Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Senior Tip Tuesday

From The Horse

How Immunosenescence Impacts Senior Horse Care

    You might not have heard the word “immunosenescence,” but if you’re caring for an older horse, you’re dealing with it daily. It seems that aging isn’t just a matter of time marching on for the horse as a whole; the immune system itself is also aging biologically via this process.
    As horses age, their systemic immunity declines, which can contribute or lead to increased prevalence of cancer, autoimmune and chronic diseases, poor response to vaccination, and increased susceptibility to common infectious diseases.
    Amanda A. Adams PhD, a researcher at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington, spoke on the topic at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida. She explained research findings regarding how aging horses respond to vaccinations, inflammation, and parasites.
    Another term you might not have heard is “inflamm-aging,” or chronic, low-grade inflammation that occurs with age. We normally think of inflammation as being acute, for instance, as with a swollen ankle. With treatment, that acute inflammation resolves in days, and the swelling subsides.
    But in the aging horse, researchers have learned that something in the cells “turns on” the inflammatory process systemically, and it continues at a low level from that point on. This inflamm-aging process in humans contributes to arthritis, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, vascular disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. And it turns out, obesity might do the reverse, contributing also to the inflamm-aging process. Researchers in Adams’ lab are currently investigating the repercussions of inflamm-aging for the aged horse.
    Researchers know that because of horses’ aging immune systems, these animals don’t respond to vaccinations as well as younger horses do. Similarly, older horses have higher parasitic fecal egg counts compared to middle-aged adult horses, which could be in part due to the decreased immune response with age, thereby changing their resistance to parasites.
    Add to those problems, 20% of horses over 20 years old have pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID (historically referred to as equine Cushing’s disease). PPID is a progressive and debilitating endocrine disease and, not surprisingly Adams and colleagues are finding that affected horses could have a further reduced immune response to vaccination.
    Adams has researched various ways of combating these problems, with emphasis on nutrition and supplementation that might have immune-modulating benefits. In fact, she found that good nutrition, along with prebiotics, reduced inflammation and improved immune responses to vaccination in older horses.
    She emphasized the importance of keeping older horses up to date on vaccines and even consider boosting with some of the risk-based vaccines every six months if the older horse is traveling or exposed, such as in the case of West Nile virus during a long mosquito season. This is important given previous research in which Adams found that when exposed to flu, unvaccinated older horses got sick, even though they might have had a flu vaccine years earlier. Vaccinated older horses did not get sick with flu.
    Since we know older horses need improved immune support, a good wellness plan for seniors should include twice-yearly health exams and fecal egg counts, routine dental exams, body condition scoring, nutritional evaluations, endocrine screening for PPID and insulin resistance, and a regular vaccination schedule.

    Maureen Gallatin

    Maureen Gallatin is a freelance writer, founder of Horses on a Mission, and author of the inspirational devotional, An Extra Flake.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Procrastination and Losing Items

We had another quiet weekend at the Sanctuary. I know there is a ton of stuff that needs to be done but after a crazy week, I'm usually beat. Then throw in sick kids and bad weather, I was wiped out. I'm working on our upcoming fundraiser and really need to get my act together to get it up and running otherwise I'll be out of time and out of luck. If only there was a clone of me so I could get everything done.

We finally had beautiful weather this weekend although I didn't  get to work on anything outside with the horses. But the warmer weather means less stress on the horses and they all seem less cranky. I've had to put blankets on  a few of the horses and finally pulled them off. When you see them at 5am and again at 6pm, it's difficult to pull blankets knowing that they'll get chilled because there's only certain times I can go out. Rain and Brego don't have a good winter coat. And no, it has nothing to do with me blanketing.  They simply never put on a winter coat. I'm not sure why but that means any time the temps dip, on go the blankets.  I've kept a blanket on Bo to help anywhere I can to get the weight on before winter hit. He's doing fantastic although I'd still prefer a few more pounds. But he'll always be on the thin side. But that blanket needed to come off and stay off for awhile. I think he's starting to shed! No more blanket for Bo. He has a hefty winter coat anyway.

I'm still in search of a farrier to replace our "current/old" farrier. Dude is now in desperate need of a trim. His hips are starting to bug him so he's standing weird. It's hard to find a farrier that is willing to work on horses that don't stand completely still. And it's very hard for horses with lameness issues to simply stand still without trying to relieve some of the pain that comes with age and wrecks.

I did have about 10 minutes last night after practice to dig around and find a few of my missing items. I've been looking for a cooler for two solid months. I found that and then went on the hunt for a few other items that I was missing. The problem with using a stock trailer but having a big goose neck is that all my tack is spread between about four different places instead of having one central location. It makes life confusing and then add in no time and kids, all of my stuff simply disappears. I'm hoping this year I can sell the big trailer and get something a little bit handier and move all my tack into the tack room and horse trailer. Maybe then I'll be less scatter brained. I've been scatter brained for far too long.

Hopefully this week I can  tackle our fundraiser and actually get information out.  Nothing  like waiting until the last minute to plan anything. Anyone want to help so I'm not doing everything at the 11th hour?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where's Skippy - January Locations

 Skippy just returned from his adventures around the world visiting different castles. Thank you to all those that participated. We will identify the winner later this week when Skippy has recovered.

For those curious to know which castles Skippy visited, here you go!

Day Five - Bled Castle, Slovenia

Day Four - Bodiam Castle

Day Three - Eilean Donan Castle

Day Two - Mont St. Michel Castle

Day One - Reichsburg Castle

Skippy is already planning his next trip in February. It'll be Romantic Locations. He's looking forward to this next trip and seeing everyone guess where he's going!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Friday

Where's Skippy - Day 5

Where's Skippy?
Leave your comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BorderlandsHorseSanctuary/

Hint: It's a castle somewhere in the world.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Extended Wishlist

The Sanctuary is fairly small. It's really just me plugging away every day trying to make the lives of a few older horses better until their final day. But we can always use help. We have an extensive wishlist and was recently asked to provide that list. So here goes:

  • Hay (rounds, big squares, small squares, etc.)
  • Alfalfa (small squares)
  • Stall mats
  • Turnout blankets (any size, weight, new/used)
  • Senior feed
  • Over the fence feeders
  • Salt blocks
  • Wheel barrow
  • Tires for the little hay wagon and wheel barrows
  • Thank you cards
  • Stamps
  • Brushes/curry combs
  • Dumor weight booster
  • Hoof picks
  • Purina Strategy
  • Address book
  • Fertilizer
  • SafeChoice Original Grain
  • Soy meal
  • Wood fence posts
  • T-posts
  • Electric fence wire
  • barbless wire
  • Electric fence insulators
  • Fly spray
  • Fly sheets (all sizes)
  • Fly masks (all sizes)
  • Fly boots
  • Weed spray
  • Bridle hooks
  • Water tanks
  • Hoses (any length)
  • Hose reel
  • Water buckets
  • Cool Calories weight booster
  • Calf Manna
  • Turnout sheets/rain sheets (any size)
  • Shovels/rakes
  • Extension cords
  • Light bulbs
  • Mineral blocks
  • Organizer tubs
  • Corral panels
  • Cattle panels
  • Halters
  • Lead ropes
  • Hay nets
  • Hay rings
  • Electric Fender
  • Medicine boot
  • Tank heaters
  • Farrier services
  • Vet services
  • Volunteers
  • Sponsors
  • Monetary donations
That list is in no particular order. I am sure there's more that we could use. The biggest item that we need is hay or donations towards hay. We have a great relationship with our hay guy (hey's my uncle) and we have access to wonderful hay. But we need funds to continue purchasing high quality hay. The high quality hay makes it possible to reduce the amount of grain we need to supplement with our senior horses. 

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday to spring a few years ago. I am so ready for spring. After the last snow storm that dropped six inches of snow, I'm very much ready to see green again.

Wishlist Thursday?!

I didn't get my act together and missed Wishlist Wednesdsay. So instead, it'll be Wishlist Thursday at the end of the day! 

So this Wishlist Thursday is for over the fence feeders. We have a couple and use a few rubber dish pans but we can always use more. South Dakota winters (and horses) are hard on the feeders. And with the hard keepers, we are using the dishes/feeders daily.

The two pics are from years ago when we had beautiful Babe and kind hearted Thor. Both have been gone to greener pastures for a few years now. I'm still using old pictures and although the horses continue to change, the needs never do.

Miss you Babe and Thor


Where's Skippy - Day 4

Where's Skippy?
Leave your comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BorderlandsHorseSanctuary/

Hint: It's a castle somewhere in the world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Where's Skippy - Day 3

Where's Skippy?
Leave your comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BorderlandsHorseSanctuary/

Hint: It's a castle somewhere in the world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Senior Tip Tuesday

From the Horse Journal

Common Conditions, Challenges and Pain Recognition

By Equine Guelph
This article was originally published in the September/October 2016 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.
Keeping a horse comfortable into their senior years requires an attentive caretaker backed by a knowledgeable team. It is important to seek the input from your veterinarian and farrier to help maintain the health of an elderly equine and to spot conditions that will need special treatment sooner rather than later. Recognizing changes and not just dismissing them as “old age setting in” is a large part of the responsibility assumed when caring for the senior horse.
Pain Recognition
As a prey species, horses are predisposed to hide pain so as not to attract the attention of predators. Horses can be very stoic and not show the signs of pain until it becomes severe. Often the first signs of pain are changes in behaviour or attitude, as in the following examples: 
  • A horse that normally greets you at the stall door is now hiding at the back of the stall
  • Rigid posture 
  • Guarding part of their body or reluctance to be handled 
  • Head lowering, squinting eyes, limp ears 
  • Teeth-grinding 
  • Increased flight behaviour 
  • Aggression 
  • More subdued than usual 
  • Decrease in responsiveness 
  • Flaring of nostrils 
  • Looking back at the flank 
  • Restlessness 
  • Stoic or pained expression, dull eyes 
  • Awkward tail carriage or aggressively swishing tail 
  • Decreased performance 
  • Reluctance to perform tasks which have already been mastered 
  • Reluctance to move  
  • Reluctance to drink cold water (indicates oral/dental pain)
Recognizing pain is not always as obvious as the horse thrashing or rolling violently on the ground, or the horse that is limping. The suddenly quiet, withdrawn horse may be suffering from the pain of a stomach ulcer or another non-visible ailment. It is important to resolve sources of pain early on. Chronic pain can cause depression and stress. It can also have a negative impact on appetite, the immune system and tissue healing, and can increase the risk for developing gastric ulceration and colitis (inflammation of the colon).
Be on the lookout every time you groom for lumps, bumps, cuts, heat, or swelling, and pay particular attention if your horse displays sensitivity to touch. Also take note of any decrease in bowel movements as an early warning sign for colic. Knowing the baseline vitals for your horse is important to help you assess health. 
Colic risk does increase in senior horses. Gut motility issues are more common in older horses, which can lead to an increased risk of impaction colic. Other issues in the senior gastro-intestinal tract that elevate the risk of colic include tumours and increased parasite load. Older horses tend to have a reduced drive to drink, and inadequate intake of water is also a risk factor. Difficulty in chewing feed can result in undigested food entering the gut, which can also lead to gas or impaction colic.
Digestion is impaired if a horse is unable to grind food properly. Schedule regular dental checkups with your veterinarian to make sure teeth are aligned with no jagged edges and your senior horse has a balanced surface to effectively grind food. If changes in feed are required due to difficulty in chewing, be sure to make these changes slowly to allow gut bacteria and enzymes to adapt.
Dental Health 
Extra diligence needs to be paid to dental health in the senior horse. The front teeth continually erupt at an angle that increases as they age. Cases of unbalanced chewing surfaces escalate as the horse ages. Horses wear down their teeth as they chew but that wear is not always even. The development of sharp points in the mouth is much more prevalent in the elderly equine and this can result in ulcerations, reluctance to chew food, poor digestion, and a higher incidence of choke. Severely uneven wear can lead to a condition called “wave mouth” where at least two molars are higher than the others, so that when viewed from the side, the grinding surfaces produce a wave-like pattern. Missing or loose teeth can lead to “step mouth” where one tooth grows longer than the others, usually because the corresponding tooth in the opposite jaw is missing or broken and could not wear down its opposite. Step mouth requires regular inspection and care as food can get packed in, leading to dental disease, abscess, or infection.
In very elderly horses, the teeth may lose their rough edges and become entirely smooth, which results in an inability to grind food. Horses with smooth mouth should be fed highly digestible feeds that are easy to eat, such as soaked hay cubes or beet pulp – your veterinarian or equine nutritionist will be able to recommend the best course of management.
Annual dental exams are recommended for all horses and should be performed twice a year for elderly horses. Foul odours coming from the mouth, nasal discharge, loose incisors, broken teeth, red or inflamed gums, quidding (chewing then dropping balled-up lumps of food), weight loss, not finishing feed, and resistance to the bridle are all reasons to call the vet and have the teeth checked. If you notice your horse is no longer chewing in a regular circular pattern, this can be an indicator of sharp points and uneven wear, which also warrants a vet appointment for dental care.
Maintaining good dental health into old age is probably one of the single best ways to encourage longevity. It is far more difficult to address and fix a chronic dental issue once the horse has reached later age.

The senior horse that is dropping pounds requires a closer look. Rule out factors that can cause weight loss, such as parasite burden, tumours and infections. Dental care may need to be addressed if the horse is not grinding its food properly. If the enamel is soft, or teeth are missing or worn, changes from coarse feeds to softer food may be needed. Easy-to-digest supplements may include vegetable oil. Discuss with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist the best methods to satisfy your senior’s dietary needs. Stay on the lookout for quidding as this indicates a dental problem.
Winters can begin to take a tougher toll on the senior horse. The energy required for a horse to thermoregulate in the cold is often underestimated. The senior may require an increase in feed and a blanket to help stay warm. Checking body condition score should be part of every senior horse’s weekly routine. Old age is no excuse for an overly thin equine – body condition score should be between four and seven. Discuss with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist the best methods to satisfy your senior’s dietary needs and make any dietary changes slowly.
The older horse commonly has an accumulation of wear and tear plus past injuries. Sixty percent of all equine lameness is due to arthritis, and the common causes are: 
  • Physical injury – which triggers inflammation.
  • Everyday wear and tear – repetitive and excessive force on a joint may wear down the supporting tissues of the joints.
  • Concussive forces – weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, hock, fetlock, pastern, and coffin joints, are more prone to be arthritic since they endure the majority of the concussive forces. Maintaining correct hoof balance is important as a poorly balanced hoof can further overload joints.
  • Poor conformation – which may cause abnormal forces, placing additional strain on joints.
  • Other injuries – a joint fracture or a bacterial infection (septic arthritis) will stimulate an inflammatory response that damages the joint surfaces.
Not all horses exhibit lameness at the onset of arthritis.  Early diagnosis is the key in managing the progression of arthritis and joint disease. Owners should not delay in calling the vet if heat, swelling, pain, or loss of function is detected. 
Laminitis has many different causes and is not limited to the horse or pony that eats an overabundance of rich grass (often when given unrestricted access to rich spring pastures). It can develop from eating poisonous plants, overconsumption of grain, retaining the placenta after foaling, a disease that spikes a prolonged high temperature, the metabolic changes associated with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), or trauma from repeated concussive forces (road founder).
Laminitis can occur in any breed, at any age; however, overweight horses and those with metabolic syndromes (more frequent in older horses) do have a higher risk of laminitis.  Laminitis is also a common sign of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) in the older horse. The best defence against laminitis is to prevent the aforementioned causes from occurring. 
Horses suffering laminitis will usually be reluctant to move and often stand with their front feet well out in front of them, rocking back on their heels seeking relief from the pain. They can appear as if they are walking on eggshells. The hoof will be hot to touch. In severe cases, the laminae weakens to the point where the coffin bone may rotate and/or sink.
Stall rest, cold therapy, corrective shoeing, pain management, and anti-inflammatory therapy are some of the many treatments your veterinarian may use to try and treat laminitis. The severity of the laminitis and the length of time it persists will be factors in determining how soon, or if, the horse will be able to return to its previous level of activity.
The first step in preventing recurring laminitis is to find the cause. Managing laminitis requires a plan with both veterinarian and farrier working together with regular assessments. 
Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) or Cushing’s Disease
Horses and ponies with PPID suffer an increase in cortisol levels. Excess cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland because the part of the brain that controls the adrenal gland (the pituitary gland) is not functioning properly. High cortisol levels increase blood sugar (glucose) levels and suppress the immune system. This hormonal disease often goes unnoticed as signs are slow to develop and are often mistaken as normal in the aging process. The disease typically occurs in older equids, but has been diagnosed in horses and ponies as young as ten.   While all ages, genders, and breeds are susceptible to developing PPID, ponies and some breeds of horses (specifically Latin-blooded horses such as Paso Finos, Peruvian Pasos, Spanish Mustangs, Arabs, and Morgans) seem to develop PPID more frequently.
Horses and ponies with PPID will often develop a pot-belly appearance. You may notice other changes in body conformation.  Common signs of PPID include formation of fat pads on top of the neck, tail head, and above and around the eyes. Horses with PPID also tend to lose muscle.
Look for abnormal hair coat including patches of long hair on the legs, wavy hair on the neck, changes in coat colour or shedding patterns, and unusual whisker growth.
Up to 70 percent of horses seen for laminitis have been found to have PPID. It is often treated without identifying the underlying cause.
More early warning signs for PPID include decreased athletic performance, change in attitude/lethargy, and delayed shedding of hair coat.
In more advanced stages of PPID the signs can include lethargy, depression, generalized hypertrichosis (long shaggy hair coat), loss of seasonal coat shedding, skeletal muscle loss, rounded abdomen, abnormal sweating (increased or decreased), excessive thirst, excessive passage of urine, chronic or recurrent infections (i.e., sole abscess, ulcers, etc.), laminitis, absent reproductive cycle/infertility, and hyperglycemia (high glucose levels in the blood).
Early diagnosis is important. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the above signs in your older horse. After a complete examination, if your veterinarian suspects PPID, he or she may recommend following up with some blood tests to check for the disease. The most common tests to diagnose equine PPID include measuring resting (basal) ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) and fasting insulin level. Studies have indicated success managing the clinical signs of PPID with the drug pergolide mesylate. It acts on the pituitary to ultimately decrease circulating ACTH and other hormone levels. Daily treatment is needed to improve the horse’s quality of life by reducing disease signs and the risk of other illnesses. Your veterinarian will be able to advise if pergolide mesylate is a treatment option for your horse.
As of yet there is no cure for PPID but there are ways to help control the signs and improve the health of the horse by working closely with your veterinarian. Horses with PPID also require extra diligence by providing regular hoof and dental care, and body clipping. Making sure changes in diet occur slowly and effectively, and treating any infections will help promote health in the horse with PPID. Dietary restrictions, which should be discussed with your veterinarian, may include decreased starch/carbohydrate feed, low protein forage (no alfalfa), limited fresh grass especially in the spring, and restricted sugar intake (no molasses feeds or treats).
Early diagnosis provides the best opportunity to manage PPID and minimize the progression of symptoms that can be career and life limiting.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) 
There is a fair bit of confusion in the horse world over mixing up PPID and EMS as they share many of the same clinical signs.  Horses with PPID may also have some of the features of EMS, but horses with EMS only rarely have PPID.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome had many previous names – peripheral Cushing’s syndrome, pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome.
Both PPID and EMS require working with your veterinarian, planning regular checkups for blood work, dental care, regular hoof care, and special attention to dietary needs. Performing diagnostics is necessary to conclude which disorder you are dealing with and determine the best treatment options.   Horses with EMS do not display hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) or delayed shedding. EMS tends to be seen in horses over five years of age, where PPID cases are more common in horses over 15. It is possible for horses with EMS to develop PPID. Working with a veterinarian for accurate diagnosis is critical in determining future management. Laminitis and obesity are often the first clues in identifying both disorders.   

Zeke, Lightening, and Snow

No snow yet (the weatherman predicted we'd have snow by now). Schools around the area are starting to close but still no snow. I've been watching  the radar and it looks like it'll come up from the south, which means a very wet snow. No blowing around to make visibility hard but it'll make the roads slick and icy.

Oh goodie. I had thought I would take the new horse, Lightening, up to the vets to get his teeth floated but I think  I'll wait until after this storm and see what the road conditions are like before I schedule anything.

There's a pic of the new guy. It's a bit of a contradiction for me to BUY a horse. I've had to buy a few to keep them out of the auction circuit but to buy one for a specific need is a bit hard to swallow. But, I retired Zeke  and needed a new drill team horse. None of the others can handle the amount of work we put into the routine. Either they are too slow, lame, or can't take the amount of work due to their body (thinking Rain who can't handle heat and Bo who can't handle much stress because then he'll lose all that precious weight I've spent all winter packing on). So it's a bit of a quandary for me to BUY a horse. But I have the capability to retire and KEEP my old horse rather than dump him for a Useable horse. If I wasn't running a Sanctuary and didn't have room, I wouldn't have bought him. Because I OWE Zeke that much. He's carried me through so much. I am realizing now, that Zeke is 1 in a million and that I was rather spoiled in getting him when I did. It was like I picked up the reins from my old horse, Ace, and continued riding, knowing that the quirks were all worked out. I'd spent almost 12 years riding Ace as my sole horse, learning his quirks, spooks, and such. And then had to retire him. It took a bit of time to find Zeke, but when I did, it was like riding Ace all over again
So I know Lightening will get there soon. But it is making me realize that Zeke IS a very special horse and deserves the respect an old horse should have. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to give him that respect. I wish others would do the same. Because, if I didn't have the means to care for him and Lightening, I would have kept Zeke and quit the drill team, because Zeke DESERVES a retirement, like so many senior horses do.

My only qualm is that Zeke won't let me catch him to put a blanket on and now he's teaching Lightening the same bad habits. It used to be Zeke and Bo and now it's Zeke and Lightening. I think Bo would rather hang out in the barn instead these days. He doesn't care for Lightening.

I did get the hard keepers and delicate flowers blanketed last night (except Junior because he wouldn't stand still) when they upped the amount of snow we were supposed to get (6-10 inches by the way). I don't know if we are still supposed to get that amount but if we are, it'll be in a hurry this afternoon that it dumps on us.

So now it's a waiting game to see when we get the snow and how much actually falls. It's always a guessing game with bad weather.

Where's Skippy - Day 2

Where's Skippy?
Leave your comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BorderlandsHorseSanctuary/

Hint: It's a castle somewhere in the world.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Storm Leo Approaching

Storm Leo is going to be on us in another 12+ hours. I guess I'd better get myself organized before the snow flies. I've been a bit spoiled with the January thaw and mid 30s. I was enjoying not having to break open water and having to haul so much water (or walking through snow...but having to maneuver around ice). But that ended last night when the cold front came through.

Normally I would wait until tomorrow to put in hay because my parents will be at the house to watch the kids, while Mike and  I are out putting in hay. It makes life so much easier. But with the weatherman talking 4-8 inches of snow and Mike's work talking more like 9-10 inches, we both figured it would be wise to put the hay in  tonight. I'm sure the horses would love to scavenger through the loose hay once we move the hay rings.

I had hoped to get my farrier out during the January thaw to trim a bunch of the herd but I think I've been dumped. I'm in desperate need of a new farrier. Mine was looking to retire so it was of no great surprise that he ditched me  but I really do need to find one that is willing to work with a few that have some lameness issues and aren't afraid to work on a few that have a few bad habits. Not terrible, but just need some additional education on standing still during a trim. Some act out in pain and others out of boredom. I know who would do what but to find a farrier willing to work on a variety of horses is difficult to find. So if anyone knows of a reliable and  reasonable farrier, I'm willing to work some deals.

I am not yet in panic mode but will be later this week. Mike has more training so that leaves me with two kids, two dogs, 17 horses, and a cat to take care of Wednesday night and Thursday morning before work. I think I have it figured out but that'll depend on if my daughter decides she wants to sleep...and the weather. Always the weather.

I had planned on going to the dr tomorrow. I guess I am finally of the age where my body is starting to fall apart. I knew the day would come but had hoped it would wait a little longer. Guess that saying, it's better to go out with a worn out body (where you've had a ton of experiences) rather than one that is pristine (where you never experienced anything). Sort of morbid but my headache...turning migraine is not letting me think too clearly today.

I am  sure there is more to report and if I was on my personal computer, I could post pictures. Maybe someday I'll get all my pictures downloaded and to some place easy for me to get to rather than stashed away on an old laptop, flash drive, or phone. I can't seem to keep up with technology these days.

Going to check out the weather again and decide who will need blankets. I know blanketing is a touchy subject but I have a couple of "delicate flowers" that don't do well in  South Dakota winter storms and cant' handle being even a little bit wet when the temps dip down.  Mostly I'm thinking of Rain who's system was compromised years ago and who I am  always keep a constant eye on to make sure he's not too hot or too cold for fear of him getting sick again.

Please keep your fingers crossed that the weather isn't nearly as bad as I am thinking and life will continue on as normal, just with half a foot of snow instead.

How To Play Where's Skippy

I was going  to post the rules on how to play "Where's Skippy" last  night but promptly fell asleep. After sleeping (not very well) on the floor two nights in a row, I was ready for something a bit more comfortable and the recliner lulled me into a long nap.

So, here are the rules...late as usual.

Every day this week, Skippy is going to go somewhere.  There is always a theme to his travels and this month's travels take him  to castles around the world. Every day, Skippy will post a picture of where he is at that day on Blogger and Facebook. All you have to do is comment on where you think  Skippy is at on Facebook.

The catch is you have to post your comment on Facebook. You can guess only once per location but if you miss a post, you'll have all week to guess where he's at. Dont' worry about being right or wrong. It's the guess that counts not the answer. ;-) On Saturday,  Skippy will return home and the guessing  will be over. Each time you guess (for that location), your name will go into a drawing.  If you win for that month, your name will go into a bigger drawing at the end of the year. The end of the year drawing (there will be 12 entries....one for each month), will be help at the end of December and will receive a prize, which is TBD at this time.

I hope you enjoy Skippy's travels to castles around the world.

Where's Skippy - Day 1

Where's Skippy?
Leave your comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BorderlandsHorseSanctuary/

Hint: It's a castle somewhere in the world.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Finding Time

Ugh.. I'm struggling. I have a couple of fundraiser things  I'm  trying to get going  and I can't  seem to get moving on anything. Hopefully this weekend I can start pushing but this weekend looks pretty booked for non-horse related activities.

Our family (and extended family) is involved in the Rocky Mountain Elk Federation and the annual banquet is this weekend. It's always a fun time.  So we'll be helping  another organization...sort of anyway.

But that leaves less time  for getting stuff together for fundraising stuff. Anyone want to help? You don't have to be in the area to help for one of them!!!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday

Thursday, January 19, 2017

20 Degree Difference

It's amazing what a 20 degree difference in temperature will do for my mood (and the horses). I went out to do chores last night (in the dark) and it was beautiful...for January in South Dakota.

Usually in  winter, when the wind blows, you feel it before you hear it and you don't typically appreciate hearing the wind. In the summer and fall, it's always lovely to listen to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees.

With the "heat wave" we are experiencing and while filling the water tank, I hear the wind in the trees last night before it reached me (I was around the corner out of the wind). It was such a pleasant night. It's very rare that we have a pleasant night in January when we are in the midst of winter but I wanted to take the rare opportunity to enjoy it. Of course I was rushing to get chores done so I could get in  and get the kids to bed but it was nice to simply stand there and listen and not be chilled to the bone and worry about the horses getting cold or going through more hay than we can afford (which they do anyway).

I am  looking forward to spring but I just recently started rereading a blog. The gal that wrote the blog had such a strong insight into nature and looking at the bright side of life. I never talked with her nor did she ever know me but she made an impact and when I'm feeling down, I go back to her blog and reread her musings and look  through her pictures. The pictures are from Africa so of course it's not white, which helps brighten my day. But there is sadness is reading the blog because the gal was killed in a car accident last year. But it does amaze me that even though she is gone from this earth, she still makes an impact on the way I think and when  I'm down, I return to her blog and she reminds me yet again to look at the simple things in life and to appreciate them as they come.

So last night, I appreciated the breeze on my face and the wind in the trees because it wasn't a biting cold and not long from now, the wind will be a summer breeze.

Throwback Thursday


Throwback Thursday to the summer of 2011. It was before the drought, before two kids, and before the Sanctuary became non-profit but well into our time as a functioning sanctuary.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday: Our wish for this Wishlist Wednesday is for senior feed. We are deep into winter. We are experiencing a January thaw but winter is not over, nor will it loosen its grip for a long time. As the winter wears on, the horses need senior feed to help supplement.

The hard keepers, Junior and Bo, go through a considerable amount of grain to keep their weight up. Jim, our oldest resident at age 30 years, also needs his senior feed to keep him happy and healthy.

Senior feed is about $20 per bag. Anyone want to buy Bo, Junior, or Jim (or any of the other senior residents) a bag of senior feed to keep them happy during the long winters?

Jim during a storm a few years back


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Where's Skippy

Skippy has decided that he wants to travel in 2017. He's already starting to schedule his trips and getting his itinerary together. He wants you to enjoy his "vacations" too!

Every month, Skippy is going to go "somewhere" although we won't share all the details. Skippy wants you to guess where he's at. No answer is wrong, he simply wants you to guess where he's at and see what everyone comes up with.

Skippy is planning on "vacation" next week and will go on vacation every month. This is a guessing game and we want to see you'r guesses.

So here are the rules:

Every month, Skippy will go somewhere and will post a picture every day he is on "vacation". All you have to do is comment on each location for that week. Your answer does not have to be right, we just want to see your guesses. Each time you guess, your name will be entered into a drawing for that month. Whoever wins that month will have their name entered in to the big drawing at the end of the year. There WILL be a prize for the end of the year although the prize is TBD at the moment.

So, tell your friends, tell your coworkers, tell your family. The more guesses, the funner it'll be. 

I'll try to refine the rules (or at least reword them so they make more sense) and repost them. But for now, wanted to share!

Tuesday Senior Care Tips

The following is from Standlee Hay Company and is for all horses young and old:

Winter Tips for Taking Care of Your Horse

Imagine living in a field of grilled cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. That's literally what the summer months are like for your horse. It's easy to forget how much pasture grass can play a role in your horse's diet until the snow starts to fall. As winter sets in and the pasture grass starts to disappear, there's 3 key factors that will play a role in our horse's health: Water, fiber and essential nutrients


Often one of the biggest concerns of dehydration is impaction colic. This form of colic is mainly caused by your horse becoming dehydrated because it consumes less water. During the winter, horses consume less water because of cooler temperatures (no sweating), less water availability (frozen ponds, cold water, etc.) and a diet of hay (10% water content) instead of pasture (80% water content).
The first step is providing your horse enough water to drink. An adult horse (1000 pounds) in a cool, comfortable environment that is not working or lactating requires a minimum of 5 – 10 gallons of fresh clean water per day.
But here's the thing about horses: When it comes to water, their European roots start to show. Horses do not like ice in their water. During winter, many owners notice their horses becoming dehydrated, despite the fact that they've provided their four-legged friends all the H20 they can drink. When a horse drinks cold water, it causes their bodies to become colder. This means they have to expend additional calories to heat their bodies back up. Horses will naturally drink less water if it's too cold. Warming water using insulated or heated buckets will allow your horse to drink more. Research has shown that horses drink the most water when the water temperature is between 45 and 70ยบ F.


During the winter months, fiber plays an even larger role in a horse's diet. Fiber obtained from hay is necessary to keep the digestive system of your horse functioning properly which helps your horse keep warm during cold weather. Without enough fiber, horses literally become possessed beavers. They'll start gnawing the wood off anything from fence post to bedding in order to make up for their lack of fiber.
Horses should be eating at least 1.5% of their body weight in fiber per day. That means about 15 pounds for a normal, 1,000 pound horse. If the fiber is high quality, your horse can consume up to 3% of their body weight per day (30 pounds for 1,000 pound horse). That's why here at Standlee, we carefully manage every aspect of the growing and harvesting process to ensure our fiber is of the highest caliber.

Essential Nutrients

In order to stay happy and healthy, your horse also needs protein, trace minerals and vitamins. Pastures are often a great source of these essential nutrients for your horse, but during the winter, most pastures will disappear.
A common source of supplemental protein, vitamins and minerals comes from fortified grain concentrates. However, when choosing a product, it's crucial that you choose the feed that is intended for your type of horse. For example, if you have a pregnant mare, you should select a feed that is intended for pregnant mares, not "senior" horses. This is why each product page on the Standlee website lists the intended horse type for every one of our products.
The next critical factor in choosing a grain concentrate is making sure you are feeding the recommended amount. If you're feeding 1/3 of the amount recommended, your horse is getting exactly 1/3 of the intended nutrients. If you feel the amount of feed recommended is too much (i.e. your horse is gaining too much weight), you should feed your horse a more concentrated product. More concentrated products are called "supplement pellets" or "balancer pellets." They're designed to be fed at much lower rates but are still fortified to provide your horse with adequate nutrients.
If you're not 100% sure how much forage your horse requires, check out our improved feed calculator. We've carefully designed this free-to-use tool to take into account several key characteristics of your horse so you know how much feed you should be providing your four-legged friend.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Quiet Weekend

A fairly quiet weekend. We were able to enjoy the day off Monday. It was a busy weekend but I'm not exactly sure what all we did.

We had a load of hay scheduled to pick up this weekend and went ahead and put hay in to the big pen. We also put a bale out for me to dole out to the ponies. Luckily the ponies aren't going through the hay as quickly as the rest of the herd. It's amazing to realize the generosity of family. My hay guy is my uncle and he let us borrow his truck and trailer to haul a load of hay home. I'm still waiting for the bill but it's so much easier to use his trailer than to use ours, which only holds three and Mike is still trying to get it all fixed up. He had to put a hole new floor in it and didn't finish before winter hit. I'm hoping he'll get back to it but until it's needed and its' an emergency, I dont' see that happening. Such is the life. 

But because I'm tired of looking at white and brown, I figured I'd post some pictures from a few years ago when we went to the Black Hills. Of course all my pictures are old because my latest pictures are stuck on my phone or on a flash drive that I need to find again in my house, which is always a disaster.

But for now, hope you enjoy the pictures.

A few from the Sanctuary

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Back to January 2011. The three wearing blankets are all gone to greener pastures with the sun shining on them. Our South Dakota winters are tough on the older horses so we do everything we can to ensure they stay warm on those bitterly cold days.



Brego and Sam