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 borderlandshorsesanctuary@yahoo.com. 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.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Calming Rain

After three or four straight days of 90+ degree weather and 25+ mph wind, we finally have a break from the weather and are enjoying rain, cooler temps, and no wind. I know we had rain a few weeks back but with 90 degree weather, the grass was starting to burn and dry up. We had an extreme drought eight years ago and we barely survived. If we were to have a drought now, I'm not sure my sanity could handle it.

After everyone else went to bed last night, I finally got out to do chores in the dark. It was still windy but the temps were manageable. In fact, I pulled a chair out into the driveway and just sat looking at the stars for a bit after everything was done. Every once in a while I'd see a flash in the sky of lightening. After I went in for the night, I checked my phone to see how close the storm was. Oddly, it was miles and miles and miles away. It's amazing how far you can see some days/nights when looking up at the sky.

It's going to remain quiet for the remainder of the week. We are still coming to terms and preparing ourselves mentally to let Jessie go. I think my worrying for Diavlo's depression is overtaking my sorrow for losing Jessie. Hopefully Diavlo will bond with Mayhem. If not, I may shake it up a bit and put him in with the big herd. But if he bonds severely with Chaos, we'll have problems because Chaos is one that we take out of the herd and take to different places.

I do hope that the rain predicted for tomorrow holds off until after we lay Jessie to rest. The plan is to bury her next to Ransom and the others. It's hard enough juggling the vet's schedule and the excavator's schedule. Now we have to throw in the weather's decision to go from 90+ degrees and gusty to severe thunderstorms. I guess it is what it is and we'll take the weather as it comes.

It is refreshing though to finally have the windows open and listen to the rain. There's something about listening to rain that is calming, which is something I desperately need at the moment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Last night as I was doing my rounds during chores, I took a few moments to stand and simply watch the horses. Everyone is wearing their gorgeous slick and glossy coats. I much prefer their shiny summer coats over their wooly winter coats. There's just something about a healthy shine to a horse that makes me happy.

As I was standing there looking at Chaos, Maverick, and Dude, I started to look hard at Dude. While the younger geldings are a bit on the plump side, I noticed Dude isn't carrying as much weight. My initial thought was "that's good cuz too much extra weight will bother his hips". But then I started to wonder. Normally he gets fat on grass but he doesn't seem to be getting as fat as he should. We stopped graining him (which is the norm for summer months) but we may need to return to graining him throughout the summer. Oh he's not bad by any means but I may very well need to put him on my watch list.

This winter I grained him every day to ensure he got his Buteless but he looked good during the summer. Maybe not plump but a good weight. This summer I figured he'd beef out like the other two geldings but he's not. It could be the light or it could be that he's going to be a bit more trim these days. I'll need to schedule an appointment to get his teeth floated to make sure that it's not his teeth that are causing him pain and not eating.

If it's not his teeth, we'll be starting him back on his daily soaked senior and see if that helps. He's not skinny by any means but I want to head any weight loss off as soon as possible if he's now turning into a hard keeper. Very rarely do the seniors leave this earth without turning into hard keepers at some point in their twilight years.

As I looked at Dude, I started to think of all the years we've been together. Dude has actually been with us since before the Sanctuary started and it was just a dream. He's been the horse that has been around the longest. Of course I can't remember dates but if I remember right (and my memory is starting to get a little shady), we bought him as a personal horse in January 2001. I thought he was a 6 year old when we got him but I swear his papers said he was a 1997 model. I think he's 23 (makign him a 1997 model for sure) but sadly starting to show his age.

I know Dude will enjoy his nightly grain and be standing at the door waiting to get in. He was like that all winter and I had to be very cautious about opening the door. He started getting into the bad habit of charging the door even if I was in the way.

We have a bit of a love/hate relationship and we both try to respect each other and not push each other's buttons but when he charges me to get into the barn, he's got another thing coming. We've gone round on many occasions and both have stories to share from those times.

But seeing him not fat but trim made me take a step back and realize that he too will not live forever. I'm struggling with knowing I'm losing Jessie and now I'm having to put Dude on the watch list, where Jim is already. I knew this day would come but had turned a blind eye to it. But that is the reality of life. I am happy that I can offer him a permanent home and know that he is safe and cared for even into his old age. That there is no threat he'll be shipped off to slaughter after he's bucked one too many people off (due to pain). But knowing that he's growing older is still a bit hard to take. I guess that's the reason why I should pamper him as much as possible. Every day is a gift and we should use that gift wisely.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Amazing Ladies and Vaccination Day

It always seems that when I start to panic, someone appears out of the blue to help. On Sunday we had two amazing young ladies volunteer at the Sanctuary. My original plan was to have them help vaccinate and deworm. What I had expected and what happened were exact opposite.

Those two amazing women stepped up and took over and I had the opportunity to step back and watch them in action.

I hate giving shots. I would rather get shots than give shots. I'm always afraid I'm doing it wrong and I know I'm causing them a bit of pain. Although the flies this year are causing them just as much if not more pain so I'm not sure why I was worried. But I think the horses can sense my hesitation while standing there with a needle in my hand (or a dewormer). Those two ladies made fast work (and the horses weren't expecting shots or deworming). I think the horses were expecting grooming and treats. Don't get me wrong, they got treats and grooming but the important job was taken care of.

As the one said, they have no expectations on any horse whereas I know them and their personalities and what they will do. Brego is usually a hard horse to deworm. One head raise and they had the entire dewormer in him just like that. No preconceived ideas, it was just done.

It was a fabulous day and knowing that all of the horses are vaccinated for another year is a huge stress relief. I'm sure we should have done it sooner but time seems to play havoc on life these days.

The second best part about Sunday is that almost all of the shots were free thanks to Merek generously donating these shots to us (and to other rescues throughout the US). This time around, they also threw in a few doses of rabies, which helped cut down the price as well.

I will admit that I am worried about funding this year. We normally don't do too much fundraising this time of year anyway but had hoped to do something this summer that would be a new annual fundraiser. We've put that on hold in hopes next year will be a much less stressful year due to the coronavirus. I don't feel comfortable asking people for donations when so many are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Sure I'm asking for donations to put food in the manager and to keep a roof over the horses but it's different somehow. Last year we didnt' have our annual playday and depending on how things go, we may or may not have one this fall. If we do, we will have to rearrange and have it outdoors. I do not want to have any event we host turn into a hotspot and cause more harm to people. But that's all for another post I'm sure I'll comment on later.

But for now, I'm going to breath a sigh of relief knowing that everyone is vaccinated and we will tackle deworming again in a couple of months. And a huge shoutout of thanks to the two amazing ladies who were willing to step up and not just help but to take over so all I had to do was catch horses (and I'm sure they would have done that too had I let them). I told them they had to return next year but they just laughed at me.

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Last Call

We made the excruciating decision last week that should have been made a month ago to let Jessie go. I see her now and realize she told me a month ago she was ready and I ignored her. Now we are dealing with extreme heat (we don’t normally get 90s this time of year) and the flies are vicious. The blood sucking flies don’t normally come out until August and they are already out. So now I feel even worse that she’s had to endure weight loss, heat, and now flies. But I wasn’t ready to let her go and I wasn’t ready yet to deal with Diavlo’s impending depression.
His depression is going to be sever and long lasting. He’s in a herd with Mayhem so he’s not alone. I could put him in with the big herd and see if anyone takes an interest in him. But that leaves Mayhem alone and he knows her and there’s some comfort in knowing one another. Although Diavlo did seem to like Chaos (another big black horse probably reminded him of Pepper), I don’t know that Chaos has the compassion needed to comfort another horse that is grieving.
To say I am worried is an understatement. The day itself is going to be hard enough and Jessie isn’t exactly happy about being loaded into a trailer. When we hauled her to the vet last fall to get her teeth floated, she pawed the entire way there and the entire time we were checking out Ransom. We are also supposed to have a chance for rain on Friday (typical for that weekend since I’m normally in Estelline to perform with Dakota Thunder Mounted Drill Team at the Estelline Rodeo, which was cancelled due to COVID-19). But I suspect it will rain so we’ll have to deal with that added stress as well.
But I looked at her yesterday and I could tell in her eyes that she was tired. Whether it was from the heat, the flies, the weight loss, or just being tired, she’s ready to go. I look at her now and see how drastically she dropped weight and wished I’d made the decision sooner. We always keep them a tad too long instead of help them cross over sooner. I know I’ve done it time and again where I’ve waited longer than I should have. Sadly, when they give me the sign, I need to act fairly quickly. It shows their quality of life is not what it used to be and since I am their care taker, I need to do what’s best for them. Making that decision and not ignoring their request is tough to do but needs to be done. I have no idea why I turned a blind eye to Jessie’s request a month ago. Maybe I was wishing and hoping for the best. Maybe I didn’t want to face the inevitable. I don’t know. But I know I did her wrong in waiting as long as I did.
I’m sure that I will be posting more this week, but we will be saying goodbye to Jessie on Friday late morning. I’m not sure if we’ll beat the heat and the storms but it’s scheduled and everything is lined up. In years past, we’d simply make the phone call to the vet. Now it’s a phone call to the vet and a phone call to my uncle to get the excavator lined up. With rendering no longer an option, we now have to weight quality of life a bit sooner and make sure that we aren’t interfering with not just the weather, but farming schedules. We are blessed with having family who’s willing and has the machinery to help with the final part of sanctuary life. Before when it was the vet taking care of it, the decision was hard enough but now without rendering, I have to ask for favors. We could have the vet hire someone to take them away but it would be to the landfill and although it would solve the problem, it doesn’t seem as dignified and it more than doubles the cost. At some point, we may be forced to go that route but for now, we will stick with begging to bury them on family land.
For now, we are going to spend our days pampering Jessie and doing our best to make her feel comfortable in her final week on this earth.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Quiet Day

It's was a fairly quiet day yesterday. I should have taken advantage of the cooler weather to get stuff done but life got in the way. It was still fairly muddy after the rains the previous day/night so I used that as an excuse to not be productive. I also figured this blog was a bit word heavy and light on pictures so I'll leave with just a few pics from the other day.

Brego and Zeke

Diavlo and Chaos

Diavlo, Mayhem, and Jessie

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Discover Hartford Business Trail Walk

We are a part of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce. Last year we took Chaos around town (ok just in the Sunshine parking lot) for #DiscoverHartford. With Covid-19, the Hartford Chamber of Commerce decided to try something different to promote Hartford.

This year's Discover Hartford will be a fun way for families to get out on the walking/bike path and take pictures with all the businesses/nonprofits that are a part of the Chamber of Commerce. Because there are so many, they have to split it between two weeks. We are in the first week so will have to go for a walk and see where Borderlands  Horse Sanctuary's sign is located.

You even get to win prizes! Take a picture in front of the signs and then tag #DiscoverHartford for a chance to be entered to win Hartford Bucks. It's free money that can be spent throughout Hartford. The only thing we have to offer if you in the Hartford Bucks are tshirts and horse shoe art but if you win, I'd be happy to pull out all the horseshoe art Mike has made over the years and let you choose. There are some that are gorgeous.

We are the June 12-18 week and strongly encourage anyone local to go check it out. There's more information on our Facebook page about what all you need to do (take a picture, post it publicly, and tag #DiscoverHartford is the gist of it).

Hope you can get out to Hartford and check it out!


The weatherman had been talking about storms and rain for a week now but it took until last night to get any bit of rain. I was actually starting to worry. I can't remember the last time we had any rain.  I should have paid more attention to Mayhem. When there's drastic weather changes, she doesn't feel good and she didnt' feel good the night before last. Some days I'm on auto pilot that I don't always pay attention like I should.

We've had 90+ degree weather and lots of wind Sunday and Monday. I'd keep watching the sky waiting for the storms and nothing. I hate storms so I'm always a bit antsy. We were supposed to have storms the week before and with the hot weather I was sure we were going to get a nasty storm. I always get spooked with storms. Guess it comes with age. So Sunday and Monday we'd been dealing with extreme heat. It's not 90 in June usually! Monday night there was a line of thunderstorms that I thought were moving in. I sat out and watched them but we didnt' get anything. When I woke in the morning, they were still where they had been the night before. Odd that it would stall out like that.

On Tuesday the temps fluxuated so drastically it was hard to keep up. It was actually decent out in the morning in the mid 70s and no one was sweltering like before. Mid morning the temps dropped and that should have been an indication that the storms were finally moving but again I was on auto pilot. I left our place in the afternoon and it was mid 70s, I saw 80 just north of the Sanctuary and by the time I reached Madison 30 minutes (30 miles) later, it was 67 and it never got any warmer.

Then the storms rolled in early evening and we got our much needed rain. Of course I didn't get out of Madison in time and had to drive in the rain. I must have missed the majority of the downpour because I saw standing water in fields as we drove home. There wasn't standing water when we drove by in the afternoon. I havent' looked at the numbers yet. With all the tiling going on, I expect our pasture to be flooded again. I'm so mad about that but that's for another post. I have my idea on how to fix at least one of the issues.

The rest of the week isn't supposed to be too hot. It's actually a little chilly at this moment but I'll take it after 90s. I'm too fat for it to be this hot. And it's so hard to keep the horses comfortable when it's 90. We also have August flies rather than June flies. I call them August flies because they are mean and bite and they know the end is near. This time they are here early. They aren't the face flies that swarm the horses's head but they are the ones that go after the legs and bite hard. I dug around and found my shoo fly boots but I don't have enough to go all the way around. I wish I could buy a pair for each horse but at $45 for a set of four, it's not possible when you have 14 horses. I try to buy one or two pairs a year and then at least get the leggings on the fronts so there's a little less stomping going on. Sadly, they wear out faster than I can afford to replace them AND buy enough to get everyone covered. And we didn't have the horse expo this spring so no chance of buying them already. If I remember right our local Fleet Farm might have them but I haven't been in a store since mid March. Mike goes in and does all our shopping while I stay home and watch the kids. It's a struggle since I'm the one who keeps track of what all we need. But a trip in to Fleet Farm might be in order to buy fly leggings for the horses. It would be relief for a few more horses and I could rest a little easier.

We have a working/cleanup day this Sunday and already have a few volunteers willing to come out. We are going to do some vaccinations and deworming and then I'll let them get the grooming brushes out and take care of all the witches knots that seem to be taking hold of the horses' manes lately. I'm sure the horses will love all the attention. Lets hope it's not 90 degrees on Sunday so we can get a few things done.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


Last night I pulled a chair into the driveway to watch the lighting and storm rolling in (it never did). It gave me time to review the day, count my blessings, be thankful for the good that had come that day. It gave me time to reflect and relax. Something I have been needing for awhile. We've had a lot of stress lately and I'm not coping with it very well. Hopefully there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.

I am saddened but I have made the realization that I need to call the vet to make an appointment for Jessie. Her body is giving out and she's told me in her own way that she's ready. Now it's my responsibility to honor her wishes. It's a hard idea to wrap my head around. It's not like she's the first we'll have to say goodbye to, nor will she be the last. But she is family.

If you know me, you know family is the most important thing for me. I wouldn't have said that pre kids but it is true. My kids take priority (don't get me wrong, the horses get taken care of as well), and that is why I feel like I've been slipping a little. But the horses are also family. Each has their own personality, their own likes and dislikes, their own soul that draws me in to their quiet and calmness.

When I look at the herd, we've had most for many years. Jessie and Diavlo are the newest and it's hard for me to fathom that they've only been here for eight months. It feels like they've been with us for years. But I have said countless times, it's about quality not quantity when you spend time at Borderlands.

But it's not just the horses that become family. Each of the horses that comes to Borderlands had a past prior to coming here and calling Borderlands "home" for their final time on this earth. Sometimes we are fortunate to know the previous owners and we do our best to keep them in the loop of general activities and health. Others have come to Borderlands without any care from their previous owners. Those owners that we stay in contact with while the horse is in our care becomes family. They are a part of the horse's life and now a part of our lives so that makes them a part of our family.

It's also true of volunteers and those that help with the horses like our farrier. Our previous farrier (before he retired) would come whenever we asked. We became instant friends. We now go months without talking to each other but the minute we get a phone call or a text with questions or needing help, we are there. It's what family does. In fact, our previous farrier became godfather to all three of our kids. Because once you are around us and Borderlands for any amount of time, you become family. I consider our current farrier the same way. Even our vet is like family where I know that I can contact them with any questions (professional and personal) and they will answer. And if we need anything or they need anything, we'll be there.

So if you're considering becoming involved with Borderlands, just know, you'll become family if you stick around us for any length of time. We might be the crazy black sheep part of the family, but we are family and we'll be here for you.

Friday, June 5, 2020

10 Years

Hard for me to realize that 10 years ago today, my Dad on Chaos and me on Zeke rode up to the little white church on my wedding day.

I've had so many ups and downs in this past ten years. So many horses have come and gone in the past ten years. Luckily we haven't had to say goodbye to either Zeke and Chaos and God willing, we will have both for many years to come.

Here's a few pics from 10 years ago on this very day.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Happy Herd

It's very relaxing to watch the herd wander out to the big pasture every morning. In the beginning they would rush out full gallop, hit the pasture and keep on running. This morning, they've decided to take a slower approach to the morning by wandering slowly to the pasture. I don't think everyone wanted to go at that pace but if the boss says walk, then the herd walks. I think without having Rain instigate (even though he's not the boss), then the rest of the herd just wanders out.

After a week on pasture, they are looking fantastic. Almost everyone's shaggy winter coats are gone and we are now with sleek beautiful horses. I've been keeping a close eye on Jim. Every March he starts to lose weight and it's not until pasture time that he starts to pick up weight. After one week, he's already putting on some weight (unless I'm looking through rose colored glasses again).

I can sigh a bit of relief when I see the herd and realize they are happy and healthy. Sleek coats, clear eyes, happy minds. It's all wrapped up into happy horses, which makes me feel like I'm doing something right. But then I look at Jessie and I question everything again.

I still have the mares, Diavlo, and ponies on the lawn pasture. I'm going to move corral panels around today or tomorrow and get them eating down the lawn in a different part. I realize the lawn may not have as good a pasture as a pasture. We will see how she progresses through June. If at the end of June, she's not picked up weight, we will have to make arrangements. I have more to say about it but will weight. It's more me questioning my abilities as a caretaker than anything.

We are out of the 90s for the rest of the week but still dealing with upper 80s for temps. It's a bit much for this time of year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this doesnt' turn into a drought. We were supposed to get storms the last two days and got only a sprinkle, not even enough to wet the ground.

I guess we'll get rain about the time I need to work on a project that cant' have rain. We have about eight ongoing projects at the Sanctuary right now. It's all improvements to make the place better and easier to use as we get older. Some are improvements we should have done years ago and others are improvements that need to be done that cropped up (because there's always something when you live on an acreage). Here's to us getting all of our projects done this summer!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Jessie Update

I had hoped we could hold off making a decision about Jessie until this fall. I don't think that's going to be the case. She'd been holding weight ok all winter and then in March, she started dropping weight. I thought maybe it was just me trying to not look through rose colored glasses.

At the end of May we took a much needed mental and emotional break from reality and when we returned I knew I wasn't looking through rose colored glasses. Jessie looks terrible. I haven't been around her mentally to really make the connection that her time on earth is nearing its end. She's not told me she's ready until I put her into the pasture. Diavlo was pushing her around and I could tell that she's not got the spark like she used to.

I want to wait and see if the grass is what she needs but I don't think so. Looking at her, she looks terrible. I don't even need to compare her to anyone else. She's lost so much weight over the last month that I'm ashamed I've let her go so far. I know weight loss can be sudden but I questioned it a month ago and thought maybe I was just over reacting. I was not.

I've tried changing up her grain and/or adding more and none of that helps. We'll see what pasture does for her but we may be looking at saying goodbye much sooner than I had expected.

It's not like this day wasn't coming. With our vet telling us she had five loose teeth along with some missing, that when she did lose those teeth, we'd probably have to say goodbye. I guess I'd hoped that I wouldn't have to make this decision until fall when it's easier knowing winter will be here.

I plan on giving her a bit more time to see if the pasture does help but I'm not holding my breath. She's already told me she's tired. I feel like I've done her an injustice. The saying "out of the frying pan, into the fire" keeps coming to mind. Have I done all I can do for her? Would she (and the rest of her herd) been better off with someone else? As it is with the four we were asked to take in last fall, one refused to load and only through the grace of the horse gods was someone able to rehome her that was nearer and who she liked. Ransom we lost within a month of coming to the Sanctuary (again the saying out of the frying pan, into the fire comes to mind), and now Jessie. I feel like I've not only let each individual horse down, but also the owner, and his family.

The problem is going to be with Diavlo. We found out that rather than mother/son, it's sister/brother. No matter the case, Diavlo is so attached to Jessie, I don't know what to do. He hates being away from her. He goes ballistic. If I have decent fencing, he'll pace the fence until she's in eye sight and then he'll stand there and watch her like a hawk. Luckily he's not a fence pusher but he questions the fencing if he's separated.

So what do I do? He's still very much an able bodied horse so there's no thought of saying goodbye to him when we say goodbye to Jessie. That option isn't on the table.

But do we take Diavlo with and let him know that she's gone? Let him see that she's gone and let him mourn? Do we load up Jessie and leave Diavlo home to pace the fence and always wonder? He's going to spiral into a depression no matter what.

Brego knew that Ivan died on the place and he spiraled into a depression. Zeke knew that Bo left but didn't go into a depression (or at least not a severe one). But with Diavlo being SO connected to Jessie (even more so than Ivan and Brego who were together all the time), I'm not sure what to do. Diavlo seems like he can't function without Jessie in his sites.

I don't know what to do. But no matter what, we'll have to get everything lined up pretty soon. If the heat continues, I know it's not fair to keep her going. I want her to have a belly full of grass, a mouth full of grain, and sunshine on her back when she goes. But I hadn't prepared myself for making the phone call so soon. It'll be this month, but I'm not sure when this month and how to handle Diavlo after that.

My already somewhat precarious emotional and mental state is fragile right now and making this tough decision is going to really stress me out.

Another Hot One

We had another scorcher of a day yesterday. No one is ready for 90+ degree weather. I was worried about Skippy and Jessie because they haven't yet shed out their winter coats. They have varying degrees of winter coats and I was hoping we'd gradually get to warmer weather instead of an instant change. I always worry about drastic weather changes because it can cause colic and if not colic, it can cause stress on a horse. With some being older and not in the best of health, I worry that any major weather change will cause severe problems.

We did discover that Diavlo is a water horse. He loves to dunk his head and splash the water out of the tank. I know in his previous home, he had an auto water but where he's at now, we have to fill a 100 gallon tank. I'm hoping this summer we can put in the lines and add an auto water to one of the pastures near the barn where they winter. We've changed the setup of how we do winter chores and I'm finally hitting the point where I need to make life easier when it comes to chores. Hauling 20 gallons of water every night in sub zero temps isn't for me any  more. But it's added costs and I'm not sure where we will find the funds for it.

We've not had any fundraisers and with covid, aren't planning on any. All of the activities and programs we were going to start are on hold. Some of it is due to covid and come of it is due to some stresses we are dealing with. I can only take so much emotional and mental turmoil and I've been at a breaking point for some time. I'm not looking for sympathy, simply trying to explain why it felt like we were finally making traction and getting somewhere and now are at a complete standstill again.

If someone is interested in helping out, I'd love to hand over what we were going to do and see if someone else can run with it. I know they will do a better job than I can.

Luckily we aren't supposed to be dealing with as extreme heat today. This week and next is supposed to be in the mid to upper 80s. Still too hot for this time of year but at the very least we can start looking at getting some winter stuff cleaned up (thinking blankets). We'll see how much time I have to get stuff done.

I need to start making lists to actually get stuff done. I've been dropping balls left and right and can't seem to juggle the new "normal" that we have right now. So if anyone wants to help, I'd love to hear from you. You don't even have to be local to help! Most of what I need help with I need online so you can be from anywhere helping out our senior horses. With your help, we may just be able to open our doors to another deserving senior!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

It's Defnitely Summer

The first day of June rolled in like it was summer. Hot and humid! At one point, I saw 99 degrees. That's a bit of a switch when just the week before we were wearing winter coats (of course that was out in the Black Hills for a much needed vacation and break from reality). But it's a hard switch even going from 70s to 90s in just a day.

I noticed Skippy and Farley (the dog) were both having issues with the heat yesterday. We have another day of heat on the books and they are talking storms for this afternoon. I moved corral panels around so that we could get the mares, Diavlo, and the ponies out onto the lawn to graze it down and to adjust to pasture life.

I honestly dont' want to put Jessie out on the pasture near the road. She's lost so much weight. I feel like I've done her an injustice. That saying "Out of the frying pan, into the fire" keeps coming to mind. I realize she couldn't stay at her previous home but I'm not sure that I did her any good. She has 24x7 access to hay and gets grained nightly and yet the pounds keep falling off of her. I keep racking my brain to figure out what I'm doing wrong. For some reason I feel like I've failed her and am doing something wrong. I realize that at 26-ish and with either five loose or missing teeth, that she's having a hard time eating and that's the cause. I could pump her full of grain but she decides when she's done. I've never really had a self regulating horse before. The other day I grained her and she didn't eat it all. She's gotten much slower when she's wandering the pasture. Oh she still insists on pacing the fence line if she doesn't like the situation. I moved her over to the pony pen so she could eat that bale of hay. It didn't work out (much to her delight). Now she's back to where she wants to be. She's very opinionated on what she does and does not like. At least it's easy to know and fix But I still can't figure out what to do. She's now on the lawn pasture and grazing 24x7. If she doesn't pick up any weight in the next few weeks, we are going to have to make a decision.

I'm not sure what we'll end up doing with Diavlo. He's going to be devastated. He's already so protective of her it drives me nuts. Even now while out on pasture, if I'm standing there and she comes up, Diavlo pushes his way in so that he is in between me and Jessie. It has nothing to do with me. It's Diavlo being protective (to the point of driving both me and Jessie crazy). Mayhem tags along for the ride. The ponies stay far away from Diavlo. He hates them but I dont' have much choice right now in where the mares and ponies go so they have to be together at least for the time being. It'll change in another week when I need to move them to a different location on the lawn. Diavlo is going to be devastated when we lose Jessie

The big herd is finally out to pasture. We were supposed to have fence guys come to redo the pasture fence and the drylot and I'm still waiting. I think it's just a phone call but now I don't want them trampling what little precious grass we do have. If the summer is going to be as hot as it is now, I want to conserve as much grass as possible. Having gone through a drought eight years ago, I don't want to go through that again. Our neighbors aren't the same as we had eight years ago who let us use their pasture (and they put a for sale sign out so we'll have new neighbors again). But hopefully we can get on the books for getting refencing done this fall when the grass isn't as lush and we'll be supplementing with hay. Although having my corral panels back would be nice

The herd is happy to be out in grass but they are already making their normal routine of standing in the run in shed off the barn. We finally got it cleaned out and now they are making a huge mess. I need to remember to start being better about clean up duty but life has been pretty busy lately.

We went on a much needed vacation over Memorial Weekend. It was the first time my entire family has been together since January. We normally get together every few weeks. We've been dealing with some extra family stuff and that's added a lot more stress than I had realized. Ever since we found out, it's been at least every other night of crying myself to sleep so the break where we can all be together was a definite must. I needed a break mentally and emotionally. What's that saying, you're no good if you dont' take care of yourself? Well, I know I'm more than a little stressed and needed to get away. I don't know what this summer will bring. With the added stress and then add on covid, I'm pretty well done in. We had plans to start moving forward on some projects, but we are putting those on pause for a little longer. Juggling work from home, kids all day (not at daycare), and the horses doesnt' leave me time to look into really getting our programs going like I wanted. We will have to simply see how things progress through the summer. For now, it's a pause on the activities and not a completely stop. It's not like I haven't had to pause on these programs before. It's all stuff up in my head that I'd love  to get going but for now, we'll just have to hold off or start much smaller than I had hoped. I'm more than a little sad to put a pause on them. We were making leaps and bounds on some and I was so excited but, it is what it is.

We will simply stick closer to home and work on a bunch of home/sanctuary improvements that need to be done and I've been putting off. It's not that I've wanted to put them off but when you aren't home, you can't work on them. So hopefully now that we are home all the time, we can start working on these projects.