Friday, March 28, 2014

Warmer Weather

What a difference 24 hours makes. This morning doing chores was a tad on the chilly side. All the horses were happy for their morning feeding and no one was pushing. They all dove into their food.
I'm excited that the weather is supposed to be better over the weekend. Life is so much easier when the warmer weather rolls around. Luckily the rain and snow that fell yesterday ended before I went out to do chores. I'd considered putting everyone in if it was cold but no one seemed the worse for ware. I am ready for warmer weather so I can play with the horses and get them looking like something other than wooly mammoths.

We are still gearing up for the upcoming Easter Fundraiser!! It's still two weeks away, but that means two weeks of preparing and worrying that it'll be a success.  Please tell your friends and family! It's been a long winter and this fundraiser is a great way to get the kids out for a couple of hours.

Off Track Thoroughbreds Post

A great story to start the weekend...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crazy Weather and Brego

It's definitely spring in South Dakota. Yesterday was in the upper 50s to lower 60s but there was gale force winds. By the time we came in for the night, the wind had picked up even more. All afternoon while we were running errands, there was a haze in the sky from the dust that the wind was blowing around. I'd left blankets on a couple horses and regretted the decision but it was so chilly Wednesday morning.

And now we are supposed to get rain, turning into snow later today. Of course the weatherman couldn't predict exactly when that was going to blow in so I left blankets on thinking that would help cut down time for morning chores. I don't think anyone really complained.

But the difference from last night's 30 mph wind and this morning's calm, creeped me out a little. You could just tell something was coming yesterday but this morning, it was calm as calm could be. I'm guessing it was the calm before the storm.

Hopefully we won't get too much snow. Luckily the temps were warm enough yesterday that when we finally got home, we were able to clean out the drylot in preparation for pushing in a couple of round bales for the weekend. Ivan was most displeased about being tied up with the other five, while his buddy was in the barn.

I've also come to the conclusion that Brego is Bob in cognito! Even with his teeth floated, Brego eats SO slow. I used to water down all the grain but quit over the winter because it was too difficult and exhausting to haul warm water from the house and the water would freeze before it would soak into the grain over this winter. But I'm guessing that I'll have to go back to soaking Brego's food. I think he also doesn't prefer the mix of grain I give him. I'll have to come up with some type of method but will have to come to terms that he's going to be a slow eater and that at some point, he'll be the horse that takes an hour to eat his grain every night. I guess I shouldn't complain. I haven't had a slow eater in about two years so I enjoyed that time. Now I'll have to figure out a new routine to make sure Brego gets enough time to finish up his grain and lick out his dish.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Doing More

In the past six months, I've been asked (or have seen where someone needs help) to rehome a total of nine horses. And that's without putting out any feelers. Nine old warriors are looking for new homes. I think all but two fit into our criteria of being over 20 years old. Unfortunately we aren't able to take any one. I'm afraid of where those nine horses will or have ended up. Two are secure at the moment in their current locations but the others, are possibly being sent to an auction. It breaks my heart that we cant' open our doors to more old warriors.

I know we need to have all our paperwork lined up but there's no time at the end of the day. So I'm feeling stressed and helpless. There's so much more I SHOULD be doing, but there's only so much this mind and body can do.

I think Rabbit and I are starting to connect more. Hopefully she can become my go to mare, my comfort mare so on days like today, I can simply go in search of her and give her a great big hug and breath in her horsey smell and have her mane tickle my face. And then maybe I can get some peace from a heart and mind that knows we should be doing more.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fundraiser Jitters

I’m really starting to panic about the upcoming fundraiser. I know it’ll be just fine but I want it to be a success. Last year Easter was so early but this year Easter is really late so I’m struggling. I’m now wishing we would have had our fundraiser this past weekend but I know no one is thinking Easter right at the moment. Hopefully we made the right decision by having it the weekend BEFORE Easter but we’ll see. Fingers crossed.

I’m slowly trying to put a list together of all the stuff that we need. I know we’ve done the fundraiser once before but little things change here and there and there’s also things I want to change and improve to make the event that much better.

I’m struggling with marketing and advertising. So please pass along the information to anyone that might be available April 12th from 1-4pm if they are bored or have kids and want to get them out of the house. We are coming up with more fun craft ideas for the kids so we’ll be keeping them hopping from one activity to another! With it being such a long winter and having kids myself, I do appreciate the opportunity to get out for even just a few hours to help burn off that excess energy.

But it seems that everything is all happening all at once. We have three weeks until the fundraiser but this week is full of non-Sanctuary related activities.  I’m afraid Mike’s grandpa isn’t doing well so we will be going out of down for a day or two. We already have help to care for the horses but it just adds extra stress. Thanks to Glen and Carol S. for donating some bales (and for Tom J. for donating previously…we are using the last bale he donated along with the two that were donated and picked up yesterday).

And right after the fundraiser is done, Mike is headed out of town. So it seems that there’s going to be lots of stress for me in the very near future.

The weather has been weird lately. I’ll be happy when it warms up enough and the wind doesn’t blow. There were two nights that I didn’t bother hauling more than two buckets back to the mares and ponies because I’d dump the entire bucket and only half would make it into the water tank. Very discouraging. But it means that when it’s nice and calm out, I have to haul extra buckets. Hauling water has never been one of my favorite chores.

Everyone is starting to shed. I’m itching to get out and do some brushing and loving on the horses. I know spring is “officially” here but for us in South Dakota, spring isn’t here for another couple of weeks. I can’t wait to go outside without having to wear coveralls, heavy coat, hat, gloves, and heavy winter boots. Soon.  Spring will be here soon. As will the fundraiser! Eep!

Myhre Studio Donation for Easter Fundraiser

Once again Myhre Studio graciously donated to our annual Easter Fundraiser. Here's the details of their amazing donation!

Everyone who signs up wins! 

Our goal is for 10 people to sign up and raise $990 for your organization! 
(507) 283-4325
 (888) 514-9378
125 East Main Street - Luverne, MN 56156
w w w . M y h r e S t u d i o . c o m
Photography by Jim Juhl

Frequently Asked Questions
How Does this work?Our goal is to raise the maximum amount of money for your organization. Here’s just a couple of things to keep in mind:When buyers sign up for a certificate, they are agreeing to purchase the certificate. All buyers must fill out our "Sign-Up Sheet" and your bid sheet (if that is your requirement). All buyers must complete this information so that we can mail their certificate to them and make sure they received it.
All payments will be made at auction check out.
Please be sure your "check out staff" are aware of our offer and are sure to charge the buyers who sign up! After payment is made, each buyer should be given an auction receipt. We will mail the certificate as soon as we receive the "Sign Up Sheets".What do buyers get?

Everyone who signs up and pays $99 to your organization receives the following:
a custom portrait session (regularly $250) at our studio or area location.
a $150 credit towards a portrait purchase.

What’s the fine print?
Gift certificates may not be combined with other certificates or offers. In other words, a buyer cannot buy multiple certificates and apply them to a single order. A buyer may purchase multiple certificates to use on multiple sessions, for example, a family portrait and a children’s portrait.
Gift Certificates are non-transferable.

Gift Certificates are not redeemable for cash and have no cash value
Can I purchase multiple certificates?A buyer can purchase multiple certificates for separate sessions. For example, a family session and a children’s session. Only one certificate can be used on a session. Certificates are not transferable and must be used by the purchasing family.

Are there limits on where we can go for the photo session.
The certificate is good for sessions in the studio and area locations. Locations outside of the area can be arranged for an additional charge.
I want to buy certificates as gifts for my office staff. Can I do that?
This certificate is limited to families, individuals, children and pets and is not transferable to others but we do have a special offer for businesses. Please call the studio for more information.
What if we sell out of certificates?
Our goal is to help you raise money, so keep selling! We will honor any number of bidders who take us up on this offer. All we ask is that you have winners fill out the contact information so we can mail the gift certificate.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring or Winter?

I can't figure out this crazy weather. Yesterday morning I woke up to no snow and today I woke up to three inches of snow and ice. Typical SD spring but it's still weird. We are supposed to be in the 40s today and 50s tomorrow. I think with the constant fog we are dealing with, we'll be lucky to see 30s.

Last night when I went out to do chores, it was snowing like crazy. I swear I always end up doing chores during the worst weather. I figured that I better get the horses in to the barn and stalls so that they can dry off. I had no idea what the temperatures were going to be like overnight and all the horses were wet (except Rabbit and Rain who had blanekts on). It was nice to get all the chores done before it got dark out but I wish I would have waited until after most of the big flakes had stopped falling.

By the time I got the old horses and hard keepers into the barn, it stopped snowing. Typical SD fashion. But I decided I would rather have the horses in the barn to dry off before going out. They were ready to get out of the barn this morning but only because I hadn't given them the high quality hay. I decided I would just throw a couple of small squares to them instead. I figured they wouldn't be too upset after having worked on a round bale.

Thoses horses are spoiled. The small squares are good but the horses are picky apparently. Although Bo and Zeke polished off all their hay with  no problerms. We'd pushed round bales in last Wednesday night and they lasted for the most part until this morning. There's still a little left and I'm sure the horses will nibble on it over the next couple of days.

We'd put a ring around one bale and a cinch net over the other. Somehow those horse managed to pull the cinch net off, along with the outer layer of the round bale. Of course, I wasn't thinking fast enough and didn't pull the cinch net up before it snowed so now it's buried under 3 inches of snow. I'll have to dig that out tonight. So now I'm back to feeding the horses morning and night. I could get really spoiled with using round bales only.

The last I heard, we are supposed to have another round of not so good weather coming in tonight and again on Monday. I know we aren't out of the woods yet, we are still in winter technically and it'll be another month of this weird weather before spring really arrives. I won't complain. We really do need this moisture and the snow this time around was heavy with moisture, unlike all the snow we've gotten so far this winter, which was light and fluffy and blew around all the time because it was so dang cold.

Here's to hoping we see some sunshine this afternoon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Myhre Studio Donation

Once again we are truly blessed with generosity from others. Myhre Studio is again donating their photography expertise to the Sanctuary Easter Fundraiser, April 12th. This is a great opportunity for the Sanctuary!

If you buy the $100 package, you'll get a photoshoot with Myhre Studio (they do great work by the way). You'll still have to pay for the photos but if I remember correctly, you're paying for the sitting fee (and that can be anywhere you want... and even better when it's with your horse!) The $100 that you pay to get the package deal goes DIRECTLY to the Sanctuary! So it's a win-win situation for the Sanctuary.

I'll try to post a bit more information about this fantastic deal. This is such a great opportunity for the Sanctuary and we want to thank Myhre Studio for their generous donation.

Snow, Snow, Go away, Come Back another Day

Looks like we are in the midst of another snowstorm. Well, I wouldn't call it a "storm" persay but it's still snowing and going to make chores awful tonight. The weather reports have been all over the place. Last night we were supposed to be in a Winter Weather Advisory starting at 1am but they pushed that back until 3pm today. But low and behold, it's snowing. At least they were only an hour off.

I did have the forsight to blanket Rabbit. I'd left Rain's blanket on, only because he wouldn't let me take it off yesterday. I think he was a bit worn out from the Tri State Horse Expo performance on Saturday. I'm wishing I would have blanketed some of the others. At least we didn't get the rain that the weatherman was predicting. But we are supposed to get  between two and four inches of snow...oh goodie.

I guess I won't complain too loudly. We need the moisture. I don't want to have to work through another drought like two years ago. I'm not sure I can survive another drought and extreme temperatures again.

I may be running horses into the barn to let them dry off and relax from this weather. I'll be so happy when I don't have to keep one eye to the sky for winter storms. Although I have to admit that I've been pretty bad about not watching the weather as of late. Life has gotten so hectic that by the time the weather comes on, I'm fast asleep. The only time I can catch the weather is just before I run out to do chores (thanks to daylight savings time).

I'll try to post more later but if not, we are here, just super always.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Joys of Almost Spring

On the joys of it being almost spring, but not yet.....

  • This Afternoon Partly sunny, with a high near 59. South wind 10 to 15 mph.
  • Tonight A slight chance of rain before 4am, then a slight chance of rain after 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Tuesday A chance of rain before 10am, then rain and snow between 10am and 11am, then snow after 11am. Temperature falling to around 30 by 2pm. Breezy, with a light and variable wind becoming north northwest 20 to 25 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 3 inches.
  • Tuesday Night A chance of snow before 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 24. Windy, with a northwest wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
  • Wednesday A chance of snow before 1pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 40. Breezy, with a west northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
We most certainly are going to have our hands full for the next two days. I was really hoping for a quiet weekend after such a busy past couple of weeks and weekends. But now Mother Nature has decided that I need to do some additional prep work to get the horses ready for this next storm.

I'd heard rumblings on Saturday that we were to get something on Tuesday and Wednesday but I hadn't heard anything more until I looked at the forecast today. Oh my. We are in the temps that we don't need blanekts but with the rain and snow coming and then colder temperatures, it looks like I'll have to drag the blankets out yet again. I'll be glad when I can see green grass shooting up.

Even the robins are confused and have been here for the past few weeks. I think they are ready for spring as well. But it IS only the middle of March so it is very likely that we'll get a few more snowstorms before the winter is over. I guess I won't complain too loudly because I don't want to be in another drought.

I'll post more later about this past weekend at the Tri State Horse Expo. It wasn't Sanctuary related but it's nice to hear about horse related activities. :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I realized yesterday, March 12th, that it's Bo's three year anniversary with us. It's been a long haul and he's always going to be a hard keeper with a few different health quirks here and there. I was hoping to get pictures of Bo yesterday now that he's not sporting his blanket but I ran out of daylight (and energy). So hopefully later this week or weekend I can take a few quick pics of Bo and show him off.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of what Bo looked like when he first came to us, three years ago.

This is Bo the day after we brought him home. His winter coat hides the extent of his thinness.

Bo from the rear the day after we brought him home.

I believe this is Bo one month after bringing him home.

This is Bo two weeks after bringing him home. I put a blanket on him the day after bringing him home and you can really see the extent of the damage that was done to him.

He's still a hard keeper and thinner than I want him to be (of course I want all the horses to be a little on the fat side). Rest assured, Bo will be at the Sanctuary until is final day. Bo is one of my heart horses. He never once lost his friendliness or his curiosity through his ordeal. He's still as loveable today as he was that first day we brought him home. Happy anniversary Bo. So glad you are in our lives. I'll try to get some pictures of Bo soon so you can see what he looks like now, three years later.

Crazy Busy

It’s been a crazy past few days. I’m not sure that I can even keep track of everything that’s happened and that’s on the calendar still.
On Saturday, I got up at 2am so that I could meet Gentle Spirits Horse Sanctuary and Rescue and head to St. Paul Minnesota for the Unwanted Horse Summit. The Summit was interesting although lacked a few “wants” like true statistics but it was nice to meet fellow horse enthusiasts who are concerned about the plight of the horse. I did get a bit of reading material and will thumb through all of that when I have more than about 10 minutes to put my feet up. We decided that we would make the trip to St. Paul a flying trip and headed home after the Summit. I rolled in at midnight and fed the horses. I’d double fed them the night before but they were none to pleased with having to wait that long for me.
With daylight savings time kicking my butt, I did get to “sleep in” thanks to Mike and my son. I think we all slept in. But then I had to roll out of bed and get ready for drill team practice. After the Tri State Horse Expo this weekend, I’m going to switch to Maverick so that I can start promoting Sanctuary horses (I haven’t ridden Maverick enough lately to feel comfortable riding in front of a large crowd). So off to practice we went.
I had to haul butt home after practice so that I could be ready when the farrier showed up. Of course, he showed up a little early, so I had to call the herd in and scramble to get everyone I needed out of the pen. We ended up doing just my personal horses although Ivan is in desperate need of a trim as well. I’m figuring after all the hubbub from this past week, I’ll get the farrier out next week to take care of some of the others. We were able to get Zeke, King, and Rain done and they are now set for the next few weeks.
Mike left Monday morning for training out of town so it was just me, my Garrett, and the herd for the next three days. Monday evening rolled around, and we headed to a Saddle Club meeting. It’s not Sanctuary related but it is nice to talk “horse” with others.
Tuesday after work, I had to scramble and get ready for drill team practice with the other team. We hauled in to where they are hosting the Tri State Horse Expo. Luckily Zeke has been there before and is a pro at it. I’d really like to haul Maverick in and get him accustomed to the noise and commotion but we’ll see how it goes.
Last night (Wed), Mike got home from training and we decided that we’d better do some prep work for this coming weekend. I’ll be running ragged this entire weekend for the Tri State Horse Expo and won’t be home much. I wanted to make sure that I keep the horses happy and full. I locked them out of the pasture so now they are going to be more antsy than before.
I haven’t had much time to do any cleaning in the pens so Mike got in with the tractor and cleaned the drylot up. Luckily Mike had worked on the tractor a few weekends ago and got it running like it’s supposed to. It’s a very old farm tractor (I think from the 50s). There’s no power steering and actually no power anything so Mike has to really work for it when he’s cleaning up the drylot. But once the drylot was prepped and ready, we backed the flatbed up with the round bales and pulled two bales off. Thanks to Tom Jass for donating these round bales, I now don’t have to stress about making sure everyone is fed (at least for this week). Tom donated three nice round bales and I know the horses were happy to dive into the bale.
While Mike was cleaning the drylot out, I’d run some of the horses into the barn and the others were haltered. I had to move Maverick a couple of times because he got bored and was starting to dismantle his lead rope. That horse has the uncanny knack of getting himself untied. He plays with everything and chews on everything. I need to start working with him more to keep him occupied (and too tired to do anything but nap when we aren’t working).
We did get one feeder ring over one of the bales and threw the cinch net over the second bale (we didn’t want to wade through the mud to get to the other hay ring). I think the horses were disappointed that they had to work on a round bale instead of get fed their alfalfa hay mix. They’ve been rather disgruntled with me for the past week while I worked on the normal hay. Two bales of alfalfa hay mix and they are mad that I’m feeding them straight hay instead.
I’m hoping that the two round bales will hold out until Sunday, after all the commotion is over with for the Tri State Horse Expo. Hopefully there won’t be too many late nights as I’ve been rather exhausted these past few days, what with running around and making sure I get everything taken care of.
Tonight we have practice with the drill team and I’m taking Friday off so that I can see the Tri State Horse Expo, since it’ll be the only time I actually get to see any activities over the four day event. I need to clean the horses up on Friday, get rid of their whiskers and maybe trim up some of their “beard” and bridle path. I don’t want to go in with scuzzy horses.
But it’ll be hard to not have scuzzy horses.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s today and tomorrow in the 50s. So the blankets came off and I’m sure to have a brown horse instead of a white horse for the performance this weekend. I perform with both drill teams this weekend so I’ll be hopping from one to the other all weekend. It’s a little stressful but all my own doing. I love this time of year because of the Expo. It’s my horse fix to get me really geared up for the riding season.
Here’s to a smooth sailing rest of the week and weekend.

Monday, March 10, 2014


From our local news......

Animal Cruelty Bill Moves On To SD House

March 10, 2014, 11:34 AM 
A South Dakota legislative panel has passed a bill to make cruelty against animals a felony.

The House Judiciary committee voted 10-2 Monday in support of the measure.

South Dakota is the only state without such a law. But similar proposed legislation has failed in the past.

Supporters of the bill include representatives from throughout the agriculture industry, who say they were involved in its drafting. They say it reorganizes the law and protects the current uses of animals in agriculture and rodeo.

One opponent says it might cost the state up to $130,000 in the correctional system over 10 years and says the definitions of some terms are not clear in the bill.

It already has passed the Senate and now goes to the House floor.

Rosemary Farm Post

I follow Rosemary Farm Horse Sanctuary. I like to think that we are fairly similar although we've never actually talked. She writes so eloquently. Here's a post she wrote about an old warrior. I couldn't have said it better....much of what she says hits home for me.

Crazy Busy

Now that I'm at the paying job, it's the first time I've gotten to put my feet up all weekend. It's been a whirlwind weekend of activities, and all horse related.

I'll post again but wanted to say that we had a very productive weekend and if the weather would stay this warm, we'd have even more productive weekends. Doing chores this morning was wonderful! It's currently 40 degees. If my tshirts and shorts weren't packed away, I'd probably do chores in that type of outfit!

Unfortunately we are supposed to get rain/snow starting tonight into tomorrow and we'll drop back to the normal weather for this time of year. So now I'm debating on if I should blanket anyone. The temps aren't the issue, it's the moisture. If they get wet, they'll get chilled. So tonight is going to be a balancing act of keepign everyone comfortable.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Warmer Weather Tease

Can it be, the low for tonight is in the single digits but after that, the lows are in the twenties?!?! I’ll believe it when I see it. But I am SO looking forward to Sunday and Monday’s warm temperatures.  My only fear is that I’ll get used to the better weather and will get grouchy when the cooler weather rolls back in. But for now, I’ll look forward to the 50 degree weather.
Blankets are coming OFF early Sunday morning. I am anxious to see a herd of color instead of a herd of green. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to have the blankets but it’ll be nice to see the horses again in their true colors. I’m sure the horses will enjoy the warmer weather as well.
Just yesterday I noticed that Zeke is starting to shed. Hopefully everyone starts shedding soon. Now the hard part will be to keep myself from working on grooming and getting all their winter hair off before it’s actually warm out for long stretches of time.
Mike has been working on another horseshoe nail cross idea. He’s made a couple and it looks rather neat. We are always looking for new fundraiser ideas so if you happen to have any, I’d love to hear about them.
I have to remember that Sunday is the start of daylight savings time. It’ll be wonderful to have that extra hour in the evening but oh so difficult to wake a toddler up. I know the horses will be surprised when I go out to do chores earlier than they expect. And I just realized that five years ago this Sunday, I’ll have been blogging for five years. What a wild ride these past five years have been. Life in general has taught me a lot and given me a better perspective on different situations.  Let’s hope the next five years are a bit calmer.

Cheat Sheet 2014

I think if I don't post pictures now, even if they are ancient, I'll never get a cheat sheet done for 2014.  So here it goes. Some of these pictures are WAY outdated (like Rabbit and Mayhem).









Rain - personal horse

King - personal horse


Mayhem (she looks way different now but don't have any pictures of her on this computer)

Zeke - personal horse

Rabbit (before we brought her home)


I must be in some kind of funk. I’m afraid the stresses of juggling everything and dealing with the weather are finally getting to me. There’s no cabin fever here, I’m too tired. I was having an overly rough day on Thursday and by the time I went out to do chores, I knew I needed a hug. I am working on making Rabbit my “comfort” horse, which is odd because she was always a “touch-me-not” type until recently. But maybe that was only my perspective and I didn’t see the reality.
As I was breathing in Rabbit (and in between getting squished between Rabbit and Mayhem), I came to the realization that mares are “comfort” horses.  My heart horses are geldings because they give me their all but the mares are the ones that provide the comfort. I’m not sure if it’s the maternal instinct or what but I know the geldings don’t have that same comforting ability (or at least not the geldings at the Sanctuary).
Unfortunately while hanging on Rabbit, the overwhelming thought overcame me. I am responsible for the wellbeing of 14 horses.  As I watched the geldings wander around the pen waiting for me to feed them, I was overcome by that thought. I’m not sure why. I guess it’s a mix of exhaustion and stress.  I’m sure a good nap will solve a lot of it. But I did stand and watch the geldings, not so patiently waiting for me.  And although the idea that they must rely on me is overwhelming, watching them gave me peace. It’s such a mixed thought.
I was reading another person’s blog, who happens to be a barrel racer. She mentioned that as a barrel racer, you put these horses into an extreme sport and ask them to give it their all each run.  That these horses are putting their lives into their rider’s hands. The thought came to me that the horses at the Sanctuary are my responsibility and their lives and their wellbeing are in my hands. I know I’m not making much sense and I think it’s the exhaustion and stress getting to me but a lot of thoughts were running through my head last night. I want to ensure that I don’t let the Sanctuary horses down and that I don’t let our supporters down.
I think a good nap (and winning the lottery) would help me out of this weird funk.  I guess until either happens, I’ll simply remember the feel of Rabbit’s mane on my cheek and the smell of horse in my nose.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unwanted Horse Summit

We are attending the Unwanted Horse Summit this weekend in St. Paul.

Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue and Borderlands Horse Sanctuary to attend MN Unwanted Horse Summit

For a better blog post, check out:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Horse of the Month - Tommy and Skippy

So it seems that I missed the February horse of the month so I’m lumping them both together. But that’s ok because when you say one, you automatically think the other. I’m talking Tommy and Skippy. These two ponies came to the Sanctuary in February 2009 as naughty little ponies.  Tommy is a Shetland pony. We are guessing at his age. Skippy on the other hand is a registered miniature horse. We did not acquire his papers but have a copy (somewhere).

Skippy thinks he rules the pen and will play/pick on the horses through the fence. Dude tolerates the behavior and Maverick adores the attention. Skippy also thinks he rules the roost in the mare pen and torments Mayhem as much as possible. Tommy on the other hand is the standoffish Shetland pony with an attitude. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a sweet pony, when he wants to be (yes I said sweet and pony in the same sentence).
We acquired Tommy and Skippy when his previous owner’s children outgrew them. Their options were that we take the ponies, or they would head to a local auction so we quickly said we would take the pair knowing that they would be separated. From what we know, these two have been together for nearly their entire lives so we’d like to keep it that way.
We let the ponies out on the lawn during the summer months to snack on grass and stretch their legs. Summer is most likely their favorite time of the year although I know they do love winter when they hang out with the mares. 
Tommy is a  healthy pony and is one of the few Sanctuary horses with no health issues. Skippy has a skin irritation that flares up during the summer months. We have to apply ointment and give him a powder supplement to try and keep the skin problems at bay. Skippy doesn’t let his health issue slow him down.
Tommy and Skippy have taught us a great deal about ponies and minis. They continue to teach us every day. It is an honor to have these two naughty ponies at the Sanctuary. If you would like to sponsor either Tommy or Skippy, please contact us at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Scheduling Nightmare

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the subzero temperatures for a very long time. I know I’m sick of this weather and I’m starting to think that the horses are sick of it as well. Dude through a hissy fit this morning, kicking out at his stall, telling me to hurry up. But I think I know why all the horses were cranky with me this morning, at least sort of.
So we were supposed to have 15 below wind and were in a Wind Chill Warning, which  mean 20 to 30 below wind chills. We didn’t have a lot of wind but with the temps as cold as they are, any little bit of a breeze is a problem. Sure, when winter rolls around, a small breeze is terrible but in the summer when we desperately want even just a wisp of a breeze, we get nothing. But I digress.
For the past week plus I’ve been using an alfalfa hay mix bale. It’s an older bale but figured I might as well use it since it’s so cold (and I could get to it, otherwise I would have used it during the Polar Vortex). So now the horses are spoiled and enjoying the alfalfa hay mix. I personally despise this bale because it crumples in my  hands and practically disintegrates before I can get it into the hay wagon. And I tend to lose some of the  better alfalfa leaves as I drag along my hay wagon. But we finished off the first bale and started in on the second bale. I’ve been using these two bales now while it’s cold because hopefully we won’t have any more cold weather (and these bales are kinda in the way).
But because I needed to put the horses in the barn, there was no way I was going to deal with that alfalfa/hay mix that disintegrates in my hands. I wouldn’t be able to get it into the stalls before it all disappeared. So instead I broke open a new bale.  Unfortunately, that bale is mostly canary grass, and the horses HATE canary grass. They would rather not eat. Or because they’ve had the good stuff, they won’t touch this hay until they are “starving”.  So I threw the canary grass hay into the stalls and no one ate anything. They were excited to get out and I ended up throwing the good alfalfa/hay so they were pretty calm.
I was smart enough Saturday morning to prep the stalls but I ran out of time Sunday morning to prep stalls. I ended up having to do normal chores plus get everything situated for another night in the barn. The horses were not pleased with having to go into the barn. Had we not been in a Wind Chill Warming, I probably would have left them out. But no one wanted to go into the barn, which was weird. But I suppose they figured out that the stalls means they don’t’ get the really good alfalfa/hay and get the canary grass. But I figured that I can’t risk them not eating and losing weight so I broke open a different bale after I finally got everyone into their stalls. This second bale was a lot better quality but it’s older and also disintegrates when I try to pull a sliver off. But I made it work and the horses ate it all. But I think they were still disgruntled with me. This morning everyone bolted out of the barn.  We didn’t really even have any wind so I’m sure the horses thought I was being silly. But it was eleven below when I went out to do chores this morning. The barn is not heated but it was one or two degrees warmer. But I guess the horses didn’t care. Everyone charged out of the barn and made a bee line for the alfalfa/hay. They are going to be sorely disappointed when we finally run out of that hay. I expect we’ll be done with that alfalfa/hay bale by mid Wednesday and they’ll have to go back to boring hay. I’m not sure what to do with that canary grass bale. I’m disappointed that we have it.
I’ll be so happy when I can put horses out on the pasture. Although at this point, the horses can go out into the pasture. I left the gate open and it’s frozen to the ground. So the horses can come and go as they please. Hopefully it’ll warm up soon enough so I can start locking them in to the drylot when I need to. I don’t’ want them tearing up the pasture but I don’t’ think we are to that point of having to worry about it.
These next two weeks are going to be crazy busy. I’m already frantic about trying to make sure everything gets done on time and I’m at the right place at the right time. The Tri State Horse Expo is coming up next weekend and both drill teams are performing. This weekend is the Unwanted Horse Summit in St. Paul that I’m hopefully going to attend (weather permitting). And of course, next weekend is the start of daylight savings time. To top that trauma off, Mike is leaving next Monday for training for three days, and I’ll be home alone with a toddler starting a new daylight savings schedule. I’m not sure who’s going to be more upset with the schedule , the horses, the toddler, or me!
We did get three bales donated and picked up the other week. Hopefully on the Wednesday that Mike comes back from training, we’ll have time to push in a couple of the round bales so I wont’ have to rush around to do chores while trying to get ready for performances during the Tri State Horse Expo.
I also realized I didn’t do a horse of the month for February. But I’ll introduce you to one of our horses. Well, ponies. And it’s a bit of a two-fer deal anyway. I’ll write more about it later. And I was going to do a cheat sheet but I don’t’ have any new pictures of the horses. So I may very well just post some old pictures of the horses so you’ll at least know who I’m talking about, even if the pictures are outdated.
If I don’t post, it’s not because I’m not around. I’m just running around trying to get everything done. We are still frantically working on our upcoming fundraiser, april 12th. If you want to volunteer, we’d be more than happy for the help!