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Ok, not really. Although, while it was September, when you have a costume contest for horses, you might as well go all the way right into Halloween…………..

Last year, we were introduced to a Fun Show. Part of that fun show was the costume contest. We hadn’t planned on going, and the folks we were with supplied the ideas and accessories for the costumes. That year, only the youngest placed, but we had fun.

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This year, we decided to go all out, and did a bit of planning.

The older two were easy to decide, but the youngest gave us fits. In the end, we decided to give her a hodge-podge; using bits and pieces we found out shopping and then recycling a reversible vampire cape I had made for my son the one year, eons ago. We had Halo all decked out, but by the time we got to judging, much of her accessories had been shed already. 😆

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Her legs had been wrapped red at one point, but didn’t stay that way long.

 

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She placed 4th. 😀

My oldest daughter decided to go as Little Red Riding Hood; her horse being Grandma. Hilarious! This necessitated whipping up a costume for him including a cape and a wee little hat- the night before.

I had taken a double kick to my leg on the trail ride the day before {and folks- if you KNOW your horse is kicky, do everyone a favor and either YELL to the person behind you so they don’t have to get closer to you; don’t STOP and block the rest of the riders, or better yet, USE A FREAKING RED RIBBON LIKE THE REST OF US DO WHO HAVE HORSES THAT MIGHT KICK- it’s not rocket science.}, and was not a happy camper by that point. But, we came home early evening, and I sat and got it all sewn up so we could head out by 7 am the following morning.

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She got 2nd place.

Now, somewhere along the line, I saw a picture that I thought was really cool. I showed it to my middle daughter, and she fell in love. She did a brief practice run, and we knew we would have to push on the actual day.

Originally, they told us we had two hours. In reality, they gave us about an hour and 15 minutes. Needless to say, she didn’t get it all done, even with some sloppy help from me.

She still took 1st place. Not bad for the second time trying at it as a 12-year-old. 😀

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Here are a few more random pics.

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At the end of the day, we had a great time!

The kicks totally derailed my running, and I’m pretty sure they were stress fractures, both of them. After several weeks of rest, I started easing back into, but I’m still not 100%. Those spots are still lumpy and sore to the touch. It took a few weeks to be able to bend my leg, but it didn’t stop me from riding a few weeks later.

*** We didn’t invent the wheel on the skeleton horse, of course. The idea came from the brilliant Knot Just Rope. She has a fantastic tutorial, and I’m sure we’ll be doing this again.

That was one of the high points of our year, as you can imagine. Stay tuned- more writing soon! 😀

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So. Where were we?

This bi-coastal living sucks. Big time. Over the last year, I have learned well how I am absolutely not cut out for single parenting.

One might think that being home on this side of the country with the girls is easy enough. Not.

It’s like living in a frat house but everything is pink. And glittery.

We’re waiting on the guys to come home to celebrate Christmas. The stocking candy has, however, already been raided. I doubt the guys will get any by the time they are able to make it home.

Seeing as we’re at the end of the year, I’ll try to go back and highlight some of the things we’ve done. I’ve got reviews on the new Vibrams to get to, etc.

Right now, I guess I’ll start with the horses.

We added another horse to our herd, bringing the total now to 7. Haven is another Tennessee Walking Horse, and has a really nice gait. She came to us via a friend of ours over the border.

One thing we learned this season is that we needed a spare. We’ve done a number of trail rides; the four of us girls going to the ones nearby. While I could in a total pinch pull 4 horses in my stock trailer, I don’t much like it. I’ve been shuttling us 2 horses at a time, which really only works for rides that are relatively close. My oldest daughter and I have done a few rides that were further away, since I couldn’t double back due to distance.

On the last ride with all of us, we got all the way there, got my youngest’s mare out, only to discover a bloody foot, courtesy of kicking while loaded. It wasn’t terribly bad, but a fun show was the following day, and we didn’t want to take a chance that she couldn’t be ridden. So, on the return trip to get the other horses, I took her back home and traded her out for another.

Given that we actually made use of a spare horse, it was time to think about getting another spare, in the event Hunny was home and something like this happened. When my friend contacted me with the opportunity to get this horse, we decided to drive up and give her a test ride.

She is one of the youngest horses, and is so far doing well. We are looking forward to better, non-soggy weather to ride once hunting season is over.

 

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My oldest daughter and I were laughing just the other day- when we decided to go all out on horses, we really had planned to get more horses like Magic, so that the herd colors would be diverse, given that we already had two bays and a red. With the additions of both Blaze and Haven, we now have a mostly “brown” herd. 😆 Somehow, we have gotten completely smitten with that color! 😀

 

 

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NOT. Wowee.

I’m inclined to finally write this up, because it’s hard to know who knows what and what part of the story they know. Get your pocorn and your beverage now. You might also want to go to the bathroom before we start.

The important thing to know before we begin is that not only am I armed, I am ready. And I have used my good friend just the other night to fire a warning shot, because I really don’t want any harm coming to it, but it really can’t be here, threatening me, my kids, the garbage men, the people driving on the road, my dogs, my chickens, etc etc etc.

You may recall that we moved here about a year and half ago, after living in hell the NM desert. We had not planned on buying something before we sold our other house, but well, we found this one, and that’s all she wrote.

When we moved in, there were 5 abandoned horses in our front yard; one of them severely emaciated, starving, recently foaled and nursing both the new colt and 2 year old filly. As it turns out, the baby, renamed to Doodlebug, was actually born October 30; we closed November 8. {not sure why my times in that post were so wonky.}

It took us a while, but Halo did finally get rehabilitated and is now completely ride able, although she still struggles to add that final 100 lbs. {Pay attention, because this is all part of what’s been going on these days………………..}

Contrary to some popular local belief, the horses that were abandoned actually WERE on our property. And, we didn’t steal them or otherwise “take them over,”- we fed a horse for whom death was imminent. In NM, not reporting was a felony; if you knew of a starving horse and did nothing, you were also criminally liable. And, we actually DO have a bill of sale for every one of our horses. 😀

It took about a week of living here to figure out that not only were none of them being fed, but they had NO water. So we fed her. And so it began.

The homesite here has a really rich history. It used to belong to a Civil War Colonel {who is buried in the woods with his horse} and the state has the historical the he letters wrote to his wife on how to harvest their crops while he was at war. There was a Revolutionary War battle in the front pasture, from what we’ve been told.

The house is not that old, of course; it was built in the mid 1990s. The man who had it built was a very well-educated and prominent public servant in this tri-county area; one of the leaders in the state from what we hear. When we got the house, it was bank owned, thanks to the downward decline resulting from drug abuse.

It’s horribly sad. He lost his wife, his kids, his practice, and finally the home he had built- because of drugs. And basically every single room in the house had serious blood spatter in it. vomit

My daughter had a pretty serious accident on Magic because of a drug drop in the barn. {Drug dealers sat and watched, as she exercised the horse; sped over to the barn; finally getting out, running in, and then running back out, and revving the engine to speed away. This spooked the horse, who took off back to the paddock and dumped my daughter before trampling her arm. Thank God nothing was broken or that she wasn’t seriously hurt.}

Last summer, my son found a container of syringes. Some of them were used. Some were half full. Some of them had a bloody mixture in them. So, the sheriff’s department took them at some point. Since then, several other syringes and parts have turned up, thanks to the rain and the chickens……

During the first few months, we met pretty much every one who lives out this way. I think some of it was folks being neighborly; some of it just curiosity. The house and this man had a distinct reputation, and it’s not surprising folks were interested in the house and who bought it.

Part of the family that welcomed us was one branch that had a daughter a little younger than my oldest daughter, and they became fast friends. While they lived in the bigger town nearby, grandpa and numerous aunt/uncles/cousins all live right around here.

The girl got a horse. The girl. Not her parents. Her. She was in charge of taking care of the horse- feeding, etc etc, and paying for feed, etc. While they did buy some grain, all we ever saw them feed regularly were breakfast cereals, like Fruit Loops, and then broccoli. They also don’t believe in the farrier. Apparently, her dad was going to trim hooves, because he watched a video on YouTube.banghead 😯

Ahem. Ya.

By this time, they were up to 3 horses; only one of which could really be ridden. And, my daughter and this girl were no longer friends, because my daughter wasn’t able to stand seeing the neglect going on with the horses.

And then it was getting close to Christmas. I came home, to find the girl sitting in my driveway.  Could we help her, she wanted to know, figure out what to do to get her horses better? They couldn’t get them to keep any weight on them. Her mother made her come over because they knew we had rehabbed a horse, and knew what we were doing.

We went over with the girl, and I shot my vet some pictures. I relayed the information she gave me. I gave them her number. We went home and got them water they could actually drink.

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Ya. I know. We monitored, but at some point week or two later, per the advice of my vet, I called animal control. In the meantime, I had gotten a hold of an US Equine Rescue League investigator. She found a specialized rescue for them, and had a vet and transport on stand-by, waiting for them, all of which was communicated. The point is- they weren’t feeding them, and the odd occasions that they fed, they weren’t fed the right stuff.

Animal control issued a mandate to have the vet go out on and give them a written plan of care, which was to be shown to animal control. The daughter said they had not seen a vet, but had talked to one. The story they gave animal control was that they had seen a vet. He called and checked with the vet, who said he had seen the horse. Maybe it happened. Either way, it was enough that animal control couldn’t press charges after they shot and killed them, even though they had instructions NOT to.

The mother FBed my daughter that weekend with a message saying, “I hope you’re happy. Now we have to put them down. I hope you hear the gunshots when they go off!” 😯 The daughter posted we needed to go back to NM; the son {senior in high school} posted we were psycho and needed to go back to NM where we came from.

And, just yesterday, the kids were coming down the road {and now that they moved the the horse back to where they were, which we’ll get to, they have no actual reason to go flying down my dirt road} with 4 of them in the car, and they all flipped up off. 😆 But hey, they’re praying for us. 😆

Now, in the midst of this crap, when they bought the second gelding, they moved their Tennessee Walking Horse across the street from us; dumping it in the bull pen. Yep.

I don’t think I need to say this, but they didn’t feed her over there, either. I have pictures of when she broke out and came in my side pasture to eat the grass, and given the pulled hay in my new hay bales, it surely looks like she got a late night snack or two, too. Honestly, I don’t begrudge the horse for breaking out in the winter to get herself some food. Hungry animals are inclined to find food when they’ve gone too long without.

So let’s talk about the bull pen….. when we moved in, Moo, a nice white heifer, was in there. At some point, she died, and they replaced her with two bulls.

Wait- let’s back up- the bull pen over there is leased by a different branch of this same family. The folks with the cows are some kind of cousin/uncle of the mother with the horses. The water for the pen comes from our well- and we don’t own the land. We are also not compensated for use of the water or the electricity used by my well. Because I know these people won’t bring their animals water and would literally let them thirst to death, we have graciously not capped that line so they can continue to use it. Some thanks, eh?

Anyhow, Moo died, they left her in the pasture to rot a while, and then there were two new bulls in there. Not only do they not feed them regularly, if at all, their water tank isn’t clean. But no matter; at least they have something. A few months down the road, one of the bulls died, preventing the other from taking shelter because it died IN the shelter and completely blocked the access. After a few weeks, the stench was unbearable, and bit of flesh would float over on a windy day. The dogs loved it; me- not so much.

So, the bull and the one horse have been in there a while. After several weeks, the bull stopped trying to kill the horse, and all was well. Now it’s winter, and not only is there no grass in the bull pen, but they have dumped ANOTHER horse in there. I’m pretty sure the junky hay from my hay field that was sitting there when we moved got taken over there. It was moldy, because it had sat out in the weather for over a year.

During the really cold weather we had, the hay ran out. And wasn’t replaced. At. All.

The guy with the cows- has a LOOOONNNNGGGGG history of starving his animals, and letting them run amok, including getting on the interstate, etc.

About a month ago, the remaining bull decided he’d had enough and skipped town. I am not sure where he got out, but he did. To this day, he remains at large. I took a picture a day later, when he was still out, and posted it on FB, more as a warning to my neighbors who drive this road to beware. A black bull- just like the black horse {which I also finally called on several days after she had been running loose- no animal should get hit by a car because of stupid  negligent owners, imo}- at night, is a road hazard.

I had forgotten one of the aunts {sister to the mother who was nasty; aunt to the girl who the parents considered responsible for the horses} was on my FB friend’s list and not blocked like the others. And wow. First I was told to mind my own business. Then I was told I was being “unneighborly” and a whole host of other things. This after the father {horses} came to my house to threaten us and tell us to “stay off my land” which still makes no sense. He was a bit thrown off by the dogs and my 6 ft, well-muscled husband, who handled that quite marvelously. So, the aunt and I went back and forth a bit, and still, the bull remained out. I wonder if they realize that FB uses dates…… and of course, my phone date stamps, too. It took the uncle {great uncle to the girl?} 3 days before he even meandered over here to look and see if the bull was in or not.

In the past week, I have had the sheriff’s department out 4 times and have had 6 deputies. Today was the first repeat officer, though.

I’ve called several times on that darn bull. 2 weeks ago, not all of my trash got emptied because the bull was right there. So, the county has that documented. Because the third of those people’s horse was in the bull pen, the animal control officer doing the case has been aware of that part of the situation, including the one’s escape before the gelding was added to the pen.

Animal control officer told me to call the sheriff after hours, so they could come and document the bull was out. So that’s what I’ve been doing. The bull gets near the road where they can see- I call.  The bull gets on my property- I call. Last week, the young bull and heifer were walking down the middle of the road. So I called- 2 deputies came and saw them out. One went to go tell the one guy to put his cows away.

In the meantime, our friend, D, came and had to go around them in the road, so he came back and we helped him put them away. The following night, when we were grilling, my brother came in and said the bull was in our side pasture. I wanted to get a picture to document for the sheriff; he got his car lights on him, which then agitated the bull. I got in my truck, shined my brights on him, and essentially pushed him back over into the field adjacent to the bull pen. After I called the sheriff. So, that was the first meeting for the deputy that came again today {deputy #3}. One of his first comments that night was, “I’m so sick and tired of putting “X’s” cows away. He needs to keep his damn animals penned.”

Why, yes, yes he does.

Later that night, after we had already gotten the two put away, the horse part of the family came to help put the bull away, toddler in tow. They let the horses out, which promptly came over into my hay field and began to eat. Obviously, I didn’t call then, and they did get the horses put back.

Sunday, the horses got out and came to visit my horses. They knocked part of my fence loose, and ran all the way down to the end of the road, to the state highway. I called the sheriff. I know you are shocked by that. I mean, I guess I figure if I’ve been accused of having the sheriff on “speed dial,” I might as well earn it, right? 😆

While I was on the phone, negligent cow person X came by the bull pen, and then drove all through my fields and yard, yelling at me to “Get me a rope!”

Um, excuse me? You come to put your animals away (they are in his bull pen, of course, and he is leasing the pasture) and you expect me to give you one of my lead ropes? Get your own dang rope.

Fortunately, about that time, two deputies come speeding up at the end of the driveway. Had their timing been any later, I kid you not, I would most likely be in the hospital; maybe even dead. Because at that moment, as they were getting out of their cars, some guy in a tractor comes barreling through the hay field, jumps out of the tractor and comes yelling at me about calling the sheriff every time his animals get out, and waving his fists. The one deputy went and physically pushed him back {they couldn’t arrest him because he hadn’t gotten his hands on me} while the even larger deputy took us and we stood along side of him, standing with his arms crossed.

The one deputy asked me who the hostile belligerent dude was, and I told him I had no idea. I really don’t. I have no idea who that guy is. Is it guy Y, guy Xs son, who came in my paddock to mount his fence charger and left my gates open while doing so, to have me come screaming out of my house, “What are you doing?! Close the gate!” and then who proceeded to tell me my driveway and all of that area was public property and he should know because he used to work for the county? {To which I replied, “Ah, no it’s not. That is my private property, according to my lawyer. I don’t care if you go in to plug in your charger, but did it never occur to you to knock on my door and ask or otherwise let me know you needed in there?” “I didn’t know anyone was home.” “Really? You couldn’t see my big white truck parked right in front of you?”🙄} Or is it some other crazy member of that family? I really don’t know.

At some point, they followed the three guys (guy X had another guy with him) back across the street, where they proceeded to eventually collect the horses and put them back in. Now, Cooper the bull {as in, D.B. Cooper 😆 } was still at large, which I confirmed later that night.

I heard two of my dogs frantically barking, and Oreo was herding something that wasn’t cooperating. I could see her trying to move it away from the house, but whatever it was, was not cooperating. Then I saw the tree in the driveway median shaking, and I figured they had treed a coon or something, until the bull moved INTO the yard; past the closer leg of the driveway, and settled in at the bottom of the porch steps. I was seriously afraid he was going to come up the steps!

I yelled at the girls to get the dogs brought in, and I went to get my good friend, Smithy Wesson. Smithy is a .38 special, and the last time I brought him out was when there was a guy parked at the end of the road for hours in the wee early hours of the morning started walking up my driveway. Turns out, he was coming to see the guy who used to live here- and hasn’t for a year and a half. Once he saw Smithy, though, and Oreo, the ninja snappy dog, he slowly backed out of the driveway.

So, with Smithy out, and my girls yelling not to kill the bull {which I can do, legally, if anything on my property threatens my person or my livestock, etc}, I cracked off a round in his general direction. It was pitch black at that point, and my flood lights don’t reach that far, but because I couldn’t see a carcass, he obviously moved off.

Yesterday, I thought they had finally moved all the animals, because not a one was left in the bull pen. They did move the horse back to Death Row, as we call it, but the cows were gone. As it turns out, they left the fence open, thinking maybe the Cooper would willingly go back in and join Bonnie and Clyde.

Do I even need to tell you what happened? banghead

Well, then, boys and girls, let’s all say the answer together: “The cows got out.”

Yes, indeed. Bonnie and Clyde got out and joined Cooper on his grand adventure.

This resulted in them getting about a mile down the side road, next to the interstate that the bridge on that road goes over.  And pretty close to where friend D lives, who was *furious,* after having put them away already once in the last week. I was visiting a neighbor when he called, but when I got home, he was over across the street with guy X, giving him a piece of his mind. My oldest heard a few choice snips of the conversation, but D reiterated that Cooper had been out for a month, which of course, guy X refuses to believe. Guy X accused me of tampering with his fence charger.

Oh yes, that’s me, all right. 🙄 I’m gonna turn off his electric fence so I can deal with his bull crashing around my property and preventing my trash from getting picked up. That’s right, I have no problem with his bull trampling my dogs and threatening my girls and myself. 🙄 {and just to clarify in the event you aren’t quite sure, that is complete sarcasm. He needs to keep his animals penned up.}

And that brings us to this afternoon. Let me tell you something I’m pretty sure they have figured out and thought they could use to their advantage- Hunny is currently away for work. {He’s ready to bail me out, though.}  I am pretty sure they thought they could come over and confront and intimidate me.

Did I mention I have a good friend, Smithy Wesson? Before I went down to talk to guy X, I got him on my hip. Apparently, guy X has three dogs, all of which were with him, and his German Shepherd had tangled with my older border collie, who sent him cowering. Here are the high points of the conversation:

He said some lady called on the horses and cows being out today.

“Nope, not me today. I haven’t called today. I called Sunday, though, when the horses were out.”

He said I needed to stop calling.

“Nope. I am going to call every single time I see them out.” And I explained my reasons why. “Keep your animals penned, and I won’t need to call.”

Then he tried to tell me I didn’t own any land, and I told him, “Oh hell yes, I do. You better check the county register. I own close to 4 acres of this land, including part of that pasture, and the hay field,  and this, and this, and this, and this. And even if I didn’t, I still live here, and what’s happening with the rest of the acreage is between me and T. You have no say in any of that, and it’s none of your business.”

Then he said the bull hadn’t been out long; and of course, I set the record straight and let him know that the sheriff’s deputies had seen my documentation.

Then he said the situation was all my fault because I said a few cuss words- nevermind that he said all of them first, or that friend D had said the exact same things to him last night. But oh yes, my language is why his animals were out. 🙄 And he tried telling me I turned his fence off- “Yeah, right. You think I don’t want my trash picked up? Or that I want to deal with large animals running loose? That is just nuts.”

When he said that bull had never come on my side of the road, I replied, “How would you know? You’re never around. Do you want to see my pictures? The deputies have.”

“And I’ll tell you- I’ve been told repeatedly by all of them and by Animal Control that I am well within my legal rights to shoot any of them, if they are on my property and I feel threatened. You had better believe I will shoot them, because I will. I will drop that bull if he’s over here. Enough is enough.”

Pay attention, kids, because his response right here is why I’m going to magistrate court in the morning.

He replied, “If you drop him, I’ll drop you.”

“Wait- did you just say you were going to shoot me if I shot your bull on my property?!”

“Uh huh. You’re the one walking around with a gun on your hip.”

“You’re darn right I am! I’ve 2 bulls and a heifer running around loose, chasing my dogs and crashing around my property! I have every right to defend myself, and I am SURELY going to. “

There was a little more back and forth, but it wasn’t much before I told him to get off my property. Then I called the sheriff’s office again {you know, the whole threatening to shoot me bit} and animal control. I was on the phone with animal control when officer #3 came back again. I apprised him of the situation and got his suggestion to go to magistrate court for a restraining order.

I’m pretty sure that family thinks I am looney tunes, and I am fine with that. Maybe they’ll think I’m so darn crazy they’ll finally get the bulls and heifer put away. Ya think??

As you can see, the gene pool on this family is something else. When they called the sheriff a few months ago to report “6 horses on the highway,” the deputy grandson of our dear friends on the corner, who also just happens to live across said two-lane state highway, came by on his way home, because we were the only ones around there that he knew of that had that many horses. And you know what? I was appreciative.

No, my horses weren’t out. They had been, about 2 hours prior, standing in the driveway and eating the grass in the yard. For a total of a whopping 15 minutes. The hurricane force gusts had blown over a section of fencing, which we propped back up and put them back in.

And still, I was appreciative that they came to check. I mean, if your animals were out, wouldn’t you want to know? By the time he got there, it was getting dark. I was still outside, finishing with chickens, but we went and counted heads. He could see all the horses contentedly eating hay, right by the fence.

I cannot get my mind around their particular mindset. I just can’t. D told them that he drives that way to get home, and guy X told him to go around- find another way home. What the heck?! Guy X has starving and escaping cows in a 3 county area, and clearly, the counties are not talking to each other, because if they were, he’d have numerous felonies pending. This has been such an ongoing and continuous problem for so many years, that it seems likes folks have given up on calling, because it doesn’t change anything.

But shoot. I guess since I have the sheriff’s office on speed dial, I might as well use my finger to push that button if I see their animals out after hours.

I think I may title this drama, “As the Silo Turns.” And to think- someone actually accused me a few weeks ago of being bored because I’m on a farm {in regards to some comments I made in a FB group, of course, lol}. 😆

And now, boys and girls, you are all caught up. Stay tuned, because I’m sure there will be more, unfortunately. *sigh*

 

 

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Yep. We’ve got one. *sigh*

Seems like there’s always something to worry about. Every time I’ve had to call for medical advice or help, it’s been for her. Her habits are dealt with daily; there’s always something we need to think about with her.

We had a choking horse yesterday.

If you know me in real life, you will often hear me shouting online about touching my horses. DON’T TOUCH THEM. DON’T FEED THEM.

With the amount of horses being stolen out of their barns and pastures and then sold to slaughter {yes, this really happens, and a lot more than you’d think. The lengths people go through- one horse a few weeks ago was stolen right out of the barn and then dyed to hide the distinguishing marks. This is no joke.}, I have rightfully been watchful.

Seriously, people stop all the time- literally a few times a week- to try to lure the horses to the fence. I’ve had people honk and honk and honk at the horses, trying to get them to come over to the fence. Ive had a bus full of people hanging over the fence trying to get the horses to come to them.

I’ve had people go IN the pasture and mess with the horses. Last week, it was the hunters accessing the woods behind the pasture. Later they said no one was touching them, but we SAW them. I don’t think that group meant any harm- the horses are gorgeous, after all- but I still don’t like it.

I would never go to someone else’s house and jump in and try to play with their animals. I don’t know their animals, and that is just asking for trouble.

My biggest concern, however, is that someone is going to feed my horse something. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think it’s malicious, but it certainly is ignorant.

Despite popular belief, horses have a very sensitive and delicate digestion system. They can die from gas, y’all. From GAS.

That’s called colic, and it can be deadly, real fast. Colic is has many causes, but it presents as gas and bloating, and any other kind of abdominal distress. Colic isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom.

Horses colic for a whole lot of reasons- change in feed; change in weather; too much hay; too much grass. Pretty much anything can cause a horse to colic, and it can get deadly fast.

And then there’s founder, which can also be deadly. At the very least, the horse will have to wear special shoes {read: $$$$} for the rest of its life.

Are you starting to see that horses have delicate and yes, temperamental digestive systems? 

It can take 2 to 3 days for a horse to digest food. That’s how slowly things work their way through. Horses have very small stomachs, too, which means they need to graze 16 to 17 hours a day.

By far, the most worrisome issue is choking.

Yep. Horses choke. And you can’t do the Heimlich Maneuver on them, either.

Horses cannot breathe through their mouths. {This is why they can breathe while choking, as opposed to humans have their airways blocked.}

They also cannot throw up through their mouths. Nope, they cannot. They are not plumbed that way. When they throw up, it comes out their noses.

horsechoke

Yep, it does. It comes out their noses. It’s stringy and gross, but necessary.

And horses can choke on all kinds of things, including their normal grain.

Did you get that?

Horses can choke on their normal food, that they eat every single day.

In our case, it was Angel choking on her feed yesterday. Twice. You may remember Angel from her head gash episode.

She is the only horse we’ve had to call the vet with for emergencies.

While Angel is a bolter {meaning she plows through her feed, eating as quickly as she can} and we’ve taken measures to slow her down {ground pan with rocks} so the others can eat in leisure, she usually at least chews her food. Something happened yesterday during the first feeding, and I heard the yelling, “Angel can’t breathe! She’s choking!”

Now that we have horse anatomy 101 under our belts, and know that choking horses can breathe when they choke and block the esophagus and not the trachea, I knew that her not being able to breathe because she was choking was likely not actually happening. {And because they can still breathe, pneumonia can happen as a result of aspirating during a choke.}

She was, though, absolutely choking. She was coughing, stretching her neck, and vomiting through her nose. Often, a choke will resolve on its own. We felt for a lump on the left side of the her neck, where the esophagus is. If a lump is felt, it can be pushed down, but carefully so as not to cause worse lodging or perforate the esophagus.

We didn’t feel a lump.

After about 15 minutes, I called the vet. We talked. She wanted me to call her back in an hour if it hadn’t resolved. She found that most horses get the choke resolved in an hour to hour and a half on their own, without having to be tubed and rinsed by the vet. {And that is pretty nasty-  a tube goes in the nose and then the obstruction is blown out with water– but it gets the job done. You can imagine that this procedure does not come without $$$.}

While dealing with colic, rolling is not good and you want the horse up and walking, we were reassured that rolling in this case can help dislodge the blockage. Don’t let them drink water, though. If they can’t swallow the obstruction, they can’t swallow water, and they could actually aspirate. She said we’d know it had resolved when her neck relaxed and she began eating again.

Probably our stupidity, but we knew that after a choke, feed should be soaked for a considerable amount of time, so that’s what we did for dinner. We figured if it was mush {and she was eating hay and grazing}, she would be ok, seeing as it had been hours and she had been grazing all that time. She was not. She did manage to get it resolved in just a few minutes, but it goes without saying we’re giving her a break today and everyone is getting mush, even if they don’t need it.

So when you stop and try to feed my horse anything- and I mean ANYTHING, don’t get all annoyed with me when I come out yelling.  You could very well be KILLING my horse, even if you thought you were being nice and giving it a treat.

Don’t.

Just don’t.

If I know you and you want to come up to the house and ask for permission to give the horses a treat, I will gladly share a bag of shredded carrots with you. Even though they can choke on those, too, at least I’ll be there and will KNOW there’s a problem and can DO something about it. This is why we hang out and watch during every single meal, and for some time after.

So please, please, PLEASE don’t feed my horses.

Don’t pet them.

Don’t mess with them. {You know they can kick too, right? And given that you’ve gone in my pasture to mess with my horses, I have to assume you are ignorant and don’t know horse behavior and don’t know what to look for before they kick you.}

Admire them from the road, but be respectful and leave them alone.

It might well be a matter of life or death– yours or theirs.

don'tfeed

 

 

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Are you?

Granted, I haven’t been watching the news like I generally do, so maybe I’m just missing it.

I know there are lots of things going on. The government shutdown. The Kardashians. Miley’s twerking. Miley’s naked ball romp. Etc etc etc.

But seriously- this one has my head and heart spinning, and I cannot understand why there is no coverage on this. As of today, I’m finding sporadic coverage, and mostly only the ag sites are really talking about the real losses. Today, I’m seeing a few other sites starting to report on this, but where is the media when you really need them?

“The situation right now in western South Dakota is dire,” Christen said. “We have ranchers who have nothing left, literally nothing left.”

The snow storm Atlas has resulted in the loss of 20-50% of some herds in South Dakota. I’ve seen a write-up from a lady who lost 10 of her 13 horses.

I’ve seen comments on some of those sites by people saying the loss of cattle was due to humans being irresponsible. And that just makes my blood boil.

REALLY?! So, you think that tens of thousands head of cattle lost were because ranchers don’t care about those animals?

That tells me that the folks making those comments are flat ignorant.

Calves going to market {which would have happened soon} bring in about $1,000 a head. Grown cattle bring on average about $1,500. We’re talking about HUGE numbers of cattle. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods-  not just money lost from selling this year, but breeding stock which is an investment for the future.

And to say that the ranchers don’t care about their cattle is as stupid as it gets. They don’t get paid if they don’t care. You can’t survive if your means of income is dead.

Ranchers will haul out water over thousands of acres during dry years. Ranchers will pay to have hay dropped during storms when they cattle get stranded. If ranchers can prevent harm from coming to their cattle, they will do whatever they can.

So what was so bad about this storm that caused all these animals to die? I mean, surely, South Dakota is no stranger to winter storms, right?

Um, you know this is still early October, yes?

While parts of Canada see winter year round, 😉 South Dakota wasn’t quite ready for a storm of this magnitude.

To begin with, this one snuck in under the radar. There were no warnings that this would be as bad as it was.

First came the rain- 12 hours of soaking rain.

Then came the snow. 4 feet of snow in 48 hours. That’s an inch of snow every hour, for 2 days.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wind was blowing, too. Winds  were clocked at 60 mph, with 70 mph gusts. Y’all, that’s nearly hurricane force winds.

If you’ve not experienced a lot of snow, let me tell you why that’s a problem. Snowfall is bad enough, but when it blows, you’ve got drifts of snow. Many of those drifts were measured to be 7 to 8 feet high.

This is how houses get buried.

This is how animals get buried.

If you’re still wondering why so many animals died from this storm and yet manage to stay alive during the winter, let me fill in the blanks.

Grazing lands are rotated. Winter grazing lands are usually closer to other structures, like houses. They are often on higher ground, too, which makes getting to them easier. These animals hadn’t been moved to the winter grazing lands yet because it’s October.

The other key element of this is timing. Another two months, and the cattle and horses would have been equipped to handle this storm. Soaking rain causes more problems than just snow because it lowers body temperature more rapidly.

The bigger factor, though, was that because this came in early October, the animals had not yet grown their winter coats.

If you have a dog, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Horses and cattle are no different. They grow winter coats just the same and shed out come spring. They didn’t have their longer winter hair. You try standing out in freezing rain and then snow without a coat and see how long you last.

And yet, somehow, these ranchers, who’ve now lost their livelihoods for years to come, are somehow responsible for a freak storm courtesy of mother nature???  😡

Adding insult to injury, this storm couldn’t have come at a worse time, what with the government being shut down and all. There aren’t even any relief agencies available to help out right now.

Thousands of people are still without power, although they’re working on it.

So while most folks are  busy watching the news and talking about fluff and the government, life and devastation are happening for people who need help and aren’t getting any because news outlets are too wrapped up in junk to report actual news.

I’m pasting in some pictures below. Be forewarned that they are graphic and heartbreaking. I’ll put them in after the other links for more information on this devastating storm.

Rancher Relief Fund

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association have established a fund with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to assist livestock producers devastated by the blizzard of Oct. 4-7.

To donate visit. http://www.giveblackhills.org and search “Rancher Relief Fund.” Checks can also be mailed to Black Hills Area Community Foundation/SD Rancher Relief Fund, at P.O. Box 231, Rapid City, SD 57709

Northern Ag Network: graphic pics and updated information

Rapid City Journal: Governor tours ranches devastated by blizzard

The Weather Channel: South Dakota Ranchers Seek Help for Cattle Lost to Winter Storm Atlas

“The situation right now in western South Dakota is dire,” Christen said. “We have ranchers who have nothing left, literally nothing left.”

The Blizzard that Never Was

WeatherUnderground: Winter storm Atlas

NBC News: Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

AgFax: South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1,000s of Cattle

sd1

sdfb1

South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle
South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle
South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle

I am from Wall, South Dakota and we had a horrible blizzard here October 4, that killed thousands and thousands of cattle and horses. There has not been any national coverage or help. Our state needs help in finding our animals. We are all in heartache as this is how we make a living, and is also how everyone else in the United States eats. Our own President hasn’t even acknowledged the natural disaster we are in. This picture is of some horses my family lost in the storm. We lost 10 out 13 horses and are devastated by the loss, which doesn’t even count the thousands of cattle that was lost by some of our neighbors.”

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Here’s another one to fill in the blank on.

The haters would say I’m gullible. They would say I’m part of the problem. And then they would call me names, as I’ve seen them do numerous places to numerous other people.

Let me just say this: I am not writing to debate the issue of what I just did. I have NO regrets. I might even do it again, if I felt led like I did this time.

I am NOT the problem. I’m not even PART of the problem.

In fact, for this particular one, I am the answer.

You don’t have to like it. But don’t think you are going to come here and b***h me out like you do everyone else you don’t agree with. I won’t let that garbage come onto my blog. {And no, I really don’t care what you think- your opinion doesn’t mean spit to me.} 🙂

Why all the vitriol? Why am I coming out of the gate swinging?

I’ll tell you why.

I saved a horse.

Not just “a” horse.

I saved a horse in the kill pen; scheduled to go to slaughter.

Trust me when I say that when I did this, I had absolutely NO idea how hateful people are with regard to this topic. And somehow or another, a certain set of folks tie this to the soring I’m seriously against and have ranted about.

Let me tell you how our new Tennessee Walking Horse came to be part of our family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was on Facebook. No surprise there. 😆

A friend of mine pasted information and a picture of a horse on my wall and said the info came from a friend of hers. If I paid vetting {less than $100}, I could have her. Did I want her, or know someone who could pay for the vetting and save this mare?

I did a quick hop over to the page with her picture and her stats and very quickly decided that no, I didn’t want her. While we have a Quarter Horse {what our emaciated horse is} already, we have totally fallen in love with gaited horses.

I went to the main page of the site offering her info, and started scrolling and reading. Because I was moving fast, there was only a single horse that gave me slight pause.

What I came away with was this:

This was a group that was taking the horses in the kill pens and evaluating them- the ones they thought would be good for people, they would post on their site. People could sponsor one of the horses; they could fund raise for the horse, or they could “direct bail” the horse.

After a bit more reading, I discovered that all these horses are in Pennsylvania. No way was I going to deal with that! It’s $$$ having to ship a horse.

I also realized that while the organization would provide the mandatory Coggins test {which you pay for and is included in the vetting fee},  you still need to get a health certificate to travel over state lines.

To get a health certificate, the horse needs to be quarantined somewhere for a period of time so that a vet can determine it’s healthy enough to travel across state lines.

It was too complicated. There was no way I wanted anything to do with that.

😆

That was my quicky looky-loo in the morning. And then, I went about my day.

Afternoon came, and I sat on my bed for a break. I got on my phone, and went back to the horse shared on my wall. The whole thing was interesting.

I mean, I knew horses went to slaughter. The town I just moved from was going to have an equine slaughter-house nearby.

On principle, I think it’s abhorrent; the business of eating horses.

I had very strong feelings about slaughter before we had horses, too, but now having 5 horses was really bringing it home that it’s just an awful thing.

Horses aren’t stupid. Not only can they smell blood, but they can sense fear and panic. {If you’ve ever ridden one, you’ll know what I mean. 😉 }

Since I was taking a break, I thought, what the heck, I’d go back to that site just for grins and giggles.

While we had decided that my Saddlebred mare was going to be a project horse and we were in the market for a dead broke horse for me, an auction/slaughter horse was not even a kernel of an idea.

And then I saw him.

He was the horse that had caught my eye earlier. I did more looking and found a few more pictures of him. I saw the video they had of him being ridden bareback. At the end of the video, I caught a glimpse of his eyes.

Smart eyes.

Fearful eyes.

Sad eyes.

Pleading eyes.

I went back to the main page and his info had been posted again, this time with an urgent plea.

This fella had 3 hours to be saved.

!!!!!!!!

Have I mentioned that I research things? Not only do I research things, but I like to ponder them. Our two other gaited horses were “grab ’em before someone else does” which we hate. We got both of them knowing we could resell them and at least break even on them if we needed to.

But this boy only had 3 hours!

After having the girls watch the video and agreeing with me, I sent the info to Hunny. I flew downstairs and got to work.

I had to know what was going to happen if we direct bailed him. I mean, where would he go? He couldn’t come home with us right away because he needed to be quarantined in order to get his health certificate. How the heck was that going to happen?!

Turns out, the organization had a list of people who were willing and able to take some layover horses. They also had lists of shippers, so I sent out several emails to get quotes on shipping.

In the meantime, Hunny had gotten home. Saying he was less than thrilled was an understatement. He also likes to take his time. We had decided that the next horse, we were going to ride ourselves before committing.

Well. 😆 That was not going to happen if we got this horse. I didn’t even know how we were going to get him home.

Down to about an hour now, we were both feeling pressured, although most likely for entirely different reasons. 😕

He gave me the green light and by the time I got the paperwork done and payment done, we had something like just over 5 minutes left. Fortunately, I was messaging the broker folks and were in pretty good communication.

I decided on which layover I wanted to pursue {another “don’t ask me why”; I just felt like she would be the one to check into} and sent her a text.

By the time I heard back from her, the broker folks had already contacted her and gotten the ok to send him to her. All told, those two weeks, she took an additional 14 horses; 9 that one week alone.

That was Tuesday. I didn’t sleep well. There were so many unknowns and things to get settled.

Because the auction house only has the vet on Monday, does that mean he’d be stuck there until the following week to have his Coggins done?

When would he be transported?

I had a lot of work to do and details to get sorted.

In the early part of my research, I learned there is an underbelly to this whole thing. And while I had even looked up the organization on GuideStar Charity Check, I was not prepared for the amount of garbage I found.

I found a link to a newspaper article that said their offices had been raided by the FBI. I read horror stories about people who got the wrong horse; people who were all upset because they didn’t get the health certificate; people who donated for a specific horse and then never got any information about what happened to the horse after that, etc.

It was at that point I was really worried, wondering if we’d been screwed. Wondering if the horse we had direct bailed was going to be healthy. Would I get the right horse I paid for? Did I just lose a significant amount of money?

Originally, we thought he was going to layover Wednesday; but there was some confusion from the layover farm that was getting several that day. No news.

Thursday rolls around and I learned that horses didn’t get there the night before; they should be there Thursday pm. Because it wasn’t Monday, he didn’t have his Coggins drawn, which was already paid for.

I went back and forth with the rescue folks. If I didn’t get the Coggins done, I needed that fee refunded.

The layover farm was going to have their vet come out the following Tuesday because we needed that health certificate. And I still had transport to find.

A friend who is active in domestic pet rescue put the word out, and she spent several days going back and forth with people, to see if anyone had a trailer we could use. I had other options, of course, but I like to explore them all thoroughly before making a decision.

And I was still reading. I learned that there is an FBI agent {or some other LEO} wanting people to contact him/her for their ongoing investigation, if they had problems with this group.

There are also other groups around that ‘discuss’ this particular broker group. I guess you could call them hate fans. They are really keen to shut this group down, and anyone who disagrees with any of their positions is called names, complained about and generally verbally abused.

There are blogs dedicated to slamming this group broker group.

Let me just say– if you can’t talk to people in an adult manner without name calling and bullying, you automatically lose credibility with me, even if many of your points are valid. I know you are passionate about this issue. Calling people names who have dealt with the broker is not going to solve the problem. It does absolutely NO good, except to turn people off from hearing your message.

The brokers are not the problem. I’ll put my two cents in at the end.

Anyhow. 😆

So now I’m freaked out, wondering if I’m even going to get a horse; wondering if it will be the right horse and then wondering what kind of shape it’s going to be in.

Thursday evening, I get confirmation that the horse is on its way. I asked the stable owner to send me some pictures when he got there, to make sure it was the right horse. She was more than willing. I was relieved that when the horses were unloaded at the stables, he was there. He looked ok.

Each day, I texted her to get an update. E was very patient and put up with all my questions about it. It’s hard to stay on the fringes looking in, wondering and hoping your animal is ok.

Monday came; the vet came, and  by the evening, we were cleared for the weekend transport. At this point, I was still not sleeping well and sweating bullets. A lot could go wrong during the week, and then there was transport to think about.

Hunny was not thrilled about having to make the drive and we still didn’t have our chicken coop done, which is very much needed. Diverting from that project for a whole weekend was not ideal.

Have you ever tried to make hotel reservations the day before you need them- on a holiday weekend? Ya, it’s * a lot* harder than you’d think. 🙄 I texted back and forth with stable owner E, trying to find towns along the way to stay in. She offered to let us stay in her popup trailer on the farm if we couldn’t find anything. 🙂

Finally, Saturday came. We loaded up and started the trek to Pennsylvania.

As were were driving through downtown Washington D.C., we were thinking we should have waited another 2 weeks and spent the $$$ to have him shipped. The traffic was brutal, and not just in Washington. Once we hit the area around Richmond, Va, traffic came to a complete standstill. I mean, really- were were being passed on the highway by butterflies for goodness sakes!

Fortunately, the hotel was ok, and we did manage to get some sleep. Sunday morning we headed out for the 35 minute drive over the border to Amish country in Pa. We saw several horse and buggies, and an Amish woman walking down the road. In fact, the stable’s neighbors were all Amish, and they do a lot of raising horses for the Amish.

Our boy was not thrilled to get loaded onto yet another trailer, but he didn’t do a whole lot of protesting. He was sad to leave his stable buddy.

As we waved at Johns Hopkins Hospital as we drove through downtown Baltimore, we thought again that we should have had him shipped. 😆

He traveled amazingly well, especially for a slightly underweight horse. At our first stop in northern Va, I crossed paths with a longtime friend of mine. Since she was on the phone and we needed to get back on the road, I called her when we were back on the highway. I laughed about that all the way home! She lives about 100 miles away and was planning to visit ever since we moved.

It certainly is a small world!

The one time we stopped for gas, we had several people come over to drool over our Blaze. One woman from NJ brought her daughter over to see him. The daughter was around 12 or so, and had never seen a horse. She, the mother, had only seen a horse a single time as a child.

Another couple saw us back at the rest stop and came to tell us how handsome he is. ♥ They had been following us for a few hours, and thought it was great that we were transporting a horse. 😆

When we got him home, I was wondering how well he would transition. He came right off the trailer, and went racing from one end of the paddock to the other, kicking up his heels and whinnying. Then he rolled on the ground, got up, and did it again. I was crying by this time.

I’m telling you- this boy was *overjoyed.* He KNEW.

He knew he was safe. In hindsight, I wish I had videoed it. While it’s a memory I won’t ever forget, I wish I had a copy to share with anyone who thinks horses are dumb and don’t have feelings.

It took the other horses about an hour to figure out he was there, and then they all came racing over to see him. It’s important to introduce horses to each other slowly, especially if one is underweight. Because we have another gelding who still has his stallion mindset, it’s particularly important that we let the boys get to know each other without the girls in the same space.

Sometimes, geldings get along just fine; sometimes it’s disastrous. Our good friend has a gelding that cannot be in the same pasture as any other male. The last time he was, he chased the other gelding into some trees and broke his leg, which made euthanasia necessary.

The layover stable owner had told us Blaze wasn’t too keen on mares, but did well with a gelding buddy. We figured Halo, the formerly emaciated Quarter Horse, is the sweetest and most mellow out of our mares, so we wanted to try her in with him.

Well. All the girls were in heat. 😆 She chased him mercilessly. 😆 And he was like, “Can someone help me out here, please? I’m really not up for all of this!”

Halo came out, and he settled in for the night in the peace and quiet.

Early on, we had decided that we’d wait several weeks to ride him. By Wednesday, he was antsy. He wanted to go! Halo had been saddled and was out in the side pasture, and you could tell, he wanted out there, too! Once Hunny got home from work, we saddled Blaze and off we went.

Honestly, he is probably the best horse we have! He is SO calm, and has a fantastic gait.

Let me give some parting thoughts:

While I don’t know that we would try to go this route again, I have to confess I’m completely satisfied.

We got the right horse. He got his Coggins. The layover was fine, and the absolute perk is that he IS dead broke, which is just what we were looking for.

People want to gripe that the brokers are making hundreds of dollars off these horses. When a person bails or sponsors a horse, the kill buyer pockets the extra money which he then uses to go buy even MORE horses to send to slaughter. They say that if we don’t buy these broker horses, we would shut down the kill buyers and they’d have nothing to send to slaughter.

They also say that tons of horses can be found for cheap, or on Craigslist for free.

I’ve checked Craigslist in my area for several months. Not a single free horse. Other horses were listed for even more money. I figure, if I’m going to risk on a horse, why not get one for whom death is imminent?

They say, all the horses are sick and/or skinny and euthanasia- not slaughter- is what they need. I’m sure that may be true for some of them.

Our horse was not seriously underweight. He needs maybe 100 lbs. Something to know about horses is how quickly they can lose weight. Stress and/or travel and dehydration can result in a horse losing 50 lbs in a single day. I was not too worried. We have been down this route before- we know how to save a starving horse.

As to the group I went through and the kill buyer/auction combo- here are some numbers:

This particular auction house has auctions once a week. The average week sees 250-300 horses going through. The kill buyer needs 30 horses to ship to slaughter in Canada. I have no idea how many are saved through the broker, but something is surely better than nothing.

They say these brokers create drama to guilt people into saving the horses, by using tactics such as, “This horse only has hours left!”

I acknowledge that our new horse came exactly with that kind of plea. But does this guilt people? I didn’t bite because he only had hours left to live- he was the kind of horse with the kind of height and age I was looking for. I passed over numerous other horses until I saw this boy.

Honestly- it wasn’t my fault I only found the broker and the horse that morning!

People complain about the profit being made on these horse that are picked up cheap or free at auction, etc, and then resold for hundreds of dollars.

Let’s talk about money.

Do y’all realize how much money is made in horse racing? And not just the big Triple Crown stuff, either. There are racetracks all over the place. And typically, the horse of choice is the Thoroughbred. One of the most prolific breeds going through auction are Thoroughbreds. If they don’t earn enough or get too old {I’ve seen 6 year olds considered “too old”}, they are thrown away. Literally.

Same goes for Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses, etc etc etc.

The money wrapped up in the horsey world is astonishing.

The brokers trying to save some of these-even if they are making a profit- are not the problem. The people buying the broker horses are not the problem.

The equine industry at-large is the problem. Breeding and breeding and breeding horses to pick out the best ones to make money with- that’s the problem.

Racing horses; showing horse- anything where money is tied to performance- that’s the problem.

The other end of the problem, obviously, is the business of slaughtering horses. Here in the US, there’s been a hold on that practice for a number of years, but it looks like it’s not going to be illegal much longer, unless something changes. Just last week, NM Attorney General Gary King put an end to a slaughterhouse’s bid to open right outside of where we used to live.

Here’s the thing- we can’t legislate other countries. We can only legislate what going on in the US. Make auctions have a reserve of several hundreds of dollars so that kill buyers can’t snap them up for cheap. Make breeding large numbers of horses illegal. Offer neuter programs, so those that find stallions can have them gelded for cheap.

Eliminate the huge purses and profits associated with racing and other equine industry money makers.

So. Here’s my advice if you are looking at getting a horse through a broker.

  • Don’t donate to save a horse unless you don’t care where the horse really ends up.
  • Don’t fund-raise to save a horse, particularly if the horse does not have a home offer.

Here’s why- if the horse doesn’t leave and go home with someone specific or to layover, you have no idea where that horse is going to end up. I’ve heard about horses getting sponsored and then just disappearing. Where did they go? Did they go to slaughter anyhow? I have no idea.

There was a lady who had donated $25 after we direct bailed our boy. I asked but never got an answer as to whatever happened to the funds she donated for our horse, but it didn’t affect the price we paid. I really hope they applied it to another horse.

  • Make sure you or your shipper has the Coggins IN HAND when the horse is picked up. The broker I worked with was very organized, but it’s not their responsibility to make sure you have the test results on the specific horse when that horse is picked up. In fact, this is one thing they actually mention time and time again.
  • Bear in mind- you’re not getting a Health Certificate, which is legally required to cross state lines. The broker I worked with didn’t say they would give one, yet that is one of the biggest complaints I have seen from people. I have no idea if the verbiage was changed recently or not, but I didn’t pay for one nor did I expect one.
  • You are not guaranteed registration papers. Nope, you’re not. And when I read the website, if the horse had papers, you only got them if you direct bailed. I have seen a lot of people up in arms about not getting registration papers. I didn’t see any posted, so assume he didn’t have any. And by gollee, I haven’t gotten any. You don’t see me whining. 😀
  • Follow through. I confess I’m a bit of a nag, but I was scared silly I wasn’t going to get the horse I paid for. The shipper verified and then we verified once he was at the stables.
  • While they are very good about noting any visible defects, you aren’t assured a dead-broke horse or even a ride-able one. Watch the video if there is one and see what they are able to do with the horse. Ask to see pictures of the teeth. The folks I went through had a website with pictures posted.
  • Know the variables to get the horse to YOU. This is not up to the broker to do for you. While the folks I dealt with were extremely helpful, I’ve only done it this once, so I have no idea how other brokers are.

The bottom line for me is this: We paid less for Blaze than we would have paid for another horse pretty much any other way {because as you’ve read, I didn’t see any freebies anywhere near me!}. We didn’t get registration papers, but I really don’t care. I just want to ride.

I’m sure I’ll get hate mail for this post. I’m sure I’ll be called names.

But let me tell you this: For this ONE horse, we made a difference.

And that, my friends, is all I can do today.

Yes, I can write and contact my local congressional folks. Then it’s up to them.

But this? This I could do. I could use the money I would have spent on another horse- getting this boy a good home with me.

Look at these pictures and tell me this wasn’t a good thing! 😆

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About a month ago, I got an email. Somehow, someone with the Standlee Hay Company had stumbled across my blog and wanted to know if I would review their products? They would give me a gift card; I would use their products for a month and then write a review.

So. Here we are. 😀

Our learning curve has been pretty steep these last 7 months. One thing I have done a great deal of reading about is nutrition.

Here are some noteable tidbits of information:

*It takes about 72 hours for a horse to digest food.

*They don’t necessarily eat a lot, but grazing is critical, and they need to have adequate access to hay or grass. {I could write an entire post on just nutrition and eating, because some horses are ‘hard keepers’ and others gain weight just by looking at grass- the statements I’m making are pretty general; your situation may be different.}

*Horses are prone to colic Colic is not a laughing matter. It’s actually one of the leading causes of death in horses. And, one of the leading causes of colic relates to feeding.

You can see where I’m going with this….. it’s never good to change up feed and do a lot of changing back and forth. It’s my understanding that different feeds need to be introduced slowly, while you {the owner} watches for changes.

By nature, horses forage and graze. That’s one of the reasons why we give them hay in then winter. 😆 It helps things inside keep moving on through, and when it’s cold, they need to eat the hay to help them stay warm.

But I digress. 😆

Before I accepted the offer, I went to the Standlee Hay website and poked around. I thought the FAQs were very helpful. I was especially pleased to see that their alfalfa was GMO free. 😀 One of the best part of the website, though, in addition to the product listing page was the nutrition information on each product.

Because not all products were available at my local Tractor Supply, I walked around the store with the website open and checked out the info on each item in the store before I took anything home. With the options I had locally, it seemed the best bet would be to try the Alfalfa/Oats cubes,standleehayalfalfaoatcubes keeping in mind that alfalfa is not a natural forage food here.

After close to a month, we’ve got one horse who loves them, and goes around checking to see if any is left in other bowls. One horse won’t touch them. The others are relatively indifferent. Because they have several acres of pasture, they don’t really need the forage stuffs. In many ways, I wish it was winter to give this a trial, but we are on a limited time basis for the product review.

One other product we actually had used a bit of was the shredded beet pulp. If you’ve read A Horsey Tale, you no doubt remember our emaciated champion Quarter Horse who had just foaled and was also nursing a 2-year-old filly. Because the horses had been abandoned and no food was regularly available, the filly had no real reason to wean. And so, our poor Halo was well on her way to being dead in the *very* near future. She needed at least 500 lbs…..

One of our vets had recommended soaking and feeding the beet pulp to help bulk her up. We did that for a while until she got to the point where she refused to eat anything that had beet pulp in it. To be fair, out of the several other different foods we we tried to feed her, there was only a single one that she would eat, and she’d flat-out refuse any kind of mixture.

I think if you need forage foods, Standlee Hay has a good variety. They also offer some compressed bales, which we don’t need. You may be limited, however, to whatever you can find locally. The item I really wanted to try, Natural Whole Oats, was not available here, so that was a disappointment.

Have you used any Standlee Hay products? Leave a comment and share your experience! 😀

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