quiet rest of the week at the Sanctuary (knock on wood).  Outside activities are starting to gear up so I expect I’ll be overwhelmed with those activities. I’m still brainstorming for fundraising ideas for the Sanctuary. So if you have any ideas, please let me know! All ideas are welcome (and wanted)!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Another Storm on the Horizon

I'm definitely ready for spring! I haven't really paid much attention to the weather lately. I had thought that we wouldn't be getting much more for bad weather after the storm last week. Wrongo.

We are back in a Winter Weather Advisory from 10am until 10pm today. Guess it's a good thing that we ran our errands yesterday afternoon instead of tonight! We are predicted to get another 3-6 inches of snow! What the heck!! If I would have known that I would have brought the hoses in last night. It's going to be like last time, where I lost the hoses under six inches of snow and it took a week to dig them back out. Teach me not to pay attention to the weather.

We did do some serious cleaning in the horse pens last night. Luckily the Bear was cooperative and enjoyed helping Mike with the cleaning. He's such a good kid, so helpful even at only eight months old!

I haven't been able to clean the horse pens like I've wanted for a very long time. In fact, when I got pregnant, all cleaning came to a screeching halt (on my part but Mike did help with cleaning). I was too sick the first three months, and even though we didn't have any snow about this time last year (I believe we were in the 70s by this point last year), I still wasnt' feel well enough to do anything but the simpilest of tasks. 

But a year of not really doing anything but bare minimum, and our place shows it. I'm pushing to get as much stuff done this year to make up for not doing anything last year.  I have a number of projects on my list that I want to tackle to try and improve the place. I'm not sure we'll get to all of them. Cost is going to play a huge factor. The money that we used to have was eaten up by hospital bills (both mine and Mike's) and the increased price of hay.

I'm hoping that this extra moisture will help the pastures. I'm afraid our pastures are doomed though even with all the moisture. We overgrazed them too far for too many years. What used to be a lush pasture is now little stubbles of grass leaves. The pictures in this blog are from 2009 when the grass was still fairly lush. We should have been fertilizing, spraying, and reseeding the pasture every year. I'm hoping that with a little bit of thought, we can overseed parts of the pasture and fertilize other portions. I'm sure we'll have to spray the pasture again but maybe if we tackle the bad spots this year, we wont' be faced with five foot thistles.

But until this next snowstorm blows through, I'll just dream of blue skies and green lush pastures.

 Chaos and Brego

 King, Chaos, Maverick, (not sure who the black horse is), and Dude
Sam (a month after we got him. He was still too thin at this point)

Friday, April 19, 2013


We survived yet another storm. Luckily it wasn't nearly as bad as last week's storm. The few inches of snow we did receive are blown into snowdrifts. Although, on my way to the paying job this morning I had to find a different route. We had a two foot snowdrift on the gravel road and there was no way I was going to bust through that drift.

Everyone seemed to be just fine after this last snow storm. I ended up putting Zeke in the barn last night because he was wet and shiverng. Everyone else seemed content to stay outside (of course I'd just thrown alfalfa so no one wanted anything to do with the barn).

The neighbor's mare and filly have been in the barn for the past couple of days. The weather has been too bad to let them out. I'm sure they will be happy to adventure outside tomorrow. I swear that filly came out half grown. She's already mouthing the hay and grain.

Tomorrow is the SD Horse Council meeting. I can't go because I have practice but Mike is going to go in my place. I am hoping that we can make some changes and see more horse activities in our community. In the past five years I've seen a couple different saddle clubs spring up and two drill teams. I know there are other activities too but I'm on the ones mentioned. It would be nice if we could get a wide variety of organizations and individuals to become members. It would be nice to see a wide range of horse rescues and sanctuaries be a part of the SD Horse Council. But maybe that's all in the works. I'm hoping next year to have the Sanctuary join. The $50 it takes to become a group member (not an individual member) is already spent on hay and grain.

There are four auctions this weekend and I won't be attending any of them. I'm a little disappointed but I don't think my heart can take it. The roads aren't the greatest so I fear that there wont' be a great turnout for the loose horses. The roads are still covered in ice and snow. I doubt any of the auctions will cancel their sales. I feel guilty for not attending but I can't do anything but give them a pat on the nose and tell them that I will remember them. It's so frustrating to have my  hands tied. 

There's simply not enough funds to go around.  That's why I wanted to focus on fundraising this year. So far our fundraising has been a success. My problem now is that I'm stuck on what to do for the next fundraiser. I have one or two ideas up  my sleeve but I'm going to wait to share those for a little bit. There's a few in the area that seem a bit jealous that we are finally promoting ourselves and possibly taking the limelight away from them. Which is too bad because the need is there.

I'm hoping the weekend will warm up and I'll get a chance to do some work outside. I was talking with Mike the other day and I mentioned that there were a couple of projects I want to start now because I want to get them done and be prepared for winter. That's right, I said it...winter. Here I am already preparing for next winter when we are still dealing with the final throws of this winter.  Of course at the time the weather was beautiful and everyone was thinking spring. But it seems as though we spend six month out of the year dealing with winter and trying to get through and the other six months preparing for the next winter. It's an odd concept to think about the next winter when we are finally getting out of the last winter. It's a hard pill to swallow but I guess that's the life we live in South Dakota. Always need to be prepared for the next snowstorm, even if it's at the end of April.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Time Flies

I just realized that today marks Rain’s nine year anniversary with us. I figure it’s his birthday too since he’s grade and we have no idea when he was actually born. I know Rain isn’t a rescue horse but he’s a part of the herd and represents Borderlands anyway. So happy birthday/anniversary Rain. Hard to believe it’s been nine years. I still remember the trip bringing him home. Hauling him in a four horse straight load steel trailer (embarrassingly painted turquoise) bucking a headwind the entire way. At the time I didn’t own a truck or trailer so Dad was driving. We made it a family affair.
 A week ago today would have been Ace’s birthday. He too wasn’t a rescue although only because we weren’t running a rescue yet. He’d had numerous owners in his life before we got him at the age of 16. That horse taught me a lot about horses and it’s probably the reason why I prefer to ride Arabians over anything else. Most people want a calm and quiet horse but I’m not used to it and think there’s something wrong if a horse stands still for more than 30 seconds.  It’s been a few years since we lost Ace but he’ll always be remembered and missed.
Crazy how time flies.

Changes in Eight Hours

At 10pm last night (before heading out to do chores), the upcoming spring storm was predicted to only drop about 2 inches of snow and that we’d get a bunch of rain. We weren’t in any type of advisory either. Eight hours later when I was racing around trying to get out the door for the paying job, the weatherman changed the entire outlook for this storm. Amazing what eight hours will do!
 Now the upcoming storm is predicted to drop 4-8 inches of snow or possibly 3-7 inches of snow and we’ll be dealing with slush. I couldn’t figure out how to read the map correctly and I didn’t have time to stop and actually listen to what he was saying.  We are also in a winter weather advisory now too.
I doubt this storm will be as big a doozy as the last one but I’d sure like to know exactly what was coming our way so I could prepare a little. I didn’t have time last night to get anything ready for this upcoming storm. I had drill team practice and didn’t get home until 10pm. Lucky for me, there was no wind to fight. Unfortunately this morning there was wind.
I know we need the moisture but I’d prefer it to come in warm spring rain rather than another snowstorm. For the amount of snow we would need to get us out of the drought, we’d be buried in snow until July!
From the latest update on the storm:
A complex storm system will give us plenty of forecasting challenges the next 24 to 48 hours.  First, snow has accumulated in much of western SD with over 6” around Rapid City and points south and west.  The first wave of snow extended overnight north to Aberdeen where an inch or two has been reported as of 7am.
The main challenges today will be watching a band of t-storms with rain and sleet in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.  Rain mixed with sleet will be possible in Sioux Falls today.  Heavy rain is possible in northwest Iowa  (over .50”).   The snow and precipitation will expand to the west and north of Sioux Falls through the afternoon. 
There may be a lull in the activity late this evening before another round of snow develops tonight and tomorrow across eastern KELOLAND.  Sioux Falls and much of the southeast will be under a winter weather advisory and could get more than 6” of sloppy wet snow with this storm.  Even northeast KELOLAND will have a chance of 6” of snow tonight, and that’s why a winter storm watch is in effect.
Part of the problem with snow forecasting with this storm will be the t-storm activity in the warm sector of the storm across Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  Since the nature of those storms will be volatile, so will the moisture return to KELOLAND.  Also, the snow that falls will be very heavy and wet, difficult to measure, and compacting during the day.  The other issue is the strong wind.  Northwest winds will gust over 40mph tomorrow in much of eastern and southeastern SD, NW IA, and SW MN. 
Greeeeaaaaat. Six inches of snow. At least most of the snow from last week’s storm is gone. The only telltale sign that we had a massive storm last week are the tree limbs lying around. At least this time I’m keeping an eye to the sky. And as I did this morning, the skies looked very dark to the south with the threat of the storm headed our way.  The neighbor’s mare and filly are tucked away in the barn. I want to keep them safe and warm in the barn. Most of the “delicate flowers” are snug in their blankets.  If we are going to get a lot of rain, I’ll be running most into stalls tonight to dry off. It’s going to be an exhausting next 48 hours.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Upcoming Auction

There are two different auctions scheduled for this Friday, April 19th. One is the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale and the other is the monthly Mitchell Horse Sale. Anyone interested in going with me?

Storm #2 On Its Way

Storm one is done and we’ve cleaned up from most of it. Storm two is on its way. Not sure what to expect but I’ll make sure this time to put the hoses away. Last time for whatever reason, I ended up leaving the hoses out and it took me until yesterday morning to dig them out from under about six inches of snow. I want to top the tanks off tonight before the next storm comes (and before all my activities start gearing up if the weather doesn’t get bad).  I’ve read conflicting reports on what exactly we are going to get in the next couple of days as far as amounts and type of moisture. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though. At least it’s moisture and maybe it’ll drive us out of the extreme drought standing into a more mild drought standing (my preference would to not be in a drought at all!)

I did hear rumors that most pastures would only be at 80 percent this year anyway. Not good! If we don’t get more moisture, I don’t know if our pasture will hold up to even a month of grazing. Even with the fertilizing and spraying we did last year, we only had a month of pasture before it burned up. Luckily the neighbor let us graze his big pasture and we made sure not to overgraze that. It would be nice to not have to worry about overgrazing or making sure that the pastures hold. I’m afraid we have too many horses for our pasture in the condition that it’s currently in. I’ll probably send two horses to Madison for the summer again.  Even if it’s only for a month, two less mouths on the big pasture would be helpful.

I’m going to push to get the second mare pasture fixed. I’m not sure we’ll be able to afford it but I have to do something. I doubt that the pasture near the road will hold up to two mares all summer. I’ll need to switch them to a different pasture later in the summer. It may be that I have to do some temporary fencing in the front yard (something I’ve avoided doing up until now). I guess we’ll just see how much moisture we get and how well the pastures hold up.

In other news, I’ve been fairly lax lately on poop patrol, or as Dad and I affectionately call it, Waste Management. Unfortunately I can’t put the hay in the hay rings any more. The drylot turned into mud and I can’t get my hay wagon down to the feeders unless I want to risk tipping over the wagon or losing a boot. As it was, I almost lost one of my boots when I was jumping from one mud pile to another mud pile. And for the sake of this conversation, we’ll call it “mud”.

With nine horses in one pen and all the other demands on me (other horses, baby, husband, extracurricular activities, paying job), I haven’t been very good at keeping up with cleaning out the pens. Usually we get the tractor in to clear out the drylot but I don’t think that’s going to happen this time. The tractor is pretty much on its last leg and I’d rather not use the last little bit of it pushing manure. So I’ll be out there from now until who knows when, with my little shovel plugging away.

It seems everything is on the brink of total breakdown.  It seems every time I park a hay wagon or a wheelbarrow full of hay, one of the tires goes flat. Of the two hay wagons and two wheelbarrows, one of each has a flat tire. I’ve been limping along with the two wheeled wheelbarrow for the past month now. I was hoping it was just my imagination that the tire was going flat, nope. What I don’t understand is, I’m not hard on the wheelbarrow. I don’t go off-roading with it or ram into too much stuff with it, so how is it that I constantly have flat tires? I gave up using the hay wagon with the flat tire. But now the second hay wagon is on the brink of total breakdown. I am very hard on these little hay wagons. I seem to have the ability to break welds on these little hay wagons. Mike fixed the old hay wagon and I think it the same thing that broke on the other hay wagon is about the break on the newer hay wagon. I’ve been limping along with the newer hay wagon but it’s about to break. I think for now, Mike was going to steal a tire off the newer hay wagon and put it on the old one until he can do some serious repairs.  I’ll at least have one hay wagon working that way! I guess I shouldn’t complain. I use those hay wagons twice a day every day for about six months out of the year. They do get a beating.

The hay supply is holding up better than I had expected. Of course, when we bought the big rounds, we had to buy an additional ten bales to get the load. (It was an all or nothing sort of deal). At the time, we assumed we’d sell the ten extra bales. I’m glad we didn’t. With the hay crisis we’ve been dealing with, I think it’s probably best that we hang on to those last few precious bales. We are down to only five round bales left and I plan on using those when Mike goes out of town again next month. I’m hoping that we’ll have a few bales left over for the summer months until we can find a few round bales for Babe. She can handle the pasture but I don’t have anyone for her to hang out with so I’ll probably drylot her with a round bale. I haven’t actually figured out what I’m going to do with her this summer now that Queen isn’t around to keep her company.

This summer is going to be a guessing game on who goes where and when. I need to add Bo back in to the big herd when summer comes and that’ll be ten horses out on the pasture until I can take two to Madison. Bo is an instigator too so it’ll be that much harder to catch some of the horses. I’m going to have to get them used to being caught. But I guess I don’t need to rush on who goes where just yet for pasture grazing.  I need to get through the next snowstorm first.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Savanna Update - Tissues Needed

I wanted to post this to the blog too. This blog is about Savanna and her owner Britt. If you remember, it was about this time two years ago (Easter weekend which happened to be the last weekend in April 2011), when I went to the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale and spotted Savanna and her crippled yearling filly, Sahara. We outbit Savanna and brought her home for $20. We brought Sahara home for $5. A week later (I think) Savanna gave birth to Sir Prize now affectionately known as Jett by his new owner. 

It is my pleasure to bring you an update on Savanna. Grab your tissues.

Now for an update that requires tissues ... Britt has Savanna boarded where we board our personal horses so we see her all the time. They are amazing to watch ... well, just read.

Here is Savanna's April 2013 update. This is my personal update on her:

"Savanna... this girl stepped into my life completely unexpectedly. Skinny, unfriendly, broken, she somehow found a way into my heart and has never left. When I first met Savanna, it was not love at first sight, I must admit. I had always imagined my perfect horse as that beautiful, perfectly-trained horse galloping across the moonlit beach. However, Savanna was far from that. Her fur was grungy and matted, her bones protruded from her body, and she did not gallop her way across a moonlit beach. Rather, she stood in the paddock, hunched over, wanting nothing to do with humans. She was untrained and unfriendly. As I began spending more time with her, though, I gradually saw the beauty that was so prevalent in this unassuming animal. Savanna succeeded in making her way deeply into my heart and I came to love her with my whole heart. I adopted this wonderful girl and shortly after, we began Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Though Savanna had made her way into my heart, I was far from being in hers. Savanna had many issues and burdens that she carried through her difficult life before I came along. With Parelli, though, I have learned so much, and it has taken a long time for Savanna to get over her past, but finally, she has allowed me in her heart. There were months of time where she would run away from me in pasture for an hour before she gave up and allowed me to “catch” her, but, now, thanks to Parelli, I am greeted by Savanna whenever I see her. She used to be untouchable; now, she loves being scratched and loved on. She used to be unfriendly and untrained, but together, we are developing a partnership that I had never thought possible.

Savanna has taught me to never give up when times get tough. She survived having two foals in the midst extreme starvation, neglect, and pain. She suffered many struggles, yet she persevered. Because of this suffering, she is an amazing teacher. She has so much to give and I am truly blessed to have her in my life, to humble me and to teach me every day.

I have come a long way in my horsemanship, but I have a long way to go. I am not the perfect partner, but Savanna is. She is perfect in every way and she is the greatest teacher I could ever ask for. I am so blessed to have such an amazing partner and I will work every day to be the partner that this beautiful girl deserves. One day, Savanna and I will be galloping bareback and bridleless across the moonlit sky. My dream that I once had with horses is restored, but I am also able to be content in the present, to be joyful in the journey, and to never give up on the future."

Thank you so much for everything, Tiffany and Nina!

 — with Britt Jacobsen.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Survived the Ice Storm

We survived the ice storm with little damage. Luckily we only lost power for about three hours but I think that was to repair the lines somewhere else. We weren't like others who were out of power for 36+ hours. This was a crazy storm! At Borderlands, we received almost 6 inches of snow. In our temporary pasture in Madison (at Mom and Dad's), they received about 8 inches of snow. One of our volunteers and supporters who live only five miles from us in Hartford, received 10.5 inches of snow! Crazy how five miles will make a difference in the amount of snow!

I would  normally complain but we needed this moisture, although I could have passed on the freezing rain. But the snow is super heavy so hopefully that means it holds a lot of moisture. I expect most of the frost is out of the ground at this point. Mike tried to plow the driveway and struggled to find a decent height to keep the blade. For those that plow, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I realized with this storm that we absolutely need to get some new stalls built. I had everyone tucked away out of the wind, ice, and snow but it would be best to have extra empty stalls just in case. I had to rig up the broken stall in the hay shed so that Mayhem could stay in it. Thank goodness for light corral panels. Although with the coating of ice they had on them Tuesday afternoon, the light corral panel turned into super heavy. I was swearing by the time I finally made it back to the hay shed. Mayhem and Rabbit went into the hay shed stalls. I think they were both happy to get in out of the wind and freezing pellets that stung when they hit. I moved the ponies up by the barn where I've been keeping the neighbor's mare and filly. Of course the mare and filly went in the barn and have yet to return to the outside pen. It's a little chilly this morning so I thought it best to keep them in for another day.

Tuesday night I had Zeke, Jim, Rain, and Brego (along with the mare and filly) in the barn. I left Ivan, Chaos, Maverick, King, and Dude outside because they had enough protection from the leanto off the barn and the second leanto at the bottom of the pen. Unfortunately, I think Dude and Chaos kept Ivan out of the leanto that night so I made sure to put Ivan in the barn Wednesday night (along with the others mentioned).

I threw a blanket on Rabbit Monday night and threw blankets on Babe and Bo Tuesday morning. I wish I would have put blankets on those two Monday night. But I didn't get a chance to do chores before going to the Saddle Club meeting and by the time I got home to do chores it was late and dark. But they have been cozy in their blankets ever since and I think appreciate that extra layer to keep them warm and dry during this nasty storm.

I need to get the stall in the hay barn fixed and I'd like to build a third stall in the haybarn. I think it would be to my advantage to add an additional stall back there. I'd rather have too many stalls than not enough, which seems to be the case right now. Oh what I would give for a big barn with 30 stalls (need to have extras "just in cases"!)

I heard a rumor that another storm is on its way for the beginning part of next year. I guess I wont' complain too loud because we need the moisture. I'd prefer a nice gentle spring rain but if it comes in a massive blizzard with wet heavy snow, I'll take that too (as long as I can stay home)!

I'm hoping the sun will come out soon to start melting the ice off the trees. The pavement where the snow is gone, is nice and dry. I expect that with a little bit of sun, all the snow will be gone in  no time. Sure hope all that moisture soaks into the ground. We need to get out of this drought. I'd prefer not to feel the pressures of this drought much longer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ice Storm

We are still in the middle of an ice storm. We are predicted to get 6 to 10 inches of snow tonight into tomorrow. Luckily we are one of the few who actually has power right now. We have at least an inch of ice on everything. I finally went out and took pictures of all the ice. The big herd isn't all that thrilled with this weather.  Everyone will be going back in tonight.  I know we need the moisture but it would be nice to not have so much ice and it just be snow or rain. Thought you might like just a few pictures of what we are dealing with right now.


 Zeke, Brego, Ivan, and Chaos
 Zeke, Tommy, and Skippy

 King, Maverick, Dude, Ivan, and Brego
 King, Maverick, Dude, Ivan, and Brego

Monday, April 8, 2013

Upcoming Spring Storm

Here's an expert from our local news station:

Storm Center Update-Monday AM

April 8, 2013, 7:29 AM by Brian Karstens
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A major early spring storm will be heading for the plains the next few days, packing the potential for a foot of snow in some areas, ice, and heavy rain.  First, the ingredients for a major snow event are in place.  Deep snowcover to our north is keeping the air very cool just north of KELOLAND.  This system will have no trouble drawing down this colder air for northern, central, and western KELOLAND.  Even the southeast will see this trend too starting tonight.  It appears a classic April storm will head our way.  Here a few details according to the various regions of KELOLAND.

Southeast:  After a mild day today, snow and freezing rain will arrive tonight west of the James Valley into Tuesday morning.  Temperatures will be falling quickly behind the cold front, so expect a big drop in temperatures the next 24 hours.  The colder air will be in place late tonight, with a rain/freezing rain/snow mix near Sioux Falls and points northwest.  A winter storm watch has been posted for Sioux Falls and areas northwest.  We need to watch the icing potential northwest of Sioux Falls late tonight and tomorrow.  We are concerned that warm air aloft combined with cold winds at the surface will provide the ingredients for at least a couple of tenths of inch of ice.

A second surge of precipitation will develop in southeastern KELOLAND in the wrap-around snow behind the main low Tuesday night into Wednesday.  This may be the most important feature to watch for snow potential in the southeast.  When we combine these 2 pieces of the storm, snow totals of 6” or more seem reasonable, including in Sioux Falls.   Blowing and drifting snow could also be an issue, so stay tuned for updates.

A few more thoughts.  First, this moisture will help the drought.  Secondly, ranchers and farmers will want to take note that this powerful storm will be hard on young livestock with cold north winds and wet heavy snow.   Third, travel will be poor at times and could be nearly impossible in some of the hardest hit areas of KELOLAND.  Stay tuned to the latest information through the day . 
My thoughts....oh goodie. But at least this gives me a little bit of time to prepare for this storm. My only wish is that I didn't have a meeting scheduled for tonight. I may be doing final prep work in the dark after the meeting. Anyone want to stop out and help tonight?

That's SD For Ya

We are going to have an almost 30 degree weather change in the next 24 hours. I knew we were going to get some type of weather but I didn’t realize it was going to be so drastic! We had drizzle and light showers Sunday. It was a good day to relax and enjoy watching the rain fall. If we could have a week straight of that type of weather, I think we’d have a reduced threat of another drought.  I don’t think we got enough rain last night to amount to a hill of beans though.  That’s South Dakota for ya.
This morning we woke to fog. Not just any ol’ type of fog. Dense Fog. I rank fog up there with blizzards.  I hate driving in fog. The only time I wish we had wind is when we have dense fog. I want the wind to blow it away. Instead we had wind and rain yesterday and fog this morning. Yeah, that’s South Dakota for ya.
Depending on which weather service map I look at, we are predicted to get rain tonight. Both the weatherman and the weather map online say we are going to get freezing rain tomorrow along with lower temps, almost a 30 degree swing. Oh goodie.  Except when I read the forecast, they say little to no ice accumulation. How does that work?  Rain or freezing rain. High near 34. Breezy, with a north northeast wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Little or no ice accumulation expected.” That’s South Dakota for ya.
I guess from Tuesday night until sometime Thursday, we are predicted to get some snow. At least we aren’t getting the six+ inches of snow that’s predicted in the middle of the state. Don’t get me wrong, I think we need the moisture but I’d just as soon have it as rain instead of snow. It takes a lot of snow to get a decent amount of moisture. I’ll take it in spring rains, thank you very much.
I’m not looking forward to this drastic temperature change. I’ll be busting my butt tonight to get all my chores done before I have to head to another meeting. I swear I’m gone more now than I ever was.
The mare and filly will definitely go in but I may reduce the number of stalls they have to play in. Moving them to only two stalls would give me four stalls in the barn for Jim, Rain, Zeke, and Brego. Those are the four that need to be in out of the weather the most.  I know everyone else will stand in a leanto to stay out of the nasty weather. I’m debating on either putting Rabbit and Mayhem in the hay shed stalls or just throwing a blanket on Rabbit. My preference is in a stall but we’ll see. If I stall them tonight, they will be stuck in their stall until Wednesday  morning because of the weather. I guess that’s not all that bad. The only catch is that the one stall is demolished thanks to Sahara and I never got around to getting it fixed. So I’ll have to come up with something tonight quick if I want to put Rabbit and Mayhem in and I’m really leaning towards that option. Rabbit’s heaves are starting to flare up. I need to make a little stall for her in her pen so that she can eat her grain in peace and get the meds she needs instead of having Mayhem steal them from her. I desperately need to separate those two. I’m debating on putting Mayhem into the Colt Starting Challenge that’s going to be held by Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. Then she’d be adopted out but I am not sure yet. I need to just get through the next 72 hours first.
Even though Bo and Babe have shelter, I may end up putting blankets on them too. I’m worried that the temperature swing might bother them. I’m sure I’m being over protective but I don’t care. You can be over protective of an oldster and a hard keeper.
So the next 24 hours is going to be absolutely crazy and I’ll definitely be scrambling to get everything done before the nasty weather sets in.
In other news, I was so exhausted Saturday that I didn’t really do too much with the horses other than chores and filling water tanks. I don’t typically take naps but I took at least two yesterday without even knowing it. You know you’re tired when you’re reading a book and don’t realize you’ve fallen asleep until you almost drop the book.  Here I thought I was still awake and reading the story! I did mess with Mayhem a little bit. If I don’t enter her into that Colt Starting Challenge, I won’t be able to send her to a trainer until next year. She still has her umbilical hernia that needs to be repaired. We’ve had too many other expenses to take care of that issue. But I also want to get Ivan in to the trainers for a quick refresher. I guess I’d prefer to give Mayhem an extra year. Her actual birthday isn’t until June 24th so I’d prefer to let her grow a little bit more before putting her into vigorous training. But she is lacking in ground work so I thought I’d mess with her. She also cut herself on the fence. She’s taken to squeezing her neck in between the gate and post to snitch the hay that falls from the wheelbarrow (that I don’t scrape up and toss over). So she ended up cutting her neck. I swear those young ones are so accident prone!
Sunday we ended up running around town for a good portion of the day. When we did finally get home, it started to rain so I ended up doing my chores in the drizzle.  Teach me not to go out earlier.
Mike is going to go turkey hunting this coming weekend so I need to get everything figured out for when he’s gone. When he was gone for training, we had everything figured out so I wouldn’t have to worry about feeding and making sure the Bear was ok. I need to get everything figured out again so that I don’t have to stress over it. Luckily he’ll only be gone over the weekend so there won’t be too much stress of having to rush around to do chores. Hopefully the weather will be nice for this weekend.
I’m sure to be absolutely exhausted tonight making sure everyone is safe and dry. At least we are going to get moisture so I won’t complain.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Need

I can’t get her out of my mind. I saw an ad for a free older horse on our local classifieds. She fits all our criteria. Of course it would be an owner surrender instead of a rescue from an auction but I’d prefer to get them BEFORE they go to auction rather than at auction.  But I can’t offer her a retirement home because we are full. That thought alone breaks my heart.   I’ve now had to decline a few horses that fit our criteria (or simply not respond to the ad) and that thought really bothers me.
It feels like I’m not doing anything these days. I know that’s not true and with Sanctuary work, there is only so many spots before you are full and can’t take any more. But it still feels like I’m not doing enough. Here this broodmare sits, having made babies all her life and now she needs a safe retirement home and we can’t offer it. The owners are trying to do right by finding her a new home before the only alternative (for them) is an auction. I’m torn by wanting to take horses in, in this type of situation but I have my reasons for wanting to step up.
If we could find her a lifetime sponsor, I would go and get her in a heartbeat. She’s not too terribly far away either.  Although, all the horses that we have taken in, have been fairly close.
I know we won’t end up bringing her in to the Sanctuary. So I am also debating on going to either the Sioux Falls Regional Horse Sale or the Mitchell Horse Sale (although I won’t be bringing anyone home). Both are scheduled for April 19th in the evening. I haven’t been to an auction in over a year so I have no idea what prices are like for the loose horses. I want to go but I’m not sure I can muster the energy. My heart seems to be in more turmoil these days.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I was in a grumpy mood for most of yesterday.  So much to do, and so little time. As I was grumbling about this or that to myself while driving up the driveway, I noticed something that really made me happy! Instead of one set of legs in the mare’s pen, there were two sets of legs!! The neighbor’s mare had her baby! We were sure that it would be stillborn just from the way the mare was acting. I guess there just wasn’t any room!! I was so excited I had to call the neighbor right away! The name is still up in the air but the filly is a beauty! She looks nothing like her mother. Her mother is a bay and white paint and the filly is a chestnut overo. Gorgeous! I have pictures but only on my phone so I’ll have to try and get better pictures this weekend.

It’s amazing what good quality care will do for a baby. I was reminiscing about Savanna and Jett and how that birth was. Jett wouldn’t stand for 12 hours and then I had to carry him to Savanna’s side. The new little baby was up and moving around when I got home. This morning when I went out to do chores, the little filly was loping around her mother. It’s a far cry from when Jett was barely able to move around and Savanna was so exhausted she could barely stand to let Jett nurse.  

I’m so glad that we were a part of these little “families”. We’ve had two babies born at Borderlands and in the past three years, we’ve had three babies born (can’t forget the Bear!) With Sanctuary life, we are always wrapped up in old age and the inevitable loss. But with newborns, there’s so much curiosity and discoveries. Newborns are a breath of fresh air for me. I don’t want to take on babies but it is a joy to be around them for just a little bit.  I know understand why people want to start with a very young horse to train. But I’ll stick with the oldsters that have the knowledge and wisdom thanks to age and experiences.

It’s been a crazy week so far with very little time at home. I was able to work a couple horses Saturday but after that I have only been around them long enough to feed and water. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to sneak out for a little bit to play although now I hear that we are to get rain. I guess I won’t complain. We desperately need rain. I am excited to finally see a little bit of green these days. If we get some rain, we’ll definitely be submersed in green!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Right Angle

My heart goes out to some friends of the Sanctuary. Easter Sunday they lost one of their dear horses they recently got back. I don’t know the entire situation and at this point, I’m not sure that I want to. But losing a loved one is very hard and our sympathies go out to them during this time of loss.
I was thinking about loss last night during chores. With Jim being off and possibly depressed, I started thinking of the inevitable. The only two on my watch list right now are Jim and Babe. Jim because he’s depressed and Babe only because of her age (although she put on weight over the winter!)
Most of the horses at the Sanctuary aren’t old. We welcomed them in before I had my criteria established and before I knew I wanted to be a Sanctuary rather than a rescue. I’m hoping that we won’t have to deal with any loss this year (besides the loss of our longtime supporter and role model, my grandma). We’ve had to say goodbye to a number of horses over the years and it seems we’ve lost one or two since 2007. Of the ones we’ve lost, all but four were due to old age. Two due to health reasons before they came to the Sanctuary. These two showed immense aggression so we did what we thought was best. Another was a pasture accident although she did have health problems, and the last the vet killed although she did have health problems also. I can rattle off the names and the reasons for the loss but it takes a lot of energy.
While I was looking at the herd the other day, I started thinking that maybe we looked more like a feedlot rather than a normal farm. I’ve kept the horses in a drylot to protect the pasture over the winter. So I started thinking about what it would be like to go to Musick’s feedlot and try to pick out a horse. I tried looking at the big herd without knowing the personalities and quirks of each. If I were given the opportunity to go to Musick’s feedlot to bring someone home, how would I choose? What criteria would I use? Would I look at confirmation? Would I try to pull the weakest from the lot or try to find the one that has the easiest chance of finding a home quickly? Would I look at color? Would their eyes tell me?  I doubt I’ll ever be given the opportunity to pull a horse from Musick’s but I’ll keep thinking of those that are stuck in that situation. It worries and angers me that I am less than an hour away from a feedlot and I’m doing nothing but sitting on my hands. I know that my hands are tied and I can’t bring anyone else home. If I am to bring someone else home, he/she probably wouldn’t come from the feedlot. But there’s so much potential standing out there and I could be making a difference and I’m just sitting on my hands doing nothing.
I need the connections to get in and scope out the situation. I know there’s a win/win possibility but I need to figure out the right connections and the right angle to make it work. Anyone have those connections?

Busy Bee

I seem to be losing track of time even faster these days. Last night was a totally unproductive day for the Sanctuary. For other activities, we were busy! For those that don’t know, I’m also one of the founders of the Minnehaha County Saddle Club and am currently the Chair. I wanted to promote working with your horse so we started the Minnehaha County Saddle Club Distance Derby (based on the Distance Derby being hosted out of Nebraska). It started April 1st but I haven’t been able to do anything with it lately because Blogger has been a pain in my rear.
We also decided to see if the city of Hartford would want our saddle club to host a trail ride during their Jubilee Days June 15th and 16th. So Mike, the Bear, and I hopped in the car to meet F at the Hartford City Council meeting last night at 6pm.  I thought we were doing good by leaving early. That’ll teach me! Instead of getting there early to make sure the Bear was asleep, we spent those few precious moments scrambling to find the owners of a weiner dog that was racing down our road. The sight of a weiner dog racing down the road makes me bust out laughing every time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find his owners before the council meeting so we put him in one of our kennels and ran to the meeting, which went off without a hitch. We are waiting for one final approval and then I’ll be busy planning that event!
So back to the weiner dog. What a ham! We did find out who his owners are but they weren’t home last night. He ended up spending the night at our house. Mike was going to drop him off tomorrow morning. When we first moved to Borderlands, we didn’t have the horses yet (nor were we running the Sanctuary). But I wanted to do my part and volunteered to be a foster for Almost Home Canine Rescue based out of Madison, SD.
Oh the stories we can tell you about fostering. I think we fostered for about two years before we called it quits. The Chihuahua was our breaking point but we were able to help out a few dogs. I’d recommend checking out Almost Home Canine Rescue. The focus of the rescue changed a few times over the years but always the final goal of finding unwanted dogs a new home.
I forgot what it was like to have a new dog in the house. I was up more with the dog than I currently am with the Bear! I was able to finally unwind about 11pm. The dog decided he was tired of being in the kennel and wanted out at midnight. We went for a quick jaunt in the driveway and I headed back to the couch. Unfortunately the dog wanted back out at 2am and that’s when I decided to take the Bear upstairs (he fell asleep in his carseat; we are currently going through the teething phase).
So I know it’s totally unrelated to the Sanctuary but that was my night! I’m a little worried about Jim. He’s been off for the past couple of days. I’m not sure if it’s the hay I’m tossing out (this bale isn’t the greatest) or if there’s something wrong. I think he’s depressed but I’m thinking Maverick and he may have had a fight. Jim has been hanging out with King at mealtimes, which is odd. I may need to give Jim some extra loving this week (if I can find time).
The rest of this week is jampacked with non-Sanctuary related activities (drill team meeting, church,  drill team practice with the second drill team).