Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Doesn't matter how long ago it was, looking at lush green pastures never gets old (especially in mid winter).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Do You Want?

I know I've asked the question before but I'm going to pose the question again.

Is there something that you fellow readers would like to see more of with or at the Sanctuary? I know the blog is b.o.r.i.n.g. without pictures so I'll try harder this year to post pictures and not pictures from years ago!

But I'm curious to see what would intrigue you to visit the blog or our Facebook page more or would get you talking to your fellow friends about us. I'm not great at marketing so I could use all the help I could get. I would love to hear your suggestions.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve but not sure I can follow through with them unless I can get a team of volunteers to help me (you don't even have to be in the Sioux Falls area (or even anywhere remotely close to South Dakota) to help with some of my ideas!!!)

So, can I ask a favor and ask....what do you want to see at the Sanctuary? What are ways we can improve to get you more interested in what we do? Please leave a comment on this blog, or on our Facebook page...or you can email us at

Thanks for all your help in helping me make the Sanctuary better for everyone!

Wishlist Wednesday

Going to try a new thing....Wishlist Wednesday!

Bo (and Junior) wish for a bag of senior feed (or a lot of bags of senior feed). They go through a bag or more a month to keep their weight up, especially during the harsh winter months of South Dakota.

The following is Bo not long after we brought him home from auction and were nursing him back from near starvation. He has been an amazing horse and never let his ordeal make him bitter.

And with a lot of grain and a lot of loving, Junior is looking fantastic too (no picture because they are all on my phone...sigh).

Days are Getting Longer!

I was running late for the paying job this morning but today was the first time in a long time that I had the opportunity to watch the skies change from black to pink. The days are getting longer!!!!!!!!!

I hadn't realized it until today because we've had clouds for I don't remember how long and before that we only had a few hours of light and being at the paying job during those daylight hours, it's hard to know the days are getting longer. Just the thought brightens my day!

Even last night when I went out to do chores before 6pm, it was still a little light out. Of course I went out and hustled to get my chores done because I thought we had to put in round bales. Nope. We have to do that tonight instead. It's a pain because we have to juggle who will watch the kids but tonight my parents are down so hopefully between the four of us, we can get the bales in, chores done, and kids taken care of before the skies turn pitch black. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.

But the weather is getting better as well. We are supposed to be in the 40s at one point this week. I'm not holding my breath but on the off chance that the weather DOES get better, I need to remember to pull Rain's blanket. There's so much to do and so little time.

I need to figure out how to utilize my time better...although being a mom to two very small children and caring for 16 horses, two dogs, and a cat (and a husband), I'm not sure how to utilize my time any better. Suggestions?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Odd Friendships

So the other day while I was filling and hauling umpteen buckets of water to the mares and Junior, I noticed something very odd.

I'd fed our one remaining barn cat, Stocky. He was happily eating his cat food when out popped a mouse. It was an odd looking mouse but whatever. He scurried out but not in the normal mouse scurrying way. I thought it a bit odd and a bit brazen for a mouse to be out with a cat in the area. I didn't want to move because I thought Stocky might see him and go after him. Nope.

So while I was waiting for more buckets to fill and Stocky was still eating, out popped the  mouse. I was able to move over far enough to pull Stocky down near the mouse, but the mouse scurried away and Stocky just sat there looking indignant. Instead of hunting the mouse, he wandered off to act insulted.

While I stood there waiting for more water to fill, I watched that damned mouse scurry back out and steal a piece of cat food. Seriously?!!? Now I'm starting to think that Stocky is SHARING his cat food with the mouse rather than being a good barn cat and killing the mice.

Luckily all the grain is in steel barrels so I don't have to worry about mice getting in. I DO  need to worry about the horses' blankets. I have two steel barrels for blankets and I thought for some reason that they were full and that's why they were taking up space in the barn. I looked in them while waiting for water buckets to fill (are you seeing a trend?) and realized they were EMPTY! I was so mad at myself. Here I have TWO barrels taking up precious space in my barn and they weren't even being used for what they were intended.  I did move all of my blankets from the garage into the tack room and I KNOW there are mice in there. So I need to do some serious organizing and at the very least get those blankets packed safely away from mice.

But I digress. So, I came to the realization (while waiting for yet more water), that I think Stocky and this mouse (or whatever it was because it didn't act or look exactly like a mouse) are probably friends. Why else would this mouse steal food right under Stocky's nose? It was pretty brazen and yet he did it anyway. So maybe that's why Stocky acted so disinterested. Maybe they really are friends and I just caught a glimpse of their interactions while I'm not around.

Well, the Sanctuary DOES have some odd friendships. I guess Stocky and this mouse are yet another odd combination of friendships.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


We've been busy at the Sanctuary but it doesn't seem like there's much to report. Just the same old same old drudgery that happens during the winter months. Throw hay, put in round bales, fight hay nets, grain hard keepers, haul water, haul more water, and haul even more water.

We had a super cold snap this weekend but everyone seemed to have come out of it just fine. We were actually out of town overnight during the super cold night. I would have preferred to be home but alas, that wasn't the case.  No one seemed the worse for wear.

The mares and Junior are definitely drinking water. I let it run down because there was so much going on that I didn't have time to haul water every night. I won't let that happen again. I hauled 16 buckets of water to the tank. I don't fill the buckets completely full because I can't carry 5 gallon pails of water without spilling water all over me and thus freezing in to my coveralls. So I'm sure it was more like 4.5 gallons or so. But the tank was pretty darn empty by the time I finally got to filling it. Luckily the tank is just around the corner instead of way the heck back in the back 40 like it used to be. So prefer keeping the horses closer to the barn. Life is so much easier.

We put in round bales last night. Of course, I'm out after dark putting on hay nets. There's usually curse words but oh well. I guess that's just the nature of the beast until I can come up with a better plan for keeping the hay nets on (and Mike gets better about putting the round bales in the feeders).

Rabbit is lame again. She's as lame as before so I have no idea what's going on. I wasn't able to grain her to give her the meds she needs but I'm trying to keep up with it as best I can. I think the meds are helping but I don't think it's the ultimate fix. I did give her a massage the other night and she seemed to really relax and enjoy it. Now with the colder weather, I'm sure she's hurting once again.

I've been a little bit under the weather the last few weeks so I'm dragging as of late. Too much to do and so little time to try and get everything accomplished. The longer nights and short days don't really help matters. Of course, not getting any sleep doesn't help  matters. Last night I was able to get four hours of sleep. Yay me. Except that it wasn't four hours continuous. Yup, the amount of sleep I got was the amount some people get during a nap. I guess that's just the nature of the beast (what with having an infant in the house). But the joys of seeing every hour of the day is getting old quickly.

There's a lot I'd like to do but my energy level for the Sanctuary is pretty minimal at the moment. I'm still trying to adjust to a baby in the house, working full time (and being away from home for 11 hours a day), and still making sure that everyone is happy and healthy at the Sanctuary during the long months of winter. I was hoping to do some fun stuff to get people interested in the Sanctuary but that's going to fall through the cracks like I had feared.

The weather is supposed to be better later this week so I'm hoping that I can do a little bit of cleaning and organizing while I'm out waiting for the hard keepers to finish eating. I need to get organized this year. The place is mass chaos at the moment and as much as I thrive on it some times, I'm not right at the moment.

So I'll keep plugging along and hoping for the best until winter subsides and life gets easier again. If I don't post much, we are here, just trying to survive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WA Feedlot Horses

I wasn't going to list these horses but I just can't help it. They deserve so much better than the fate they are being handed. These are all from the Washington feedlot and the only thing we can do is share their story and their pictures. I'd love to take in these deserving horses but we are turning them away as it is. If wishes were horses.

Valerina - 11yr Gray Arabian Mare - $400

Valerina is said to be in foal by her previous owner. She is easy to handle, loves attention, and followed me around wanting to be friends. She looks to be in okay condition but could use some good nutrition. I don't know if she is broke to ride but she is at least halter broke and quite cute. I would guess her to be approx 14'1hh and approx 11 years old. 


Location: Sunnyside, WA 
Contact: Sabrina 206-250-5115 Deadline 1/14/16

Villager - 20yr Chestnut Gelding - $500

Villager is a very sweet and easy going gelding who aims to please. He appears to be a been there done that gelding who is said to be 20 years old, and confirmed by looking at his teeth. He is easy to handle, tolerates weight, and does what is asked of him. I don't have any history on him besides an age from the previous owner, but I would be very surprised if he was not broke. Villager stands approx 15'2hh and has been gaining weight at the lot. He has a very cute slight dish to his face and a brightens up when given attention. 


Location: Sunnyside, WA 
Contact: Sabrina 206-250-5115 Deadline 1/14/16

Visa Vi - 17yr Bay Roan Blanket Nez Perce Mare - $500

Visa Vi is a beautiful stoutly built mare who was most likely used as broodmare. She has a medium build I am guessing she stands approx 14'2hh. She was easy to handle and looks to be in overall good condition with no issues that I could find. Her hooves looked good from what I could see, and pictures do not do her justice. This is a nice mare with a very soft expression and a kind eye. 


Location: Sunnyside, WA 
Contact: Sabrina 206-250-5115 Deadline 1/14/16

Vienne - 28yr Bay Blanket Appaloosa Mare - $400

Vienne is a senior foundation Appaloosa mare who has been previously used as a broodmare for Nez Perce horses. She is easy to handle, loving, and gentle on the ground. She is living history and this grand old mare deserves a retirement. Her hooves are in good condition and I saw no issues with her eyes, or signs of uveitis. She is gaining weight at the lot but really needs a soft place to land soon as she cannot compete with the new younger horses. 


Location: Sunnyside, WA 
Contact: Sabrina 206-250-5115 Deadline 1/14/16

Vianka - 30yr Leopard Appaloosa Mare - $450

This senior mare should be as foundation as Appaloosas come. She is friendly, easy to handle, and looks to be in decent condition for her age. I don't have an exact age, but was told she is one of the seniors around 30 years old. She has been used as a broodmare to produce Nez Perce horses. Her hooves are in good condition and she is gaining weight at the lot. Her eyes appear to be good and besides age and needing some weight, I couldn't find any issues. She's a nice mare and a piece of living history. She is sold as grade, but I'm happy to share what history I know with her new purchaser. 


Location: Sunnyside, WA 
Contact: Sabrina 206-250-5115 Deadline 1/14/16

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cold Temps

Everyone has been talking about the subzero temperatures. I probably would be too if I was out doing chores like I used to. But with the round bales, life is easier so I'm not out during all hours of the night trying to take care of everyone. Everyone is complaining about how cold it is. I must either have enough "polar bear weight on", be irritated enough to keep myself warm, or I'm simply used to the colder temps. I'm not sure which one it is. Maybe it's a mix of all three.

Our new method of feeding does cause some concern. I've never done rounds before so normally I would automatically put the horses in the barn. But with a round bale and a shelter, I'm not sure that it's as advantageous to stall them. So I haven't been. We'll see if that theory really holds up. So far, everyone is fatter this winter than any before.

We misjudged the amount of hay we'll need. Mike went by tonnage not by the number of bales. Tonage is fine when you are dividing it out but when it's a buffet, the math is different. So hopefully we'll be able to get more hay because what we ordered is only going to get us through mid March if we are lucky. And we need to get through until Memorial Weekend. That's a big gap and a lot more money involved.

We are using the hay nets to try and stretch the bales but letting them eat when and where they want is definitely different than before and they are totally enjoying it.

I did finally outsmart the mares and Junior so they are drinking plenty of water. I  switched tanks, moved it to a new location, and covered half of it (mostly to try and keep the wind off of it). And now they are finally drinking like they should. At least where they are at this year, I'm hauling water only around the corner instead of up the hill and through a snow drift. I had to haul eight buckets of water to fill the tank. Sure glad they are were they are at instead of the old pen. Eight buckets to the back pen is a lot more work than just around the corner.

I'll have to tell the story about Rabbit and see if it's just me or if maybe she's finally (after all these years) feeling good again. Poor girl. I did her an injustice. I always knew there was something about her. That she simply needed someone of her own. Guess that someone needs to be me and *I* need to be the one paying her more attention. Instead of being a broodmare and left to fend for herself, she needs to be pampered. Because we ALL need to be pampered at some point. (ok, we need to be pampered a lot but we'll get what we can when we are old momma's trying to simply get by).

I really did have a point to this blog post but apparently I lost it. Mostly it was to say that people are complaining about the cold. I guess, it is what it is and we'll endure because that's what we do in South Dakota

Friday, January 8, 2016

It's Only a Little Snow

Well, we might have only gotten 2-4 inches of snow (or closer to 5 inches), but it sure is causing problems. I haven't gotten home from the paying job yet but it's going to be a total mess. Right now the temps are hovering around the freezing mark. By tomorrow, we'll be dealing with subzero temperatures.

So we'll have ruts and potholes everywhere. I need to put in round bales again tomorrow but want to make sure the herd eats the remainder of the bales that are left. But with the temps dropping, I'm not sure what to do. Having never had round bales, I'm inclined to let them stay out and just eat instead of stall them. But stalling them means they only get what I feed them for hay (the way it's been all these years). I guess it'll depend on who's damp and cold from all this drizzle/snow.

Chores this winter are a different animal this year now that we are using round bales (and I have less time to manage the horses). I knew that the subzero temps were coming so I filled the water tank.

I'm hoping I outsmarted the horses finally. I drained the old tank that was shocking them, turned it over so they couldn't even get at it, brought in a different tank, put that in a different place (and plugged in the heater). I'm not sure if that heater is causing problems also or what. But I know they drank a ton Wednesday night into Thursday night. So I pulled the hose out to top off the tank before I can't use the hose any more.

I'm hoping the cold snap doesn't last for very long. I haven't paid attention to the weather. Maybe if I ignore it, it'll go away. Haha. After driving in white out conditions earlier this week, and then dealing with slushy roads and ice covered roads today, I think I better start paying attention.

I did put a blanket on Lace the other day. I'd gone up to Gentle Spirit's Horse Rescue, and they donated a couple of blankets, halters, and leads to us. Thanks by the way!!! I wanted Lace to have a blanket before all this weird weather hit. I knew it was a little premature to put her in a blanket but didn't want her to get chilled and then put a blanket on her. I'm going to have to figure out who goes where for stalling. Musical stalls.

I don't have any pics of Lace wearing her blanket but I think I need to switch it out with a different blanket and put the one she's wearing on Brego. We were able to get three blankets so now Lace, Brego, and Dude will have their very own and not have to share (or deal with tacky hand-me-down blankets that don't fit). Hopefully this weekend, I can play with figuring out blankets but it'll depend on the temps and if I can handle being out in the super cold and messing with buckles and straps and the like.

I need to run in to TSC tomorrow and pick up grain. It's been awhile so I better stock up. Now that the super cold weather is here, I'm going to have to pay close attention to the hard keepers. January is always a wakeup call for winter.

So, lots going on but nothing getting accomplished. About par for the course around the Sanctuary.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mayhem's Prognosis

While I had the vet out to look at Rabbit, I had him do a quick eval on Mayhem as well. I didn't dare haul Rabbit because she was off on the right front. Luckily it isn't a bone issue, it's a muscle issue.

But back to Mayhem. Yet another horse owner fail. I should have had her in YEARS ago to deal with the umbilical hernia. But she got pushed to the back burner and that's where she has stayed all these years. Poor girl is 6 years old with no education and still needing medical attention. Yup, total owner fail there.

But, there is hope. Without any evaul, I was looking at two scenarios. The first scenario was a simple surgery where everything could be pushed back in to the hole and sewn up. Anesthesia would be necessary no matter what surgery but the cost would be closer to $400 because there wasn't as extensive surgery and work on the vet's part. The second scenario is laying her open and having to do extensive surgery costing around $1,000.

If she colics, we'd be looking at $1,000 surgery and at this point, it's not feasible. I know some people and some rescues/sanctuary's would be appalled by that notion. But I have to take into consideration the care of the other horses besides just one horse. It's a terrible mathematical game to have to play and I hate it.

But, after the evaluation, the vet was assured that the surgery would be in the $400 price range, not the $1,000 price range. We received two generous donations last year for Mayhem's surgery. I need to figure out how to access the money (one was donated through "youcare" and I apparently have no concept for technology these days). So we are about half way there. I'd really like to get the surgery done this spring so that we can move forward with her education.

So, anyone want to help towards Mayhem's surgery? Even $5 goes a long way towards getting the necessary surgery done.

I'd love to some day get her and Maverick trained to drive. They would be a beautiful pair of sorrels under harness. Mayhem and Maverick. Fitting don't you think?

So, want to help me fix a total horse owner fail?

Rabbit's Prognosis

Rabbit's prognosis was better than I anticipated. But then again, I've taught myself to think the worst so I'm prepared in case it does come to that. The biggest issue is her needing more constant trimming. She's never been very accepting of getting her feet trimmed so I've let it slide. That's not going to happen any more. She also has the beginning stages of  navicular but when I had my farrier look at her awhile back, he'd said the same thing. That she'd either foundered in her past before she came to the Sanctuary or she has the beginnings of navicular. But that was awhile ago and if nothing has progressed since then, I expect it's lack of decent trimming. Talk about owner fail there.

I also assumed she was a bit of a touch-me-not. She'd always shy away from any touch. But the vet did a quick evaluation on her and said she's most likely deficient in Vitamin E so she's muscle sore all the time. For an example: say you and I were to run a mile. No prep or warm up, we just head out and run a mile (I laugh at that because there's no chance in hell this old body can run a mile let alone a quarter mile even if Satan himself was at my heels). But the next day after a run like that, your muscles would be sore. That's what Rabbit has been dealing with.

King had something similar a few years back so it wasn't a totally knew concept to figure out. I just feel bad. Another owner fail. I should have recognized the signs. She was ouchy when we first brought her home, but I assumed that was from having babies and being thing. After that, I just thought she was a touch-me-not.

I seem to be failing more these days.

So we have Rabbit on the leftover meds that I had King on.  It's a vitamin E and selenium supplement. It's a combo of the two but she isn't deficient in selenium but it's what the manufacturer had. And I want to tackle the issue immediately so that's what she's on. I'll switch to a different supplement when I go to Tractor Supply this weekend. Tiffany from Gentle Spirits suggested I try Dumor Gold. I'm always willing to try anything to see if it helps the horses. I hesitate to grain her much because of her heaves. For some reason, the grains seem to give her more problems, which is backwards (or at least I thought so). But I haven't had any time to research more into it.

So, that's the story with Rabbit. I'm going to get her a proper trim after this cold snap, get her muscles feeling better, and see how she's doing. I need to look into doing some massage but with the temps plummeting and having no time allowed to do chores, I'm not sure how that'll go.

Any horse massage people out there willing to work your magic on a mare that desperately needs it? I think her being cranky all the time (although she's not), all stems from hurting all the time. I always thought she was a good girl but who can be a good girl all the time when you hurt like hell.

major horse owner fail

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 in Review

I'm not really sure how to sum up 2015. Change, excitement, stress. I don't really know. My head and my heart aren't in a place to give an upbeat review of 2015. The highlight was the birth of my daughter and that overshadows everything else. But the stresses of the year have taken its toll on me so my head and heart ache.

I've had a few revelations that have left me a bit shell shocked. Whenever I am down, thinking the worst of people, someone steps up and gives me hope again. That was the case this winter when you all stepped up to help let us open our doors to a mare that deserved a retirement. Your support financially, in kind, and with moral support are the reason that I continue even when I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We had a fairly quiet year. Being pregnant for the majority of it and then on maternity leave (with severe baby brain), didn't give me much time to focus on the Sanctuary, other than to make sure everyone was cared for.  I'm hoping to turn my attention back to the Sanctuary and look at doing some major fundraising in 2016.

May 2016 will mark 10 years of doing Sanctuary/rescue work. I'd like to celebrate this year.

So here's to 2016 being a fantastic year filled with amazing supporters and friends, deserving horses, and all kinds of fun activities to help support the Sanctuary.