Monday, December 7, 2020

Heaves Medications

To cut down on the risk of ulcers and other digestive issues, we like to feed high quality grass hay. It gives the herd just the right amount of nutrients so we don't have to worry about anyone but the hard keepers or those that require additional supplements or medication to keep their ailments under control.

Sadly, horses do come to Borderlands with ailments and Digger is one of them. He has heaves and we are doing our best to keep them under control. While it may not be ideal to feed him round bales, we do. However, we do keep a hay net on it so that he cannot bury his head into the bale. It also may help that he can't toss any loose hay around stirring up dust. We do our best to keep the dust levels at a minimum for feeding for everyone.

While we take precautions with the hay, we also know that it's not enough. So we have also feed him a supplement to try and tone down the heaves. When he arrived, he came with two different types of heaves medication, Cough Free and Antihist. We've used Antihist in the past on a different horse with summer allergies (where her heaves flared up during the summer rather than the winter).

We've been alternating between the two to see if Digger likes one over the other or if we like to handle one over another. In truth, they both smell the same so it's really a consistency thing. Cough Free came as a pellet (although it also comes in a powder form). Antihist came in a powder form. I prefer pellets personally for ease of soaking.

We also soak all of our grain to reduce the risk of choke. But it also cuts down on any dust that the grain may have. Beet pulp and alfalfa pellets can become dusty when you first dump them into the grain bucket and we want to do everything we possibly can to make sure there is no dust in the food that we give the horses, especially to Digger (and Brego who we suspect has heaves as well).

It's always a learning curve with each horse to see what will work and what will not work. So far either Cough Free or Antihist seem to be doing the trick. We'll continue to alternate between the two for ease of use. They both cost right around the same amount $30 for a 30 day supply. It costs $1 a day to keep Digger's heaves under control and that dollar is worth every penny.

In case you want to look up more about Cough Free, here's some more information:

It can be bought at any TSC, Runnings, or Fleet Farm.

The Antihist is also sold at TSC, Runnings, and Fleet Farm

It's always a wise decision to speak with your vet about your horse's heaves issues. Digger's previous owners took him to the vet to figure out a game plan for Digger. We want to continue that treatment plan and will continue to give Digger his heaves medicine (either Cough Free or Antihist) for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Giving Tree at Tractor Supply

We were blessed with the opportunity to have a Giving Tree at the Sioux Falls Tractor Supply on Cliff this year. It is a great opportunity to help the horses. Choose a snowflake wish from the Giving Tree, purchase the item, and take the snowflake home as a token of your generosity for your amazing support. We couldn't help the senior horses without your support.

We'll leave you with just a few pictures of the Giving Tree and we hope you stop down to Tractor Supply. And if you can't, check out the 12 Days of Christmas throughout December to help the senior horses. With your support, we can offer senior horses a loving and permanent home for their twilight years.

Giving Tuesday

It's #GivingTuesday and that means a lot of activity throughout the day for many nonprofits. This year we are keeping it quiet (like we do most years). Covid really through our plans out the window so we are in a holding pattern to see what comes of it and to see where we go when/if life goes back to normal.

But for now, we are participating in #GivingTuesday by posting all of our horses looking for penpals. Zeke and Skippy have penpals but they can always use more. The days are so short and the nights get so long and boring that it's always fun to have something to look forward to. So every hour on the hour if you go to Facebook, you'll see all of the horses who want penpals.

Every hour on the half hour, you'll see the horses again with their letters to Santa. We kept them short this year and told the horses that they can't have expensive items on their wishlist because the pandemic has caused many to be less fortunate than them.

The horses' letters to Santa will kick off the 12 Days of Christmas where the horses ask for items that they could use. Most will be the same items they asked Santa but it's always fun to see what they come up with.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Surprise Packages

Yesterday, while working from home for the paying job (not sure when we'll be back in the office), the UPS guy drove up the driveway. I wasn't expecting anything and didn't think Mike had ordered anything (but you never know with him). As I was running out the door to pick up the kids from school and daycare, I took a closer look at the three boxes.

And I began to cry. How can three big boxes make a grown woman cry? Fill them with Weatherbetta blankets for the horses!!! Weatherbetta and a Home for Every Horse donated 10 blankets to us to keep our seniors warm and snug this winter. And yes, it was an ugly cry sort of cry. We have blankets but they are starting to be in tatters and some horses don't get blankets (because they or their buddy) are too hard on them. I can now put a tattered blanket on one of those horses and put one of the brand new blankets on someone else!

I was not expecting such an amazing surprise. I can't wait to pull the blankets out and decide which one goes to who. I know everyone will be thrilled to have a new blanket and I can't wait to show them all off sporting new blankets.

Thank you Weatherbetta and a Home for Every Horse! Thank you for your generosity, your support of ALL rescues and sanctuaries. Thank you for allowing me to sleep easy at night knowing the horses will all be tucked in blankets when bad weather hits this year.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Christmas at the Capital

We were again blessed to have the opportunity to decorate a tree at our state's Christmas at the Capital. It is so amazing to see all the different trees and those behind the decorations. It is not only an honor but a privilege to have this opportunity to showcase the horses that call Borderlands home.

I like to think that we not only represent Borderlands, but ALL sanctuaries and rescues doing amazing work in South Dakota. I hope that our tree sparks people's attention and that there becomes an awareness not just for senior horses but for the idea of rescue and sanctuary of animals. That there needs to be more awareness and more help in caring for these amazing animals should be of great consideration. Wouldn't it be fantastic if our jobs were eliminated because there was no need for sanctuaries or rescues.

We drove out Saturday afternoon after getting all our chores done (thank you automatic water for making life even easier!) and enjoyed some quality family time (it was much needed). Being surrounded by laughing and happy children is the best medicine for stress (unless it's a horse nuzzle from your favorite horse). We were able to get to the capital early Sunday morning before people arrived so that we could properly social distance and do our part with covid. We questioned attending but figured if we went first thing in the morning on Sunday, there wouldn't be many people. And we were right. We had our tree to ourselves the entire time with only one group of people showing up for about 5 minutes.

As excited as I am to have a tree at the capital, I want to encourage everyone to do what is right for them if they choose to attend Christmas at the Capital. I'd strongly suggest masking up, washing your hands, and staying home if you aren't feeling well. But if you can sneak over some time, it will surly get you into the Christmas spirit. Our tree is on the first level and one of the first trees to great you when you walk in! Check out all of our sanctuary horses. They each have a picture in the picture garland and a gold ball with their name on it (minus three horses in the picture garland because I couldn't find their picture; they were at Borderlands pre-cell phone and are buried in one of the computers).

I will leave you with just a few pictures of our tree representing Borderlands Horse Sanctuary

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Chores in the Dark

When the days are so short and I can't get out to do chores until after dark, it's hard to come up with topics to discuss. Oh sure there's the how to blanket, auto water repair, snow removal, etc. type topics but the day-to-day stuff isn't nearly as interesting.

I've been preoccupied with the upcoming Giving Tuesday although I doubt there will be much interest this year. The pandemic has really set us back. I don't know that it has changed the number of horses requesting to come to Borderlands but it has really forced us to hunker down and not do any of the stuff we'd planned to do, thus finding extra cash along the way. We'll survive and continue on but the burnout this year is strong. I chatted with a couple of ladies the other day to find out how to improve Borderlands (at least on the social media presence). I'm always interested in learning how we can improve and make things better. There are so many successful organizations out there, I want to learn from all of them so I can figure out how to make Borderlands more fun. And if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them. Even something simple like more pictures and videos, I'd love to hear if that is what interests you.

The weather is supposed to be nice this week and weekend which will make life so much easier. Of course we'll be on a different adventure for Borderlands this coming weekend. My fingers are crossed that we can haul hay over Thanksgiving so that we can get all of our winter hay home. It's not paid for but at least it'll be home and I'll have to scrape up the cash to make it happen.

We do have some fun stuff coming up starting on Giving Tuesday and throughout the month of December. Hopefully you'll come along for the ride and enjoy a few giggles.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Best Laid Plans

Well, the weekend didn't go as planned. Mother Nature decided to throw 2020 at us to mess up our plans of getting the hay home. I'm already stressed about how to pay for it and now we have to figure out how to get it all home.

Friday evening the wind picked up and what little snow we had gotten on Thursday started drifting on one of the roads (we'd gone to Madison where the hay was and noticed the snow drifts). One of the other roads was a sheet of ice. We'd hoped by Saturday that the temps would warm and it wouldn't be a big deal but in the morning, it was still cold and the roads were still slick.

So instead of hauling hay with the big trailer that holds 11, we used our car trailer that holds 3. We made one trip home with three bales so we'd have at least something. After we unloaded, we headed right back to Madison to pick up another load. Unfortunately by this time, the ground had warmed up and the roads were getting cleaner (still not completely clear) and where they hay was turned into a muddy mess. We got the truck and trailer stuck without even having the bales loaded. Luckily we were able to get a push out after getting loaded up but it also meant that using the big trailer was a no go.

My thinking with using the smaller trailer is:

The big flatbed trailer we can borrow holds 11 bales. If we order 55 bales, that should get us through the winter. We had leftovers from last year which was a good thing, but if something happens and we say yes to a senior horse in desperate need, we'll need to make sure we have hay on hand. So 55 it is because that makes five trips with the trailer.  But because our time is so painfully limited, I came up with the idea that if we took a load of hay back to Borderlands (11 bales), then we could put another three bales on the car trailer. If we did that four times, we'd have the fifth load of hay home without having to figure out a time to get it home. There's an hour + round trip just in driving and another hour or so to unload the hay. So typically we only get two loads home in one day. So if we had a full weekend (which we did this past weekend), we could get all the hay home.

Unless Mother Nature decides to throw us for a loop.

We thought we could at least haul two loads home on Sunday but after looking at the weather forecast, we knew we'd only be able to squeeze one in. Woke up Sunday morning to roaring wind. We aren't going to borrow someone else's trailer and haul it home with hay when we don't typically haul hay. If it was our trailer, we might have thought differently but because it wasn't ours, we weren't going to take any chances. So instead we hauled one load of hay home on the car trailer. It'll get us through until Thanksgiving.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can haul the hay home over Thanksgiving. We've made three trips with the car trailer so we'll only need to make trips with the big trailer. We'll be up to Madison sometime over the next two weeks to get the final load of hay on the small trailer.

The hay that was supposed to be ours is also trapped in a different field thanks to the unseasonably early snowfall. I was a little disappointed but the hay we are using is just as good. It technically could be certified hay if my hay guy wanted to jump through the hoops to make it happen.

So we'll try over Thanksgiving to see how it goes. Of course this coming weekend was supposed to be nice but we are out of town for a Borderlands trip. I'll have to tell you more about that later. But it's a somewhat surprise.

And because we work during the week, we can't haul day or even unload it if they bring it down. It's always dark thirty by the time we get done working and head out to chores when it's this time of year. Makes for some stress. Luckily we only have about two months of pitch black chores but it sure makes me appreciate doing chores in the daylight!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

No Rest for the Wicked

The days have been a blur lately and I'm too exhausted to write. We've been busy working on home improvements and sanctuary improvements all summer. It's all stuff we should have done years ago but life got in the way.

When we started having kids eight years ago, all the home improvements and even some of the upkeep was put on hold. I didn't have easy pregnancies so for almost a full year, it was simply to survive and then the first year of baby, again it was simply to survive. If you're a parent, you'll understand completely. After the first year of baby, I'd finally come out of my fog and look around the place and do a little work but then return to the fog of baby.

Now that I'm too old to have kids, I took a look last September and realized that we needed to do a lot of work around here. I started last year painting the house but only got one side painted. Sadly, I used wrong paint or the wood is so old and dry that it disappeared. Fast forward to this summer and I decided to paint the south side of the house. It took me six months to do because I was doing it whenever I had "free" time. Anyone with kids and/or horses knows that there's no such thing as free time. But I FINALLY got it done this past weekend (after the threat of freezing temperatures). Ok, so it's not done as finished but there's a couple of coats of paint slapped on and I've decided I'll be taking a week off to paint the house properly next spring/summer. I won't try to do it after work and in between all the other stuff. But at least now when you pull into the driveway, the house won't look so ratty.

We also poured a huge concrete slab this spring after digging out what we wanted when we rented the skidloader. It's a lovely concrete pad that I'm hoping will get lots of use. While it's not sanctuary related, I do see that we'll be using it for many different purposes and if I get to do what I want, we may very well be using it for the sanctuary. We also hauled away six of the eight years worth of manure this spring. It's something we should have done every year but didn't. Sadly, we ran out of time to get all of the manure out so we'll have to push to get the remaining manure (and this year's manure) out next spring. After I get the trailer paid off, I'll be on the hunt for a skidloader. I'm thankful for our tractor but we sometimes also need a skidloader. My mother taught me to be as self sufficient as possible and to do that, we'll need a skidloader.

We also finally put gutters on the house. Now I feel like I'm an adult because I'm excited for gutters. We haven't had gutters on the house in years. We finally got rain yesterday and couldn't figure out what that sound was. It was the gutters! It makes me feel old to be excited for gutters and a little sad because we've gone this long without them and who knows what damage we've done to the house because of it. This past week, we also installed five new windows. They aren't officially done and we still have a bunch of stuff to figure out, but we now have brand new windows that open. Of the five, I was down to only having one window that would open. We'd stuffed weather stripping in all the windows because they leaked so bad. Come to find out that when we pulled them out of the house, that these were the original windows. Either original to the remodel or at least to when they put the siding up. So our best guess is that these windows were installed in the 1940s. At this point, we are also figuring everything around here is from the 1940s.

This fall I insisted we get a mini excavator so that we could bury water lines from the barn to where I want an auto water. We finally got the auto water installed although there's still some wiring issues we need to resolve. The barn's electrical box cant handle it. We are hoping though that with the new auto water, the electric bill will go down. We won't have two 500 watt water heaters in an open 100 gallon tank. I am super excited to not have to haul water every day. With how 2020 is going, I wanted to be prepared. It will also make life easier when we go on vacation. I won't have to worry about lugging water up to the red shed and that pasture when we go on vacation and trying to come up with a water holder so that the tanks stay filled while we are gone. We do everything we can to make it so that whoever is looking after the place doesn't really have to do anything (but make sure no one falls out of a fence).

When we had the mini excavator, we also dug out a trench for the electrical to go from the power pole to the new garage (new to us anyway even if it is 10 years old).  I've been trying to get the new garage hooked up with electricity for 10 years and hopefully this winter, we can finally work on it and convert the new garage over to a shop so that we can get a few more projects done. With kids, I see a lot of time in the garage building stuff. We better be prepared now for it.

We also started an accidental remodel of our utility room. Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom and the utility room are probably used the hardest (with the kitchen a close third). Having the utility room in disarray for the summer was ok, but we are still in the middle of the accidental remodel and now that winter is almost here with boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, coveralls, and everything else that winter requires, I'm struggling. The wood paneling we need to even hide the 1950s mint green (with glue that was used to hold the old wood paneling) is still in eye sore I see every day when standing in my kitchen. We can't find the wood we want to cover it so until we can find it, it's mass chaos in my house. The accidental remodel is going to be moved up higher on the "to do" list very soon.

With all of our projects, we still have work to do to wrap them up and make them look nice. But at least the hard part is done and we can tinker to get everything looking the way we want all winter when we are hunkered down after the snow flies.

I think we made up for the last eight years in just one year. I guess it's a blessing we had the pandemic and I'm working from home at the paying job so that we can tackle some of these projects that have been at the back of my mind for so many years.

It's probably a good thing that winter is right around the corner so that we can rest for a little bit. But not for long as I look through my brand new windows (but see that there's no trim around them). No rest for the wicked.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Beginning of November

I'd hoped that by now the blogger issues would have been resolved but they have not. So we will be forced to move to a different platform. I've been too busy with the horses and life to get anything set up but I hope to very soon.

In the mean time we've been scrambling to get things wrapped up around Borderlands before the snow flies. We had snow in mid October and that sent me into a tizzy because we werent' ready yet. We had snow and freezing temps and we are still working on putting in an automatic water. Luckily this week is supposed to be above normal temperatures so we can get the auto water installed, I can wrap up painting the south side of the house, and we can install a few more windows in the house. While the house stuff isn't directly related to the Sanctuary, it does make my life easier. Once we dont' have to focus on maintaining the house, I can return my attention to improvements on the other buildings.

The problem is that we have spent the last eight full years focused on raising our little family and that takes time away from home improvements. Now that the kids are slightly older, we can get back to working on improving the place. We still have a ton to do before the snow flies again but fingers crossed we'll be able to do it.

It's actually supposed to snow next week (Sunday or Monday). So I'll be rushing around trying to get as much stuff done as possible. We still need to get all of our winter supply of hay home (and pay for it). I'm not sure which I'm more worried about. Getting it home (because it'll take a full weekend to haul 50+ bales) or trying to pay for it because we havent' done any fundraising due to the pandemic. Either way, it's a huge stress and even though we'll get the hay home, I'll still have to come up with the money. At this rate, it'll be coming out of my paycheck rather than out of donations.

Which is sad, because we have been asked to take in close to 40 horses so far this year. It's about the same as last year. Imagine if we'd taken in the 40 this year. And/or the 40 from last year. As much as I'd love to, there's just no way. Almost all of them come with some type of ailment that requires medication or vet appointments. And in the end some of them that do come to Borderlands actually needs euthanasia rather than a retirement home. It makes me sad to have to say no and I really do get worked up not being able to say yes. I want to be able to help but we have to help responsibly and we can't jeopardize the horses that are already in our care.

As much as I would love to have the funds for 40 horses and the volunteers, I'd also miss out learning about each of the horses. I have to remind myself that we can't save them all. But it's still hard. I would love to find some long-term fosters willing to take in pasture pets. We get asked about light riding horses but sadly the horses that we get into Borderlands are passed even light riding. Where the light riding horses go, I do not know but the horses that we get asked to take in are in their twilight years and only have a few years left.

Now that it's November, I will try my best to post more in blogger until I can switch everything over to a new platform. I make no promises when that will be but hopefully sooner than later. I'm never very good with change and when it's change for the worse as this blogger has been, it really makes me realize how old I am.

Happy November everyone! Lets hope the last two months of 2020 are an improvement to the year!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

End of September

Blogger updated and it stinks. That's part of the reason for the lapse in posts. We will be migrating to a different blogging application and then we can resume our stories. In the mean time, it's been very hectic over the last week but unfortunately wrapped up in sadness. I'll explain more when I have more time and hopefully when we are on a new platform where I can actually post more than a few lines at a time. Have I mentioned this new blogger stinks!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Rain - Looking for a PenPal

Rain is the only other horse that has been with me since before Borderlands started. Rain was originally my personal horse and wasn’t added to the Sanctuary program until a few years ago when he was ready to retire (and I still kept pulling him out of retirement). Rain came to be with me back in April 17, 2004 as a green broke 6 year old. I saw him and knew I needed my own “Black Stallion” even though he wasn’t a stallion and anything like the Walter Farley Black Stallion. We had our ups and downs from the beginning but he and I have grown used to each other and know what to expect. Age is a wonderful thing (for both of us).

Not long after bringing Rain home to live with us, he became deathly ill and we were afraid we would lose him. We never had a definitive diagnosis but we believe he had a photosensitive reaction. Because of that near death ordeal, Rain is very susceptible to hot and cold. Because of Rain’s health issues, we knew that he HAD to stay at Borderlands instead of finding him a new home. He’s the perfect size for a youth but he cannot handle the heat. Any long trail rides are too hard on him so there’s no riding allowed when the temps climb into the 80s.

And with the South Dakota winters and even the fall/spring biting wind, we have to ensure Rain has a snug blanket and a place to go to get out of the wind and cold. He’s a hardy little arabian but doesn’t have a good winter coat or a thick skin to keep him warm during the cold winter months. In most of the winter pictures, you’ll see Rain wrapped up in a blanket.

Rain is enjoying full retirement these days. But the cold winter months are going to be long and boring so he’s hoping someone will fall in love with him and be his PenPal! If you’re interested in being Rain’s penpal, you can email us at and in the subject line, type Rain. Or you can send a letter through snail mail to Borderlands Horse Sanctuary 26160 457th Ave Humboldt, SD 57035 with an Attn: Rain and we’ll make sure he gets it (and responds!)






Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Auto Water Needed

We NEED to get an automatic waterer set up in the pasture next to the barn. I want to turn that into not only the winter pasture but also a pen setting so I can move the ponies over there this winter as well. But it's already the first of September and I'm not sure how to swing getting everything lined up and done. I always think that we can do it ourselves because it's so expensive and we don't have the money to pay someone else. But we don't have the time either it seems.

We spent the long weekend running around and enjoying the last little bit of summer before going back to school (school already started but for me Labor Day has always signaled back to reality and the end of summer). So we did a bunch of running and it was super hot both Saturday and Sunday. We'd get home late from all of our fun and I'd head out to do chores. The pasture with Diavlo and Mayhem has the 100 gallon tank and I was making sure that there was water but it wasn't topped off.

I went out yesterday  morning after Mayhem whinnied at me and realized the tank was low. So I filled it just enough to what should have made the day. When we stopped in again for a quick minute, I checked the tank and it was below that level again. So I'm not sure if they drank that much (normally they don't), or if it has a crack in it. If it has a crack, I'm going to be mad. I searched all around for leaks but didn't so maybe they just drank a ton of water because it had gotten so hot. I feel sort of like a horse mom failure for this one. But it's a definite reminder that we need to put an auto water in rather than deal with a 100 gallon tank.

With how I'm seeing the winter unfold, life is going to get a bit chaotic. There's some personal stuff going on, outside of the whole pandemic and kids going to school/daycare and that stuff is pulling me away from the horses. But family is my number one priority so it has to be this way. But if it continues, it means my mind wont' be thinking sanctuary work and it'll be focused on other stuff. But that also means that I need to make my chores as minimal as possible this winter if we need to make a quick run somewhere. It's the unknowns that boggle my mind and make it hard to plan, since I'm a planner.

But just having the auto water would make life easier and much less stressful at times, especially for the winter months as the farmers almanac is calling for more cold and snow this winter. But that's typical of South Dakota but it's 2020 and the Black Hills saw snow yesterday. In all the years we used to go to the Black Hills for Labor Day (and even after that), there has NEVER been snow this time of year. But it IS 2020 and I want to be prepared for anything. And that means we NEED to get an auto water purchased, the lines buried, and everything installed before the snow starts to fly here.

Anyone want to help in any fashion? We need funds to purchase the auto water which is $500 (at least the last time we bought one). I have no idea how much it'll cost to bury the lines but we can rent a mini excavator for a couple hundred for the weekend. But the plumbing will have to be hired out. It'll all cost money but will be 1000% better than me lugging buckets and hoses all winter!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Fall Arriving

By next Tuesday, we will be dealing with fall. Currently, we are enjoying beautiful weather albeit a little windy (but that's to be expected). It's beautiful with sun and temps that aren't searing. It makes life so much easier on the animals.

Come Tuesday, we are dealing with the potential for not even getting to 60 degrees and the rest of the week will be in the 60s. While it means I can hide in hoodies and fat pants again, it does mean that the horses will need more to maintain their weight.

The pastures are all but done. I am trying to keep them at the bottom portion of the pasture to save the two top portions that may be able to come back next year. Fingers crossed that it can survive this lack of rain. With one rain shower last week, we are close to a month without rain.

We don't have our hay lined up yet but I'm assured that we will get it. I won't even consider the "If not" idea. We need to fundraise for our hay but I'm out of ideas for what we can do. In person fundraising is out of the question and my online ideas are either the same as everyone else or boring. I know everyone is tapped out so I hate to ask for funds.

At this point, we've been asked to take in 20 horses since the beginning of the year. It's far less than last year thank goodness. And I'm sure it's a far cry from other rescues/sanctuaries that get inundated. But for each no, I am heartbroken. These horses need a soft place to land and I can't say yes without jeopardizing our herd. It's been a year since we said yes to the herd of four. We are down to only Diavlo (although Pepper went to a new home and is enjoying a new career). We will continue on as we have but worry for all those that don't have a voice.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend so you will most likely not see me online or posting much. I hope to return on Tuesday with some fun ideas. It's been something I've been mulling over and can hopefully bring some cheer to others.

The horses and I wish you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Fences and Cockleburs

Last night after the kids went to bed, I headed out to do chores. I'm not fond of doing chores in the dark but I was able to sneak out right as the sun set. Sometimes being outside as the world falls asleep, helps put life back into perspective. Or maybe that was trying to fix fence in the waning daylight. By the time I was done fixing the fence line the horses had pushed through, it was dark and I was maneuvering the pasture with the light of the "corn" moon.

Luckily the horses hadn't destroyed the fence like I'd assumed. They somehow managed to knock over the corral panels we had set up. I swear they have a dislike for having a fence in that section. If we can ever get a fence company to get out here and fence the perimeter, I'll start tackling dividing the pastures so that it's not an ongoing battle with the horses.

Our pastures are pretty much done but I want to keep them off a portion of the pasture so that there's a fighting chance of the pasture coming back. I'm starting to worry that there will be no pasture and we'll be forced to reseed and that means feeding hay all of next summer which we don't have the funds for. As it is, we need to do some serious fundraising for hay this year. I don't know how we will do fundraising this year as everything we do needs to be online and our online presence is not as grandiose as I'd love.

Maybe my heart just isn't into pushing our cause online or getting our name out there online or in person. But that is a problem if we want to get our name out there to showcase our seniors and to show that seniors are worth their weight in gold.

I'm hoping tonight I can get out to the pasture and hopefully clear my head. It's too full of too many thoughts to really be of any use to anyone these days.

The one productive activity yesterday was roaching Tommy and Skippy. They both got into cockleburs. And if anyone says that it's mean for me to roach them and that it's cruel, it is more cruel to leave them with a matted mane and forelock than it is to roach them. If you want to have a long mane and forelock, I welcome your help in spraying in the spring, cutting down the burdock as they grow, and coming out every day to pull cockleburs out of manes every evening. Right now I'm struggling to get everything done before collapsing in bed every night more mentally drained than physically.

Here's to hoping tonight's chores will go easier and will be cocklebur and fence fee.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Drastic Weather

We haven't had drastic weather. At least not like the derecho or hurricanes that recently hit. Almost all of August was hot, at least for South Dakota. We were dealing with 90 degree weather for a majority of the time. Even last week was rough in the upper 80s. We finally had a stretch of nice weather.

But when I look at the 10 day forecast, I can hardly believe my eyes. Tomorrow is supposed to be 87 for a high and then next Wednesday, it's only supposed to be 60 and will be in the 60s for the rest of the week.

As much as I like the cooler weather (so I can wear hoodies and hide my fat), it's a hard shift to go from upper 80s and lower 90s to 60s. I always worry with major temperature shifts that the horses will be able to handle it. Such drastic weather makes them prone to colic.

The flies have gotten even meaner than they were in June. They are relentless on the horses. Luckily I bought fly boots but they don't seem to bother the horses legs. The flies this time of year go directly for the horses' faces. I lost a few masks in the pasture and cant' find them. I've walked that pasture and still nothing comes up. I was hoping for a fly mask sale but I haven't been in any stores and I get overwhelmed with the online sales. There's only one brand that really seems to work and even the big herd has taken to pulling their masks off.

We will be keeping a very close eye on everyone as the weather shifts. I'm happy for the cooler weather. With the cooler weather, hopefully the flies won't be so vicious and the horses can actually relax instead of stand in the shade to try and keep cool. Oh what I would give to have a 20 stall barn, with fans and misters to keep everyone cool in the summer (and a few stable hands to do all the heavy lifting). I can always dream right?

Hello September

As the memes say, it may be September but I'm still processing March. Ok so the memes are way funnier but you get my point. The days are getting shorter and even though the kids are back to school, it's a struggle to get chores done in the daylight. I struggled to get chores done in the daylight all summer but that was because of our crazy schedule. Fingers crossed that September will be an easy month. As it is, with everyone going back to school and daycare, we all caught head/chest colds. So of course everyone is on high alert for covid. I hope this won't be the new norm for long. But it IS the season for vet bills. Two Mondays ago, we took Jim, Rain, and Dude to the vet for floats. Jim needed his teeth done and had a tooth pulled. Lets hope the weight will start going back on. He's much thinner than I want him to be at this point going into fall. Dude also needed a float. Luckily Rain didn't really need one but we did a quick hand float to make sure everything is on the up and up. He had problems in the past and had wavy teeth and I wanted to make sure that that issue wasn't still happening. I'd wanted to take Zeke but there was no room. But I might have a chance to take Zeke in when I take Chaos in. So Chaos has been off and on lame much to my disappointed. I'd hung the moon on him with all my hopes and aspirations but with there being something wrong (and sadly the more I think about it), he's had this issue for years. But we are going to take him in and see what's going on. I have to call this week and see when we can get in. It's a bit easier now to make appointments now that the kids are in school and I don't have to jump through so many hoops to make sure everyone is where they need to be. We had the farrier visit yesterday and were able to get a number of horses trimmed. I had a few more but I was played out. King's feet are still not the greatest so we are keeping a close eye on him. His feet have been bothering him all summer. Dude's hips are bothering him as well. We don't normally grain horses when they are out to pasture 24x7 but we will return to graining Dude so we can start him back on Buteless to help ease the pain. We will be keeping a constant close eye on him. It won't be his weight or anything else that gets him. It'll be those damn hips that have been a curse for so many years. We also trimmed up Jim, Zeke, and Chaos. We'll need to relook at everyone in October but we'll need to do Lightening, Diavlo, and the ponies at that time. I'd pulled Maverick and Lightening out so that we could tackle their feet but Maverick was too naughty and that got Lightening all riled up so we skipped those two. My biggest goal with farrier day is to keep everyone safe. I'm not interested in getting anyone hurt. Safety is my number one concern in all that we do at the Sanctuary. So we tabled working on them and hopefully even with the days getting shorter, I can maybe start working Lightening and Maverick so that when farrier day rolls around again in October, we can actually work on them. My lack of time is such a frustration. The roosters are also doing well. They have adjusted their crowing to the daylight and the one seems to crow before the sun is up. They like to hang out by the house. We also have a flock of wild turkeys that have taken up residence. Luckily the horses are no longer spooked by them. 10+ years ago we had a flock of turkeys wander through and it put Maverick into a tizzy. Now everyone is used to them. They perch up in the old tree I loved so much but which died last year. We need to figure out how to get that tree down before it takes out a fence. Not much has happened in August Sanctuary wise. Life has been crazy bouncing from one birthday celebration to the next making sure my kids are happy. We also had our annual trip to the Black Hills that we've been going on for 35+ years and NO ONE is allowed to touch that trip. And yes, it was during the Motorcycle Rally but we avoided it like the plague it was (don't get me wrong, I'm all for it but not this year). We are continuing to deal with family health problems so that's an added stress that weighs heavily on my mind every second of the day. We also had camping and school starting so it was a crazy month. August is always a hard month for me with all the activities and then summer activities cause a lot of burnout. I'd really like to start focusing on the Sanctuary but time doesn't permit. We are now on the first day of September so I'll be in a panic. Now it's time to focus on winter preparations. I'm going to do my best to post more on social media in September. It doesn't mean I'm not super busy and feeling overwhelmed but I want to keep everyone in the loop a bit more. Now that we are going back to a semblance of normal schedule (At least with the kids going to school and daycare), I can maybe ramble a bit more. I'm sure there will be many more posts voicing my worries and stresses and sadly you'll get the brunt of those. If there's something you want to see, please let me know and I'll do my best. Right now it's about keeping my head above water. Hello September! Please be kind.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Vet Appointment

We had a vet appointment yesterday morning. Jim had been losing weight and I noticed he was dropping everything he was eating (grass wise). So we loaded him (along with Rain and Dude) to the vet yesterday morning. I'd wanted to take Zeke too but the trailer only had spots for three. In the past Rain had wavy teeth so I wanted to double check to make sure they weren't bad. Zeke is fat but it's been awhile since he's had his teeth floated. I'd love to take everyone in and do floats on everyone (or at least checks). But it's not in the cards. I also wanted to take Dude in to make sure his teeth weren't too sharp. Of course, Dude being Dude, he fought the vet because it wasn't his idea. After sedation the vet went ahead and floated him too as his bottom teeth were sharp. The vet took a long time working on Jim to make sure his sharp edges were smooth. He pulled a tooth as well so hopefully with all the dental work done, we can start packing the pounds onto him. I'm not ready to let him go. I haven't prepared myself. It's been almost 11 years with him. All of the horses at the Sanctuary (not including Diavlo) have now been with us for years. The ones that remain are the ones we'd said yes to before we'd focused on seniors (or had originally been personal horses where we'd bought them but realized that they had physical limitations but didn't want to send them down the road to have someone else deal with them). I'm hoping we can keep Jim going for a few more years. He's definitely been enjoying retirement. He's somewhere between 30-32 (I always go on the high side for age). I know we don't have too much more time with him but I'll do my best to keep him happy for as long as his quality of life is good.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Checking In

We'e been MIA from social media. August gets to be such a busy month that we've decided to hang up most social media and events in August. It's pretty much the only way to save my mind from total overload. We have two birthdays in August (and because they are my kids, they have high expectations for their birthday), an annual trip to the Black Hills (which I've been doing for 35+ years and I will NOT break that tradition until our kids have school activities that requires us to), camping (to celebrate a birthday which was supposed to be at the Prairie Village Threshing Jamboree that got cancelled this year but normally we are there), and prepparing for school (toss in trying to plan school in a pandemic) and now my mind is blown. There doesn't leave any room for anything extra even though I'd desperately love to get something going. I have so many ideas and yet there's limited time. The days are now getting shorter and I'm still so far behind. Now that my brain is half way in gear (rather than paused due to baby brain or sleep deprevation due to babies), I'm trying to tackle the bigger projects that have been on my list. Maybe I'm being overzealous in thinking we can get them all done before the first snow. I guess some of what needs to be done even after the ground freezes and there's snow on the ground (might make for softer landing when I fall off a roof). I expect we will be MIA for the rest of the month. There's too much that needs to get done. Hopefully when September rolls around, I can report on all the progress we've made. Hopefully I can post some pictures on FB.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Feeling Like Fall

The last couple of days it's felt like fall. The monarchs are gathering, the geese are flying, and there's a nip in the air. The weatherman is saying we'll go back to super hot weather in a day or two. In fact this weekend we are supposed to be in the 90s again. It's a hard shift to go from upper 80s to low 70s to 90s but that's South Dakota in the summer time.

The nip in the air though has me scurrying around like crazy trying to get things done. We never know what winter will bring us or when winter will arrive but this year has been so crazy that I need to be ready for anything.

I'm going to have to start pushing others to make phone calls and to get a few things done around here. I have a few projects I want done and I don't have the connections to get them lined up or done so that means pushing others. I'm not good at pushing others.

Right now, there's a lot of fixing and repairing things that have deteriorated over the past eight years. Everything sort of went on hold when we started having kids so now that we are done having kids and they are getting a little older (enough where I don't have to hang on to them at all hours of the day and night), I'm trying to get a few projects done that have needed to get done all along (but I didn't have the energy or money to do them. Well, I still don't have the money but that's a different story).

While it's not specifically Sanctuary related, I am painting our house. I would have much preferred hiring someone but that wasn't in the cards. I guess no one wants to paint an old farm house so it's up to me. Luckily we have a small house so hopefully I can do it. I started last fall and got one side done but now I'm left with getting the other sides done. As with the barn, I started on our house this year with the bottom because I KNEW I could get that part done while watching kids. The second story is a different beast. Weekends are meant to be with kids and doing adventures with them so juggling fun activities with getting stuff done is a bit tricky. I'm sure to be in a panic soon. At least this year I'm working from home so the tight grip on my chest with all the worry of getting everything done isn't there (yet).

We don't have any more cleanup days scheduled and actually August is off limits for doing pretty much anything other than kids stuff what with birthdays and school starting (it's even worse in a pandemic). But I'm going to keep plugging along. This past weekend I added a temporary ally way to the bottom pasture and opened the bottom up for the horses to graze as the other parts of the pasture were done. It's a new method and the horses haven't quite figured it out (or don't like it). Hopefully the bottom pasture will hold for another month and then in September, I can open the entire pasture up and they can graze what's left over. I'd hoped to implement what I'd learned during my pasture management class but could only do a little and even then I STILL did a few things wrong. Time and energy are my worst enemy at this point (well, and lack of funds but that's a given). I need and want to go out with a clippers and cut down the thistles that I didn't get a chance to spray, along with the burdock in the other pasture so that I have a fighting chance of not dealing with cockleburs this fall. We'll see if I get a chance to get any of that done.

I also had helpers last week when it was hot to wash a few blankets. Of course the novelty wore off quickly (more so because I had an almost 5 and almost 2 year old helping me and they have no staying power). But I at least got three blankets done and two waterproofed. But I still have more to go. The weatherman is talking hot temps again so I'll be dragging out more blankets to get them washed and waterproofed. I still need to get them repaired but I can do that at night too (if I still have any energy.) I can't remember how hard the horses were on the blankets. Sadly, the blankets sort of ended up wherever they were taken off (inside buildings) so I never really remembered what kind of condition they were in. It's not the method I like or want to use with the blankets but its' the reality I live in right now.

We are going to take a pause in posting much on social media (more so than lately). So if you happen to not see us, it's that we are super busy doing kids stuff, prepping for school, and getting stuff done around the place and by the time I can sit down, I'm too exhausted to post pictures or to even think.

Fingers crossed that this cold snap is a friendly reminder but that winter holds off and gives me a couple of months to get things done before the first snow flakes start flying.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


I was doing some cleaning today. The house like everything else is a disaster. It's odd how when I clean I can find stuff from years ago that we no longer need. As Mike said, it's easy to tell when major events happened because we'll have weird stuff from that time of year because we just couldn't handle dealing with it at the time.

I'd stopped developing pictures years ago and have them all saved in random places. But the final few rolls of film (pre digital camera), I came across today. It was random from a few different trips and they made me both happy and sad looking through them.

Then I saw it. A picture I don't even remember taking but I will hold it near and dear to my heart. The minute I saw that picture I burst into tears. Even thinking about that picture make me cry. It must be the stress to be so overly sensitive. It was a picture of the four original horses we had when I was a teenager. More specifically it was a picture of my first two beloved horses. My dream horse and my riding horse, both hold a special place in my heart but oddly it was my riding horse that caused me to cry.

Oh how I miss him. It's been more than ten years and yet seeing his picture brought back all the fun memories of him. I don't have many pictures of him because he was here pre digital so for some reason I don't have many. It breaks my heart to know I don't have as many as some of the others. I didn't remember his expression to be so quirky but I miss it. Maybe because I saw him for his personality and not for just his looks. A little red Arabian gelding with an unknown history. Any time I rode him, it was like we were riding as fast as we could away from the gates of hell with fire licking at his heels. That boy could fly. I miss him and I miss my confidence in riding and the exuberance of being young (and not worrying about falling off and getting hurt). Gone are those days (along with the slim figure) but I remember riding him like it was yesterday.

Riding Zeke was like riding Ace. Now that Zeke is retired I miss riding and the challenges of riding an arabian. Lightening is ok but doesn't have that same zest (or worldly experience).

In my cleaning, I've also discovered bags of hair from horses that have since left us. I never take a large chunk, just enough as a keepsake. I should take more so I can send them in to make keepsakes for each one. It's hard to say goodbye but coming across these little bits of past horses sometimes is tougher than I thought. I know what we do is good for the horse and their overall health and safety but sometimes its' just plain hard to let go.

I may frame that picture. It's one of the last ones that I know I have developed. Maybe I'll pause in cleaning and take a break from finding these little bits of history of the Sanctuary. I'm no sure my heart can take much more. Unexpected sad tears are a bit hard to take some days.

Monday, July 27, 2020


We had sweltering heat over the weekend. I'm sure some are used to the higher temperatures but I and the horses are not! 88 degrees with a heat index of 100 degrees is a bit much for anyone. The big herd hung out in the run in shed off the barn for the entire time it was scorching hot. Luckily the heat broke Sunday and we had cooler temperatures. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the cooler weather. Well, cooler as in less humidity.

We are focusing on some home improvements for now so the horses are enjoying their time without me pestering them. I walked out to the pasture to find fly masks and do a check on everyone least night. I need to put up a bit more temporary fencing so that they can enjoy the grass at the bottom of the pasture. I need to get that done this week so I can let them out next week. I want to try a different set up than in the past to see if it helps ease the stress on the other two portions of the pasture. Last year it worked out ok that we did some flipping around of pastures but this year is different but still not ideal for the horses to get down to the bottom part of the pasture. The horses love that pasture the most. I think they enjoy wading through the water even if it is standing water from the slew backing up into our pasture.

Jim is enjoying his nightly grain. We paused his grain in hopes that the summer pasture would help him gain weight. Sadly it didn't so we are back to graining him and he'll have to have more added to his diet to keep him at the right weight. He lost weight so we'll be doing our best to try and pack on some pounds before the first snow flies. It hurts my feelings to even talk about snow in the middle of summer but its' a reality.

I spend 6 months dealing with snow and winter, all of spring dealing with the after effects of whatever type of winter we had, have one month of summer where it's too darn hot to do much but make sure everyone has water and pasture, then it's back to prepping for the first snow fall and back into winter. It's a vicious cycle.

I had thought our hay was baled and getting moved off the pasture but apparently that hay is more cow quality rather than horse quality. I'm very picky about our hay and have dairy quality hay. That means it's soft and easy for the horses to eat instead of more brittle and course. The softer the hay, the better so those that have a hard time chewing won't have as difficult time. I'm hoping that our hay will be baled soon. Then it can sit in the field for a week or two before we haul it home. I used to be paniced about not having it home until our hay guy said it's better to not have your hay all in one spot because it can start a fire. I had never thought of that so now I'm ok with leaving the hay sit out for a week or two before bringing it home. We don't have any place to spread it out so once it's home, they are close to one another and if a fire broke out, we'd lose our entire supply of hay. It pays to have a farmer as a your hay guy.

But I'm hoping the hay will get baled soon and I need to make arrangements to see if we can pick up some small squares. There's lots to do but we are heading into August, which is our crazy time of the year. We have two birthdays in August (and another in September) so planning for childrens' birthdays is always crazy. Throw in COVID and trying to figure out birthday presents and such when not going into the store, I'm a bit of a nut case. So you may or may not see much of me in August as I frantically prep for birthdays and school starting. The stress level has risen a lot in the last week and then prepping for winter stuff (to take advantage of the heat) also has me bustling as best I can.

But if you happen to notice a considerable lack of posts, it's not that we aren't around, it's that I'm trying to get everything done and some things have to give, which includes social media. But if you have any questions, drop me a line and I'll get back to you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Days Getting Shorter

I always love the buildup to the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. But after that, we start to lose daylight and that too sends me into a panic. It's not like I don't know it's coming and it's not like it doesn't happen every year, but with such limited time to get everything done, it sends me into a tail spin.

With my current working predicament, I am home so I can go from working at the paying job straight to working on stuff at home (although more than half the time it's not sanctuary related). I love mornings in June when I can go out to the horses and already have the sun up and shining. Now the sun comes up after I'm already at work so I miss out on watching the sun rise over the hoses.

We did get one project done at home. It's not sanctuary related but it will make the place look better and make life easier if/when we do tours at the place. We poured a large concrete patio in the front of the house. It'll be nice to have some place to stand in the spring that's not mud. Or when I need to grab something from the house and have a horse in hand, I can have them on concrete and not tear up the yard. Of course there's all the cleanup that still needs to be done and that'll take a bit of my time to get wrapped up but I'm already moving on to scraping and painting the house. I'd started that project before we started the patio project so the house is looking exceptionally dumpy at the moment but hopefully we can get it looking sharp soon. I've already said I'm only painting this house once. After that, we'll be putting on different siding. The siding is too old to take on paint these days.

We don't know how old the place is, or the outbuildings, or even the fencing. We have to guess and my guess is about 80 years old. When we pulled out the concrete footings for a fence that went around the yard, there was a note saying it was from 1950. We've seen notes when remodeling the house that things were done in the 1940s. So I'm guessing the outbuildings and fencing are all 70 to 80 years old.

Sadly, after that many years of hard use, they don't work nearly as well. We need to contact the fence guy from last fall to see where we are on the schedule and get some fencing done. I walked the mare pasture the other day and noticed how bad the fence line really is. I don't think some of our fencing can handle another South Dakota winter.

There's just so many projects I want to get done and I don't think they will get done before the first snow. I realize it's only July 22nd but at the rate projects are getting done and with the number of projects we still have on the To Do list, I'm just not sure how they will get done. The pandemic and additional health problems have slowed our progress down to a crawl. And then comes August where sanctuary life is put on hold so that we can enjoy our children's birthdays and prepare for school. It's going to be a stressful but interesting August and I want to take advantage of the fun times while the kids are still excited for birthdays. I'm juggling three birthdays, school, and return to daycare all in two months on top of preparing for winter.

So if you don't hear from us when August rolls around, it's not that we aren't here. It's that the horses and sanctuary are pretty much on what I call auto pilot, where they enjoy their grazing time and nice weather and don't have me pestering them except to check to make sure everyone is doing ok. There's not much to report when they are on auto pilot and I'm not sure you want to hear me lament about not getting anything done because we are doing family stuff.

I do have a bunch of stuff that needs to get done for the sanctuary and it's all behind a computer. So if you want to help but don't know how, let me know and I'll set you up with a few different projects to choose from. Even with my brain struggling to muddle through a day during the pandemic, I have a ton of old ideas from when I could brainstorm clearly. And if you'd rather swing a hammer and get some physical activity, I have projects that need attention too and I'd LOVE to get them done before the first snow.

Here's to making the most of the remainder of summer and enjoying the sunlight and sunshine from sunup to sundown.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Slaughter Auctions

South Dakota Horse Sales in Corsica used to have monthly horse sales. As times change, so do their auctions and with COVID, they like everyone else had to make changes. I have only been to their auction once or twice and always come away feeling sick.

For a very short time, there were more local horse auctions that I would insist on attending and again would return home feeling sick. Those auctions have disappeared and now as far as I know, there's only the one (although there is a local auction at a smaller scale which may sell one or two horses). My stomach did a flip when I read the notes from the last sale held in early June. I know that it's a reality but it's still hard to read when it is in plan writing.

LOOSE HORSE SALE: Buyers are short on saddle horses and Sellers are short on time and choose to sell the drop off and go Loose Horse Sale way to market their horses. This resulted in many high dollar horses selling in the Loose sale and going back out to the country including to Buyers from out of State, and that requires a health and coggins test. The top Loose horses sold for $4,000 - $3900 - $3400. & $2850 - $2800-$2800-$2800, or top 10 avg. $2.870.00

NEW RULE: The Loose horse sale was meant for horses going to weigh up market (slaughter). From now on, if you want your Loose horse marketed as a saddle horse or bred mare with footnotes and a pedigree, you must submit a Neg. Coggins test upon delivery or it will be Green Tagged in as a Market/weigh up sale horse only.

While I'm glad they are trying to get the saddle horses and broodmares more notice for those owners who provide notes on their horse, it still angers me that the owners don't try and do more with their horse to find them a home. Even at auction, why not put the horse in the catalog sale or at the end where they are consigned but not listed (sorry, I lost the technical name for that one). I've had friends dump their horses off at loose and "hope they got a good home" at this sale. I was flabbergasted when I heard that because I would have taken them and figured out a way to afford them. Any horse going to this auction loose has an extremely high rate of going to slaughter, with the exception of a few high dollar loose horses.

I so wish that we could do more for these horses. But we have to turn away horses where owners are doing right by their horses and reaching out to find a home. This year funding is going to be very tough to come by and I'm struggling. We won't close the sanctuary down completely but we will have to shutter our doors to any incoming horses if we don't find the funds. That's where I need help in finding someone to help me look for grants. They are going to be few and far between and I don't seem to be looking in any of the right places. And fundraising is pretty much out until I figure out how to make our name a little bigger so people know us. Current friends and family are pretty well tapped out and in my personal life, we are pretty well tapped out of funds for anything but necessities so heading to an auction to rescue a horse from the loose sale is out.

I wish I could do more to help save lives. It doesn't feel like I'm doing enough. As our horses grow older and we lose them, our numbers decline and with funds low, we can't open our doors to any more. I always worry for those horses where we have to say no. Did the owner find someone willing to take in that horse? Did that horse get a permanent home with someone to love and cherish them? I guess because we are a sanctuary, I need to remember that heading to auction to help save a horse and get them out of the slaughter pipeline isnt' feasible. It just seems unfair to the horse to work all your life and then find yourself at in auction and overlooked because you're unadoptable due to age and health conditions.

But for now, all I can do is look at the report and wish that we could head to the sale and pick up at least one horse to bring home. But to do that, we'd need funds and would first go to our waiting list to accept those horses. Always a catch 22. But the reports are a reality and I need to figure out a way to do more with less.

Monday, July 13, 2020


The cicadas started singing about two days ago. They are right on target for when they start to sing. It always puts me into a tail spin for some reason. I guess because we only have a month left of summer before school starts (no matter which method the school district decides to go) and that puts us straight into fall, fall activities, and prepping for winter. Summer is so short and filled with so much that it's hard to get everything done.

I have a ton of projects that NEED to get done before the first snow. It's July 13th and I'm talking snow. I know it's crazy but winter will be here before I know it and I'm stressing over everything that needs to get done before then.

We need to wrap up getting a patio in front of the house and then paint the house. Although it's not sanctuary related it does make better appeal for if/when we do have tours. I guess I'm a bit proud and want the place looking nice and that includes having a painted house and a place for people to sit after taking a tour (although we rarely get tours).

But we have to get a new roof on the old garage and although it's not directly Sanctuary related, it is where all the mechanical stuff gets done so we do need to get it wrapped up. We had one side done a few years ago but the other sides are leaking. Sadly, there are four sides to this darn roof rather than two. I also need to get up on the barn roof and fix the tin that keeps flipping up in the wind and renail it so it's secure and doesn't let it more rain. Id' forgotten about until lately when we've had some serious winds.

Then there's fencing that was supposed to be done in October but we are no longer on the waiting list so need to get back on. We need the perimeter of the entire pasture fenced and then the drylot fenced as well. It's big money that we need to spend but oh so worth it when it gets done. And i'll be able to have my corral panels back.

I also want to put in an auto water in the mare pasture near the barn. That way in the winter I'm not lugging the hose or buckets of water every day to keep it full. And in the summer time, I can go on a vacation and not have to worry about water for the horses. It'll be good to have but we need to raise the money for the auto water AND get it installed which is more money.

And last but not least, we need to get our 2020/2021 hay. I'm not sure if it's been cut and baled but we need to get prepped for it and get the money. We haven't done any fundraising and I know everyone's funds are in short supply so there's going to be very little cash on hand to buy the needed hay for this winter. I'm overly stressed about it. Without funds to buy the hay, we wont' be able to accept any other horses in and with COVID continuing as it has, there could very well be more senior horses that need a home for their twilight years. It's all very worrisome and I wish I could do more but my hands are tied because my first priority are to the horses currently at the Sanctuary.

So that's what's been going on and what needs to get done before the first snow flake and when the first cicadas start to sing, that's all the stuff that goes through my head every time they start to sing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Escape Artists

I came home last night after the sun had set to discover the ponies had dismantled the corral panels and were enjoying the buffet in the yard. Luckily they hadn't gone far and it was still light out but it was a shock pulling up the driveway. Luckily after years with the ponies, we all know that we need to go slow and not stress out over their escape. They've learned to stick close to home and enjoy the finder grasses the other side of the fence has to offer. They were more than willing to go into their pen (and the kids were content to sit in the car while I wrangled the ponies).

I knew I needed to move them yesterday but time was limited. It'll be a project for today instead. I could have moved corral panels and got started on getting them switched over yesterday but at 10:30pm, I wasn't feeling the excitement of that task even though the coyotes were near and singing to me. Let me tell you, I do not enjoy their songs. It's bad enough when they start howling in the distance but when it sounds like they are in the pasture, I get a little jittery. We've had coyotes in the yard before so I would rather not be out when they decide to wander through the place.

We've had thunderstorms two days straight so that put a stop to any outside projects. It's been the fun thunder rumbling kind of thunderstorms so I was ok with it. We are going to be doing more outside cleanup projects this weekend and my fingers are crossed that the weather holds. All of my projects are contingent on different parts getting done. I have two house projects that I have to do in order or I can't get them done (or it'll be a bigger pain in my rear later on). I'm hoping we can start tackling some of them this weekend. Some will be horse related and if anyone comes out for our cleanup day on Saturday, I'll be sure to put them on the Sanctuary stuff. Otherwise, I'll be working on home improvements that we'll get to use for the Sanctuary.

After 15 years, it'll be nice to finally change a few things that I've wanted done so many years ago.

Now if I could just get some better fencing for the ponies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


We lucked out and missed the worst of the storms last night. I kept an eye to the sky the entire day in case we needed to move horses around. But it ended up being a fairly nice day and didn't get too humid and hot like they'd predicted. Today on the other hand will be a different story (after the rains come through).

We are supposed to have rain off and on all week. It's going to make getting some of our projects done more difficult but I have a feeling that this week, most of the outside projects weren't going to get done anyway. Glass half empty today I guess.

The big herd spends a good portion of their day up in the lean to out of the sun and in the breeze. It's turned the leanto that we just cleaned into a mess again. I can't keep up with cleaning it out every day what with this new schedule that we've been doing since mid March. Hopefully I can get out there and get it cleaned out this weekend but it's just one more thing on the to do list.

We did acquire three roosters yesterday. Someone could no longer keep them and wanted to find a home for them. We've been missing our rooster we had 10 years ago so said yes. I don't know anything about chickens or roosters so this should be interesting. These three are a different breed than the one we had years ago but it'll be interesting to figure out their personalities. And for anyone who doesn't think roosters have personalities, they are wrong. Our old rooster would wander up to the house and crow at us if he didn't hear us up and moving around by 10am (gone are the days of sleeping in!)

We'll introduce you to them when we figure out who is who and what they are like. Right now they are tucked in the barn (because we have no chicken coop) and seem to be settling in. Now the difficult part will be to keep Penny from chasing them all over the place.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Happy 4th of July

We hope you all had a happy and safe 4th of July. We took a much needed break to spend some quality family time over the long weekend. The stress level is still fairly high for some family health stuff but we are making the most of it.

If you didn't catch our Facebook Live update, Diavlo has perked up. I was so worried about his potential depression but he came around much faster than I had figured. I had based my worries and fears off of Brego, who went into a deep depression when he lost Ivan. I knew Brego was a sensitive horse but hadn't realized how sensitive. He didn't perk up for weeks. In fact, it wasn't until we lost Bo four months later and Zeke was left without a best friend, that Brego perked up after hanging out with Zeke. So my worry was that Diavlo would do the same because he was so devoted to Jessie. But he went through his three days of mourning and was fine. He hangs out with Mayhem but isnt' nearly as protective of her. He gets annoyed by her but tolerates her. He looks for the big herd, so we may do some swapping later this summer/fall and put him in with the big herd and move Mayhem in with the ponies. We'll see how it all plays out.

We need to swap pastures this week or weekend. They've all been on the same pasture for the past month so now it's time to rotate to the next pasture. I should have done it after only two weeks to give the grass a break. It's what the pasture management class said I should do but old habits die hard (and I still need to put him some temporary fencing). At some point that temporary fencing needs to become permanent. But at this point, I need to start pushing to get our perimeter fence installed. After that, I'll be able to worry about the interior fencing. Good fences make good neighbors and we are risking becoming bad neighbors soon if we don't get better fencing up.

I can also tell that the days are getting shorter, even if it's only one minute at a time. But there's a long list of things that need to get done. This week is supposed to be icky hot so I'm planning on washing blankets so they will hopefully dry. The humidity is something else right now. But once they are washed and dry, we can apply water proofing and we'll be ready for another winter. I'll feel better once that project is done.

I'm sure that I'll fly into a tizzy here pretty soon. The katydids are going to start singing soon and those make me anxious. Not because of what they are but because they signal the beginning of fall. Oh not really, we still have two months of summer heat and humidity but there's SO MUCH that needs to get done. Up until the end of June, I spend all my time fixing things that break (I still have hay nets out too) or dealing with winter stuff and then from July on, it's prepping for winter and working on projects that can only be done in the summer months.  The katydids are a reminder that I only have a few short months to get them done.

And with our current situation, we are home more, which would make you think it possible to get more projects done but in fact, it means we get less done but I still see all the stuff that needs to get done. It's a bit of a catch 22. We are doing our best to stay home and social distance to keep everyone safe but in doing so, we stay home and I come up with more projects. My simple house project that would have taken a weekend, has now snowballed into two major updates. I'll need to take time off to work on some of the projects outside but can't do that because we are keeping kids home from daycare until school starts, if schools starts. So it's going to be a balancing act to get all these projects done.

We'll see how it all works out and if it gets done it gets done and if it doesn't, it'll simply be added to next year's long list of projects that need to get done. And when I say "simply", I add it to the list but it sits there stressing me out. Always ways to improve the place. It's been 15 years and we finally seem to be making headway on some areas.

In the mean time, we hope you had a relaxing, fun, and safe 4th of July. Now back to reality!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Second Half of the Year

Today marks the beginning of the second half of the year and what a year it's been so far. Pre-COVID, I had high hopes of implementing a bunch of new programs and doing some additional fundraisers. That all came to a screeching halt. With such a small presences online, we don't know how to proceed with any fundraising online so this will definitely be a tight year.

I am really stressing over funds for our upcoming winter hay. I did chat with our hay guy so we do have that lined up. Well, at least he knows we want hay and we also have access to small squares of hay. But again, it all costs money and we need to figure out where that money is coming from. With only one fundraiser this spring just before COVID-19 hit, we haven't been able to get ourselves out there. And I don't feel comfortable right now asking for funds. There are too many people who need their money to keep a roof over their heads but on the other hand, we need to keep food in our horses's bellies.

So it means we will be tightening our belts and pinching pennies to see where we can make the most of what we need. I'm hoping we can talk with our hay guy this weekend over the long holiday and get everything lined up (when to haul, cost, etc.). I'd like to get everything lined up now rather than later.

But it also means that we won't be able to accept any additional horses into the Sanctuary for long-term retirement. It makes me sad to say no and to even consider the possibility that we can't help horses in need but we have to be protective of our current horses. My biggest fear is that we will become a rescue that needs to be rescued.

Hopefully soon I can get my focus back and return to thinking about the Sanctuary. It's been a day-by-day sort of living since the pandemic hit mid March. Some days I think I have it together and the next day I sit in tears questioning everything.

I know I could really use some help. Most everything I need help with is online or helping me brainstorm and implement my ideas. I am great with ideas and terrible with follow through. And the more time I spend behind a computer instead of out in the real world, the more introverted I become. Any introvert will understand that feeling.

We have many projects that still need to be tackled this summer. In fact there are more projects that are on the list than what we can get done because of our personal life schedules being so chaotic (it's hard to do major projects when you're making sure your toddler doesnt' wander off into the corn field!)

So fingers crossed that the second half of the year is much easier than the first half, there are less stresses and tears, and that we can continue to do what we do. Without your support, we can't keep our doors open and help our seniors enjoy their twilight years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Summer Heat

The summer heat has returned. June came in not like a lion but definitely like someone left the oven on. It's going to go out the same way, hot, hot, hot. I worry for the horses when it gets this hot but they all have shade and fresh water available. It's almost easier to deal with the colder temps. I can put out more food, wrap them in snug blankets, and put them in the barn to keep the worst of the cold away but when it's hot like this, there's not much I can do.

The flies are terrible. Thanks to two very generous donations, we are able to purchase two additional sets of Shoo Fly leggings and one of those two also stopped out with a used pair that we put to use immediately. Diavlo wasn't impressed at first but that was only after about two minutes figuring out what they were all about and then you could tell he relaxed. I wish we could have enough to put all four on everyone. Slowly but surely, we will hopefully get enough (if they don't destroy them before that). The face flies haven't arrived so we haven't put on fly masks just yet but the time is quickly approaching. I learned a trick for keeping masks on so we'll see if it actually works or not. I've been slowly gathering fly masks as well but I'm not sure everyone has one. I put one on Diavlo and he took it off within an hour. Mayhem on the other hand left hers on. We may play musical fly masks to see which ones fit and which ones stay on who. And figure out how many we still need to purchase to make sure everyone gets a mask.

It's been a fairly quiet week otherwise. We are working on some home improvements that will in the long run make the Sanctuary look nicer as well. Small improvements will hopefully make the place look nicer and less unkempt as it has been for awhile. The joys of life getting in the way of progress.

I need to start looking at some late summer projects. There's so much that we need to get done and so little time. Even though I'm working from home at the paying job, there's less time because of my work schedule. We arent' running at all because of covid but juggling schedules gets a bit exhausting and I'm worried that not all of our projects will get done before the snow flies. I won't even go into the inability to look into grants, fundraising, or figuring out how to get our name out there more so we can do something online.

I have come to the realization that I am going to be too old to haul water in the winter. And I'm tired of hauling water all winter long (either in buckets or dragging a hose out). I want to install an auto water in the mare pasture. The mares (and usually a gelding) stay in the pasture near the barn all winter long because it's the easiest way for me to get water to them AND it's fairly protected. I'm also going to have to suck it up and buy a lean to or shed of some sort with my personal money and get it put up. I've never liked not having a shelter in that pasture/pen so I'm going to fix it this year. I need to do some additional fencing to make it so I can keep them there even in the spring instead of moving them to the drylot pen which isn't nearly as convenient or protected.. But by putting in an auto water, we need to bury lines (i.e., rent a backhoe), come up with the money for the auto water ($500), and get everything in working order before everything freezes (pray to the water gods that there are no leaks).

Sounds stupid to be worried about winter already, but it's already the last day of June and the days are getting shorter. In a week we will start to hear the kattydids and that will send me into a panic because I'm not prepared for winter. It's usually this time of year that I finally recover from the previous winter and now I have to start thinking about the upcoming winter. And with how 2020 has been, I want to have everything in order so we are prepared for whatever craziness comes our way.

So anyone have a backhoe we could rent/borrow, likes to do plumbing, or wants to help donate towards the new auto water that will make life so much easier and better for everyone both winter and summer? Let me know at We'd love the help.

We are also doing a cleanup day July 11th. So if you happen to be in the area, stop on out. We have way too many projects so come out and I'll put you to work on whatever projects you think are fun. Lets hope it's not too stinky hot.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


After a few weeks of beautiful weather (or maybe it was only a week, they all seem to blur together), we are headed into another heat wave and potential for storms tonight. Those that know me, know that I hate storms. I'm not sure if it's age or the two tornadoes that barely missed us, or what.

I always worry more with storms coming. Summer storms can be so unpredictable that I can't protect the horses as well. It's the Type A personality trying to control Mother Nature. It's an effort in futility. What I would give for nice, soft, straight down rains instead of gully washers and flash floods. I worry more about hail and wind damage these days. I still need to get up on the barn roof and repair a few sheets of tin that are damaged.

With the warmer temperatures, it seems like the flies have come out in full force. I swear these are August flies rather than June flies. I'm just waiting for the katydids to start singing and then I'll really be in a tail spin. When they start singing, we'll be half way through summer and there's still SO much that needs to get gone before the snow flies. It always seems that we are preparing for winter the entire time we have summer, which makes it a bit precarious in always focusing on winter.

Oh for a constant 70 degrees, sunshine, and a light breeze! But we live in SD so we'll be keeping an eye to the sky to make sure we are prepared for any upcoming storms.

Farrier Day

It was farrier day yesterday. I always love farrier day. Not only do the horses get trimmed so they are good for another 6-8 weeks, I get a chance to talk horses! It's always so much fun but the time goes too quickly.

We are going to be keeping a very close eye on King. He's been ouchy for a few weeks. Those darn flat feet of his make life so much more difficult. He's a big guy with way too flat feet. With the weather the way it is, we are keeping a close eye on him and his feet. We are dealing with a tad bit of thrush because he finds the softest spot in the entire pasture/pen, which happens to be whatever manure pile is there. But he stands on it to relieve the pain from his feet because they are so flat. We will be keeping a close eye on him. If he gets a bruise, it could lead to an abscess and having dealt with abscesses before, I do NOT want to deal with it in King. He'd stand fairly well but juggling this crazy schedule and dealing with an abscess doesn't excite me.

I was sorely disappointed in Maverick. We've never trimmed him because he hates having his feet trimmed. Well my farrier is amazing and she's not going to let get away with it any more. Come to find out, he's only not letting me pick up his feet because he doesn't want me to. That bugger has been playing me for years!!! So the next time we have farrier day, Maverick is getting trimmed like it or not! But it does go to show, that I need to be working with him. He's been left to his own devices for far too long and it shows....badly. Another horse owner fail on my part.

We were able to sneak in this last farrier visit before the heat and storms rolled in. We are supposed to be nearing 90 degrees again this week. The first of June was terrible weather for heat and it looks like it'll go out in the same fashion. I can only hope that July comes in much quieter and life stays calm.

We have too many projects around the Sanctuary that we need to work on and if it's too hot and muggy (or buggy), that it won't get done. We have some major projects and some minor projects that all need to get done ASAP (at least in my books but they've been waiting for years to get done so ASAP might mean a year from now).

Our next farrier visit will be August 19th. We'll do the usuals (King, Dude, Rain, Tommy, Zeke, Lightening) and throw in Chaos and Diavlo. And we'll see how Maverick does. Not everyone needs a trim. Brego seems to maintain beautifully and I never trained Mayhem so I can't and won't ask our farrier to work on her. My number one concern is everyone's safety. Lets hope that our next farrier day will be a beautiful cool day but with how 2020 has been going, it could be interesting!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Depression Watch

With Jessie gone, we've been keeping a very close eye on Diavlo. I have been worried sick about how Diavlo would take Jessie's passing. When we returned Friday evening with an empty trailer, Diavlo stood and watched that trailer, expecting Jessie to unload. I wish I could have told him so he'd understand. I have no idea if they understood that Jessie left this earth or if he thinks I was cruel and simply sent her away.

What I wasn't banking on was Mayhem. I should have realized that she too would slip into a mild depression as well. As herd mates, I didn't realize how bonded she was to Jessie. Of course, Jessie was the take charge kind of mare (although Diavlo seemed to be pretty bossy all winter). But without Jessie there to seek attention, Diavlo and Mayhem have been hanging out more without any fighting. With Jessie's passing, Diavlo and Mayhem are bonding. They don't seem to wander far from the gate or each other.

Before Jessie's passing, Mayhem and Diavlo wouldn't be seen 100 feet beside each other. Now, they are side by side and when one moves, the other one follows.

I know they are both dealing with the loss of Jessie and fighting their own depression. I know that Mayhem has lost a number of other herd mates over the years. Sadly, I was so wrapped up in my own world that I never noticed her depression. Diavlo's devotion to Jessie caused me to pay attention and now I realize that Mayhem has dealt with loss so much more than anyone else at the Sanctuary other than myself. Being such a young horse coming into the Sanctuary, she's had to deal with saying goodbye to so many of her herd. I do know Diavlo has had to say goodbye to three others of his little herd in the last year. He's the last remaining one from his herd.

We are keeping a close eye on both Diavlo and Mayhem. I continue to send the kids over to check on them and give them treats but even treats don't seem to brighten their day. It hasn't yet been three days of mourning but I believe that there will be weeks of depression that we will be dealing with for both Diavlo and Mayhem.

If only I could tell them that it'll be alight and I'm sorry for having to take their Jessie away.

Goodbye Good Friday Jessie

Friday we said goodbye to Good Friday Jessie. I just realized now that we laid her to rest on a Friday and she was born on a Friday. Rather fitting.

Jessie had been going downhill since early May and I'd turned a blind eye to her deterioration. Making the call these days is harder because we have to line up not just the vet, but also the excavator since we now bury everyone on family land until a different option becomes available or until the family land is no longer available.

In true Jessie fashion, she had to be the boss as to when she would leave. We had to reschedule the appointment for later in the day because she simply didn't want to leave. With the help of two very amazing horse women and Jessie deciding she was ready, we loaded her up. I had questioned on whether to take Diavlo but after having loaded him (to try and convince Jessie to go), we opted to leave him home. He threw a massive temper tantrum because I think he too knew what was going on and wasn't ready yet to let go.

Oddly enough, earlier in the week for four straight days we had 90+ degree weather and 25+ mph winds. Thursday rolled around and we had rain and chilly temps. Not just a light shower but good old fashioned thunderstorms and showers (I think, I slept through most of them in the night). But Friday rolled around and there was no wind, no excessive heat, and no rain. It was a beautiful day. If I had to choose a day to leave this earth, it would have been a day like Friday.

Jessie left with a belly full of grain mash, grass under her hooves, and sunshine shining down on her back. She's now buried on the same land as Ransom in a peaceful little spot away from all commotion. I do believe that she was ready to go. She'd been tired for quite some time and her passing was very quick.

I try never to talk politics or religion but with sanctuary work, I have to believe in heaven. I have a theory that it takes 11 hours to get to heaven after leaving your body. I'm sure some will think I'm crazy but I've noticed that about 11 hours after a loved one passes, that they send a sign. Oddly enough, Jessie I believe sent a sign Friday night. Wouldn't you know, she was a few hours early. Of course she had to prove me wrong by speeding up the time and because she was a mare always on the go, I'm sure she never once walked the path to get to heaven. I'm sure she was on a gallop the entire way there. The entire family was outside Friday evening after the sun had set. My oldest was the first to mention that he felt a rain drop.  Wouldn't you know, Jessie would let my kids know before me that she'd reached heaven. I felt a few raindrops too (as did my daughter). I think it was Jessie's way of letting us know that she'd made it and was fine.

As my kids grow older and start to understand more about life and death, we talk more about it. We've spent a great deal of time talking about Jessie and where she went after living with us. It's not a topic I want to discuss with my almost 8 year old let alone my almost 5 year old but it is something that should be discussed. Luckily we have done this discussion in such a manner that they aren't scared of death. (But as a 5 year old, the only thing you're normally scared of is the dark.) It does make Jessie's passing a bit harder for me and a bit bitter sweet.

Jessie was with us for only 8 months. It was such a very short time. I had hoped she'd be with us for at least a few more months. But it's not always up to me. The horses are the ones who decide when they are ready to leave this earth and I have to be responsible enough to help them when they ask. I will regret that I didn't pay more attention to Jessie's request when she told me earlier. I need to remember it's about quality, not quantity of life at the sanctuary.

I'm sure she's having a grand old time up in heaven kicking up her hooves and racing everyone around. She was never one to stand patiently and watch the day go by. She was always the type to be in the middle of everything bossing everyone around. I'm sure she's up in heaving right now doing just that.

Until we meet again Good Friday Jessie. You are dearly missed by many.