Thursday, November 14, 2019

Goodbye Ransom

Poor Ransom. He was only at the Sanctuary for about two months. I didn't get a chance to really know him. He was a quiet little gelding but was in so much pain long before he came to us. Oddly enough, our farrier knew Ransom long  before we knew him. When I posted pictures of the herd on Facebook, our farrier said she'd trimmed Ransom two years ago and that he'd foundered long before that.

Sadly, by the time we got Ransom, the laminitis had gotten much more severe. He couldn't very far without being in extreme pain. He spent most of his time trying to find a soft place in the dry lot or hanging out in the pasture. He wasn't comfortable with the big herd and hung out with his best friend Diavlo or by himself.

I wish we could have done more. Or could have helped sooner. But we have to say no to so many horses and I worry about those that we say no to, what happens to them. At least we were able to say yes to Ransom. Our farrier had come out to trim him but said she couldn't do much without xrays. Sadly, we took Ransom up for xrays last Monday, November 4th knowing that they wouldn't be good.

Our amazing farrier went with to help haul horses and get an immediate answer when we saw the xrays. Truthfully, I didn't know what I was looking at other than a very painful foot. Ransom's bones had rotated and were very close to the sole of his foot. He was very close to walking on his bone.

We confirmed the xrays with our vet. Because we already had Lace's euthanasia scheduled, we'd wanted to get the xrays done on the same day and say goodbye to Ransom if the xrays showed what we were fearing. I didn't want to haul Ransom a second time in the trailer if his feet hurt as bad as I suspected. There would be times that I would walk out and he would simply stand (or be lying down), and groan in pain. I didn't think any extra traveling would be good on him. I wanted to keep his pain to a minimum.

So we said goodbye to Ransom after only two very short months. I didn't get to know him like I'd wanted. It seems unfair that he didn't get to spend more time at the Sanctuary but he was surrounded by his herd until the very end.

We made the decision to put both Ransom and Lace down in November because winter is right around the corner. With the issues facing euthanasia, we wanted to make sure they could be buried on our family land rather than going through other methods of euthanasia and removal that would cost even more than what we can afford. I am glad we have such devoted family to help with the Sanctuary.

Losing Ransom and Lace has been a hard blow to the Sanctuary. Mayhem and Jessie are not adjusting as well because they both relied on Lace. We've been watching them and Diavlo closely to make sure they don't drop too much weight and/or colic. It's always the ones left behind that we have to worry about.

Losing a horse, no matter how long they've been at the Sanctuary, be it two months, two years, or twenty years is always difficult.

God speed  Ransom. Please forgive me and I hope we meet again some day.

Ransom checking out the turned over water tank

Ransom before we brought him to the Sanctuary

Goodbye Lace

For those that don't follow us on Facebook, we put Lace down November 4th. It was so painful but I didn't think it fair to make her struggle through another winter simply because I wanted her near.

She had come to us in December 2015 with an enlarged knee, most likely from her previous career as a barrel racer. She'd turned broodmare in a second career and we welcomed her to enjoy her retirement in peace. She was with us for just shy of four years (which is about the length of time our seniors stay with us).

She came to us angry. Whatever had happened in her previous careers and life before coming to Borderlands had taken its toll. We gave her time and space and she came around very quickly. Within a couple of months she was a happy mare again, which is exactly what we want for our horses!

She enjoyed grazing and hanging out with her mare friends (as long as she was in charge). She wasn't "in love" with Junior but she liked being near him. When we lost Junior two years ago, the herd dynamic in the mare pen changed again.

As Lace's knee grew bigger and she put more weight on her other leg, the other leg started to deteriorate. It was a shock last year to see the dropped ligament. I was devastated. We gave her one extra year and she told us she was ready. Her legs were deteriorating quickly and we wanted to do what was right.

Sadly, when I opened the door to the trailer for her final ride, she pulled the lead rope out of my hand and sailed into the trailer. She was ready for a barrel race. It broke my heart. I should have been hauling her wherever she wanted to go but I had no idea she liked to travel. Of course, I think she preferred the new trailer that we bought and was excited to try it out. Sadly, it was her last right.

After we said goodbye, our farrier took her leg so that we can learn from Lace. It's a bit hard to take knowing but if we can help other horses, and others can learn from her, then I guess it's ok. We get updates as our farrier learns more about what had happened to Lace to cause the big knee.  And to find out that she was probably in severe pain and had lived like that for years makes me sad. The only consolation is that she knew love, was pampered as much as I can, and she left this earth with a full belly of grass and hay, a warm mash in her belly, and surrounded by loved ones.

You will be deeply missed Lace. May we meet again some day.

From two years ago before her legs started to really deteriorate

From three summers ago at the summer retreat

Lace from a few years ago, before her legs started to deteriorate

Monday, November 4, 2019


Nothing this weekend went as planned.

We didn't haul hay like we'd planned. It's now all sitting in a different location at the summer retreat. Hopefully next weekend we can get it all hauled home. It's at least moved out of the field so it can't get snowed in. Where it's at now is in a terrible place if the snow comes this week (it won't). This is sort of why I prefer to be as self-sufficient as possible. I really hate having to rely on others because things always happen and they can't help and I'm left holding the bag scrambling to make things work. Or it doesn't get done and that adds more stresses to me.

What's going to happen with Ransom is still up in the air. I have to go to a different vet today to do an x-ray on his feet. My farrier is coming with so we can decide right on the spot what to do. We will hopefully go back to our other vet to put Lace down and if necessary, put Ransom down.

I'm not ready for today. I don't want to say goodbye to Lace but I know she can't make another cold South Dakota winter. Her legs have deteriorated more and this fast approaching cold snap will not do her any good. I'd rather that she leave with sunshine on her back, and grass in her belly. There's no sun but at least there's no snow and it's not bitterly cold. If I think about what's to come this afternoon, I can't breath and I cant' stop crying. It's the part of Sanctuary that I can't handle. I hate this part but I know I have to be the one to make the decision and no one else. If only they would go on their own.

It's simply the part of Sanctuary that I hate. I know that some day I will see them again. They will be without pain. But I will still miss them. I have a hard time with change. I have a hard time with letting go.

And I have no idea what we will do with Ransom. I am guessing that we will be saying goodbye to him as well. It's not fair to make him suffer. He's uncomfortable with the big herd because his feet hurt too much. If we do keep him, he'll be in with Jessie and that will drive Diavlo insane. But I can't keep a water tank going in the middle of winter with four horses on it. It means I'll be hauling 40 gallons or more in the middle of the night because that's when I finally get to do chores, because me doing chores at any other time is an inconvenience to others. So we will wait and see.

I hate the waiting. I hate the not knowing. I am a planner. Today I will simply hate the day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Hauling Hay and Vet Appointments

I got a call last night that our hay can now be picked up. The September flooding in Madison flooded out the road to where our hay is sitting. Now that the crops are out of the fields and the ground is slightly harder now, we can start hauling hay home.

We plan on doing that this weekend. Our hay guy was going to get it out of the field this weekend no matter what so there's no threat of it getting snowed in. Where it's at, is a prime location for snow drifts and making it impossible to get there with a truck and trailer. So we'll be hauling home 55 bales of big round bales. I'll be happy to have them home. Not so happy to pay for the hay. We've been really low on fundraising this year. We've been doing donations through Facebook but discovered the third-party company helping is taking a huge chunk of money so we'll be boycotting their donate button from now on. Sad cuz it was handy. I expect our donations online to go down. But to find the $4,000 to pay for the hay is going to be tough.

But once the hay is home, I'll heave a sigh of relief. It's one less thing to worry about for this winter. I expect a bad winter but know if we are prepared with enough hay, that I won't have to worry about keeping our seniors fat and happy, which is our ultimate goal at Borderlands.

In other news, my farrier is willing to help haul horses to the vet on Monday so I'm waiting to see if Monday works. It's also the nicest day this week (and will probably be the last nice day until spring).

I don't want to go tho.

It means we have to say goodbye to Lace and I'm just not ready. But time is running out to say goodbye and ensure she stays happy and not in pain. Her legs are failing and with the colder weather setting in, I want to do right by her. So we'll be saying goodbye to Lace next week.

We will be doing x-rays on Ransom to see what his feet look like. I expect they are bad so we'll have to make the tough decision to say goodbye to him as well. It's a tough decision no matter what. But I have to say goodbye to Lace and take care of her body now that disposal is an issue these days, it makes sense to make sure Ransom doesn't suffer either. We'll see how it goes.

I'm going to try and get Jessie into the vet as well. I'm not sure if that will work though. She might not load in the trailer. If she loads, she might lose her mind. And if she loads and lets the others load, I have to make sure Diavlo doesn't lose his mind. I'll be taking all his family away from him. He's finally leaving Jessie's side to graze in the non-existent pasture. Ransom is out on the pasture because he doesn't feel good enough to be in the big herd to eat hay. So that means he's staying far away. If we lose Ransom, I may put Diavlo in with Jessie since it'll just be Mayhem and Jessie in the pasture. If we keep Ransom, then he'll go in with Mayhem and Jessie but that'll make Diavlo mad. But I can't keep up with four horses on a water tank. As it is, Jessie drinks a LOT of water. That or it's Mayhem but I can't keep up. I wish we would have been able to get the water lines buried but that didn't happen. I'm going to really push to get water lines buried next spring so that I don't have to deal with hauling water in the winter. We are so busy these days I need to come up with ways to shorten my chores so I'm not out doing chores late at night (like I do most nights after the kids go to bed). It's really tough to don the heavy winter clothes to do chores at 10pm in the dead of winter.

We have lots going on in the next week. There's going to be many tears on my part but that's a part of Sanctuary life. Laughter and joy when we open our doors to a deserving senior and even more tears when we have to make the decision to say goodbye.

I'm feeling overwhelmed with everything going on. My head and heart can't seem to take everything that's going on. I could really use some moral support right about  now.

Extra Mile Day

Today is Extra Mile Day. Why not Go the Extra Mile today and help out a Sanctuary or a rescue. Don't know what to do? No problem. There are so many nonprofits to choose from that need your help! All you have to do is take that one step to start your journey to go that extra mile.

We'd love your help in going the extra mile!