Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Babe Time

Poor Babe. I really haven't been around her much other than to make sure she has food, water, and shade. I did end up putting Mayhem with her and she's been enjoying the company. Just last night I saw her push Mayhem around. I could see the expression of delight when she pushed Mayhem out of the way. When Babe was in with Queen, Queen pushed her around and when Babe was in with any other horse, she got pushed around. For whatever reason, Mayhem knows her place and lets Babe push her around. I really do like having the youngsters in with the oldsters. It makes the older ones feel young again and the young ones learn a lot from the older ones.

But I digress. Last year I didn't do much with Babe. I was too pregnant by this time last year to do anything with her except feed and water (and it was too stinking hot). The year before we tried shaving her much to my chagrin. It was a learning curve and that's all I'll go into detail about that topic. This year my time is very limited on what I can do with the horses.

Luckily the Bear went down early so I had a little bit of extra time to hang out with the horses. I decided to grab a brush and see what I could do.  Otherwise, I was going to put a call out to see if anyone with horse experience would want to come out and groom her (of course that offer still stands). But when I started brushing her, huge clumps of winter hair started coming off. I was so excited. Babe stood absolutely still. I think she really enjoyed the grooming. I have groomed her earlier without any affect to her coat. I guess the hotter weather is finally making her shed out. I was able to get the majority of her winter hair off of her but there's still a little bit more I want to get off. We'll see how it goes. I do believe she has cushings disease but I haven't tested her and at this point, I don't want to put her into any undo stress.

While I was grooming her, Mayhem decided to come over and supervise. I think all the bad habits she was picking up from Rabbit are gone. I really do like this pairing combination. Babe has a calming affect (on pretty much everyone). I have a feeling my parents were hoping I'd bring Babe up for the summer instead of Ivan and Brego. Everyone that ever meets Babe falls in love with her. She's just one of those hard to find, awesome horses. I know that she has a daughter that is almost exactly the same temperament as Babe. If/when the time comes that Chase needs to retire, we will open our doors for her also, even if we are full.

I let half the big herd out onto the lawn last night. I was surprised to find Bo right there at the gate, even with Dude and Chaos near the gate. I am surprised that Bo isn't more bothered by Dude but I guess when it comes to food, Bo doesn't care who is in charge. It's nice to know that Bo will push in when it comes to food. Although  I know Ivan does push him around. It's a weird herd dynamic. But I was able to get some of the harder keepers out on the grass. It is so nice to have horses on grass. I know they are happy, except for when the mosquitoes start coming out. Hopefully I can pull the hard keepers back out so they can eat down the grass more. I am anxious for next week so that I can let the big herd out onto the pasture and then focus on getting the  mares and ponies used to grass.

No rest for the wicked...or wait, is that weary? Either way...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The boys are getting antsy to get out into the pasture. 

Interesting Blog

Here's an interesting blog post about slaughter and the amount of abuse/neglect in association with  slaughter. Interesting facts. John Holland knows how to dig for the facts among all the BS.

Happy Birthday Mayhem

I remembered yesterday but forgot to post because I don't have a current picture! But it was Mayhem's birthday  yesterday! She's officially three years old. Hopefully we can get her in to training next year. I thought she was too small yet to go into training. I was wrong. I put her in with Babe (who is a pretty big mare). Mayhem and Babe are the same size. I was comparing Mayhem to Rabbit, who apparently is a really big mare.

Babe is adjusting to having Mayhem in with her and I think is really enjoying the company. I saw Babe push Mayhem out of the way when they were having supper together at the round bale. I think it makes Babe feel better to have someone to boss around. Mayhem is laidback and doesn't really care. It's a good combination. I like having the youngsters in with the old timers so they learn their manners.

Happy Birthday! Hard to believe you were ever this little. You've grown into a beautiful mare.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back or is it Four?

Last night I didn’t start chores until 9pm. By then the mosquitoes were out in full force. Oh how I dread mosquito season.  I felt more productive than I really was. I was able to put up the temporary fence in the yard again although in a different place so it only holds half the number of horses. I let out half the big herd while I puttered doing other things. Unfortunately I didn’t get out all the hard keepers. Dude and Chaos insisted that they go out. King insisted too but I’m putting him on a diet. Now that I know he has laminitis, I’m going to keep a closer eye on his diet. I have decided I hate throwing hay in the summer. I had to tackle putting fly spray on all the horses AND throw hay. Each one in itself is time consuming and then to add both, I spent all but just a few short minutes either fighting hay or getting wacked in the face with a tail (and by the way, getting wacked in the eye with a tail is very painful. I know I stood there stunned for a few minutes recovering from the pain. Chaos has a wicked tail swat).
I’m hoping that we will be able to push in two more round bales while I’m at another drill team performance this weekend (Irene Rodeo – Fri at 7pm and Sat at 6pm). It would cut down on my worries and then I wouldn’t feel like I needed to rush around as much. We’ll see. I would rather use last year’s round bales than last year’s big squares. The quality of the big squares is better although I was grumbling last night as the big slivers disintegrated when I tried to pull them apart and get them into my cart. I know last year’s hay wasn’t the greatest and I’m excited to see the quality of this year’s hay. I hate having to constantly stress and worry over hay and hay prices. I wish we had more land so that we could put up even just a few of our own bales instead of having to buy everything. I guess for now I should just be happy that we do have hay still to offset not being able to use the pasture.
I have decided that I’m going to put the horses on the pasture next week. The pasture will have had six weeks to recover and grow. I haven’t walked the pasture yet. I think I’m in denial. If the grass didn’t grow, I don’t want to know.  But I need to get some of the hard keepers out on grass so they have time to get fat. Even with 24x7 access to hay, some just aren’t doing as well as I’d like. I’m also thinking I’ll haul Ivan and Brego up to Madison next week so they can spend the next month or more there.
I haven’t let the horses out on the lawn for the past month because there was nothing left to eat in the main area. I’m going to do some re-fencing this week and kick the big herd out onto the lawn again to get them used to the grass. I’m hoping that having the horses on the lawn will help decrease the number of mosquitoes. I think I’ll fence in the front yard too for Rabbit and the ponies. I think I’m going to keep them together for the summer. When our son was in the hospital, Mike and J put a round bale out in their pen along with the cinch net. I figured by now that the round bale would be done and gone. Nope. There’s still plenty of hay left for them to munch on. But I need to get Rabbit out on grass. Her heaves are flaring up. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s from eating on the round bale. It’s this time of year that her heaves flare. I think the pollen and general dust make her heaves flair. If I can separate her for about 10 minutes every night, I could resume her medication but with the ponies in with her, I can’t. Tommy will push in and Rabbit won’t get the meds.
I also realized last night that we are in desperate need of some general cleanup around our place. In years past we would go in waves. We would spend two years fixing things that break and one year starting and working on a new project.
Unfortunately, it’s been two straight years of not doing anything. Last year I was pregnant, and this year I’m struggling to find time to get anything done. I know I’m stretched too thin but don’t want to give anything up. But because we haven’t been fixing anything but major issues, we haven’t been able to focus on the little things that keep breaking. So that probably means we have to spend the next four years fixing things that have broken or are on the verge of breaking before we can look at starting any new projects.
Last night I started getting antsy knowing that we are already past the longest day of the year (that’s a story all in its own).  I realized that with my limited time to get anything done that I better take advantage of my time outside. The Bear had already gone down for the night and the mosquitoes were too bad for Mike to be outside. I decided I’d tackle cleaning up some of the junk that I’ve thrown out but never really picked up. I didn’t get far before I had to quit but it was a good feeling. Our place looks dumpy for multiple reasons but it’ll be nice to look out one day and see a nice place again some day.  Hopefully I can keep up this cleaning streak and get a few more things picked up. I’d love to have a volunteer day and set everyone one different projects to accomplish. There’s so much to be done before winter sets in (sad that I’m already thinking winter), washing and waterproofing blankets, repairing broken boards in the hay barn, scraping and painting the hay barn, repairing stalls, cleaning stalls, cleaning pens, building a run-in shed in the smaller pen, etc. All so many worthwhile projects and no time to get them accomplished. I guess for anyone that has some time on your hands, you are more than welcome to come out. I’ll gladly put you to work. I can’t pay you but I can feed you!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Plugging Along

The last two weeks have been an absolute roller coaster of emotions. I cannot even begin to think about the possibilities that may have occurred had we not taken our son to the hospital when we did. My world came to a screeching halt when we walked through the doors of the ER. Luckily Mike was thinking ahead to chores for the rest of the week. He and our good friend J loaded up hay on Sunday and with the help of others, were able to put a few round bales in with the horses so that we wouldn't have to worry about feeding the horses or doing other chores. I cannot thank all those that helped (and volunteered to help) take care of the horses while we were in the hospital. I couldn't even begin to think about the horses when our son was so sick.

It amazes me how one's world can change in an instant. Perhaps that will be my lesson learned from this ordeal. The doctors did release our son from the hospital exactly one week (and two hours) later. I refused to leave the hospital and in fact refused to leave his room for the most part. Of the week that we were there, I left his room four times and only briefly to appease Mike.

While we were in the hospital, my world came to a screeching halt. I know that there were so many activities going on while we were "on the inside" but I couldn't focus. I am struggling to get my mind back into the Sanctuary life.

I am still not so patiently waiting to release the horses into the pasture. I have yet to walk out there to check out the new grass. I'm not sure why I won't walk out there other than the mosquitoes and the fear that maybe the grass hasn't grown (which I know isn't true). From the road the pasture looks great. I am planning on letting the horses out on pasture finally the first week in July. By then the new grass should be established well enough. The grass will have been planted for six weeks. Hopefully that's enough time to become established. We've had enough  moisture and now heat that the grass should have taken off. Because we didn't know how long we were going to be in the hospital, we bought round bales. We'll use those round bales to finish out the rest of this month and then kick the horses out to pasture. I was starting to get the horses used to grass in May but stopped when the lawn wasn't good enough any more. Now hopefully I can get the horses back out to different parts of the lawn to get them adjusted. The mosquitoes are terrible so it would be nice if the horses ate down the tall grass so the mosquitoes don't have any place to hide.

I am also planning on taking Brego and Ivan up to Mom and Dad's for the summer. Brego constantly loses weight until he's on pasture and he's looking really bad. I'm struggling to find the time to haul them up but will have to figure it out soon. I plan on leaving them in Madison for a month or more and then hauling them back home.  Now that we have extensive hospital bills, I won't be sending Ivan to the trainer so he'll have to wait another season for his education. I swear these hospital bills keep getting in the way of the horses' education.

I am seeing people haying and I wish that we could be out there doing the same thing. Oh what I would give for more land so that we could hay it instead of having to go in search of hay. The new neighbor's cut all the pasture and are going to bale it soon. I'm a little envious but I guess I should be blessed that we were able to use the pasture last year when we desperately needed it.

There really isn't too much going on right now. I'm trying to get back into the swing of general life. It's hard to adjust from the "sit and wait" mentality at the hospital to the "go go go" mentality of the outside world. I'm struggling with it. Hopefully once I'm back on track, I can return my focus to fundraising and then you'll be sick of me plugging whatever hair brained idea I've devised.  But until then, I'll just keep plugging along.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Out of Hospital

We are finally out of the hospital and hopefully back to a normal routine. I need to do some major fencing and get a few of the hard keepers on grass ASAP. Brego is losing weight even with a round bale in front of him 24x7. I am losing ground quickly and can't seem to get it together. I'll be around but am trying to recover from all that happened over the past two weeks.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Please Pray

Sorry for not posting. We have been in the hospital since Saturday morning. Our son contracted meningitis. We will post more when they let us out of the hospital. Please pray for us.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


It's definitely summertime. We had loose horses. Well, ok so maybe it doesn't feel like summer and I was really asking a lot of the horses but still. I debated on putting the horses out on the lawn because there's really nothing left for them to eat. But I figured they  might like the change of scenery. They sure did! They took down my "courtesy fence" and joined Rabbit in the taller grass.

Of course the "courtesy fence" was one strand of electric with no electricity on it. I figured it would happen so no shocker there. My biggest worry was that I had Rabbit on the other side. I don't know if I've ever had Rabbit in with the boys. I know Mayhem decided to join them once or twice but never Rabbit. She seemed pretty content. Maybe the molesters are no longer interested in mares! I guess I'm a bit sexist. I keep the geldings in one herd and the mares in another. But maybe there is hope that the geldings and mares can coexist with no hanky panky (ahem King).

When I went to pull the horses out of the tall grass they decided to get all riled up. I think they all knew. So instead of being good horses, they grouped together and stampeded towards the smaller pen and straight towards the gate we just fixed. I have no idea what possessed them to go that direction other than they thought the electric fence they took down was up and charged. I was able to catch Rabbit and put her back and then catch Ivan in hopes that everyone else would follow. Nope. I put Ivan in the small pen in between the barn and the loading shoot and went back for the next one. Of course, silly me decided I wouldn't put halters on the horses thinking that they've been doing so well lately. That'll teach me. Any time I put them out on temporary fencing with just electric, I tend to put halters on.

When I walked back to get the next horse, Zeke was at least good enough to fly past me. That in turn sent the rest of the herd flying past me (except Bo). Nothing like having a herd of horses fly past you at a full out gallop. I luckily avoided getting any mud flung into my face. I thought Bo would follow in hot pursuit but he didn't. Once the big herd was in the drylot, I locked them in and let Bo wander. What harm would there be leaving Bo out (absolutely none the entire time). While I finished up chores, Bo munched on grass and kept me company  (sort of).

I have to pull down the temporary fence and put it up in a different area. The problem is, where I want to put them is smaller (just north of the barn). So I will only be able to put the thinner ones on grass. I am hesitant to put anyone on that part of the lawn because I want to save it for the ponies later this summer but I guess I'll just let it go to the thin ones and pray that the other grass comes back later. My other choice is to fence in by the driveway and road. But if we do that, I'm going to go all out and put up the serious fencing and serious grounding. I don't want any loose horses running down the road.

I'm going to pray that we don't have any more outings and that last nights escapade was the only one for the summer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remembering Three Years Ago

I am always amazed at how quickly time goes. Three years ago today, I married my best friend. Over the past few years we've dealt with so many weird situations (maybe they are normal but to me they aren't). We've stood together through the good times when we've said hello to new members of the Sanctuary (both two legged and four legged). We've enjoyed the sun shining on our backs as we work and enjoyed each other's company. We've also stood together through the bad times when we've had to say goodbye (and weeped over) family members both two legged and four legged. We've stressed over the hay crisis and the drought crisis. We've dealt with health issues that have rendered us incapable of doing our  normal tasks. But through it all (both the good and the bad), our bond has only grown stronger. I can truly say that I am a very lucky woman. Throughout today, I will remember those special moments that occured on this day three years ago. I will leave you with a few pictures of some of those wonderful moments.

 Farmer tan and all (and proud of it!)

 It was harder getting on the carousel horse than the real horse! It was a requirement to have horses involved (be it the real or fake kind!)

 The only horse I'll ever get Mike on. That's right, we run a horse sanctuary and he doesn't ride.

 Precariously sitting sidesaddle on a carousel horse. Much more difficult than astride Zeke.

 My amazing Zeke. No wedding dress is complete without cowboy boots! The saddle pad was hand spun by my amazing grandmother and woven by my amazing mother.

 Overlooking Lake Herman

 Gots me some att-i-tude!

 One of my all time favorites! Out on the trap shoot field just before a storm blew through.

 Love the flowers. If you look close, you'll also see the rosary that my mother wove into the bouquet; it's a family heirloom (I can't remember who they belonged to though).

One of my all time favorites!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Last night was yet another night of not doing much with the horses. Everyone was disgruntled with me because I wouldn't let them out onto the lawn. There's really nothing left for grass and we had to haul horses into town for Rodeo Bible Camp (not our horses). I didn't want to come home and find the herd scattered to the four corners of the county while we were away. I think I may pull down the temporary fence and put it up somewhere else. It'll be for a smaller area but I'll pull out those that have been dropping weight. I have about four that always drop weight starting in March. They NEED to be on pasture.

I want to avoid using some of the lawn so that I can put the ponies on it and get the mares acclimiated to the grass before putting them out on pasture too. There's always so much to do and so little time to get it all done.

Tonight our drill team has a performance at the Rodeo Bible Camp so there goes my shot of moving the temporary fencing. Maybe Thursday I'll be able to move the fence around. Fingers crossed that it stops raining long enough for me to move fencing around. I'd rather not be soaked up to my knees while moving that darn temporary fence. I am debating on which part of the lawn to put the hard keepers. There's two spots but one I have never grazed before and I'm hestitant to use because it's so close to the road. It really shouldn't matter becaues it's farther from the road than they ever were last summer at the neighbor's. I guess we'll just see what kind of mood strikes me later this week and how much time I have.

It hasn't even been a month since we reseeded the pasture but I am getting A.N.X.I.O.U.S. to put the horses out on grass! I want to see fat, sleek horses enjoying lush grass. I haven't even gone out to look at he pasture for fear of tearing it up. I'm doing the whole out of sight, out of mind (but not really). Now if we could get some decent sun (along with the necessary light showers), I expect the grass will grow.

I was reading on another blog about someone buying their hay already. I did see someone yesterday on my drive to work with their first cutting down. I was a little surprised (and a little jealous). But as the blog post mentioned, they are down in the New Mexico area and are already into a hay crisis because hay is being shipped overseas. Again, it's all hearsay so I have no facts to back it up. But I'll be curious to see what hay prices will be like this year, especially after last year's drought and the year before when all the hay was headed down south. I guess all I can do is wait and see. What I would give to buy the land around us and use that as hay ground instead of having to be at the mercy of the hay dealers. I am praying for rain and decent weather for haying season.  After the past two years, I think everyone needs a break.

Slaughter in Iowa?!

I don't know if it's true because I haven't done my research but please read the following and do your own ressearch.
 It looks as though people are looking at opening a horse slaughter plant in Sigourney, Iowa. The thought turns my stomach. Iowa isn't that far away from the Sanctuary. Although Sigourney is a bit of a drive from the Sanctuary, it's still too close for comfort.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Busy Bee

Quiet night at the Sanctuary. We have a drill team performance Tuesday so all my focus is there. I'm hoping to move some temporary fence later this week and move some of the thinner horses on to better grass until we can finally use our pasture. Not having a pasture makes life difficult.

Not sure if I'll post much more this week. But we are around. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Storm

The other night we had scattered showers. We missed the major downpours but was able to watch the storm blow through from the end of the driveway. I'll leave you with just a few of the pictures I took.