Monday, June 30, 2014


So in my last post, I mentioned that we went to a local rodeo. It's no pumpkin bumpkin type rodeo but it's nothing so amazing that it has national publicity. It's a local rodeo with local people on the circuit.

So I was shocked when a friend said she watched someone inject a horse with something. I have no idea what nor do I want to know. But come on, this is not nationals, the money isn't that big to risk your horse. It doesn't warrant doping your horse up. Shame on you for drugging your horse. I did see the same person rub some type of cream on the horse's hock.

The second day, those people were gone but they'd left their trash laying on the ground. The cream AND the needle! SERIOUSLY?? You left that for someone else to pick up? I wasn't thinking, I was in such shock. But I should have picked up the needle and had my vet figure out what was in the needle that this person injected into her horse.

If you have to go so far as to dope up your horse and inject something "to make him run faster", then it's time to retire the horse and look for a new project. The more I think about it, the more angry I get. I guess it's a good thing that I'm not around the racing circuit, I'd probably go ballistic.


Well, the week was fairly quiet but the weekend...crazy busy. Unfortunately crazy busy but not with the Sanctuary. Friday and Saturday night I performed with my drill team, Dakota Thunder. We performed in the rain Saturday night. Luckily we didn't have serious weather but it still made riding interesting. So with being gone two afternoons and evenings, I didn't get anything accomplished Friday or Saturday.

While everyone else slept yesterday, I went and hand sprayed thistles in the pasture. We didn't get a chance to spray this spring. The days kept getting away from us so we opted to skip spraying. But the thistles are getting bad so I thought I would go out and spray.

The mosquitoes are B.A.D. They aren't just bad, they are horrific. They can carry a body away if you aren't fully protected. And even when you are fully protected, they still carry you around the yard. It's terrible. We didn't have any mosquitoes two weeks ago. But with all the bad weather and now standing water, the mosquitoes are coming out in masses.

Luckily while I was spraying, I didn't get eaten alive (but that was during the middle of the day) and there was a breeze. I know, I know. You aren't supposed to spray when there's a breeze but I was only hand spraying and there's enough thistles that if there's any drift, it would just hit the next thistle.

After an hour of spraying, I had to call it quits (I emptied the bottle but didn't want to do round two). I am so out of shape. Normally, I would be able to do a lot more but I just couldn't. The horses had wandered up to the barn so I grabbed Chaos thinking I would ride. I had about five minutes on him before we were both irritated and annoyed. The flies and mosquitoes started to eat Chaos alive and he wasn't thrilled with just walking around the yard. So I called it quits on that as well. I was disappointed to not be able to ride more. I've had a few other opportunities to ride but the mosquitoes are so bad that it makes it impossible to do anything but hunker down and wait for the first frost. :-(

In the evening, I decided that I would help reduce the mosquito population or at least their homes. I normally leave the ponies out on the lawn so I don't want to mow. But some of the spots that the mosquitoes were really bad are also the spots that no horse normally eats. I guess it's bad grass. So I put the lawnmower to work and we tackled some of the weeds. Of course, in my negligence, I missed that there was a block that we'd used for the stock trailer and I ran it over. (We run everything over with the lawnmower). Luckily it didn't do any damage and I kept going. I was able to get all the bad spots where no horse would normally eat.

Later this week I'll move the ponies around and see if we can't get them better lawn pasture and I can  mow down the weeds in the lawn pasture where they are at right now.  The goal is to de-redneck the place. It's been four years of no repairs and no major work on the place so everything is looking tough. So my goal is to start making the place look better. It'll take more than just a few hours here and there but at least it's a start. I should have been working in the hay barn and hay shed to get things ready in there but I didn't.

I did have the farrier come out Saturday morning to trim up King. We'd talked about putting shoes on but opted out. We don't ride King all that much and we are dealing with mud. So I am thinking of sucking it up and buying a pair of Easy Boots. I bought two pairs a few years ago but they were the wrong size. Apparently King's feet have gotten bigger. The farrier said he'll never shrink the size of his feet so I want to start looking at other shoeing options. King did ok for the farrier but the mosquitoes came out.

I know the bugs are bad in other places but we went to two different parks on Sunday and there were no bugs. So I am wondering if part of our problem is that we dont' spray for bugs and we have a few breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This week I am going to go to SAMs and pick up a big jug of vegetable oil and put it in the creek that has standing water. The water doesn't really drain out of the pasture, it typically seeps back in. So to reduce the number of mosquitoes, I think I'll add some vegetable oil (at least that's what someone said would help and I'm willing to try anything at this point).

So where's to hoping that we can get rid of some of these awful mosquitoes that don't carry you away even when there's a stiff wind. I'm hoping to keep plugging along on getting things done around the place. We could always use more help. We still have a bunch of work that needs to be done to repair the damage on the barn and leanto (i.e., put the roof back on the leanto). The horses wont' go in the leanto now, now that the roof isn't there. So if you're bored, we could sure use your help!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mommy Timeout

Last night was such a beautiful night. The bugs weren't out when I went out to do chores. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity because I'd put myself into Mommy Timeout. With all the crazy commotion, bad weather, and hectic schedule, I knew that if I didn't take a Timeout, that the rest of the week would go down hill.

So instead, I put myself in Mommy Timeout and ended up staying there the rest of the night. But after getting eight hours of somewhat interrupted sleep, I feel better and am ready to start working on the Sanctuary again. We are so far behind and with the tornado, we are even more behind.

I desperately need to get the ponies out on grass but haven't had time to set up the corral panels. I may succumb to putting up electric fence and just turning it off when my son comes out to play. I'm not sure what the hay situation is going to be like but I don't want to risk having to go in search of more hay later this year. I'd rather not be feeding hay all summer.

It's already the end of June! I've lost an entire month already! Luckily July is looking to be a little slower so maybe I can get caught up (well, not caught up but at least get started on a few projects), and feel better about not being SO FAR behind. As long as I don't have to be in too many more Mommy Timeouts, we should be starting to gear back up and get a few things done around the Sanctuary. Anyone want to help?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Mayhem!

Hard to believe that Mayhem is one year older today! I remember when she was this big!

And now she's a grown up girl! When we picked her up, she was only three months old and the previous owner picked her up and put her on the trailer. Unfortunately Mayhem has been on the back burner since bringing her home but we've worked with her here and there. What little we have done with her, she understands and does flawlessly. This little girl always surprises me.

Born a wrong color, with an umbilical hernia (which unfortunately has not yet been repaired due to other circumstances), and now to discover she has a heart murmur. This little girl has had a few knocks against her and yet she has a bright outlook on life and is always the happy go lucky girl. Hope you enjoy your birthday. You are officially four years old! Where did the time go?

Monday, June 23, 2014

NOAA - Humboldt Tornado Report

Here's a bit more reading info on the tornado that barely missed the Sanctuary. On the second map, the dot with 10:48 (when we lost power) is when the tornado hit the neighbor's house (.5 miles from the Sanctuary). Just prior to that time (around 10:30 or 10:45ish) Mike and I were trying to shut the screen door. Goes to show how close we were to that twister.

June 17th Humboldt Tornado Preliminary Rating EF-2

...Preliminary NWS Damage Survey for Humboldt, South Dakota Tornado...
A brief tornado developed late Tuesday evening, June 17, 2014, southeast of Humboldt, South Dakota and traveled to the northwest.  The tornado was on the ground for 18 minutes and affected two family residences along its route with one 
family at home during the tornado.  The family was in bed as the storm approached and received a call from their daughter
informing them of the tornado and the warning that was issued for their location.  They immediately went to the basement
for shelter and a few minutes later the tornado struck their home.  They received no injuries and today credit their 
daughter and the warning for their safety.
Humboldt, SD Tornado
EF Scale RatingEF-2
Estimated Peak Wind125 mph
Path Length in statute miles3.43
Maximum path width400 yds
State DateJune 17, 2014
Start Time10:44 pm CDT
Start Location3.5 miles SSE of Humboldt, SD
End DateJune 17, 2014
End Time11:02 pm CDT
End Location1.5 miles SW of Humboldt, SD
Map of the Humboldt, SD tornado track
Track of Humboldt, South Dakota tornado
Click on map to download a kmz file tha twill display this path in Google Earth.  If you download the kmz file and import it into Google Earth, each triangle
will link to a description of the damage that was observed and may also include photos.
Track of the tornadic circulation as seen on radar
Track of the parent circulation of the tornado seen on radar
This image is of the track of the tornadic circulation as seen on radar.  Note that the location of the circulation on radar
does not necessarily match the track of the tornado.  In many cases, the radar signature of the tornado can be seen several 
minutes prior to the tornado developing.  Also the location of the tornado on the ground can be a few miles from the location
of the tornadic signature on radar.
The track of this tornado was more erratic than most tornadoes as its motion varied from south to west to northwest during its life.

EF0...Weak......65 to 85 mph
EF1...Weak......86 to 100 mph
EF2...Strong.....111 to 135 mph
EF3...Strong.....136 to 165 mph
EF4...Violent....166 to 200 mph
EF5...Violent....Greater than 200 mph
The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to change pending final review of the 
event and publication in the National Weather Service Storm Data.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Power Poles

I'm trying to place where exactly this is at. I took the picture from our local news but it's the road the Sanctuary is on. I'm just having a hard time placing the exact location. It's north but not sure exactly how far north. I think it's farther north the neighbor's that lost their house. I'll keep looking. Maybe I'll try and get an ariel map of the vicinity so you all can see the path of the tornado and see how darn close it came to hitting the Sanctuary

Tornado - Part 1

It’s all in the perspective.  Some might think that we have bad luck. I think we are damn lucky (excuse the language).

Tuesday night Mike ran in to town to pick up donated pallets (thanks T). He didn’t get home until about 9pm. After the last few days of storms and flooding (although we haven’t gotten any serious flooding at the Sanctuary), I was ready for bed. I was able to crawl in to bed just before 10:30pm. I’d been keeping an eye to the sky and the tv weather radar before I went to bed. The radar hadn’t shown anything but a green blob that was coming our way. I assumed it would be another thunderstorm but nothing out of the ordinary.  We’ve been pretty lucky to avoid the torrential downpours that farther east have gotten and caused so much flooding.

As I was lying in bed, I started hearing a lot more noise. I decided that maybe I better go down and check on things. The storm window was closed but the main window was open and I was hearing a wind whistle. I closed the main window and still heard a wind whistle. That’s when I knew it was bad out. Ok, sure we have old and bad windows but I’d never heard a wind whistle that bad before. And that’s when it hit. The rain was coming down in sheets and the wind was absolutely insane. I was worried for the horses but knew better than to go out in that type of weather to check on them.

Then all hell broke loose. The winds whipped around the house and we heard more banging above our heads.  Then the screen door flew open and water started pouring in through the bottom of the main door (I’d accidently kicked the bottom kickplate thingy off awhile go). We knew we needed to get the screen door shut to stop the water from pouring in. I’d never seen that much water flow in before. Mike and I debated because we knew we would both get drenched. The screen door was plastered to the side of the house. Mike opened the door and was instantly drenched. He tried to get the screen door shut (it’s a lightweight door with no springs attached (I broke those too). But the winds were so strong he couldn’t close the door! I stepped out into the wind and water to help and got instantly soaked. It was like I’d stepped into the shower fully clothes. It took two of us to get the door closed. I was pulling and Mike was pushing. We did finally get the door closed. At least that stopped the water from pouring in but Mike was drenched all the way to the skin.

The previous, previous owners had attached window shades over the kitchen windows. Right after we got the door shut, the shade started rattling (we’d pushed them back up to get more light in the kitchen when we moved in but never bothered to take them off…I have no idea why we didn’t just take them down). The shade was rattling and banging against the house and then came crashing down. Luckily it caught and didn’t crash into the window.

Right about that time we lost power and the baby monitor started beeping. We ran upstairs to shut them off and our son woke up. All this time I’d been debating on waking him and going into the basement. But Mike didn’t seem concerned and didn’t mention anything to me.  The beeping woke the Bear up and that’s when water started pouring into the house.

The original owners added on a porch that through the years has been remodeled and turned into an addition (it’s the same “porch” that we’ve remodeled a few years back). Water was pouring in from the ceiling and from the French doors. I had no idea how long it was going to last. Mike hung on to the Bear while I grabbed anything that would soak up the water.

And not long after that, the rain and wind let up. We had no idea at the time the extent of the damage or what was going on. My mom had called to see if we were ok and to tell us that there had been a TORNDAO in the area!

About an hour later, the electric company was at the end of our driveway with two boom trucks. I wanted to go out and check the horses earlier but was worried that the bad weather was still in the area. It’s not like I want to be outside when there’s a tornado in the vicinity. So I not so patiently waited until I thought the weather had cleared enough. When the electric company left our driveway (figured they were working on powerlines near us), that I better go out, check the horses, and check the damage.

Everything looks worse in the dark. All I had was an itty bitty flashlight. I checked the horses first and they all appeared to be unscathed from the ordeal. Not a scratch on them! But the barn didn’t come out looking as good. Two pieces of tin were ripped up and are now flapping in the wind. There’s three other sheets of tin that are half way ripped up. We need to get them all secured before we have another high wind. I don’t want the tin to fly off and hurt the horses.

The windmill that I’ve been complaining about is gone. Well, the stand is still there but the actual moveable part is gone. It took out our yard light so I searched around for the yard light to get rid of any glass. I only saw the outer casing of the light. And even that, I only found half of the outer casing. I double-checked the horses and still didn’t see any scratches on them.

Then I noticed that the leanto that we built a few years ago, didn’t have a roof on it any more. That would explain why Brego was standing so close to me. I expect he was in the leanto when the tornado winds took the roof. Brego and Ivan usually stand in that leanto. In fact, all of the horses were standing on the concrete inbetween all the buildings. I’d locked them in the drylot not knowing that the weather would turn so unpredictable.

I then checked on the mares to make sure they were ok. They seemed ok and didn’t have any damage in their pen. I trudged on over to the ponies and the only damage was the gate is barely hanging on. It was barely upright before so I figured a strong gust of wind would probably take it down anyway. The wind also pushed the water tote off the pallets.

Back at the garage, the spare water tank had blown all the way to the fence line. It was empty and needed a new water plug (but still had a functional automatic waterer attached). Guess we’ll be buying a new automatic waterer. Mike had been working on the auger so that we could start digging holes. The wind was so strong that the auger had rolled until it hit grass. The cement in front of the old garage was flooded up to my ankles in water. I have no idea how much water we actually got.

I also looked at the house but couldn’t see much damage (until the next morning).  We did get power on about two hours after it went out.  I’d only made a brief assessment of the damage and headed back in. When I went out, I knew there was supposed to be more storms coming and the lightening was lighting up the sky. I didn’t really want to be outside knowing that the skies could open up and cause more severe weather. So I trudged back in. About 1:30am the power was restored and by 2am we all crashed for the night (or morning depending on how you look at it). I sent my alarm for 5:30am so that I could assess the damage in the light. I’d wanted to check the weather online before heading to bed but our internet was knocked out (and is still knocked out. I wasn’t too surprised with losing internet though).

And that’s where I’ll leave off for now. At that time, I thought we’d only dealt with straight line winds or maybe a micro burst. I hadn’t seen the weather and only knew that there’d been a tornado in the area because my mother called. I still didn’t think that what we had was caused by a tornado.


The tornado that came a half mile from the Sanctuary made it on Yahoo news.

The house and the person being interviewed is a half mile north of the Sanctuary. I'll post more in just a little bit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Major Flooding and Storms

The weather has been very crazy and unpredictable around here lately.  The days and nights are starting to blur together so I don’t remember all the details. All I know is that the Sanctuary is safe and fairly dry (or at least we aren’t dealing with feet of water, just random water puddles).

Friday night into Saturday  morning we had storms rip through the area, dumping I don’t know how many inches of rain. We have yet to put our rain gauges out (even though we have two!) I’m not sure if we are simply that dry and the ground soaked it in or we missed the deluge that drowned out everyone else. I’m guessing on the latter.  The amount of water was so great that on Saturday, some horse owners had to evacuate their horses and are now displaced.

We had a family reunion to attend to but only stayed for a short while so that we could make it back before the skies opened and poured on us. I think we missed the massive downpours (they went east of the Sanctuary). But we did get a bit more rain.

We were supposed to have the farrier come out Saturday morning but with the amount of rain, we decided to postpone King’s shoeing, much to my dismay.

As far as I can remember, we didn’t get any more rain Saturday evening. Another storm blew through about 4am Sunday. The storm actually woke me up. There was so much lightening and thunder before the rain hit. I don’t think we got as much although there was plenty. After about an hour, I ended up crashing and sleeping for a little while longer. We missed out on the hail for the Sunday rain.

I decided that I would start working on getting the big pasture divided because there’s no way that we’ll get to spraying the pasture with the farm truck. I was able to drag along just enough poly posts to string wire (although I’ll need to take more out later). We were going to fence off the bottom and give that time to grow so that when we go into the no rain season, that the horses will have lush grass. I didn’t get to fencing that part off. I simply put in enough fences to divide the pasture in two. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get across the little creek that runs through the bottom of the pasture. With all the rain I was positive that I wouldn’t. Nope. There were only a few puddles in the creek. In years past, I would have to find the narrowest part of the creek to jump over it. I walked through one of the wider sections and dodged just a few puddles. So either the pasture is that dry, we didn’t get that much rain, or the drain tiles that the farmers have been putting in are changing the landscape and affecting our pasture. I’m fine with no swampy pasture bottom. I wasn’t able to finish getting the pasture divided though. After I got the posts in, I had to quit. The sun had already set and the mosquitoes were starting to carry me away (and not in the direction of the house). So I opted to hold off until later. I had hoped to finish up my project Monday night but Monday was whole different story.

Monday we had severe weather. The skies were once again green (they were green when I was putting in fence posts). Green skies are always bad. I have yet to see a green sky where something bad doesn’t happen.  I headed to work Monday morning as normal after doing chores and getting ready. Late in the morning the storms hit. I watched the radar as the storms approached the Sanctuary. I was worried even though the big herd has two lean tos and the ponies and mares have enough protection from outbuildings. But I still watched and worried.

We had so much rain and even had golf ball sized hail at work. I don’t know what we had for hail at home. No one reported hail in Humboldt so hopefully we didn’t get any. I work about an hour away from the Sanctuary (45 minutes). About the time I was planning on leaving, they told us we couldn’t leave. Every road was under water. So I had to stick it out at work and watch the radar hoping that we wouldn’t get any more rain and that the water from north wouldn’t continue to flood out the roads. We were able to sneak out about a half an hour later but you could already see the damage the extensive water had caused. I tried making it home following my normal route was rerouted because of water over the road. Thank goodness for multiple routes to the Sanctuary.

I wasn’t able to get out to check on the horses right away but everything at the Sanctuary looked like nothing had happened except a normal SD thunderstorm. I wasn’t able to get out until 8:30pm. By then the entire herd was up for the night. I didn’t get a chance to check the pasture to see if we were flooded but the pen was a muddy mess, trying to suck my boot off. While I was doing chores (and even before that), I heard thunder and saw lightening. It was all around us and I was positive we were in for yet another storm. I’m not sure if we really got much. I crashed at 10:30 and didn’t hear anything until my alarm went off and woke to sunny skies. When I’d gone out to do chores, the skies were dark. It felt like I was going out to do chores after the sun sets. Even the yard light had already kicked on because it was that dark out. The skies lit up with all the lightening. I’m guessing that those to the east of the Sanctuary got hit again with yet more rain.

I know when I was watching the radar all day on Monday, that the map was pretty much red everywhere. At one point, I even saw purple. Luckily, it was nowhere near the Sanctuary. But we are definitely in to summer storm weather. And we missed the tornadoes. Or hearts go out to those that have been affected by the storms over the past couple of days.

We are supposed to get more rain the next three days or so. Lets hope that it’s not all that severe and that the water recedes quickly. I was talking with someone who bales their own horse hay. At this point, if anyone has hay down, it’ll be crap. This could become a very interesting hay season. I’m worried. I don’t want to buy any first cutting hay because of all the rain. Anything that is down will most likely be considered a loss. But hopefully the weather will start cooperating so that what hay hasn’t been cut can dry out, be cut, and baled before any more storms come rolling through. There’s always something to worry about, no matter what season we are in.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Holy Hail

We are in the middle of one heck of a storm. Hail, strong winds, horizontal rain, rain, and more rain.

Over the weekend we had another big storm roll through. We some how managed to miss out on the amount of rain others got. Some got up to 6 inches of rain. I have no idea what we had. But either we didn't get that much rain or we had that much rain and the ground soaked it up.

I was in the pasture along the low spot where the little creek runs...well actually it just holds water. In years past, there would be water above my tinglys. When I walked it last night, I splashed through just a couple of puddles. I don't know if someone put in a drainage tile and now all the water is going somewhere else or what. But we didn't have near the amount of rain.

I'm not sure if that will be the case today. The second round of rain and hail is currently at the Sanctuary (although I'm at the paying job...boooo). So it'll be an interesting trip home to see all the water and wind damage.

Lets hope that everyone stays safe. This weekend there was a horse rescue when horses in their normal pen/pasture started getting flooded. Crews were able to rescue the horses and take them to higher ground. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers and well wishing coming to make sure that everyone (both two-legged and four) stay safe.

I'll post more later but wanted to say that we are dealing with some serious water. Now to get some sunshine!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Almost Fencing Time

We finally did some Sanctuary work, although it wasn’t directly with the horses. Seems I don’t get to spend much time with the herd these days, always running from one activity to the next. I expect that’ll be how summer is.

But Mike is now into full swing construction season and putting out feelers for this and that. He found out that the state is replacing the fence line along an interstate so we said we were interested in buying some of the old fence posts. Sure they are 30-40 years old but the quality of the fence posts from back then (even being used) is better than some of the fence posts you buy at the store. We’ve bought some fence posts that were total junk so I know what we picked up last night are pretty good.

It’s a bit unnerving to be working so close to traffic but I guess you get used to it after a while.  Mike had an idea about what fencing we need to replace. Last year or the year before, the drylot fencing practically fell over so we put up some cattle panels and called it good. I thought it would last. Silly me. This spring Dude was STANDING on the fence, leaning over to get the tops of the grass blades. I am sure if I had seen it I would have come unglued. I wondered how the fencing was getting smashed into the ground. Thanks to Dude (and I expect some of the other geldings as well). Mike has an idea on how to rectify the “standing on fence” issue. Now that we have a tractor with a 3-point, we can put in fence posts (and not have to beg to borrow a tractor). Mike and I are both of the type that we want to be self-sufficient and hate to ask for help. I know as a Sanctuary we HAVE to ask for help but it is very satisfying to know that we can do much with just the two of us.

We picked up a number of posts to start fixing the fence in the dry lot. Some of that fence has been an issue since the day we moved in and brought the horses with us. It’ll be nice to see a brand new fence line. I just hope that we can get to it this year. Mike and I are both so busy that it’ll probably be fall before we can tackle any fencing (and to be honest, I hate fencing.  I’m not sure why. Although it IS satisfying to see a stretch of fence up and secure at the end of a long and hard project).

We picked up a bunch of steel fence posts that we’ll use (and cap the top) for out in the pasture when replace that fence line. The pasture fence is starting to tip as well so we need to get that fixed in the very near future. Not sure how “near” that’ll be but at least we have a start on replacing the fence posts that are no good. There’s a number of fence posts in the pasture that won’t hold an electric insulator or are hard to work with. They DO make perfect tarp holders and posts for the snow fence (always a bright side).

So now we have to unload the trailer and find a place to stash the posts until we can actually start fencing. If anyone wants to help, we could desperately use the help. I’m anxious to see some progress at the Sanctuary after such a long lapse in working to fix anything around the place. I’ll clear my schedule so we can put everyone to work!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Farrier Visit

We finally had the farrier out last night. I have been struggling to juggle all the activities so the horses were long overdue for their trims. First was Tommy. He behaved like the typical Shetland pony that he is. He was only a little naughty. It took a bit of coaxing to let me catch him.  Of course, we are dealing with mud bogs in some parts of his pen so I had to do some rethinking to get him out of the pen without getting him too muddy. Thank goodness I had messed with a different gate a month ago. Skippy was none too pleased with me. Skippy finally settled down at the very end and stopped whinnying. It’s not like he didn’t have Rabbit and Mayhem in his sight at all times but he was alone in his pen (probably one of only a handful of times).

Next was Ivan. He was severely overdue. Very disappointing on my part.  But we’ve had problems getting him to stand long enough for the farrier to work on him. Last year we had J come out and trim him. I guess we should have had J come back out because Ivan was a handful for the farrier. He actually started showing his Thoroughbred side. He never shows it, except apparently when the farrier is there. Even for me, he’ll toss his hoof once or twice and then stand patiently. But for the farrier, we both had to reprimand him. Very disappointed in Ivan for his behavior (and for me in letting him get away with it and not working with him more). I had hoped that the trim would fix his lameness. Unfortunately, without the farrier getting a really good look, he couldn’t tell if it was a hoof issue or a leg issue. I’m hoping that Ivan simply stepped in a hole but I’m going to keep an eye on him and if he doesn’t get better, will haul him to the vet. Maybe with some tranquilizer, he’ll settle down and we can hide that Thoroughbred behavior a little longer.

Then it was Dude’s turn. He’s off on his front as well and I made sure to tell the farrier that Dude’s hips sometimes bother him. I think the lameness in the front is an indication of what’s going on in the back or vice versa. Dude actually did really well. I think he was the best out of the three. We only did Dude’s fronts and decided to let the backs go because Dude seemed rather uncomfortable. I’m hoping with the trim, that Dude will feel better and that the issues in his hip and front leg will dissipate quickly.  But if he’s still lame and showing pain, I’ll have to haul him in to the vet.

So now I’m watching Ivan and Dude like a hawk to see if they improve over the next 48 hours or if I need to make a phone call to the vet to schedule an appointment (or two).  I’m really hoping that it was simply stepping in to a hole. They both came up lame right after putting them in the pasture. My biggest fear was that they had laminitis due to the grass. I’m very paranoid now that King has laminitis (and got it on my watch). So I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to the others. But I’m also wondering if, while they were goofing around out in the pasture, that they didn’t step in a hole that was hidden by the grass. So I’m going to wait a little bit longer and see. There’s no heat in either leg so that makes me think it’s not a “step in the hole” kind of injury but we’ll wait and see. I’ll have to make a decision by Saturday.

We still need to trim and shoe King. The farrier is scheduled to come back out on Saturday morning to put shoes on King. Unfortunately, I didn’t put shoes on King for the past couple of years and now his feet have gotten bigger and flatter. So I’m hoping that by putting shoes on, that I can maintain his feet a little bit better and we can get him back to the right shoe size.

These darn geldings are going to be the death of me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Horse of the Month - Dude

June's horse of the month is Dude, also known as My Blazing Skip (or at least that's what his registered name is). Dad renamed him Dude when because he looked like a "surfer dude". And that's how he got his barn name.

Dude was originally a personal horse to replace our very first horse, Tiny Dictator, after we retired him. We bought Dude from a someone who'd put 30 days on Dude. Dude had then cut his front leg (the scar is still there to prove it.) We bought Dude in January 2002. Dude was to be Dad's permanent riding horse. We tried a number of times and spent a few years trying to work out a few kinks. We would notice that he would squeal and then let out one big buck and Dad would go sailing. We didn't know what was wrong but in the end, I permanently retired him in the fall of 2006. I just couldn't trust Dude. We should have done a full vet exam before buying Dude but I'm glad that we have him. Come to find out that Dude has "hunters bump" or at least that's the unofficial term for it. I'm not sure what the official term is. You can read about it but in a nut shell, it's all chronic condition that is very hard to diagnose. When Dude stands square, his hips are lopsided. You can also see it by the way he stands. This condition actually affects his front as well because he's trying to relieve the pressure from the rear end. As Dude gets older, the hunters bump is becoming more and more prominent (probably because I know what to look for). Unfortunately, there is no cure and if we were to continue riding him, we would have to do cortisone shots. I opted to retire him and turn him into a Sanctuary horse. So you could consider him a personal horse but if we were to have sold him, he would have hurt someone and in the end would have run through a loose horse auction. I have no doubt in my mind that if we would have gotten rid of him, he would have ended up on a dinner plate.

Dude is the lead horse in the gelding band. I don't think he really wants to be the leader but he's such a bossy horse that no one wants to get in his way. Feeding time he's the worst. He'll stomp his feet and push everyone else out of the way. And everyone has come to the understanding that Dude is the boss and that they have to back down. No one usually challenges him, except for maybe Chaos. But there's really no challenging. Dude doesn't push anyone, he just walks up and expects everyone else to move out of his way.

Dude and I have had a few issues that we have worked out. He understands that when I walk in the pen, *I* am the boss. If I stop, he stops. If I move, he moves. If I move left, he moves left. If I move right, he moves right. It's pretty neat to see. I would love to do some halter classes, but we would never win any points because of his injury/condition.

I do believe that Dude enjoys being permanently retired. I haven't seen him squeal and buck in pain in a very long time. I do keep a close eye on him to make sure that in the winter time he doesn't fall and injure the hip even more. He occasionally comes up lame in the back end during the winter months but I think that's when we have more ice than snow and he slips. I will always have to keep a close eye on Dude to make sure that his comfort level is ok. If the condition progresses and he's uncomfortable or in pain, we will have to look at the alternative. But for now, he'll happily be the herd boss

Dude is only 17 years old so I expect we'll have him at the Sanctuary for another ten years or so. At least he and I have an understanding. As we both grow older, we both have grown to have an understanding between each other. Dude continues to mellow out and I continue to respect him and let him be boss of the other horses.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

First Breath

I know it's not exactly Sanctuary related but I need and want to post. Today marks the one year anniversary of my son going to the hospital after being sick for 36 hours and showing no signs of improvement. While at the ER, they suggested that we go to the hospital. Thank God we did. The doctors discovered he had meningitis.

Now, one year later, the only thing my little boy is suffering from is an itty bitty sunburn and his molars coming in. Instead of laying listlessly on the bed with IVs and antibiotics pumping in to him, he's curled up in his crib after spending the day with his cousins and grandparents running around outside at Lake Thompson Recreation Area.

I think my entire little family must have more than one life. I can say that I've already used up three of my lives, Garrett has used up two, and for sure Mike has used up at least two if not three. It makes me think about how blessed I am.

Tonight as I sit with my feet up after an exhausting but fun weekend hanging with family, enjoying good quality family time, I can barely keep the tears of relief from spilling over. It wont' be until June 15th when the doctors released Garrett (one year ago) will I be able to begin the healing processing. And in actuality, it wont' be until the hospital bills are paid off that I can be truly free of that nightmare and begin to heal. I know it may sound weird but that's just my way of thinking I guess. One year ago was the worst day of my life.

So tonight, I will thank God that he blessed me with the strongest person I know, my little boy and that he didnt' want to take him "home" just yet. I need many more years with my little boy, many more laughs and smiles and hugs.  So today, I will begin to breath. I have held my breath for the past year, scared that something terrible would happen again. So today, I take my first breath.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Funnel Clouds

Somehow my family managed to miss the terrible storms that ripped through the area yesterday. A local man (from our town) caught a funnel cloud forming just outside of our little town of Humboldt.  Mike, Garrett, and I were all at our designated places for the day so it’s a bit of a shock to find out that there was a funnel cloud so close to the Sanctuary. Guess it’s better to not know and be oblivious to how close to destruction we really were.

During the storm, I was at work and missed the storm except for some thunder. Mike was out working on the road, and Garrett was at daycare. Luckily daycare woke all the children and took them to the basement. I think I would have freaked out more had I known that there were so many tornadoes in the area.

But we were all no worse for the wear so no worries. Even the horses seemed like they didn’t care that we were close to bad weather. I do think we missed out on the really bad weather at the Sanctuary. We will count our blessings.

Last night after all the storms, we needed to get things together and move water troughs moved around so that we can go into “Summer Mode” and get all the horses out on pasture. Mike moved the water trough to the mare pasture (near the road) and started filling the tank. I came out later and started filling the tote.

This morning I let the big herd out on the pasture like normal. Dude was more than ready to get out and enjoy the grass. Then I let the mares out onto their pasture. I’m a little worried still that they aren’t completely adjusted to grass yet but today will be a good indication. Mike walked the pasture fence in the mare pasture to make sure there’s no breaks and loose spots were Mayhem could escape. She won’t escape but she does like to investigate.

Hopefully next week I can move corral panels around and get the ponies out on a different part of the lawn that hasn’t been eaten down and mow the lawn that has been eaten. At least that way we won’t look like total hicks and the place won’t look as dumpy.

Now that we are in to summer, Rabbit’s eye is bothering her. She’s always had problems with her eyes. They weep and get crusty. But she scratched her eye a couple years ago and that eye clouds over every summer. I put a fly mask on her yesterday to try and help. She is NOT a normal fly mask type of mare. She’s got a BIG head. I need to find or buy an extra large fly mask for that girl. But I do want to try and find one that has some UV protection to help with her eye problem. always something. If someone would like to buy Rabbit her fly mask or help put  money towards a fly mask, that would be amazing!

We are going to keep plugging along and hope that the good weather is here to stay.

(not sure if this was the funnel cloud by Humboldt/Hartford or if it was one of the other four that was spotted yesterday)

Happy Anniversary

So I realized yesterday that it was Mike's and my 4 year anniversary. I didn't get a chance to blog about it (not that there's much to say). But I wanted to add some pictures from that lovely day.

We had bad weather (including tornadoes) yesterday. There must be something about June 5th because four years ago, we had a couple storms roll through but at least they held off until AFTER the wedding.

(our engagement picture)

Good Reads

Read two good posts this morning....

With so much talk about California Chrome, it's nice to read about other horses that have been rescued and are thriving in their new careers.

And I hate to say it, but I'm a "Follow the book/rules" kind of gal. So it's a pleasure to hear that FINALLY there is justice being served for at least two horses that were wrongly sent to slaughter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

El Nino

If you've been a reader of this blog for very long, you'll know that I follow weather patterns. What can I say, I'm a nerd. I'm weird and believe in old wives tales, including the 90 days from fog is precipitation tale.

Of course the weatherman has been wrong up until yesterday when he said that rain would start at 2pm. Sure enough, the skies opened and it started raining at 2pm. They were wrong the weekend before when they called for rain and we didn't get a drop. But that's a whole other story.

But what I'm getting at is, maybe the weathermen are starting to get it right because we are shifting back into an El Nino pattern (or so I've heard). If that's the case, the old wives tale of 90 days from fog is precipe. If that's so, we had fog yesterday so come September first(-ish), we'll get some type of moisture. I'm figuring that the first of September means we'll get some type of rain. But starting in August and September I'll start watching the skies (and ground) a little closer for fog. If we are truly in an El Nino pattern, we will hopefully be able to track the weather a little closer.

Here's to hoping this year (the year of the horse) is also an El Nino year, so we can plan ahead for bad weather.

Winter Mode

It's summer. The grass is growing. The corn and beans are shooting up making the black earth turn green. The trees are all leafed out and the flowers are blooming. And what do I do? I hear that there's bad weather and I put the mares and hard keepers in for the night.

I apparently am still in Winter Mode. Ugh!

I have no idea what I was thinking last night. Sure it was going to rain. I saw the big green blob on the radar but ... it's not snow. And the temps weren't bad. What was I thinking? It wasn't even a bad storm with hail, or the radar wasn't showing the ominous yellow or red blobs either. What was I thinking?

We had such a long and hard winter that I think I'm still in Winter Mode.

The geldings are on pasture now for about 14 hours a day. I'm working on getting the mares on pasture for the same amount of time. I'm also working on the ponies. I let the mares out on the lawn but left the ponies in the pen. I don't want the mares or ponies sneaking in to the hay shed and devouring a bale. I don't think the mares would but I bet the ponies would. But I won't keep my fingers crossed either way. I'm hoping to walk the pasture tonight and then put the mares out in their summer pasture tomorrow.

After the  mares are settled in to their normal routine, I'll start the ponies on their summer routine. I've been letting them out on the lawn and they do more running around then any of the other horses. It's actually rather fun to watch. Tommy and Skippy were trying to get Mayhem to play with them but since Rabbit was out, Mayhem decided it wasn't worth it. Although a couple of times the ponies got Mayhem riled up enough to lope around.

The only downside to putting horses on the lawn (especially Mayhem and the ponies), is that after it rains, I have skid marks everywhere. The love to buck, rear, and come to a sliding stop in the lawn. I wish I would have had the camera last night. The ponies were running for the shear fun of running. Oh to have that type of enthusiasm.

Lets hope that we don't have any severe weather and that I can get out of Winter Mode and get into Summer Mode quickly!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Pasture Pictures - June 1st

Pasture pictures from the first day out on pasture (finally... June 1st)
Bo, Zeke, Ivan, and Brego

Ivan and Brego

King, Chaos, and Dude

Dude and Chaos



Tommy, Skippy, and Mayhem

Monday, June 2, 2014

Horse of the Month

It's June 2nd already and that means another Horse of the Month.

Who does everyone want to see? Leave a comment and we'll see who gets the most votes!

Finally, Pasture Time!

Apparently we are exhausted. So much so that we slept through two major storms that swept through the area. Sunday morning Mike and I looked out the window and asked each other if it had rained. Neither of us had heard the storms blow through. In the afternoon we all fell asleep and I woke to a torrential downpour. Who knew! Guess it shows that we are all exhausted and need a little bit of downtime.

But on to more interesting news. Saturday I let the big herd out onto the lawn. We ran in to town to run some errands and stopped at TSC to see Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. They were holding a meet and greet and introducing their new spokes horse Prince. Prince looks great. He’s definitely grown a bit since we had him at our Sanctuary. His one eye is still sunken but now clouded over and actually shows that he’s blind. The other eye doesn’t look like he’s lost his sight but he is now 100% blind. At least he’s landed in a fantastic place and he’ll be a great spokes horse because he’s super friendly.

While at TSC we picked up some calf manna, fly spray, and a fly mask. All were on sale and if someone would like to donate more of any item, that would be fantastic. We are definitely in to fly season and the horses are stomping at the flies. I’m afraid this year the flies will be terrible, even with the wind and spray helping.

When we got home Saturday the horses needed more water, so I pulled the hoses back out and started filling the tank. Chaos came barreling through and demanding his water. I decided to give him a cooldown and sprayed water on him. He stood there enjoying the shower. He actually turned his butt and cocked a leg, relaxing in the water. Everyone else scattered. They aren’t thrilled with a bath. Maverick came over after a little bit to play in the water and splash it all. He tried to tip the water trough over. And he decided he would drink from the hose. Chaos came back over and decided he wanted to drink from the hose as well. Those two geldings. They really are such instigators.

Once the tank was full, I went for the fly spray since the flies are already biting and mean. It’s going to be a long summer. Not everyone appreciates flyspray. Three didn’t get any flyspray. I’m going to have to start running those three into the barn to put anything on them (Zeke, Jim, and Maverick). Everyone else stood fairly still while I applied the spray. We don’t put the flyspray on through a spray bottle, we wipe it on. It’s a pain but this way we know the horses are covered. Some don’t like spray bottles so we just go with the flow and apply the spray with a rag.

After a bit, I put the big horses into the drylot and let the mares and ponies out to graze. They were out for a few hours and seemed to enjoy themselves.

On Sunday I decided that because it was June 1st, it was darn time that the horses get out on pasture. Last year we couldn’t because we had re-seeded the pasture and needed time for the grass to get established. I was afraid the grass wasn’t tall enough but some of it was already seeded out so I guess it’s time. I don’t want it too tall where all they do is knock it down and don’t eat it. So I let the horses out and instead of running around, they went to eating right away. I did take some pictures and will post them…someday.  

I also let the mares and ponies out on the lawn. They seemed pretty content to wander and eat. Of course the ponies had to do some hot laps but they settled down right away. None of them went far from each other. Power of the herd, I guess.

After letting the horses out, I went in to do some chores and fell asleep. When I woke a few hours later, we were in a down pour. I looked out the window expecting the mares and ponies to be under cover but they had their butts pointed to the wind and were happily eating. I figured there was no point in me going out and trying to convince them to go into the leanto. They were happy and I was dry.

In the evening after the storms blew through, I went out to take more pictures of the horses. I guess they though me coming was their sign that they needed to come in for the night. Maverick actually started it. He decided to wander away from the herd. I think he really just wanted everyone to run. So he took off and got the rest of the herd to finally follow. They made a pass around the pasture and then ran in to the drylot. I don’t think they expected me to close the gate behind them. But they all seemed rather content. I threw a little hay to keep them content for the evening and that was their night.

In the morning Dude was pushing at the gate and practically ran me over once I started pushing the gate open. Tomorrow the whip will come out so that I can remind him of his manners.

Last night I also decided it was time to put the mares and ponies to bed. I grabbed some grain and they all decided to follow. Amazing what a full belly of grass will do to perk their spirits and make them listen. All very well behaved horses for a day on the grass.

Let’s hope that with all this rain, we can get out of the drought. The pasture still showed cracks in the ground. So we aren’t out of a drought just yet. Nice straight down showers and warm temps would be lovely.