Monday, July 29, 2013

For Sale?!

I was recently asked if any of the Sanctuary horses were for sale. I'm guessing that the person asking didn't know that we are a Sanctuary (we keep a fairly low profile). I'd heard the name before but hadn't put two and two together until I realized I think the person asking was a horse trader, at least in my books.

This person wanted to know if I wanted to sell any of the horses or the ponies. This isnt' the first time I've been asked but I'm a little blown away. I've never asked anyone if they wanted to sell any of their horses before, without even knowing them or hearing that a particular horse might be fore sale. I guess in most people's worlds, anything is for sale at the right price.

The problem is, I know exactly which horses were first in line if I were to say, "pick one, he's yours." Everyone would go directly to Chaos and then Dude. I'm not selling Chaos for a million bucks. I haven't taken pictures of him lately but man oh man has he beefed out. I've seen studs that aren't as muscular as him. Ok, so maybe muscular isn't the right word but he's big. And I'd never sell Dude. He's broke to ride and pretty well broke but he's lame. Oh sure I can hop on and ride him around but he's too unpredictable with that hip. Unless you know what is going on with his back end, no one would be the wiser. Even the farrier thought that maybe he could be rideable when he got older, not knowing that he has a major problem with his hip and is dangerous to ride.

And as far as the ponies go, they've been through enough and I can't guarantee that they would stay together. Most people would separate them. Never mind Skippy has a skin condition that is starting to flare up again.

So while the herd may look great from the road or standing at a gate watching them, unless you know them, you don't know that 99% of the horses at the Sanctuary have a health problem. Some might be minor but others are major and a real hazard to anyone that would attempt to ride them. So I am a little perturbed that someone would ask me out of the blue if I would sell them because they obviously don't know what we do or the promise that I make to each horse. The only way I'll work with a horse trader is to take on a horse, never to sell one. Don't tell me that you know of a family looking for a particular horse and that they would go to a "forever" home. YOU can't guarantee me that because you are going to "buy" the horse from me, and then turn around and sell it for a profit to someone else. You turn into the middle man and I am left not knowing where one of my beloved family members went to. So, no I will not sell. Asking me to sell one of the horses is the same as asking me if my son or husband is for sale (although I sometimes think the later could go for fairly cheap). So, unless you have 10 million dollars, the Sanctuary horses are NOT for sale.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sea Lord

This one was just too cool not to share. What the video at the bottom of the page of Sea Lord performing freestyle dressage.

If every horse had the opportunity have some education, there would be no unwanted horses. Some might not go as far as Sea Lord of course, but a good reliable horse is always sought after.

Simpler Things in Life

This morning's chores was brisk! I'm not sure if the cooler temperatures are a sign of what's ahead or not. If you know me, you know I'm a worrier about the weather. I guess it's the farmer mentality in my blood. No matter the case, this morning I was freezing! It's the end of July and I have to put on a lightweight coat to stay warm when doing chores. Although, in years past, I do remember throwing a blanket on Queen to keep her warm during a cold rainshower in July. Weird how weather can trigger certain memories. Oh how I miss Queen.

I was running late this morning to do chores but I'm glad I was. I was able to watch the sun rise. The days are getting shorter (and apparently a touch cooler). I love to watch the sun rise over the horizon. I wish I had time to bring the camera out and take pictures of the herd in the pasture. There's been no time to relax and spend with the herd in the pasture during the wee morning hours.

With the cooler temperatures, Mike has been able to work outside while I play with our son. When he's done, I go outside to do chores. Some of the hard keepers are still looking a little tough so I'm upping their grain ration, which means more time in the barn. Last night I realized I'd gotten a little spoiled as of late. In years past, I would have to grain one or two of the really hard keepers (Bob, Ace, Sam, etc.). They would go into the barn and the rest of the herd would have to wait, not so patiently until they were done. In some cases, it would take over an hour for them to finish off their large quantity of grain mash. Once they were done, I could go out and throw hay to everyone (had to make sure the hard keeper had hay too!)

So last night I pulled Bo, Brego, Jim, and Zeke into the barn (I wanted Rain too but he wasn't cooperating). I gave each their own grain mash. Zeke promptly flipped his dish over. He's not a fan of beet pulp. I was so irritated at that scene, that I had to walk out of the barn. I figured I might as well fill water tanks while I was at it. Unfortunately, the mares water tank is by the shed and we have to connect 300 feet of hose to fill that tank. Because there's such a long distance to push the water (and it's going uphill), it takes a long time to fill the tank. Instead of hovering over either the horses or the water, I decided to go back in and wait. It was already 10pm so I thought I'd catch the weather. When I went back out at 10:30pm, the hard keepers looked like they were stuffed and the water tank was full. I was grumbling to myself about having to do chores at 10:30pm but then I looked up to watch the orange moon rise above the horizon. Had I not been out at 10:30pm I would never have seen the moon at in that hue. It was gorgeous. I had to stop and watch the moon rise into the sky for just a short time.

I am trying to take time out of my busy day to enjoy the simple things in life. It's hard to do when we are in the age of technology and always pushing to strive for better. But there is so much beauty in front of us, it's simply a matter of taking the time to stop and enjoy what is presented to us. My hope is that if I stop to enjoy the simple things in life, I can quiet the turmoil in my mind and heart. There is so much more I should be doing for the horses but there's no time and no money.  But we will continue on and hopefully have time to stop and enjoy the simpler things in life.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Loose Sale

I haven't been able to go to an auction in months. In fact, I don't honestly remember the last auction so it may have been more than a year since I've attended. I avoid certain auctions because they seem like "good ol' boys" auctions and I'm invisible. Dont' get me wrong, I don't want to make a scene but if there's a horse that needs to be pulled, I want to make sure that I'm not invisible. I don't really know what the going rate of "loose" horses are going for right now. Now that we are almost into August, which is the month for culling horses, I'm curious.

I decided to go out to the South Dakota Horse Sale website to see what the Corsica Horse Sale has to say. They are pro-slaughter and make no bones about wanting the slaughter plants to reopen. Here's what they posted in their June catalog.

"NOTICE - Due to more and more No Value horses being seen at our Loose Horse sale along with the $10 horses, which usually are mostly yearlings, We need to be screening carefully & be very cautious in accepting weanlings, thin yearlings & stallions. A deposit of the minimum commission will be required if Seller does not have enough quality horses along to cover the sale expense deductions from the check proceeds. As usual, no blind, very  lame or horses with any deformity can be accepted."

I would like, some day most likely years from now, to work with the auctions and take in those that are unfit for the sales. Or be there to take in the No Value or $10 horses. Someone needs to be there to take care of them. If not us, who? So how do we go about fundraising for these horses without the drama that ensues many of these "broker" programs? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where Did the Time Go?

How can there only be one week left in July? I'm losing days left and right! Unfortunately, August is nearing (as it does every July). And as in the past, I'm starting to see the trend. August is the month that people start to find new homes for their horses. I always thought it would be closer to October or November when people would start getting rid of horses but it's August. I guess kids are going back to school, free time during the summer is done, people are finally realizing that winter is just around the corner (didn't I just mention that at the beginning of summer that we needed to work on stuff before winter hit and no we STILL haven't worked on any of those projects!)

I wish we could take in at least one horse but at this point, I'm still trying to get life back in order. The horses are finally coming out of having to pay the price for bad hay and our week stay at the hospital. We are planning on going to the Black Hills in August. It's a family tradition that we've been doing for thirty plus years (except twice; once when we went east instead of west (and we wont' do that again) and last year when we had our son). I need the break and the beautiful scenery of the Black Hills to help reset my focus.

When we return,  I'm going to leave the big herd on pasture 24x7. I've been pulling them at night to ensure the pasture will hold. I think it'll hold at least until mid September (I concluded that thought after tripping over the grass and almost falling flat on my face). Leaving the herd off the pasture for an extra month was difficult for everyone involved but I think the pasture is going to hold. I need to find time to get out and spray the pasture (and the lawn). But again, I'm struggling to find the time.

I'm also afraid that if Babe doesn't pick up weight soon, I'll have to consider putting her down this fall. It would be late fall or early winter. She lost weight when we were in the hospital and it takes months for these old girls and boys to gain the weight back. I hate to even think about it but without proper weight, it would only be cruel to have her live through another South Dakota winter. I had SO hoped that we wouldn't even have to entertain the thought of losing a horse this year. We've lost too many two-legged family members this year and went through too many stresses. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to break my heart once again. I guess I won't jump to any conclusions just yet but the thought is in the back of my mind.

And as I see all these free and cheap horses for sale now, I get even more upset. Now is the time we should be offering permanent retirement homes for these horses that deserve so much and receive so little. But my  hands are tied. Even now I feel like I've done the Sanctuary horses an injustice. So now my heart and head are in turmoil as I wring my hands and watch these old warriors enter into the slaughter pipeline. And with talks of an Iowa slaughter house opening, I'm even more upset. When the slaughter house was many states away, I wasn't as petrified because the horses in the midwest were slightly less at risk. But if a slaughter house opens in Iowa, the old beloved warriors that I SHOULD be helping will be headed to a scary fate instead. I can't stand the thought of not being able to do anything and it breaks my heart.

I am still in panic  mode to try and get the day-to-day stuff accomplished. But after our trip to the Black Hills, I'm going to go into full swing fundraising so that maybe, just maybe we could take in one or two old warriors that deserve a decent retirement, even if it's only for a few months. When we go into full swing fundraising, I'm going to ask for your help. I'm not sure what we'll even do for a fundraiser but we MUST do something. If you have ideas, I'd love to hear them. If you want to help, we'd love to say YES! Even if you are states or countries away, we could always use your help simply by spreading the word about our Sanctuary (or helping with that blasted paperwork!) :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Permit Denied for NM Slaughterhouse

It appears that the permit to open a horse slaughter plant in New Mexico was denied (at least for the time being).

I took this article from "Straight from the Horse's Heart"

By JERI CLAUSING, Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Environment Department on Monday dealt a new blow to a Roswell company’s hard-fought attempts to begin slaughtering horses next month, declining a request to renew Valley Meat Co.‘s wastewater discharge permit.
The denial came the same day that actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined the divisive debate, announcing formation of an animal protection foundation to fight a return to domestic horse slaughter.
The NMED says it won’t renew the permit without a public hearing, noting it has received more than 450 comments against letting the former cattle slaughterhouse open as a horse slaughter plant.
Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn cried foul, saying the agency was unfairly targeting a small family-owned business. He says the plant can still open, but would have to haul its waste.


There is still talk of other slaughter houses opening so we need to continue to protect the horses. We cannot let our guard down now.

Friday, July 19, 2013

0 for 2

The other night I went out to bring the big herd in and I couldn't find them. Of course it was dark when I wandered out there (with no flashlight). I went to the top of the hill and herd a snuffle (you know, when a horse blows his nose to get a bug out or something along those lines...a snuffle!) So I tromped over to the other side but still couldn't see them. It was already dark. The neighbor a half mile away always leaves their garage door open with the lights on. All of a sudden to ears appeared in front of the garage lights (in the pasture not on the road). It was Rain. And of course I spooked everyone but they didn't do much but trot up to the other end of the pasture. It was neat to listen to the horses trot and lope through the pasture. I could barely hear the thudding of their hooves on the ground. Actually, what I heard the most was their big fat bellies making noises. I had to laugh at that too. So much for romanticizing the situation. I don't get to hear the pounding of hooves, I get to hear horse bellies gurgling instead.

Last night I had the farrier out. Of course I picked the hottest day of the year to trim. I intended on having the farrier work on Maverick. After five minutese, I realized that it was impossible to trim him. I haven't been able to work with him and when we sent him to the trainer, he hadn't worked on Maverick either. So now I'm left with a horse that doesn't know how to pick up his feet. And he's in desperate need of a trim too. I am going to have to do some serious ground work with him to get him to the right level of education. Unfortunately my time is very limited so I'm not sure how or when I'll get to work with him. My farrier gave me some really good lessons to teach so I'm going to have to really get after Maverick.  I also need to really focus my attention on Chaos too. He's taken to bucking when I ask for a lope. Going to have to do some serious ground work with him too. But where in the world am I going to find the time. If the Bear goes down as early as he did last night, I'll be able to find the time but otherwise, I'm going to have to figure out a time even if it's in the middle of the night I guess. So much for getting even four hours of sleep at night.

With Maverick out of the picture for a trim, I pulled King out. He was getting really bad again. Unfortunately the farrier didn't bring any brighter news for King. I had wanted to put easy boots on him but his feet are so flat now that there's no way. We used to shoe him but haven't in the last couple of years because he's a spare and he was lame for alittle while. We never did figure out what it was that caused him to go lame. But I don't want to put shoes on him because his outter walls are pretty thin. But without putting shoes on his feet are going to continue to separate due to laminitis. How he foundered, I have no idea. He's had the same food as the other horses and no one else is having the same issues. I'm starting to think that maybe it's genetic? So now I'm at a loss on what to do with King. The farrier used to put size 1 shoes on him. The farrier said last night that if he were to put shoes on a size 1 wouldn't fit and a size 2 would be too big. We had a similar situation when we first brought him home. He was inbetween sizes but apparently he's getting bigger instead of smaller and this increase in size is not good. I think we are going to have to shoe him from now on and pull the shoes just for winter. He'll need shoes to keep his feet from spreading apart any farther. I don't really know what else to do although it's going to be pretty tricky. I need to read up on what I could/should be doing. I'm so frustrated with the entire situation. Last night was a bummer. We were pretty much zero for two. Frustrating at best.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Slaughter Plant to Open August 5

It's time to step up our game folks. Looks like horse slaughter plants could open as early as August 5th. That's exactly 20 days away. There are too many horses that are going to be lost if something isn't done.

Here's a little bit more reading material.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The New Adventures of Old Babe

For those that think horses should go to slaughter, let me tell you a story. It’s a true story which happened last night.
I’d recently let the mares out onto the pasture.  One mare was young and one mare was old. Last year we fertilized the pasture but then the drought struck. We kept the horses off this particular pasture for an extra month this year and the grass was chest high. This particular pasture is mostly a steep side hill but both of these mares had been in this pasture in the past, although only for a month the previous year because of the drought.
I went out to do chores last night and noticed that the younger mare was whinnying. She’d been joined at the hip with the older mare for a few months. I like keeping the young horses with the older horses so they learn (and to keep the old ones young at heart). I couldn’t find the older mare so I went in search of her. I heard her whinny but couldn’t see her as the sun was setting. I then discovered the path of destruction.
I can only presume that the old mare tripped on the grass and slid down the hill. The grass was flattened in a three foot swath down the hill. I followed the path and discovered the old mare at the bottom of the hill. I thought for sure that she had broken a leg. I avoided thinking that she could have possibly broken her neck. I checked her over and nothing seemed broken. She tried getting up but had managed to get her feet higher than her head.
For those that have experienced a cast horse, this is very similar (or at least I presume so as I’ve never had a cast horse). A horse with its feet higher than its head means that they can’t get up. Subsequently the blood moves to different locations and without getting the horse up relatively quickly, could die. I had no idea how long the old mare had been down (that will teach me not to check on all the horses immediately after getting off work).
By this time, the sun had already set and there was only a faint glow of daylight left. We made calls to two people who live close by who could help. Being a fairly new mom, I had no choice but to leave my husband and son in the house (to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitos). But I couldn’t roll the old mare over by myself (and at that particular moment, I wasn’t sure that there wasn’t more wrong with her).
When help arrived, they quickly assessed the situation and came to the same conclusion that she was stuck and couldn’t get her feet under because she was laying on an incline. The old mare never once panicked while we looked her over and assessed the situation. She never got upset or started breathing hard. She simply laid there waiting for us to figure out how to help her. She knew that we were there and never moved unless we were clear of her.
With the three of us, we were able to roll her over. She quickly went from a flat out laying position to a more curled up position (sorry, I can’t figure out how to explain it). After a very short time and with only a little bit of prodding, the old mare stood up on wobbly legs. Having arthritis and lying on her legs made her legs wobbly. I expect that they fell asleep and she was having difficulty feeling her feet. But she listened to all of us and did as we asked. Again she never panicked through the entire ordeal.
Knowing that she needed to get out of the pasture, we started the long process of walking her up the hill. We went the long route with the least amount of incline (hard to do in that pasture). Again, the old mare followed along (grabbing bites of grass to show that she was ok). She followed us and gave us 100% in getting her where she needed to go. As we waded through a patch of thistles, the old mare continued to follow where we told her to go. The young mare who’d been in the pasture flittered around us acting spooky (but avoiding us because we had flashlights). The entire time we worked on getting the old mare up and then out of the pasture, we did this in pitch dark. The moon was only a sliver.
Once we got the old mare out of the pasture, she continued to trust and follow us to where she needed to go. The young mare started to panic and whinnied until we put a different horse in with her. The old mare never made a peep. She was content to be by our side and go where we told her.  When we put her in a pen, we through some alfalfa and hay in and did a second check by flashlight to make sure she was ok. She happily munched on the food and ignored our poking and prodding.
Had this “adventure” happened with one of the younger horses, the outcome could have been much worse. Granted the younger horse would have been able to get up, but in a different situation a younger horse most likely would have panicked and possibly made the situation worse or hurt one of us.
And to make the situation more tricky, this old mare in particular is 100% blind.  So she not only had to go through that scary experience, she had to do it without any sight. Put yourself in her spot for a little bit and think about it.
So for those that think that the old and crippled horses should be slaughtered, maybe think about this story.  Remember how calm and trusting the old mare was and how we could do anything to her and she kept her cool. I don’t know of many young ones that would stay as calm.  The old teach the young and may she continue to teach me until her dying day.
You are a blessing and you humble me with your teachings Babe!

Hay Day

It's Hay Day at the Sanctuary!! Tonight we are picking up some small squares to use when we are traveling or we need in a pinch. Our  main hay supplier is going to be able to provide all the hay we need this year. It's not a bumper crop but we'll have our standard order (80) big squares. It's going to cost us a pretty penny but it's worth every cent. After having dealt with low quality hay, I'm willing to pay a little more for better stuff that will keep the weight on the harder keepers. We also won't have to scramble around and beg others for the use of their tractor. We may still buy a few round bales for emergency use but our main winter supply is being baled today!

I'm still recovering from last night's "adventure". We'll call it that anyway. I am exhuasted but will tell the story later today.

But for now I'm going to rejoice in knowing that we will not have to stress about trying to find hay. Now all we have to do is stress about being able to pay the bill.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mounted Shooting

I ended up leaving Babe and Mayhem in the pasture last night. It was more out of pure exhuastion rather than anything else. I loaded up Chaos to take him to a Mounted Shooting practice to see how he would do. But before we could go, I needed to get Babe and Mayhem out on grass, along with Skippy. Everyone was happy to get out on grass.

But when we finally got home at 10:30pm, I didn't have the energy to tromp through the pasture to find the two mares and put them back in their pens. I decided I'd leave it up to them to manage in the pasture. This morning, Babe was asleep on the south side of the red shed. Mayhem noticed me but wouldn't leave Babe's side. I am so glad that I paired thsoe two together. Hopefully Mayhem will learn something from Babe.

It was nice to take Chaos out and show him off, specially considering he's a rescue. Unfortunately time has not allowed me to really work with him much over the past couple of years. I need to really focus on him and Maverick and get them going a lot easier. But for sure Chaos will make a great mounted shooting horse. After the initial shot, he stood as cool as a cucumber the entire time. I need to do some ground work with him. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in some time this weekend and get him going a little bit easeir before the next mounted shooting practice.

Overall it was a great evening with great people, great weather, and great horses. I couldn't have asked for a better night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Irritating Pony and Goofy Thoroughbred

Tommy and I had a disagreement last night. Actually, it’s been an ongoing disagreement for the past three nights. But I’d had enough of the disagreement last night, so we had a “Coming to Jesus” moment. By the time we were both in agreement, we had sweat dripping off both of us and we were both breathing hard.
With Rabbit out on grass 24x7 next to the ponies, I decided it was time to get the remaining horses out on grass. Skippy was the good little pony and willingly let me put a halter on. I put halters on horses/ponies that are held in by electric only. Tommy on the other hand did not want to be caught. We went round and round the past two nights and last night (the third night) I decided that he wasn’t going to get the better of me. I let everyone else out on grass. Babe and Mayhem are enjoying the grass. I figure by Friday, I’ll be able to let them out on the pasture all the time and not have to worry about feeding them hay. I hope being on pasture will bring Babe back. She looks terrible. I feel awful but I don’t know what to do other than grain her and leave her on pasture for as long as possible. If she doesn’t regain the weight, we’ll be looking at other alternatives.
Back to Tommy. We spent a good half an hour doing laps around the pen. I knew I was in trouble because the pen is too big to do ground work. But I kept him moving as fast as I could keep up. I didn’t get the results that I really wanted but in the end I was able to get a halter on him. I was so furious with him that instead of letting him out on pasture, I decided that we both needed a timeout. He went to stand next to the trailer (in the shade), and I went into the house.
I’m not sure if we have our understanding figured out or not. But I decided I wasn’t going to deal with that type of behavior any more. So instead Tommy went into a smaller pen by himself. He can see the mares during the day so there’s no worries there. Skippy is not happy. He has been whinnying from the time he lost sight of Tommy (when I put him into the little pen). Hopefully he doesn’t get too upset today. I think Rabbit will probably hang out close to Skippy in the shade all day. If not, I guess this is a good learning lesson for Skippy. He is too herd bound anyway.
Babe and Mayhem are enjoying the pasture. Although they’ve decided to hang out in the trees instead of the open pasture. I don’t blame them though. Shade is a better option right now with this heat. Rabbit is enjoying the company too. I swear she doesn’t mind Skippy and all his antics. It seems odd that she’d put up with that nonsense but I guess if she doesn’t care, neither do I. I started Rabbit on her antihistamine and I started Skippy on his anti-itch antihistamine.  Not sure either are actually getting any good out of it but it’s the thought that counts right? At least I’m trying.
I also decided that I’d start putting beet pulp in the harder keepers’ grain. That didn’t really work out very well. Brego wont’ touch it and he’s the one that needs it the most. Bo ate most of it and Zeke pushed his around. I was so irritated with Brego last night that I threw the dish out into the big pen and wouldn’t you know Jim was right there to hoover it up. I wanted him to come into the barn too but couldn’t convince him. Maybe now. Of course Maverick was right there too. For some reason beet pulp is delicious when it’s forbidden. When it’s given to you, it’s awful. So I’m going to have to come up with a plan to convince Brego that it tastes good. At least this batch of beet pulp didn’t go to waste. We’ll try tonight and see what comes of it.
And that goofy Ivan this morning. I went out to let the big herd out onto grass (except King who made a break for it last night and spent the night on the pasture alone).  Everyone else walked out to the pasture except Ivan. Ivan had managed to get into the horse hay feeder. One of the loops broke off that Mike welded on so I’m figuring that’s how Ivan got in. But instead of going out the way he went in, Ivan decided that he would get his two front feet on the outside of the hay ring and leave his belly and the rest of himself inside the hay ring. It wouldn’t have been a big deal but instead of going where there was a big gap, he tried going through in a different spot. Every time he took a step, his big fat belly would get stuck. I tried helping him but that didn’t help. I went into the house to get Mike to see if he could come up with a better solution on how to get Ivan out. (Of course Ivan couldn’t pick up his feet and go backwards).  But when I got back out there, Ivan was already gone. I have no idea how he got out. I didn’t see anything noticeable on the ring to indicate he’d gotten hurt. I guess had I not been out there at that very moment, I wouldn’t have known he’d been in the hay ring.  On the bright side, Ivan never once panicked.  He simply stood there and gave me the “now what” look. Goofy thoroughbred!! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Horse Slaughter Petition

The Animal Rescue Site created a petition to stop horse slaughter in the US. I believe they need 75,000 signatures before they can present the petition to the appropriate personnel. The petition is at:

As of my signature to the petition, they are currently at 51,719. Lets get that petition past the 75,000 and show the right people that we do not want slaughter in the U.S. Lets show people that there are NO unwanted horses, only horses waiting to find the proper match.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I am struggling with a few realizations. One month ago today we were sitting in the ER waiting to find out what was wrong with our son. I am still petrified of the possibility that we could go through such an ordeal again.
When we went into the hospital for that terrifying week, Mike was able to round up hay for the horses as we weren’t yet ready to put them out on the pasture. The new grass seed hadn’t yet taken hold like we wanted. I spent an entire week in the hospital refusing to leave my son’s room except four times and only for a few minutes or sometimes only seconds. I left the horses and their care up to Mike. We both figured that the round bales would suffice and for the big herd, it did.
However, those round bales did more damage to Rabbit and Babe them any good. I don’t believe that although they ate the bale that they received any nutritional value. After going away for a few days to enjoy some much needed family time (and to hopefully regain my focus), I came back hoping that the hard keepers would be looking fat and sassy. I knew better but I had hopes that they wouldn’t look as tough. I was sorely disappointed.
After the rainstorm blew through I went back out to do chores to discover that Babe looks even tougher than I had thought (the winter hair we are struggling to remove hides much). The bale she was eating apparently didn’t hold any value and although she was eating, she started losing weight. The same problem happened to Rabbit.
So now I’m contending with putting weight back on those two as quickly as possible. The week in the hospital and the following week of follow-up hospital visits really set the sanctuary back. This spring I didn’t have anyone on my watch list really. Oh sure I had Babe simply because she’s older and Jim because he’s turning into a hard keeper. But Jim is no longer on that list as of this moment. Instead we have Babe, Rabbit, Bo, and Brego. My bays and sorrels are giving me a run for my money with stress.
I have Rabbit out on grass 24x7 and we’ll be working on getting Babe and Mayhem out on grass shortly. Now that we are hopefully home (knock on wood), I’ll be able to concentrate my time on getting them acclimated to grass. The problem that I have now is where to put everyone. I can’t put Rabbit in with Babe because she’s too hard on Babe. I want Mayhem with Babe but where do I put Babe to get her used to grass?  The only pasture I can put Babe in is the road pasture but she’s looking pretty tough right now.  I can put Rabbit out on the road pasture but then I’d have to put Babe and Mayhem in the east pasture. That pasture has electric in one portion and I can’t have electric on. I had thought of putting Babe on the lawn but then she’ll have free reign of the place because, again we can’t use electric with Babe. I have been tossing the idea around of putting Rabbit and the ponies together. I don’t want Rabbit alone (nor do I want Babe alone) but that only leaves Mayhem to babysit (or the ponies). But the ponies can’t be in the pasture because the fences aren’t pony proof. So I can either leave Rabbit alone in a pasture and have the ponies on the lawn, have Rabbit with the ponies on the lawn (I can use a portion of the lawn I’ve been avoiding using), put Babe in with Rabbit (not really an option), or put Mayhem in with Rabbit and Babe would be alone. I don’t like that option either. Mayhem is finally getting rid of some of her bad habits. No matter what option, I’m going to have to come up with something fast. The mares absolutely HAVE to be on grass this week.  I am more than a month behind.
I feel like I’ve really let the horses down and the people who support us. I know that I’m overwhelmed with all that has happened to us in the past 10 months but I need to get a grip on reality and make sure that no one suffers for my lack of control over some of these situations. I really feel like I’m letting everyone down. There’s so many wonderful people supporting us and I just don’t feel like I’m giving the horses enough time, especially after seeing that some of the horses are dropping weight.
While we were in the hospital, our saddle club held a trail ride and asked that people donate money towards the Sanctuary. What a blessing and yet so humbling for me. One of our supporters K, is creating artwork and selling it for us. Again, such a blessing and so humbling. I cannot express in words my gratitude towards people who support us. I know that I’ve messed up with a few things here lately but my attention has to be my family when they fall sick. Just as when a horse falls sick, my full attention goes towards him/her. But it feels like a daunting task these past few months.
Last night after doing chores, I was almost in tears. I am upset that I didn’t see the weight loss on a couple of the horses and that the hard keepers aren’t gaining weight as quickly as I’d like. They are in my care and I should be doing a better job. I am their protector and provider and I don’t feel like I’m doing them justice. Hopefully life will settle down a little and I can fix the errors.
Last night we ran in to Tractor Supply so that I could pick up some calf manna. I’ve had some really good luck in putting weight back on using calf manna. The only downfall of that type of grain is the cost. Hopefully with being out on pasture and being grained, the horses will do better. I am currently saving up for this winter’s supply of hay. I am already getting really nervous on cost. I keep seeing all this hay and I’m oh so very jealous. I wish that we could put up our own hay instead of having to go in search of it. I am worried about cost. Feeding 15 horses is expensive and now throw in hospital bills, both from Mike’s heart surgery and Garrett’s meningitis, life is going to be tight for a while.
I guess I want to apologize to everyone if I seem like I’m down in the dumps for the next few months. Money is going to be tight for a very long time, the stresses of family members getting sick has been really stressful, and the news of slaughter houses opening up in our backyard have been devastated. I will do my best to stay positive but if I get a little snarky, I’m sorry. There is only so much one person can take.
I read a saying once. It’s not about how much a person can take before they break, but how a person handles the situation after they are broken.”  Or it was something to that affect anyway. I am very close to that breaking state. So if I am snarky or absent from here, I’m sorry. I’d rather try to stay upbeat and positive.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Finally Pasture Time

I finally let the horses out onto the pasture on Sunday. We are a month behind in letting the horses out onto pasture but it was worth the wait. If you look at the picture at the top of this blog, you’ll notice the grass height. That picture was taking in 2010. The grass was calf high on me (and I’m short). We had a steady decline on quality and quantity of grass in the pasture. Last year we tried to resurrect the pasture but the drought hit us hard. You wouldn’t know it looking at the pasture now. (I will post pictures later). When I let the horses out Sunday, I brought the camera along. I struggled to wade through the grass. It’s chest high and without the horses breaking a path, I’m not sure that I could have made it out to the pasture.
I can tell where the new grass is growing. It finally seeded out and it’s different than other grasses. There’s still bare spots and a good portion of weeds and thistles but there’s grass, and lots of it. Hopefully the pasture will hold for the next couple of months until we can secure our year supply of hay. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the cost won’t be as expensive. I’m procrastinating on writing the check for the remainder of last year’s hay. It’s always such a struggle to come up with the cash to buy hay for this many horses.
But I have learned my lesson and I don’t leave the horses out on pasture 24x7 (as much as I and they would prefer). To ensure that the pasture holds, I pull them at night. I will also be dividing the pasture when we have a strong wind (the  mosquitoes are terrible). I have an idea in mind on how to divide but I need the time and the wind to get it done.
Now that the big herd is finally on pasture, I can focus my attention on the mares and ponies. I don’t know why I wasn’t working on getting them adjusted to the grass sooner. Their pastures were never reseeded so I don’t know why I stalled out on getting them out to pasture a month ago. I have Rabbit out on grass now during the day but need to put her out on real pasture. She dropped a considerable amount of weight in the last couple of weeks. When my son got sick, we put out a round bale and she’s been dropping weight ever since. Either the bale is no good or she’s gotten picky about eating through a cinch net. Either way, I’ll be putting her out on pasture soon.
I need to get Babe and Mayhem adjusted to grass too and then I can put them on the pasture next to the road (it’ll have to wait until after tomorrow though!) I havent’ decided yet if Rabbit will join the ponies or if I’ll put her in the pasture to the east. I hate to keep her alone and almost considered putting her in with the big herd. But she’s too aggressive to Babe and I don’t want Mayhem picking up on her bad habits. So the alternative is to eat down the lawn with the ponies, or put her in the pasture by herself. I’m not sure either solution really works for me or her but I’ll have to decide one or the other over the weekend. By the end of next week I want everyone on pasture.
I haven’t yet seen people starting to dump horses. I don’t expect to see that influx of horses until next month. I’m worried though that we’ll have another flood of horses. And now that there’s talk of a slaughterhouse opening in the next state over, I’m worried. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out.
At this point, we can’t take on any extra mouths because of the hospital bills. I’d like to refocus my attention on fundraising and working on the Sanctuary paperwork. I’m curious to see what everyone would think is a fun fundraiser. We can’t do too much but I’m curious to hear what others want to see or do. I’m also trying to figure out a day that might be a good volunteer day. There’s a bunch of stuff I’d like to get done to improve the place. With not being able to do much around the place for more than a year, there’s plenty of fixing that needs to be done.
So here’s a challenge to you. Brainstorm ideas for a good fundraiser and send them to I’m interested in hearing all your ideas.

It's Official, Slaughter in Iowa

The USDA approved a slaughterhouse in Iowa. Sigourney Iowa to be exact. And if you get out good old Mapquest, you'll notice Sigourney is only a hop, skip, and jump away from Kalona, Iowa which is a major auction house and many loose horses run through.

This is a total blow to the horse. Two slaughter houses being granted approval in a week. This slaughterhouse is in our backyards folks! Our beloved horses are in peril. I felt safer knowing that the horses in the midwest wouldn't be as prime candidates (I'm dreaming I know) for slaughter but now that we have one in our backyard, the horses in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska are NOT safe.

Your beloved horses are no longer safe. Until there is a ban on slaugther and transporting to other countries, your horses are no longer safe.

My blood is boiling and my skin is crawling. Sigourney Iowa is only about six hours away from the Sanctuary. Of course there is a feed lot less than an hour away from the Sanctuary too. That thought alone drives me insane with fury, especially knowing that my hands are tied.

I need ideas! How can we open our doors to a few more well deserving older horses to protect them from going into the pipeline and heading to that awful slaughterhouse in Iowa? What type of fundraisers would be fun to participate in? I need your help. The horses need your help.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NM Slaughterhouse

I am hearing rumors that the USDA is finding funding to inspect slaughter houses and that a horse slaughter plant has been proposed and possibly approved in New Mexico. I have not done my research to find out if this information is true. But I do know that the ban on horse slaughter was lifted awhile ago. I have also heard rumors that there is talk of opening other slaughter plants in other states, including Iowa.

Why are we not focusing on the problem instead of coming up with solutions that don't work for everyone? Why are we not penalizing overbreeding? It's time we batten down the hatches and focus on the problem. Unfortunately at Borderlands, we cannot currently take on any more horses unless we magically come up with more funds to support an additional horse. With the hospital bills we are facing, it will be impossible to cover the expenses of another horse. Remember, we pay for the care of the horses out of our own pockets (and we don't make much, we simply sacrific and go without).

We have had beautiful weather and it looks as though the hay is doing exceptionally well. But I still have no idea what the hay prices will be like. I forsee that people will begin "reducing their herd" and culling horses in another month before the riding season finishes. The trend has been to get rid of horses some time in August. The auctions will be flooded with loose horses starting in August and it won't end until mid winter. I would like to offer a retirement home to an old auction bound horse this fall if we can raise the funds. I know we can't save them all but I want to do my part. I don't feel like I've been doing enough lately.

If everyone stepped up to the plate, maybe we could make a difference for one or two horses this fall.