Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Rode Ivan

I rode Ivan!!!
I know some of you are thinking, what’s the big deal? I took on Ivan back in August 2010 when he was advertised for $100 from a local horse flipper. I was able to track down a little bit more information and found out he’d been at a youth camp but I don’t know the reason for them letting him go. He’d come from a lady in Iowa that needed to rehome him and another horse. I took him on because he had a problem with his … umm.. man part. J I took him to the vet and he said it was cellulitis. There wasn’t much to do for it so just watch it. When I first got him, he never sucked it in but over the years he has and now doesn’t let it hang out all the time because the swelling has gone down.
But I digress. I’m stressed over not having a drill team horse and then Ivan gave me a sign. It’s a little weird. I sometimes say the horses tell me this or that. Like Zeke told me he was done with drill team. Of course he didn’t “SAY” the words but he let me know in other ways. Ivan did the same thing. I think he was itching for more attention.
I’d put blankets on last weekend when that terrible cold front came through and dropped the temps to -30. Well yesterday was 30. Yes, a 60 degree swing in temps. It’s tough to cope with. I needed to put a bale in (normally it’s two but for some reason they didn’t power through that other bale so I need to look at it during the daylight to see what’s wrong). But anyway, I was out and decided to halter him up, while I pushed everyone else out to get the bale in. I left Ivan and some of the others in the barn and when the bale was in and the hay net on, I decided to pull blankets and then hop on Ivan.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never gotten on Ivan and even when I looked at him, I’d never talked with the actual owner or tried him out. I just bought him knowing that he was in danger of being picked up by a kill buyer. I couldn’t bring myself to let the local horse trader pick him up. I’m normally a reasonable person and can tolerate people but this horse trader I just want to punch in the face because he’s a snivlining little twit. But again, I digress.
So I left the halter on and put two lead ropes on and hoped for the best. Ivan is so tall I had to bring him over by the gate to climb on. He was actually way better for getting on than some of the other “broke” horses. I was a little surprised. I’m not sure if he knew what was going on or what. I always figured I’d have to send him to a trainer for a refresher before I got on (I apparently was feeling brave last night). But I threw a leg on before he walked off and then hopped on. Nothing. Good ol’ Ivan just stood there like a good boy.
He’s rusty. And when I say rusty, I mean super rusty but he was remembering pretty quick. I ended up just sitting there for awhile not doing anything because Ivan had pretty much locked up and wouldn’t move. I had all the other horses near so he wouldn’t be nervous and Brego was right there by his side the entire time. Chaos came over a couple of times to try and torment but left after I told him to go.
At first I was able to get Ivan to back up. He backs better than some of the other “broke” horses! Crazy how they remember certain things. After a little bit longer, I was able to get Ivan to walk around the bales and just putter. Super, super rusty but still you could tell he was starting to remember some queues.
I’m planning on hopping back on him tonight and see if we can repeat what we did last night. I was on cloud 9. I am always on the ground cleaning and feeding that I forget that I can ride a few of the younger horses that don’t have health ailments or lameness issues that render them pasture sound only.
I’m not sure if Ivan will work out for drill team or not. But I may end up scraping up the money (and going without for other things) to send him to a trainer to get a quick refresher. I’d love to be able to promote the Sanctuary with Ivan. There aren’t any other thoroughbreds on the team so it would be fun!
Here’s to trying new and exciting activities! Wish me luck that Ivan and I click and we can become amazing riding partners spreading the word about the Sanctuary.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Winter Weather

We had another storm blow through this weekend. It started Friday and dropped a considerable amount of snow. I don’t think it was the seven inches they were predicting but it was enough to make life difficult.

Of course we had issues with the automatic waterer. This fall the insulation broke and fell on the float valve make the waterer overflow. Mike pulled the insulation and that was the end of it. Until Friday night when the weatherman was talking below zero temps for highs on Friday and almost thirty below temps for Saturday night! Umm, Houston, we have a problem.

I tried my best to at least insulate the one side so that it wouldn’t freeze over completely. As it was, the horses could barely get their nose into the water and if they had a big nose, I’m not sure that they could. So I broke open the water and hoped that it wouldn’t freeze. Mike went out Saturday after a huge “discussion” on that this is an emergency! Apparently emergency in my world is different than emergency in his world. If I don’t have an automatic waterer, I would be dragging the hose out every day and filling a 100 gallon tank and praying that the horses don’t drink through 100 gallons in a day. The four in the other pen drink through enough that I fill the tank every other day to be on the safe side. So yes, I consider it an emergency!

Mike did fix the waterer Saturday but set the temp too high so now the water is warm. Not a bad thing but it’s going to jack the price of electricity up. I’m going to look at using a propane heater instead of electric next winter. But I’ll need to budget for it.

I blanketed those that had blankets but didn’t stall any because they had the round bales and could get out of the wind. I wasn’t happy about it but wasn’t exactly sure what else to do. Having a round bale in front of them is better than having a portion of hay that they’d probably burn through before I could get out the next morning. But everyone seemed ok Sunday morning. No worse for wear. I’d thrown extra alfalfa to keep them going and they all seemed rather content.

The weather is supposed to warm up and be above freezing for the rest of the week. I didn’t fill the mares’ water Sunday knowing that there was no way I’d be able to get the hoses  out, water run, tank filled, and water drained out of the hose before it froze over again. Hopefully tonight the temps will be warmer so I can get the tank filled without having to worry.

I’m guessing the blog and Facebook will be fairly quiet this week. I’ve been in a foul mood lately and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday cheer. I’ve been looking at things that need to be done and nothing is getting done. Some of which I have no control over and some of it I simply can’t do and that irritates me when I see someone sitting, doing nothing when there’s work to be done. So, yeah, I’m grumpy after dealing with that for MONTHS. But that’s for another venting post. But for now, we are coming through this cold snap no worse for wear. My nerves are shot but everyone else seems to be doing ok.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Brain Dump

So it seems I have a lot on my mind and I need a place to let it all out before I explode. I’m sure when it’ all written down on paper, it’ll seem like so much less and to some, it is.

I don’t know if it’s the impending snow storm that’s going to drop between 3-7 inches or the 40 below wind chill or the 24 below temps coming or the holiday party stresses or the Christmas planning to make my kids’ Christmas perfect, or the search for a new drill team horse that’s bothering me. So here it goes…


I’ve been watching the weather but not very closely. I’m working from home today but I can’t concentrate knowing that this storm is coming. In 10 minutes we went from no snow in the air to it coming down fast and furious. Schools are closing left and right and I’m trying to figure out when to stop working and go pick up the kids before the weather really turns. It’s an advantage of working for the company that I do. I may complain about it at times but in reality, I have a lot of leeway. But I still need to get out and do chores and hopefully do SOME of them before the snow piles up and before the temps drop. But there’s stress in coordinating everything.

I need to try a couple of blankets on a couple of different horses to see if they fit. Brego’s blanket doesn’t really work for him and we had three donated that are in immaculate condition. So one is going on Brego. I’m debating on stalling horses but with a round bale in front of them, it might be easier to stall the super hard keepers and keep the stockier horses out. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

But the temps are supposed to plummet tomorrow making life difficult. Unfortunately I’m supposed to have another Christmas party so I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to leave the horses while I go. I’d rather be home and make sure I can go out and check them if need be. Give them extra food a couple of times.

I’ve also been trying to juggle scheduling times to go look at different horses that might fit now that I am horseless for the drill team. Retiring Zeke has really taken a toll on me mentally. My go to horse is now retired and I’m left standing at the end of a lead rope attached to no horse. At least that’s how it feels.

But then I have those thoughts that I shouldn’t be looking for a personal horse. There’s so many horses that need homes. So many older horses that need to retire and can’t do drill team. We are full and yet I’m willing to pay for a horse that will fit into drill team. Just seems wrong. I see all these horses standing in feedlots in different states and I cant’ do anything about them but they look like they’d fit the bill for what I need and yet I cant’ afford it. My money is wrapped up with the Sanctuary and they come first over everything else. So what do I do? I am picky on what I want and yet, sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.

So I’ve been trying to arrange times to look at different horses. All horses where I’d pay money. For a  free retired horse, I expect quirks. But if I have to pay money for a horse, there will be quirks but they should be called out and not too severe. It’s sort of like a double standard I have I guess. I expect quirks and health problems for horses coming into the program. But for a horse I’m looking to actually buy, not rescue, I expect no quirks. How can that be? We ALL have our quirks.  I’m struggling with the double standard too.

I looked at a horse last week and I’d take the companion in a heartbeat. I am afraid of the fate for that horse if we don’t’ offer a home but I already have a waiting list.

Then there’s the whole neglect case of mustangs west river and I havent’ been able to do a single thing. I’m already limited in what I can do and it’s not really our focus. But it still bothers me to no end that I’m sitting idle. I want to be going to auctions and pulling old horses or offering a place for old horses to call home. I’m starting to see these old horses. Now that winter is here, I expect I’ll see more older horses up for sale. I’d love to be the go to place for people to leave their older horses but there’s only so many I can financially handle. I’d love for sponsorships but money is tight for everyone.

I’ve been feeling like I’m standing on an island alone. There’s so much that needs to be done and not a lot of help. I know if I asked, people would help. But I look around at the Sanctuary and I see all the stuff that needs to be done and none of it is getting done. Partly because I can’t afford to do it yet, partly because I can’t physically do it or can’t do it alone, and partly because I was hoping the hubby would help out and he doesn’t’ seem to see any of the things I see.

I keep brainstorming ideas for fundraisers but the last one was a total flop. To the point that the only way we broke even was from someone donating a dollar. Yup, that’s how we were able to break even. Aparently I was focused on the wrong crowd but you have to put yourself out there to know but it’s so difficult. Money is tight for everyone and I totally get that. Time is tight so searching for grants is difficult and I cant’ guarantee that I’d get any.

It’s all these struggles and more. So much I WANT to be doing. So I much I SHOULD be doing. And yet, I feel spell bound, frozen to the ground, unable to do anything.

I know all of these feelings will pass. It’ll all blow over like the storm that has now reached the Sanctuary. In the time it’s taken me to write this (maybe 10 minutes), visibility has dropped, the snow is actually piling up, and the snow is falling faster than before. Amazing how life can change in just a half an hour.

As with all my stresses, it’ll all change as well. I simply struggle with change.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crazy Weather

How does that work? -22 Saturday  night and by Tuesday it's 25 degrees. Yup, that's South Dakota for you

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Expect the Unexpected

It’s amazing that if you stop and take a minute to observe your horse, you’ll learn a lot from them. I haven’t really been around Lace all that much. Not nearly as much as I would prefer. I sometimes think she got shafted by coming to the Sanctuary and not getting pampered like she deserves. But I guess the alternatives were much worse.

So Lace is in with Rabbit, Mayhem, and Junior. She was crowding the gate when I went to let Junior and Rabbit in for their evening grain. She normally keeps to herself and focuses on eating. But last night she was in my space. She kicked at her belly once and I wasn’t sure if she was colicy or just pissy. She’s a very opinionated mare. So I kept an eye on her.

I went to grab the hose and fill the tank…it’s a daily occurrence. She stood at the tank but she normally never does. She even tried to lap the water up like a dog. All signs that something was terribly wrong. It’s a repeat of last year all over again!  Last year the water heater was shocking the water so the horses wouldn’t drink. Well there had been enough water out of the tank that I assumed everything was fine. BUT, Lace was telling me otherwise.

I grabbed a different bucket and started filling that and she powered through the water. Yup, electric water heater must be shocking the water. I did have to keep it plugged in last night much to my dismay because we were in below zero temps and didn’t want it to freeze up completely. But I unplugged it this morning and am going straight to Tractor Supply tonight to pick up to new electric water heaters.

I think from now on, I’m going to use them one year and throw them away. It hurts my feelings because they are a bit expensive but a vet bill for colic is much more expensive. So, I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m glad I listened to Lace. The others aren’t as opinionated apparently as she is. I don’t want it to get so bad that even when I switch out the heaters, they refuse to drink out of the tank. That’s what happened last year and I had to drag over a different tank and put it in a different location. Thank god we have a spare water tank just for weird occasions. I should expect the unexpected these days.

But it goes to show, you should always pay close attention to what your horse is saying.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Giving Tree

And before I forget, Borderlands Horse Sanctuary teamed up with Gentle Spirits Horse Rescue for a Giving Tree. The Sanctuary's residents are listed along with Gentle Spirit's sanctuary residents. The trees with a list of much needed "wishes" from the horses are available at Tractor Supply and Horse N Hound in Sioux Falls. Both businesses are located on Cliff Avenue.

We'd love to fill the Sanctuary Resident's stockings full of grain and other special surprises. Won't you be a part of this year's Giving Tree?

Weather Forecast

I don't want to!!!! I am not ready for cold weather...anything with a minus involved shouldn't be allowed. Looks like we'll be stalling some horses over the weekend to keep them out of the wind.

Looks like it's going to be a LOOOOONG winter.

Christmas Newsletter

And I still need to get the list of items we have for sale uploaded to blogger and Facebook. Hopefully this week if the kiddos let me.

December Thank Yous

Before I forget, I want to send out Thank Yous to a couple of people.

First I want to thank my parents for donating four bags of sweet feed to the Sanctuary horses. It helps with hiding the medication/supplements for some of the horses. It's amazing how even one bag, let alone four bags will go. Every dollar, and even every penny counts these days.

I also want to thank Cyn and Mikki for donating THREE winter blankets to the Sanctuary horses. I can't wait to put them on decide who should get which blanket. They are almost brand new blankets. I'm sure I'm more exited about the blankets than the horses...but they'll thank me (and Mikki and Cyn) when they get chilled and I throw the blankets on to get warm. I'll post pics if I can ever download the pictures off my phone and get snap pics before my phone freezes up.

But thank you, thank you, thank you. It warms my heart knowing there's such kind hearted people thinking about our Sanctuary horses!

Catch Up

I haven't been able to post much because the paying job is cracking down on which sites we can visit...blogger is one of them. And by the time I get home from the paying job after picking up the kids, making supper, doing chores in full blown winter, and then getting kiddos baths and bed, I'm done in...because 5am rolls around way too early these days. Although I have to admit, I don't go out as early as I used to. Love those round bales.

I went and looked at a horse yesterday. I wish people were more honest. We spent an additional hour driving to grab my tack only to never even saddle up and test ride the horse. Umm, I'm not spending money on a horse that I can't test ride. I could have done it but the owner wasn't confident. I'm not getting on a horse that the owner isn't willing to get on. Did that, got bucked off. No thank you.

So I'm still on the look out for a replacement for Zeke. Zeke is enjoying retirement but I'm stressing. I tried out Chaos but he wont' do for drill team. He's a perfect trail riding horse and a perfect ambassador for the Sanctuary because it gives me time to talk with people about the Sanctuary. So I'm not sure what to do. It's put me into a foul mood.

Everyone seems to be doing ok otherwise. True winter has set in. The temps are starting to really drop so I'm going to have to go in search of my hammer to break out the ice for the ponies. I apparently have gotten soft and lazy not having to haul water every day.  I'm dragging the hose out to fill the water tank for the mares and Junior. It's an every day sort of thing now. I'm afraid our automatic waterer is going to break. Mike took the insulation out of the top because it was pushing on the valve making it run and overflow...that was this summer and guess what... it's winter. So hopefully it won't freeze up. But I'm going to have to figure out how to fix it myself. All these projects that are not "do it yourself".

But we are here and hopefully I can dig out the laptop at home and actually start working on Sanctuary stuff. Using my phone just doesn't work. So we'll see how the rest of this month goes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Caption This

More goodies from the ol' archive. 

Can you caption this sequence of events from Chaos and Maverick?