Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Comfort Horse

When we first moved into our acreage, the neighbor had horses. In the long run, we acquired three of the four. I was always in love with the appaloosa, who we ended up picking up at auction and renamed Queen.

I've been missing Queen a lot lately. She was my go-to comfort horse for when I was down in the dumps. She just knew when something was wrong and would try and make me feel better. I remember having her out on the lawn grazing and she saw me. I'm sure I was in tears over something. And she stopped what she was doing and walked right up to me so that I could cry into her thin mane.

I've been missing that kind of support and comfort lately. Queen has been gone since just after my first child was born. It was September 2012 when I lost her. I never realized I needed a go-to comfort horse like her. A go-to horse for riding but one to comfort you, that's what I really needed.

But I think I may have another go-to comfort horse and I didn't even know it.


When she first came, she'd been bounced around a little bit and at her previous home, she'd had to defend her self to even get food. Her owner wanted to do right by her and rehome her because she just wasn't happy. I think that experience made her very angry. It took months of constant food in front of her to have her come down from that experience. Moving from one owner to another and learning their routine and learning their herd is traumatic. I figure any horse that does come on to the Sanctuary has the right to be grumpy, and Lace, she was grumpy.

But I always allow them time to get used to me, the other horses, and my routine. Yes, I like my routine. So Lace has been with us for over a year now and little by little her anger disappeared. She's spent a lot of time ignoring everyone with her head buried in a bale. I figured I'd let her come around whenever she was ready. We don't push our horses and don't really expect anything of them after they reach a certain age. The old saying "Respect your elders" is true even for the four-legged.

She's been retired now from a riding horse and a broodmare and she's finally showing her charm.

The other night I was upset over one thing or another. Sanctuary work is stressful and never easy. It's not just a title or a job. It's about the living beings that we are caring for. These animals are not objects that can be thrown around. So it weighs heavily on me some days. As I was standing at the pasture fence watching the mares and Junior, Lace came up. I decided to crawl through the fence and hang out with her. And that's when I realized, Lace may very well be my next to-go comfort horse. I think she knew I was upset and wanted to make me feel better. She didn't move a muscle as I fiddled with her and talked with her about nonsense stuff.

But then I realized I felt better. I'm sure I could have cried my eyes out in her mane and she wouldn't have moved. So I think I finally have my go-to comfort horse again. Every girl should have a comfort horse. They might not me the same as their go-to horse but a comfort horse is an amazing animal and I hope that everyone gets to experience a comfort horse at least once in their life.


As a mom, when you're child is not feeling well, you worry. It's the same with horses. I'm worried about Bo. I have been noticing lately that he's off. He still powers through his grain and I know he's getting time at the bale but he's still off.

I think I know the reason.

He lost his best friend. Not entirely but Zeke is now friends with Lightening and Lightening is not overly friendly to everyone else. He's still figuring out his pecking order but he's much higher than I would have assumed.

But because Lightening chose Zeke, Bo is out. Those two hate each other. But because Bo is on the outs, he's depressed. It used to be Zeke and Bo and they were inseparable. Now, not so much.

Bo was looking half way decent with his nightly grain ration and weight supplement but he seems to be losing weight. He was doing pretty well until recently. What changed? Lightening.

So I'm going to have to figure out what to do to boost Bo's moral. His depression is getting worse. I guess I'll be spending some quality time with Bo and see if that helps any. He's starting to shed out like crazy so maybe a good grooming will help with his moral. It's always so difficult to know what to do when one of the horses gets depressed.

For now, I'll do some extra pampering on Bo and see if that helps any. If not, I'll have to figure something out because I hate watching one of my "kids" be depressed.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Blizzard That Wasn't

The blizzard that was so hyped up about, fizzled out. I’m glad that the weathermen broadcasted as much and made it known but there’s going to be paybacks on that one (at least for the paying job). The blizzard was supposed to hit about 6pm Thursday night and it really did hit. I’d put some blankets on earlier in the day but ran out of time. When I went out to do chores that evening, the winds had picked up and the snow was driving and painful.

I’m still a few blankets short and some of the ones we used are starting to show their wear and tear. We’ve gotten a few over the past years that have helped offset the cost of blankets and its’ greatly appreciated. I love throwing Brego’s blanket on. It’s fun to turn him into a zebra when the weather gets bad!

I had contemplated putting horses into the barn but figured with a round bale with alfalfa in it would suffice. But when I went out later in the evening to check (yes, I was that worried), I threw a couple of alfalfa bales to make them happy. I don’t like having grumpy horses. A grumpy horse equals a grumpy me.

But as Friday started, the winds were still terrible but the snow had stopped. The horses didn’t seem any worse for wear. I probably should have pulled blankets but its’ a crap shoot on when and some mornings I only have a few minutes and I hate pulling blankets when there’s still a chill in the air.

I had heard rumblings about more snow this week but I haven’t really paid much attention to the weather after the “blizzard” hit. I’ve been trying to get a few things wrapped up in the house that will make life easier in the long run for the summer months. Oh what I would give for a maid or even a bigger house so I could stuff some of this junk into a couple of rooms and forget about it. My house constantly looks like a toy factory blew up. We have toys (and books) everywhere. But anyone with small kids will understand the paroles of toys. Luckily we haven’t hit the Lego stage … yet.

I was hoping that everyone was getting over strep throat and influenza a. What little lasting side effects I have are almost gone but now my youngest seems to be off. It’s weird how you just know that something is wrong…both with kids and horses. I guess that’s the joys you experience when living and working with them day in and day out.

I’m hoping for a quiet week to get back on track and get refocused. I’m struggling but hope that with the longer days, I can maybe get something (ANYTHING) accomplished at this point.

February 25, 2007 - Ten Years Ago

It’s been ten years and the ache is still there.

February 25, 2007 I lost my first horse, my dream horse.  Ten years later, the hole he left behind is still there. I have very few regrets in my person life. In my Sanctuary life, those regrets continue to pile up. On February 25, 2007, was one of those regrets that made me change how I would care for the older horses of the Sanctuary.

My biggest regret was not being there when my first horse died. He had his best friend standing over him but I was not with him. I was not there to say goodbye and to reassure him that I would meet him again some day. I regret that he left this world at night, in the dark and cold. I regret that he didn’t have the sun shining on his back with a belly full of green grass.

After his loss, I vowed that I would never let another of our horses pass away without me by their side. I made the decision then, that instead of letting nature take its course that I would assist when the time came. South Dakota winters are tough and unpredictable. They take a toll even on the healthiest of horses. The older and weaker horses struggle and need more attention. For that reason, I vowed that any horse that was in my care would leave this earth not in the dead of winter if I could control it.

I watch the horses closely and can always tell when the inevitable is nearing. There’s usually months of stress and then weeks of tears before the final day. But always that final day is in the fall. Perhaps there isn’t a lot of green grass left and perhaps the sun isn’t shining on their backs but at least it’s not cold and snowy.

Ten years ago was a wakeup call. I was sitting in this very room when I found out. Devastation and remorse. The what-ifs will always bother me.

I learned a lot from that old ranch horse who’d traveled far. He taught me patience, perseverance, and persistence. Not many have the opportunity to say that their very first horse ever was their dream horse. I did. And the hole in my heart is still there from his passing. We will meet again some day but hopefully in the meantime I can provide a soft landing for others that deserve it and you can welcome them when they are no longer on this earth.

Ten years and counting.

Tiny Dictator - May 21, 1979 to February 25, 2007

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Where's Skippy - Bonus Day 6

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Friday!

Where's Skippy - Day 5

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Switching to a Blizzard Warning

I'm not sure if it feels like a storm is coming because I KNOW there's a storm coming or if there really is something in the air. I'm guessing it's because I know. I hoped online right away this morning and sure enough, the Blizzard Watch switched to a Blizzard Warning. Umm, that's pretty quick changes in just 12 hours.

I'm working from home at the paying job, the one perk of the paying job anyway. It's a scheduled work from home type of day so I may be taking my lunch break to scramble around and do some of my chores before the snows start to fly. I didn't blanket anyone last night because it was just too darn warm out. I'm sure by noon the temps will drop and I'll be busting my butt to get some of the hard keepers blanketed and prepped for the upcoming snow. Hopefully it doesn't start snowing before then.

At least we had some beautiful weather before the snows started falling. I did hear a rumor that there's another storm on the back burner to hit us early next week. Too bad we need yet another load of hay. I was afraid that when we picked up the load last month, that it wouldnt' be enough. Nope, it only goes one month. 11 bales just dont' go nearly as far as I wish they would...and they are the big bales too. Such is the life. Now if only those bales were paid for.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday to spring of 2013. 2013 was probably the roughest year in my life but the pictures don't show the heartache. It shows how much the horses helped get through the rough patches.

I am ready for spring...and so are the horses!

Where's Skippy - Day 4

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Upgraded to Blizzard

The Winter Storm Warning that was issued for tomorrow night into Friday was cancelled and they upgraded it to a Blizzard Warning. Umm.. WHAT?!?! It's 60 degrees out right now and in 24-36 hours we'll be dealing with a blizzard. Super.

Mike is on travel yesterday and today for training (for his paying job). I'm hoping that he can get home early enough for me to wrap up a few projects outside before the blizzard hits. Luckily the paying job is a work from home day tomorrow so I can sneak out on my lunch break and maybe throw some lightweight sheets and blankets on horses.

Ugh, South Dakota in the "spring" and it's not even spring yet!

Weather Scenarios

So we are in lovely warm temps right now and starting tomorrow we are going into a snow storm.

Mike just sent me an email from his work with three different scenarios for how much snow we are going to get:

Best Scenario = 7 inches
Most Likely Scenario = 13 inches
Worst Case Scenario = 18 inches

They were saying worst case probably wont' happen but I think they are required to predict it. On top of the snow, we'll also have wind, which is normal for South Dakota. But it'll be 40-45mph wind. Oh goodie!

I'm not really sure what to do. They aren't talking temps, they are just talking about the amount of snow. But if the temps drop, and the horses get wet, then we are in trouble. So I'm going to have to watch the radar like a hawk the next 24 hours to decide what to do. Some of the blankets are too heavy. I may be stalling some and finding sheets or lightweight blankets for those that I cant' risk getting wet and chilled.

At least the temps wont' plummet too drastically...talking 60 degree swing or anything. But it's going to be enough to be a wake up call for some (including me). I'm sure glad we put hay in Monday so that we are primed and ready for whatever weather comes our way.

Only in South Dakota can you have 60 degree weather one day, snow, and then a 40 degree shift in temps...all with the sun shining and the snow falling from the sky.

It does make life interesting.

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday: This Wednesday, we wish for Thank You cards. We always try our best to thank our supporters and donors and the best way to do that is by sending Thank You cards.

Any size, any shape, any color. Thank You Cards are always needed.


Church where I got married


Where's Skippy - Day 3

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Influenza A

I was officially diagnosed with Influenza A last Friday but it's been since the Friday before that I've been dealing with Influenza A. My son caught it first and then me and that's left us both down and out for over a week now. Never mind the week before with strep throat.

We've mostly been hanging out, watching movies, and keeping quiet to recover as quickly as possible. I'd lived through most of it without going in to the doctors so there wasn't anything they could do for me other than cough syrup with codeine. So, until it runs its course, I'll be slow in getting anything done. So much for any fundraisers getting off the ground.

The weather has been gorgeous but being sick, it made it even harder to get anything done. I'd wanted to do a few things but not having much energy squashed those ideas. But I had to keep reminding myself that this is February! It's not mid April, it's mid-February and we shouldn't be experiencing this type of weather...not yet anyway. I've already heard and seen a robin and the geese have been flying overhead for the past week straight. It's fun to watch the geese but I'm a little surprised.

Hopefully this isnt' a sign that spring/summer will be here sooner than expected. We need the moisture and I am not ready for another drought.

But the weatherman is calling for the temps to drop back to normal and another snowstorm on the way. I have been ignoring the weather because it's been so nice but I think I better pay attention so I know if I need to stall anyone so they don't get chilled.

I'm playing catchup at the paying job after being gone for half the week. I did bare minimum on chores and that's going to bite me in the butt. But when you're the only one caring for the horses even when you're down and out with a flu, you do what you have to and make up for it later.

So I guess we'll see how the week progresses. Here's to hoping no one else gets sick.

Where's Skippy - Day 2

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Where's Skippy - Day 1

Skippy is traveling to romantic locations around the world. Can you guess where Skippy is traveling today? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to be entered into the drawing. Any guess gets you entered.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Ramblings

I've been down for almost a week now with influenza a. It's slowed progress on everything. The worst part is that my oldest caught influenza a (along with strep throat), so our house is a germ fest party.

It's absolutely gorgeous out and I dont have any energy to do much. So much to do and yet, I dont' even know where to begin any more. Start small I know but I have all these projects that require others to help...and at this point, I'm making sure the help is staying away.

So Im not sure how long I'll be quiet around here. The horses are enjoying the warm weather. I just kicked them out to the pasture so Mike coudl get in with the tractor and scrape the drylot and get it cleaned up before it starts to rain or snow or temps drop. 

I need to move the mares and Junior but it's only mid-February. But they are starting to tear up the pasture, which is where they will go this spring/fall. I guess we'll be reseeding it but it hurts my feeligns to see it get torns up. But the alternative is to put the in the muddy pen and with Rabbit's shoulder, it's not an option. She may end up going in with the ponies when we do switch them over to the pen. 

I was not ready for this warm weather. I want to start on projects but it's mid-Feruary and we still have at least two months of winter to go. So I guess we'll see how far I get...if anywhere. Trying to take it easy so I'm not out of commission longer.

All my fundraising ideas got put on hold when the kiddos started getting sick. It's been a month of sickness at our house. Hopefully I can get something put together soon. Money goes out faster than it comes in...but that's the case for everyone I'm afraid.

Where's Skippy in February

In honor of Valentine's Day, Skippy has decided he's going to travel to romantic locations around the world this week. He's planning on leaving bright and early Monday and he'll visit romantic places through the week.

Each day Skippy will post a picture on Facebook of him in front of a romantic location, somewhere around the world. All you have to do is leave a comment on the Sanctuary's Facebook page on where you think Skippy is at that day. You don't have to be right, you just have to leave a comment.

Each time you guess, you'll be entered into a drawing. Whoever wins the February drawing will go into the big drawing at the end of the year.

So, stop on over to the Sanctuary's Facebook page and leave a comment each day this week. Hope to see some really good guesses!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Farrier Visit and Rabbit Prognosis

Last week we had our new farrier out to trim up some of the horses that were long overdue for a trim. I wanted to try a new farrier as our old farrier is looking to retire and was doing trims mostly as a favor. I'd slowly taken most of the horses off his route anyway but that meant that I needed someone to handle the more "challenging" horses, that is those that have ailments that cause them pain. It's not that my old farrier wasnt' good but knowing that he was looking to retire, I wanted to find someone who wouldn't mind tackling the Sanctuary horses. As I am finding out, if you don't have horses that stand perfectly still, many farriers wont' touch them. I don't blame them one bit, but finding a good farrier is hard.

And did we find a good one!!!!

Those that were trimmed last Saturday fell in LOVE with our new farrier. Usually there's a little bit of dancing and pawing. Quiet. Calm. Wonderful. Even Dude who is normally a jerk was on his best behavior. It could very well be that our new farrier is a woman and because I'm typically the only one handling the horses, they respond better to women. Or, our new farrier is just that awesome. Either way, I'll take it.

So the first horse up was Rabbit. She's been off on the right front for awhile now. And when I saw "off" I mean dead lame. I'd had the vet out last year to do x-rays and found nothing in her foot to show she had anything wrong. I had suspected laminitis or ring bone. Nope. The vet said her feet look perfect. There was nothing wrong with them. Well, now what?!?! He suggested she just needed a really good and regular trim (i.e., the polite way of saying be more consistent with her trims). But she's always been a handful for trims. But there in lies the problem....she wouldn't stand still and would pull her foot away almost immediately.

So the new farrier tested her feet out and knew that she only had 20 seconds on the "good" foot because Rabbit was putting all her weight on the "bad" foot. After doing a trim on the "bad" foot, our farrier concluded that the lameness has nothing to do with her feet. Although slightly irregular and not cosmetically looking pretty, there was nothing wrong with either her two front feet.

What's wrong with her then?!!? Her shoulders!!! Where along her assorted life, she somehow hurt her shoulders and that pain is conveying itself in her feet when she's walking. So the lameness has nothing to do with her feet but all in her shoulders. I'd been giving her a Vitamin E supplement because she always acted like she was a touch me not and any time you touched her she'd flinch...not out of worry but out of pain.

The farrier touched Rabbit's withers and kept light pressure on until Rabbit shook, like a horse would after getting up from rolling. The pressure wasn't that much or that long before she'd shake. So it's all in her shoulders. Now the question is what to do.

I need to do some research, and haven't had time yet (been sick with this weird bug and have had sick kids). But do I have a chiropractor work on her (although at this point, I think it would be too much), get her a massage and see if even the muscles could relax enough, or try acupuncture. I tried acupuncture once before on Dude but the experience didn't go well for multiple reasons. But this being Rabbit and not Dude, I wonder if she'd benefit from it. I'd like another opinion but after the farrier and taking Lightening in for a float, the money isn't there yet to do any exploratory testing on her. So for now, I'll start my research and see what comes of it. I know she'd welcome a thorough grooming or massage. Does anyone want to give Rabbit a massage for Valentine's Day?

So I think our farrier is a keeper! After the quick prognosis she did on Rabbit, Rabbit was relaxed and even took a step towards her. Which she normally doesn't do. It was a pleasure to see Rabbit relaxed and WANT to be in someone's space.

The other trims went well. I was a little worried about Dude because of his hips but he behaved like a gentleman. I about fell over because he wasn't a jerk. Lightening was the only one that didn't behave as well. But that's a matter of figuring him out. Although he allows me to pick up his feet, he apparently has never had his feet trimmed. So it'll be something to work on with him. He's also not used to multiple people working on him. He got nervous when the farrier was working near him. It's the same nervousness that he showed when I first hauled him for practice. So I guess I'll need to start working on desensitizing him to other things...and people. I had hoped more from him, but as I look at Mayhem, I have done the same to her...not exposing her to much and she's the youngest in the Sanctuary.

But overall, it was a great experience and I learned a lot. I am looking forward to next month when we tackle some of the other Sanctuary horses.

Spring Fever

It's way too early but.... I'm getting spring fever. Of course it could be the terrible cold/flu bug that I caught that is causing me to be a bit feverish. But I digress.

The other day I was out doing chores and I heard a robin. It's February. In fact, it rained just three or four days before Valentine's Day. How crazy is that? Rain instead of snow?! But I did see and hear that robin and I've heard him since then as well. I guess this is what global warming is all about.

I also noticed that the geese are starting to fly. The geese just started flying this week. I thought it a bit odd but put that in conjunction with the robin, maybe we are headed for a dry and hot summer. I hope that we get enough rain. I'm not in a position to try and deal with another drought. I'm barely hanging on after the drought we had a few years back that wiped my entire pasture out and forced us to buy over inflated hay prices for the fall and winter.

But I'm getting antsy. I guess it has to do with the fact that it's supposed to be almost 60 degrees by this weekend. There's no snow left unless it's in a pile or it turned into ice. My barn is subsequently flooding. But I'll deal with the flooding it if helps dry out the place sooner. I hate mud. We need to figure out when to pick up another load of hay. We mad a mad dash a month or so ago but only had time for one load. Now that it's super muddy, I'm afraid it's going to be difficult to get back to where we load our hay. It's a field tucked away behind another field with no approach. It's a field I've spent years riding in and know the terrain well. It's fun to know which field your hay comes out of, even if you dont' get to ride in much in that area any more. I spent my teenage years riding all through the fields and used to know all the hills and valleys and what was crossable and what needed to be avoided. Oh for those days again.

I friend mentioned that they saw someone posting that they would like to come out and help with horse chores. Well, that's fine and dandy but what people want to do with horses is exactly what I want to do with the horses. Play, groom, ride...not muck stalls, fix fence, trudge through mud and deal with hay in unmentionable places. It's a bit of a sore spot for me for some reason. We do need the help in getting the cockleburs and knots out of the horses's manes and tails but I also have to juggle my work life, Sanctuary life, and personal life and can't exactly do that around someone else's schedule. At some point hopefully we'll be set up for a volunteer day to come and play with the horses, until then it'll be willy nilly and when it works for me (apparently we run a lot more than I realized).

Hopefully as the days continue to get longer, I can spend more time outside and get a few minor projects started and hopefully finished. Little steps is all I can do on these projects but little progress is better than no progress I suppose.

Throwback Thursday


Throwback Thursday is to last spring (or maybe it was the year before), waiting for spring. The horses were ready for spring back then and they are as ready for spring this year too!

Oh for green grass.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wishlist Wednesday

Jim and Bo

Our Wishlist Wednesday item are tires. We need lots of tires. What type of tires are you asking? Tires for wheelbarrows and for our two little yellow wagons. You can get them at TSC for about $10-12 dollars. After about a year, the tires go flat. I've run them even flat and have ended up shredding them.

We have tried everything from putting in new tubes, to fill-a-flat, to anything you could think of but the tires only last a year. We have plenty of wheelbarrows and wagons and with almost all of them out of commission due to flat tires, we could use tires to make life easier!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day

Ivan and Brego

Ivan and Brego

Brego, Zeke, and Ivan

The Herd

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Recap

We had a somewhat busy time at the Sanctuary, well more busy than the previous few weeks.

Our new farrier came out Saturday morning to trim up a few horses that were in desperate need of a trim. Discovered that Rabbit's issue isn't her feet at all (although the x-rays had said that before but didn't leave me with any answers). Also discovered that Lightening has a very high abscess. Good thing I have to switch to Rain for the Tri State Horse Expo performance in March. I was going to switch anyway; Lightening isn't mentally ready for the Expo just yet and Rain has been there before. Now to get him into shape. I forget how spoiled I am. I rode Rain for about 2 minutes back in October and I can't remember the last time I rode him before that. After a few little hitches it was like we'd been riding together for years. I love how well the Sanctuary horses adjust and trust.

It rained almost all day Saturday. It started with a drizzle and turned into rain. When does it rain in February?!?! I had hoped to put in hay Saturday but it was already way to muddy and with the added rain, there was no chance.

I even parked the truck and trailer on dry-ish ground Saturday afternoon in hopes that the ground would freeze. I had almost gotten stuck at the drill team practice arena. Luckily the ground did freeze. I went out half way early Sunday morning to do chores and get the truck and trailer put away. We also were able to get the hay in. By the time Mike was done putting in hay, the ground was getting too soft for the tractor. Timing is everything.

Everyone is still sick at our house. I thought the antibiotics were helping everyone but now it seems that although strep throat is leaving the building, a terrible cold has entered. So we'll see how much I get done this week. Mike is out of town overnight Tuesday which doesn't really mean too much but just a few added chores for me. I'm one for routine and it's not routine when he's gone for training. It means juggling chores and making sure everything is taken care of ahead of time.

I'll write more about our experience with the new farrier. She's a keeper!!! And the horses love her. And I'll write more about what we found out about Rabbit. Not really sure where to go from here with her.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Taking It for Granted

Our entire house as succumbed to strep throat. I would like to think  that having an entire house of sick people has slowed our progress on getting stuff done around the place, but I don't think I can blame it on being sick.

I'm heading out soon to haul Lightening to the vet for a float. Lets hope that he loads into the trailer easier than before. I forget on a daily basis that the horses at the Sanctuary are awesome. And when I say awesome.. I really mean it.  I point  at a trailer, and they load. I drag a blanket out, and they stand without being tied. I grab a brush, and they walk u p to me. Horses dont' get that way overnight. But I forget. Lightening has only been at the Sanctuary (he's my personal horse) for a little over a month and I havent' had time to mess with him much. He's reminding me that I shouldn't take everything the horses do for granted.

I didn't realize I was so spoiled. I guess it's a trust thing. I trust them, they trust me. Any time  I load them into a trailer, it doesn't mean anything other than a trip to the vet or to a different pasture for a little while. Well, in Lightening's case, it's to drill team practice. But they always come home. I take it for granted that they won't be snots when I ask them to do something.

Lightening is reminding me daily that what I have with the Sanctuary horses isn't always the same for everyone else. I remember walking out the pasture to show the horses off and someone thought I needed a halter and lead rope to bring them in. Umm...what? why? Oh, yeah. Because most herds of horses don't come at a run when you yell "Come on boys". Mine do. I yell that three or four times and they all come at a slow lope or a trot into the pen to get their treats and a good night visit. I'm sure some if it has to do with routine but not always. Sometimes in the summer when I have them come in from pasture and lock them in for the night (to help ease the strain on the pasture), not everyone comes in for the night. It's a battle of wills at that point and I usually let them "win" but the next time, they come in with no problem.

But I forget often that not everyone has that. Of course the horses at the Sanctuary aren't button pushers. Dude is but otherwise they are all fairly laid back and dont' want to try and tests their boundaries. And even Dude is getting to be less of a button pusher as age sets in (he's 20 this year). There's a ton of horses that test their owners on a daily basis but we don't have those types of horses. I guess that's why I hand pick the ones that do come in. And being older, they are already set in their ways and not young and feisty and trying to figure things out on their own. The older horses seem to simply appreciate a full belly and a place to sleep at night. Some of them have been bounced around so I wonder if they don't simply appreciate the routine without the worry of learning new routines every few months.

Each horse has a story and each has to learn to trust. It's a new experience having a younger horse (10 years old) at the Sanctuary and seeing how they adapt to our routines. Lightening is reminding me to not take what the Sanctuary horses are giving me (their trust) for granted.

Throwback Thursday

Our Throwback Thursday is to 2011 when we offered Dick the Percheron a home. We'd brought Dick home in March after a winter where he'd lost his teammate, Don. His owner's health was ailing so we offered to help them out. 
In fact, I remember seeing Dick and Don when I was younger and our family would head to Sioux Falls. I would drool over the two gray Percherons standing out in the pasture. Little did I know that I would be honored with the care of one of these Percherons for the remainder of his life. It's odd how life puts you in certain places.

Unfortunately, Dick was only with us for a few short months. He was 28 years old and the years had taken its toll on him. With with the loss of his teammate, we ended up having to say goodbye to him in August 2011. He was a sweet gentleman that in his hayday was the pride of his owner. 

Although we only had the honor of caring for him for a few short months, he made an impact on our lives.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joining Forces

I am feeling a little disappointed right now. I shouldn't because I have so many people watching out for us, and thinking about us. But some days what I see simply takes the wind right out of my sails.

I understand that there is only so much money in the world; only so much time people can dedicate to certain activities; there is only so much. Being a mom of two small kids, running a Sanctuary single handedly and caring for all 17 horses, working a full time job to cover the costs of said Sanctuary, running a saddle club, and participating in a drill team, I get that there is only so much. And yet, I am dumbstruck by people not coming together instead of trying  to stick it out on their own. Lord knows I have tried. We are a greater force, if we band together and yet, unless it is their way, it is impossible.

I realize that some  things are an impossibility. I am the sole caretaker of the Sanctuary horses so not everything is as easy as others presume. It's always easy looking from the outside in. I am always interested in hearing how I can make the Sanctuary better. Positive critiques are always welcome. But I dont' understand why as a horse industry, we don't band together and become a bigger voice.

I know South Dakota is a pro-slaughter state but there are people like me, like the Sanctuary that want to respect our old horses, want to save horses from slaughter. I just wish that we could join forces and be a gigantic force rather than trying to go it alone.

Up to a point,  I am willing to share my information. The point where I stop sharing my information is when the asker becomes an abuser of my information and wants only my information and isn't willing to return the favor.

Sanctuary and rescue work is a tricky business. Sanctuary even more because there is no major rescues, there is no major push to "save" them from the slaughter pipeline. The heartstrings aren't as strong.

I guess I'm just a bit grumpy today for reasons I won't share...at least not on the blog. Lets hope I get over this funk and let what's bothering me go. You cannot change people.

Wishlist Wednesday

Out Wishlist Wednesday item is Equi-Seq for Rabbit. She needs the supplement to combat her vitamin E deficiency. We've tried other vitamin E supplements but only this one seems to work. She gets extreme sore muscles if she's not on this supplement every day. We originally thought she was simply a touch-me-not kind of horse but came to find out it was a deficiency instead.

We have to purchase the big bottle of Equi-Seq from the vet. I can't remember the exact cost but I think a jar runs about $60. On the bright side, the jar lasts a long time. We've been giving her this supplement for a few months are are just now getting down on it.

If you dont want to purchase the supplement, do you want to consider a massage for Rabbit instead? I think she's benefit from a good massage to get rid of the sore muscles. I know she's relaxed considerably when I've worked on her. It's always fun to watch her relax and start to feel better.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

No Dramatic Extremes

I was reading the Horse and Man blog today and they were talking about their January Bucket Fund.


They were fundraising in January for The Golden Carrot, a retirement home for old horses. Very similar to us and the more I read about them, very similar thinking as well.

Unfortunately, they didn't reach their goal of reaching $2,625. Why you ask...not because there aren't generous people out there but for the fact that this Sanctuary like ours don't cry "the truck is coming" or even get involved in major rescue efforts. Running a Sanctuary is slightly different than running a rescue. There's no high drama, there's no major rescues. There's simply one or two old horses needing a soft place to land.

Here's the response from The Golden Carrot about their January Bucket Fund that they received:

Thank you Dawn, and would you please convey to your Horse & Man followers our deep appreciation? This will go a LONG way to providing for the oldsters here at The Golden Carrot, so often forgotten and dismissed after a lifetime of service. Here at the Golden Carrot we don’t do a lot of dramatic extreme things. We provide a peaceful sanctuary where the needs and desires of the horses come first. It’s not about what they can do for us, anymore. It’s what we can do for them. Because we don’t get horses too often from dramatic situations, we don’t get the big exciting donations; because we don’t adopt the horses out, we don’t get adoption fees. So gifts like this mean everything! Being able to provide a full belly, vet and farrier work as needed, occasional treat (yes, carrots EVERY day!), and occasional extras such as shavings in a muddy stall, is all we really do, leaving the horses time together to heal themselves and live the life Mother Nature intended them to live from the start. I’ve been so happy when a horse has years here, but sometimes it’s only a few, and in a couple of sad cases, it was only a few months. Little enough after all they’ve given us, right? Giving their stories a forum on your site, and raising money to help them, makes you and your supporters golden, in my view – I can’t thank you enough for helping The Golden Carrot horses!

They said it correctly...these horses are often forgotten and dismissed after a  lifetime of service. When  people stop out to the Sanctuary, they see horses and think  they are viable riding horses. Age doesn't always show on some of the horses, nor does their physical limitations. We have these horses for a reason, because no one else wanted to take on their ailments and physical limitations.

They said it best "we don’t do a lot of dramatic extreme things. We provide a peaceful sanctuary where the needs and desires of the horses come first. It’s not about what they can do for us, anymore. It’s what we can do for them. Because we don’t get horses too often from dramatic situations, we don’t get the big exciting donations; because we don’t adopt the horses out, we don’t get adoption fees."

I couldn't have said it better.

So, please don't forget the old horses, who have served their owners and only ask for a soft place to land in their golden years, even if their golden years are only days or months, rather than years.

Valentine's Challenge

It's hard to miss that Valentine's Day is next week. The horses have been feeling a bit left out and were hoping YOU could help. Would you be willing to send our Sanctuary horses a Valentine card? Even better would be money to go into those cards. $5 buys a bale of hay for a day for a Sanctuary horse. But the horses would simply be happy for a Valentine card to hang on their stall. 

Anyone interested in sending a Valentine to one of our 16 Sanctuary horses?

Dude, Chaos, Brego, Ivan, Maverick, Jim, Junior, Bo, Zeke, Skippy, Tommy, Rabbit, Mayhem, Lace, King, and Rain.

You can send cards to:
Borderlands Horse Sanctuary
26160 457th Ave
Humboldt, SD 57035

Senior Tip Tuesday

Another great article from TheHorse.com about supplements on your old horses.


Researchers Test Joint Supplement's Impact on Old Horses

Most equestrians agree that a good equine schoolmaster is nothing short of sacred. Their experience and maturity make them trusted teachers, valuable competitive partners, and hands-down barn favorites. But by the time a horse is 15 to 20 years old, the natural aging process makes them vulnerable to stiffness and lameness due to arthritis development.
But senior horse owners might have something to celebrate: Findings from a recent study showed that a supplement containing resveratrol and hyaluronic acid (Equithrive Joint) appears to have anti-inflammatory effects and could potentially lower glucose levels in older horses.
“This type of supplement reduces inflammation and has antioxidant effects where it might reduce muscle leakage caused by oxidative stress,” said Mary U. Ememe, DVM, of the Ahmadu Bello University Department of Veterinary Medicine, in Nigeria.
Oxidative stress results from the production of free radicals, which are produced through normal metabolism and environmental pressures such as radiation, toxins in the air, food, water, medication, and exercise. As a horse ages, his ability to create an antioxidant defense decreases, making it more difficult for a horse to cope with oxidative stress over time.
“The anti-inflammatory property of this type of supplement compensates for an older horse’s ability to cope with oxidative stress,” Ememe added. “We looked at blood samples and found that the supplement reduced serum creatine kinase (CK). “
The team collected blood samples before the supplement was given and then weekly during the experiment. The blood samples showed a reduction in the value of CK and indicates that the supplement acted as an antioxidant.
Ememe and colleagues also found that the supplements appeared to reduce serum glucose levels. After collecting blood samples from 16 horses aged 15 to 22 years, they found that horses consuming the supplement had lower serum creatine kinase (used to diagnose and evaluate muscle damage) levels and glucose concentrations compared to horses receiving a control “supplement.”
“A reduction in glucose concentration in supplemented horses shows that the supplement is anti-hyperglycemic, because resveratrol enhances glucose transport to skeletal muscle,” she added.
Ememe said further research is needed to determine whether these effects are long-lasting or if longer treatment periods and higher doses will provide long-term success.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Musings

Another quiet weekend at the Sanctuary. We put hay in for the big herd Saturday afternoon. Even though the temps are warmer, the horses are still polishing off the hay pretty quick. This load of hay has a bit more alfalfa so the horses are going through it much faster. I was looking  at the herd last night and was a little shocked. I saw Zeke from the back end and he looked pregnant. Retirement has really done him  well! I'll have to get a picture of him from that view. He reminded  me of my old Arab that always looked pregnant when you looked at him from the back end. He had such a small frame that any weight made him look fat. I'm glad to have fat horses.

Even  Junior is looking fantastic. He's always been and always will be a hard keeper. I've learned to take him up to Madison in the spring and fall to get the best grasses before the summer grasses set in and before winter sets in. But the grain ration that he is getting seems to be dong the trick. He actually has a round  butt! I love seeing that round butt rather than the narrower butt that he's had ever since he came "home" to us. I'll have to post some pictures so you can see how fat he is. Anyone  want to sponsor him? Who doesn't want to make a horse happy!?

I have been negligent in a few areas...mostly answering email and doing paperwork. We've been pretty busy doing non Sanctuary activities. I'm hoping to sit down this week and take care of all that paperwork and answering emails. There's only so many hours in the day.

And as everyone else talks about the super bowl, we worked on the house, which will help eliminate some of the stresses I've been dealing with for the past few (six to nine) months.  With all the improvements in the house, life will get easier...at least I hope so. Progress is slow but stead and slow is better than nothing at all.

Skippy is preparing for his February travels soon. We still need to decide a winner. Hopefully we can do that this week. I had such high hopes of finding out the winner right away but life seems to get away from me these days.

I also want to discuss with you, my reader, about two of our horses. But that'll be for a later post. Not sure if it'll be a post today or sometime this week but it's something I have been wanting to discuss but needed to talk it over with my Board of Directors first. Nothing bad. In fact, it's a good thing but a little odd to discuss. At least for me personally.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhogs Day

As most have probably heard, the groundhog says six more weeks of winter. In South Dakota, it's pretty well expected to continue to have winter until mid April. At least I am not surprised if we have an April blizzard, it's happened in the past.

Last night doing chores was (as my son would say) brutal. The wind was awful. It is so hard to adjust from almost 40 degree weather to teens but wind chills in the negative numbers. I ended up putting blankets back on Rabbit and Rain. Rabbit gave me that look and Rain is so thin skinned that I knew he'd be hanging out in the leanto out of the wind if I didn't put a blanket on him.

All of the blankets are starting to look tough. From tears, to the major rips, to the "mud" all of the blankets are showing their use (and age). We could use a handful of new/used blankets. Jim keeps destroying his and I'm not a good enough seamstress to repair them. Too bad I didn't follow in my heritage and become a seamstress like other women in my family tree.

On the bright side, with the 40 degree weather, most of the snow melted. The slush turned ice isn't too bad as most of that melted as well. There are a few spots that are still tricky (mostly right where I walk to feed and water the mares and Junior). Luckily I've only fallen once on the ice this season. I'm so glad no one was around. I'll just say I was making a snow angel rather than falling!

I'm keeping a very close eye on Bo. His back end is bothering him. I noticed the other day that he was down in his stall after eating his grain. I figured he was tired. But I found him down in his stall again last night after catching his foot on the door. It was like he'd stunned his leg with catching it. He mysteriously comes up lame every once in a while. I'm guessing  with the mud/muck and now frozen ground that he twisted something and its' still sore. But I'm going to keep an eye on him.

Bo has some how gotten demoted. When I brought Lightening home, I was afraid that he wouldn't make any friends. I hate having an odd number of horses in a pen but I had to put him in with the big herd. After a week, he became Zeke's best friend. It's odd to see the pair of Arabians hanging out rather than Zeke and Bo. Now Bo is off on his own. I don't like it. But Bo hates Lightening. I still cant figure out where Lightening is in the herd. He gets pushed around but he also pushes horses around.

Lightening is no pansy. The other night when I went to do chores in the dark, I hung out around the corner and watched Lightening and Chaos interact. It's fun to watch the when they don't know I'm there.

I'm still too far behind on our fundraiser so I might have to scrap the idea. I'm bummed because even if we only raised a few dollars, it would still be more than what we have now. And we need to get our pay paid for. It's been a tough year in getting stuff together and planned. Every  night I'm asleep with the kids and cant' seem to find the time to get anything accomplished. Anyone want to take on helping me with fundraisers? I could really use the help.

Throwback Thursday

Joe not long after arriving at the Sanctuary

Throwback Thursday is to our sweet, sweet Joe. He'd been run through an auction, picked up by a rescue, adopted to a youth camp, and then discarded when his body wore out. His face showed signs of neglect when someone left the halter on too long. The rescue that pulled him from the auction apparently cut the halter off. When Joe came to us, he was hide covered over bone. He also had a neurological problem where he couldnt' walk straight. We were able to put the weight back on but could never fix the neurological problem. 

He didn't stay with us along, but he left a deep impression on my heart and soul. NEver once did he carry a grudge for all the neglect and ill will done upon him. He was a stoic gelding that deserved so much more. His final days were filled with love and grain. I only wish I could have done more.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

11th Hour

I seem to get everything accomplished at the 11th hour.  It's aggravating and frustrating to say the least. I used to be so prepared and plan everything that needs to be accomplished.   Now...not so much. Now I wing almost everything.

I wouldn't even call it procrastination. Rather, I think  it's called kids.

I am struggling to get ANYTHING  done these days. I know that life will get easier and all thing will change but I seem to be doing anything at the 11th hour, waiting until the very last minute to get everything done, which of course adds WAY more stress.

I still have four house projects that need to get done. Some of them started way back in March. No matter what, I have to have them done before summer starts.  Mike is going to start on his project sometime this spring and it'll mean nights and weekends.  So whatever DOES get done around the Sanctuary will be me doing it and it'll be me doing it after the kids go to bed at the end of the day, hopefully with a little bit of light left to get it accomplished.

I seem to be short on words today. But the idea of getting everything done at the 11th hour seems to be the new me these days. I am so far behind I'm not sure I'll even get my fundraiser up and running before it's too late. I should have been planning for months and now I'm not sure I can even do it. There's a few more fundraiser ideas I want to do but I need to focus on them and haven't had time. And if I want to do them, I should have already been planning for them...like, MONTHS ago!

So, I'll wing it like any good procrastinator and see what comes of it.

Anyone want to help me so I'm not doing everything at the very last minute?

Wishlist Wednesday

Our Wishlist Wednesday item are salt blocks. We want to keep the correct balance for the horses and salt blocks are always a necessity to help with that balance. 

The picture is of sweet Queen who left this earth in 2015. She was my go to, heart horse and could tell when something was wrong and wanted to make it better. I miss her and want to be able to open the doors for more horses like her. By helping with our weekly Wishlist Wednesdays, we are that much closer to being able to give older horses a retirement home.