Thursday, October 30, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 31: Scary

I know it's not recent, but I am hoping that this winter will not be like the winter of 2010... now THAT was a scary winter (ok, maybe not that scary but it was LONG with a LOT of snow!)

#NPCommPix - Day 30: Learning

Chaos learning from Dude to be herd boss.

#NPCommPix - Day 29: Teaching

Maverick teaching me that I need to get the electric fence fixed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Help Needed for an Old Warrior

We have been asked to take in a senior equine. The owner is trying to do right by him and has offered to donate two round bales to go with him. However, we weren't going to take in anyone this winter so we only bought enough for the current horses at the Sanctuary.

For some reason, this horse (and owner) are pulling at me. Is there any way we can raise enough money to purchase five big round bales (or 5 big square bales or the equivalent in small squares)? Or have someone donate the hay?

This horse meets our requirements and has worked his heart out over the years. I'd like to offer him a permanent retirement home, but without winter hay, I can't jeopardize the current horses at the Sanctuary. No amount is too little or too much to donate. If you can't donate, can you help spread the word?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"The Sales Yard"


And in fact, I get people who find one of the Sanctuary horses and ask if he's up for adoption. No, I promised them a permanent home. But if they too were standing in an auction, they would not catch the eye of anyone in particular. No one would pay attention to Bo because he's not a Quarter Horse and he's ribby. No one would pay attention to Maverick because he's sorrel. They'd turn and run when they met Rabbit. They would fall in love with Dude until they got him home and tried to ride him, only to discover that his back end is bad (unless he's having a bad day and he's off in the back that day). Everyone would look like a plan horse if they arent' given a chance to shine.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2nd Annual Fundraiser Playday

Yesterday was crazy (but in a good way)! We had our second annual fundraiser playday on Sunday. I was originally hoping to simply get 20 people to show so that it would cover the cost of arena rent (better to bring awareness of senior equines than do nothing but sit on my hands). So I figured if we didn't actually raise any money, we would at least be raising awareness.

Instead we had almost 50 people show up to play!! Of course, I was not expecting that many so was not prepared. Unfortunately, by the time we were done with three of the events, some people had to head home. There was a family that had driven 1.5 hours to get to our fundraiser playday!!

The weather was nice, although windy. I was a little worried that people wouldn't want to spend the last nice day that we'll probably have until spring sitting around in an arena. But the support really came out. We were truly blessed to have so many people come out and to help out to make the playday run so smoothly. There's a definite learning curve to running a playday and I've learned A LOT!!! This is only the third playday  I've ever been to. The first was the one we held last year as our first annual playday. So the learning curve is still going on and I'll use what I learned from last year and this year to make next year even better!

We raised over $600 at the playday!!!! That will cover the cost of alfalfa for all the senior equines and maybe a couple bales of hay as well! There's still stress of figuring out how to make ends meet and make sure the Sanctuary horses stay happy (and fat). But this playday really helped!

I will post pictures some time this week of some of the events. I doubt the pictures will turn out very well because of the dust (which is normal for an arena...btw it was a beautiful facility with a big arena and everything very well thought out!)

Thank you to all who were able to come out (participants and spectators)! I hope you all had a great time (I know I did). I'll continue to work out the kinks for the next playday. My apologies to those that couldn't participate in all the events because it was running so long. I'll find a way to make it run smoother next year!

We are always looking for volunteers to help with the playday or to donate items for the playday (food or other items to sell).

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your generosity and willingness to come out and support the Sanctuary humbles me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 26: On Your Desk

I don't have a desk at the Sanctuary. My office is the pasture and my desk is the grass. Any computer work is usually me sitting with my feet up in the recliner after a busy day at the Sanctuary.

#NPCommPix - Day 26: Answers

I actually wanted to post a picture of the playday but was too tired. The playday is an answer to our fundraiser needs! But for now, I posted King and Maverick having a discussion. I'm sure one was asking a question and the other answering.

#NPCommPix - Day 25: Free Time

Free Time - The only free time we have is when we go on vacation to the Black Hills.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 24: Our Team

Mike and Garrett (who's eating a sucker), Shanna, Skippy, and Tommy

We attended the 2nd annual trunk or treat at the Trinity Learning Center/Trinity Lutheran Church tonight just outside of Hartford, SD. We had a great time and the kids enjoyed meeting the ponies (and so did the adults).

This year the Halloween committee decided to give away a gift certificate for the best decorations/trunk. Well, we didn't have a trunk or decorations but we DID have Tommy and Skippy. Those two ponies won the contest!!!

Now, where will you see Tommy and Skippy next?

Free Rein

Check out Part 2. One word....amazing.

Trunk or Treat with Skippy

Skippy, Tommy, and I will be at the Trinity Learning Center (south of Hartford, SD) to participate in the second annual Trunk or Treat. It starts at 4:30 and runs until 6pm.

Tommy and Skippy will be handing out candy. Looks like we'll have some beautiful weather. If you get a chance, stop on out and tell Tommy and Skippy hi!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 18: Homework

Attending Empowerment Ventures and working through projects. Good way to get a good understanding of starting a business or non-profit.

#NPCommPix - Day 17: Fun

Maverick has taught me to enjoy life and have fun.

#NPCommPix - Day 16: Take a Break

Once a year we do get a way from the Sanctuary for a short break and enjoy the scenery of the Black Hills

#NPCommPix - Day 15: Surprise

Although not recent, this little guy was a surprise at the Sanctuary. He was named Sir Prize (now affectionately called Jett)

#NPCommPix - Day 14: Storytelling

Each horse has a story. Some are more heart wrenching than others.

#NPCommPix - Day 13: Treasure

I treasure the sunsets and gorgeous South Dakota sunsets.

#NPCommPix - Day 12: Talent

Skippy is a tiny package with a lot of talent

#NPCommPix - Day 11: Time

Time stands still when watching the mares, Rabbit and Mayhem

#NPCommPix - Day 10: Volunteer

Rain volunteering to take pictures

Ramblings of a Tired Person

Last night I finally had a little bit of extra time to enjoy being out doors and not having to rush. I have yet to figure out the balance between work, children, and horses. I would love to hear what others are doing. I'm giving up more horse activities to spend time with my son. Not something I regret but it's still difficult.

But last night warmed my heart. A friend had brought apples over awhile ago and my son decided he wanted to help. So he and I filled a bucket full of apples so that we could toss them over the gate to feed the big herd. I'm not sure who was having more fun, the horses, my son, or Farley the dog (he loves to steal and eat apples).

That same friend who brought apples over awhile back brought more apples for the horses last night. They will be enjoying apples for a long time. We are having a playday fundraiser this Sunday and one of the events is crackers and carrots. I may change it to crackers and apples because we have so many apples (and apples take longer for horses to eat!)

We are in to feeding hay on a nightly basis (ponies get morning and night hay). It won't be long before I'm feeding both morning and night. I was hoping to hold off on morning and night feedings until at least mid November but I don't think that will happen. I'm afraid the pastures are done and the horses are going to start pushing on the fence. I wasn't planning on morning and night feedings yet so I'm a little worried that we won't have enough to get through winter. I sure hope the Farmers Almanac is wrong and that we have an open winter instead of a bad winter.

We seem to be having an extended fall so I'm very grateful for the opportunity to get a few more things done around the place. There's still the major projects that we need to tackle before the snow flies like fence posts/fence lines, a roof on the run-in shed, fix the barn roof, fix the house, etc.

There's simply too much that needs to be done. Mike and I sat down last night around 9pm and looked at each other and said we were both exhausted. How can we be so tired so early. In our younger days we'd be outside until long after dark getting things done and working on other projects. But these days things are different. It's amazing what a toddler will do to your energy level. Slow down long enough for them to relax and go to bed and POOF, you're as tired and sleepy as the toddler (or more so).

I'm really starting to stress over the playday. I know it will go fine but I'm still worried. I have to have 20 people show to cover the cost of the arena. I am headed out tonight to pick up stuff for concessions. It's all coming out of my pocket so I'm not sure that I'll really be raising any money. It could be that we end up losing money on this fundraiser. :-(  I guess we'll see how it goes. If it doesn't pan out well, then I guess we won't have another one (at least not in October!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Last night I went out to do chores and the big herd was out in the pasture except two horses. I figured the two would be Zeke and Bo but instead it was Zeke and Maverick. The two horses that I ride the most. I didn't figure Maverick would be near the barn because he doesn't get grain on a nightly basis. But he was up there patiently waiting for supper.

We started feeding hay at night to offset the pasture. The pasture is pretty much done but there's a little left for them to graze. We won't do morning and night feedings until some time in November (I hope). I wish we would have been able to divide the pasture and possibly make the pasture go longer but that'll be a project for next year.

We were gone for a few days to visit family and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, we are headed back for a funeral so I'm going to be behind. I'm feeling like I'm in a time warp or something. There's so much to do at the Sanctuary and around the place before winter sets in. But now we are headed out of town yet again and I'm trying to get everything rounded up to occupy the toddler's attention for another eight hour car ride (one way). There's no time to think about the Sanctuary while we are away either. So when we finally get back next week, I'll be in a major panic to get the fundraiser playday organized.

I haven't had time to think about the playday other than to get the showbill figured out. Everything else is still up in the air with no plans. I'll be scrambling all of next week to get everything lined up and ready to go. I hope those that attend will be tolerant of my lack of organization and lack of know how when it comes to playdays. This will only be the third play day I've ever attended...the first being the one we put on last year around this time.

I'm hoping that I can get refocused immediately when we return. Unfortunately, I'll be missing the Empowerment Ventures class that was scheduled for Saturday. Hopefully I can do a little bit of homework to make up for missing the class. I'm excited to attend these classes and really think the Sanctuary will benefit from them. It's a great way to get something off the ground (something being any idea, project, or business).

I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to post again before we head for the funeral or not. We have two high school boys coming out to help unload and stack the alfalfa that's been sitting on the flatbed for over a month now. Thank goodness for the kindness of others. If it wasn't for those boys volunteering, I'm not sure when I'd find time to get the alfalfa unloaded and stacked in the hay barn.

Now, to find the time to get some emergency fencing done before the ground freezes. Anyone want to help?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Lapse

Sorry for the lapse in posts. We went out of town for a few days to visit some family. Unfortunately, we have to return for a funeral. Unplanned but not unexpected. But it also means that there's no internet access and no way to keep up with all that's going on at the Sanctuary.

I had to put everything on standby while we went to visit family and now it's come to a screeching halt. I'm hoping we can get back into the swing of things in a couple of days. I started planning the upcoming playday but I haven't gotten very far. And with having to go out of town again, it'll be even that much harder to get back into the swing of things and have everything planned and organized like I prefer.

We are supposed to have some help tomorrow unloaded alfalfa. It'll be nice to have some high school boys stop out to unload alfalfa instead of having to unload it all by myself. Thanks goodness for the kindness of others.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 9: Metrics

#NPCommPix - Day 9: Metrics

#NPCommPix - Day 8 Experiment

#NPCommPix - Day 8 Experiment

Picture of the herd looking over King's back

#NPCommPix - Day 7: Boundaries

#NPCommPix - Day 7: Boundaries
Sunset Rainstorm at the Sanctuary

#NPCommPix - Day 6: Freedom

#NPCommPix - Day 6: Freedom



Yesterday Mike had a cement truck deliver concrete to our place. We are doing some major repairs to the house and required cement to fix some of the issues. But we didn't need an entire truck load. But as it was, there was enough left over so we created a few forms in front of the barn door and the tack room. I'll love the step in front of the barn door! Every time I go in and out during the spring and fall, I get mud all over everything. It will be so nice not to have to heave water buckets up and over the door sill and step down into mud. I'm excited.

And the step in front of the tack room will be even better! It's about a foot up to get to the door. It's ok except when you are carrying a saddle. I'm anxious to try out the steps but I have to wait until they cure. We had a little bit of rain last night so hopefully the water didn't do too much damage. Mike had to go back out and fix some of the step in front of the barn because the water was leaving a dent in it where it was coming off the barn. 

I know it seems like a little improvement where it isnt' a big deal, but it will  make life so much easier. We havent' been able to do any home or acreage improvements in four years. It's exciting to finally see the place starting to improve. And for those that ask why we couldn't/wouldn't work on the place for four years, it's due to family issues, family health (our little family  unit and extended family), and having a baby (now toddler).

Now if only winter would hold off for another two months so we could get a few more projects done! I have the garage half way scrapped and primed. I'd love to get the hay barn scraped and painted as well but that'll only be a pipe dream unless we get some help (and there's talk of having a couple high school boys volunteer to help around the Sanctuary. If that's the case, a LOT can get done!) Anyone else want to volunteer?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lunar Eclipse and Other Activities

I stepped outside this morning to do chores and was greeted with the lunar eclipse. I'd forgotten all about it. In fact, I figured that the lunar eclipse would happen while I was sleeping rather than while I was out doing chores. It was a nice way to start the morning.

I broke into the first big square bale of hay. The horses love it. We are now into hay season (i.e., having hay in unmentionable places ALL the time). But the pastures are pretty well done and I want to keep the horses a little on the plump side.

While the hard keepers were in devouring their evening grain mashes, some of the easy keepers were not so patiently waiting outside the barn. Chaos came up to see what I was doing. I was thinking that maybe he missed me. But then I realized, I forgot apples. He's very treat oriented and that's what he was apple, not my attention.

Maverick on the other hand was looking for my attention. I took him this past weekend to Turkey Creek for a trail ride. The more I ride that sorrel gelding, the more in love I am with him. We were going over some pretty tough terrain and he took care of me the entire time. Did I  mention I love that boy? And to think that he would have been taken to auction had we not stepped up to take him and further his education. He's not the flashy and pretty colored type of horse people are looking for. But he's solid. Both in body and mind. I am so tickled when riding along the trails when people comment on how calm and collected he is. And then I mention (to most trainers dismay) that I just pulled him out and didn't work him. He'd been sitting in the pasture for awhile and I pulled him out to ride. He does keep getting better with more riding. I just wish there was more time for me to ride.  But I'll have an opportunity to ride and show off Maverick in two weeks when we ride with the Minnehaha County Saddle Club at their Autumn Trail Ride. I love riding at Newton Hills in the fall.

And Skippy will be in the spotlight again. We are taking Skippy to the Second Annual Trunk or Treat at the Trinity Learning Center from 4:30 to 6pm on October 24th. Trinity Learning Center is south of  Hartford if anyone wants to come and hang out with Skippy (and Tommy). Skippy has been in a mood lately. I thought maybe he wasn't feeling well. He'd snuck into the red shed where the alfalfa was but Mike caught him right away. But then I figured maybe Skippy and Tommy had a disagreement and that's why he seemed a little off. Then I realized what it was. He'd been in the spotlight at the Hartford Farmers Market and loved every minute of it. We also had visitors come out and fell in love with Tommy and Skippy a few days later. Skippy has been moping around ever since. Skippy loves to interact with people. So if you are in the area on October 24th, come help Skippy do what he loves the naughty pony and play with people!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Awhile back we'd called our local farmer and asked if he had or was going to bale any alfalfa. I wanted a few bales to get us through the winter. The hard keepers definitely need alfalfa during the cold winter months.  At the time, he said he didnt' have any but was planning on putting up some 4th cutting later in the fall.  So, it wasn't a definite thing because, well, it's South Dakota and we could either get too much rain or even snow before he got it baled and I'd be without any alfalfa.

About the same time we put in our order, someone posted on craigslist that they had 100 bales of alfalfa and they were only a few miles away. So we ended up buying all the bales (even though we didn't need that many). They were lighter bales and a bit more flaky than I liked but we needed them and it was a sure thing.

We loaded them up onto the flatbed, and that's where they sit. We haven't had time to unload and stack them into the hay barn. It's a lot more tricky now because we have to step up about two and a half feet through the people door to get into the hay barn. The hay barn is full of big squares. And there hasn't been any time to mess with unloading alfalfa. (We have to lock the herd out to unload alfalfa this way).

But on Sunday, our farmer neighbor called to say that our bales were sitting in the field waiting for us. Unfortunately, as I was looking out the window, a big black cloud was rolling up on us...FAST. I was hoping to get out there before the rain started. I didn't want wet alfalfa. As it was, it had already been rained on a couple of times last week.

Mike pulled the old Ford out so we could load our small number of bales into the back of the truck. But by the time we had gotten to the field, we'd already gotten a good sprinkle. But we loaded the bales up as fast as we could. These bales are a LOT heavier. I'm wishing we would have waited and taken all the bales our farmer had put up instead of going to get the other bales. But these bales are HEAVY. It's going to take a lot longer to unload and stack these bales.

Luckily the rain didn't last for very long (just as long as we were out there). And then we saw a rainbow. I would have enjoyed it had the alfalfa bales been covered. So now we have 100+ bales to unload and stack into the hay barn as soon as we can. I'm not sure when that will be. The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, October 6, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 5: Something Nice

#NPCommPix - Day 5: Something Nice

Bo - Waiting for his grain


#NPCommPix - Day 4: Awareness

#NPCommPix - Day 4: Awareness

King trying to find the rest of the herd

Second Annual PlayDay - Oct 26

Friday, October 3, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 3: Technology

#NPCommPix - Day 3. I was going to post a picture of me sitting with two computers watching Curious George. But blogger wont let me load the that's my technology!

Interesting Read

An interesting read...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 2: Gratitude

Day 2 of #NPCommPix is Gratitude. 

Well, I'll call it grateful. I am grateful for healthy horses (knock on wood), and a beautiful Sanctuary where the horses have the freedom to be horses.

I am also grateful for all our supporters but I didn't have a picture of them. :-)

Tommy at sunset

Wind Chill

I just hopped on to our local news website and for some reason, the first thing I saw was the wind chill. I am SO not ready for winter and dealing with wind chills. My mind really must be on winter already.

Lets hope that we have an open winter and that it's tolerable to handle. I sure hope the Farmers Almanac is wrong.

Although, the horses are already starting to fur up. Jim was the first to start getting wooly. Rain will be the last (he doesn't put a decent winter coat on).

Wet and Cold

For sure fall is here. From our weatherman:

Look for a chilly start to Friday with windy weather expected.  The winds Friday should be from the northwest at 20-40 mph.  Highs will only be in the upper 40s in eastern KELOLAND. Saturday still looks chilly with highs in the lower 50s east.

We are getting rain right now and are expected to get anywhere from .25 to .50 inches of rain. I'm sure we need it, I'll never disagree to that. But with the cooler temperatures, the horses are cold. Some of the horses are trying to crowd into the leanto off the barn. I was inside working already when the rain started but I'm figuring Bo, Ivan, Brego, and Jim are standing outside (and maybe one or two others). We DESPERATELY need to get the roof back on the other leanto so that everyone has a place to go to get out of the wet and cold.

Depending on how long this rain lasts, I may be putting horses in the barn tonight (or even later today depending on how everyone is looking). I love fall but I hate a wet fall, it makes life so much more difficult. I guess it's all in preparation for winter. But it's oh so hard on the horses.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#NPCommPix - Day 1: You

The first day of the #NPCommPix Challenge is "You". I chose the following:

When I think of me, I think of those two guys. So, that's the happy two-legged family of the Sanctuary