Monday, December 16, 2013

No words.

My little brother passed away last night. I have no words.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That's my boy.

Fancy pants ex-racehorse has been very sweet and almost cuddly lately.  After I blanketed Pistol the other night, George came up and put his head into my arms. Something he never does. He usually keeps his distance. He will let you pet him for about 5 seconds, but then he is on his way once he realizes you didn't come to catch him, and put him to work. He stood there letting me love up on him for a while. Not sure what is happening to him.

This morning I went to feed the horses their breakfast and take Pistol’s blanket off. I’ve been putting a blanket on the old man because I don’t want him burning all his energy to stay warm instead of keeping weight on.  The other two are naked, and will more than likely stay that way because they grow warm thick winter coats. George came up to me again and stood there while I scratched his head. Umm who are you and what have you done to my horse? I then asked him “are you a good horse or a bad horse?” He pinned his ears. I think he may have answered the question for me.

Monday, November 11, 2013

you win some, you lose some.

I am not really sure what is going on with my horse. And I’m not sure if I should be scared or thrilled. Yesterday, the hubby and I decided to go for a quick ride down the road. I have really wanted to ride George, but at the same time, I’ve been dreading it. We treated him for ulcers and his attitude got increasingly worse after we did that. And then he had his abscess, and then the weather sucked, and then I had a million other excuses as to why I couldn’t ride him. So I finally decided that now was as good as time as ever to try him out again.

The weather in North Dakota is a changin’. It’s getting colder but, thank the lord we don’t have any snow yet. So I suited up in my insulated riding breeches (amazing) and then my Mountain Horse Frost Rider boots (AMAZING! Go buy a pair today!!) and then some Under Armor, and some sweatshirts, and my Tipperary vest, and then a down filled North Face vest.  It was only about 34 degrees outside so it wasn’t THAT cold, but the wind in ND SUCKS since most of the corn has been harvested now.  And then I tromped outside warm as could be.

I got George and then at the last minute decided to ride in my western saddle. He hasn’t been ridden in a western saddle ever, but I figured now was as good as time as any.  I then hopped onto the struggle bus and tried to put my saddle up on his back in one graceful movement like you see the people in the movies doing. Nope. Fail. George is a big horse. But you know what? He is a patient horse. He stood there as I struggled to get the saddle on him, and then continued to struggle as I adjusted the girth. As I was tightening the girth, I expected him to take a chunk out of me. Nope, first time he just let it happen. His bridle went on without any drama, but then again, he has always been fantastic about bridling. I mean it isn’t his first rodeo.

I walked him around a bit. I don’t know why but I figured there would be some fireworks when he realized that the saddle he was wearing was like no other saddle he’d ever experienced before in his life. But no, he was fine. And then it was time to climb up. You know I’ve always wanted to just put my foot into the stirrup and then gracefully swing up. But there has never been anything gracefully about me getting in the saddle. Ever. I was still on the struggle bus, and realized that George must have grown a foot taller since I put the saddle on. I pulled myself into the saddle, and he just stood there and let it happen. He doesn’t walk off when you mount, which is great. I’d always heard horror stories about ottbs who walk off the moment they feel you in the stirrup. Not the ones I’ve ever ridden. I do like to tell people I trained them not to do that. But that is a bold faced lie.

George was a perfect gentleman the whole ride. well he DID have one moment where he was certain he couldn’t do something. We were trying to go up the ditch onto the road, and he was certain the tall grass was filled with horse eating snakes. He stood his ground, and kicked out his back right foot. Which is what he does when he is upset about doing something. I said forget it, and moved on to something else and then he was fine. With George you need to let him think he is in charge, and that he makes the decisions. If he encounters something he doesn’t want to do, move on to something else and then come back to what he didn’t want to do later. We came back to the scary ditch later, and he had no problems with it. Is this a good training mentality for all horses? No, I’m sure it isn’t. But if George gets it in his head that he ‘can’t’ he is just going to get stressed out, and then get increasingly more distressed until he reaches his breaking point and it is dangerous for all around. When he started kicking out I knew we needed to move on to something different. The rest of the ride was fantastic. He is pretty lazy, and has a nice walk to him. We actually walked home on an extremely loose rein. He wasn’t trying to rush home which was nice.

I am really impressed with George. To be honest, I was a little nervous about him this summer. The attitude he gave me, and the biting. It wasn’t cool. I wasn't sure he was going to be the horse for me. But he is really turning out to be a really great horse. (HA I say that after riding him like 5 times.) I love that he can sit for long periods of time and not be a nightmare to get on. I am lucky that all of our horses can sit around for long periods of time and then are just the same as the last time you rode them.

Speaking of horses… The new horse didn’t work out. We brought him back today. I hate that we had to bring him back, but he started bolting once you got off of him.  He was a fun little horse, but he just wasn’t going to work for us. He needs to do his job, and sitting around at our house, wasn’t going to do well for him. It’s pretty sad because he was starting to grow on me. But that’s the way it goes in the horse world right? If we had gotten him in the spring we may have been able to work out his problems. But seeing as how it’s dark 23 hours a day here, and it’s only getting colder and darker, the time we have to work with him is limited. And we wanted a finished horse, not a project horse. He was going to be a bit more of a project then we wanted. I am sad, but that’s the way it goes.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Don't get attached!!!

Okay so, I've put off posting this because well, I just kind of lost track of time. And now here it is, almost a week later and I still haven't posted.
If you are following me on Instagram you may have spotted this creature...

But I will talk about him a bit later... I like keeping you in suspense....

Last Saturday we trailered up two red horses and went out to the sand hills, which is in the Sheyenne national grasslands state park. I LOVE riding there. In fact it's where I first fell in love with my very first horse Yellow. They had finished the 4 mile loop that they were working on earlier this year and it was awesome. A really nice little ride that took a little over an hour.
The red horses were fantastic. The weather was absolutely perfect. But I kind of wish I had brought the big gray horse of mine. I think he would have benefited form being out there. NEXT time for sure! I need to remember that even thought he was a racehorse, he is actually extremely well trained. I've heard from more than one person that the barn he trained at is very highly regarded for having highly sought after horses once they retire. Yes, George is a nutcase most times, but he is well behaved under saddle. I need to start using him more!!

Onwards we go to...
Picture time!

My favorite sign

Am I holding the reins correctly? Probably not...

I always ride the slowest horse.
When Pistol saw these cows, he perked up, and then zeroed in on them. I think he might have some cow experience in his past.

THESE EARS! and tiny forelock!!

I love this picture, my hair looks awesome.

Riding here is so beautiful!
 So anyways, I bet you are wondering about that bay horse with the funny white markings. Well here is his story. We saw him at the auction a few weeks ago. He belongs to a person my husband knows. He had gone through the ring, but was no saled, because the horse market sucks, and he was worth way more than what people were offering. So we tried him out at the auction. I rode him bareback down the aisles and he seemed like a pretty nice little horse. I say little because he is. I think he is about 14.2hh. George is 16.2hh. This horse is like a pony compared to George. The little bay gelding is a working horse with Peppy San Badger breeding. He was used on cattle, and in feedlots down in Texas. He has been given a job, and he is good at it. My husband has been looking for a horse that can be worked on a ranch so that he can go to brandings and ropings and other things like that (don't ask me what the proper terms are, because I really don't know what all goes on at ranches!!) This horse seemed to fit the bill. So we made some phone calls, and then arranged to pick him up, in Grand Forks at a gas station.
The horse seller just riding around at the gas station.
The next day, North Dakota, being North Dakota, decided to have 30+ MPH winds. So our plans to go back to the sand hills were crushed. We waited all day for the wind to die down before going out to play with the new horse. Well turns out the horse is a bit more "up" than we'd thought. He didn't buck, or rear, or do anything dangerous. But he was a pain to catch. The winds were probably not helping or the fact he hadn't quite settled in yet. We also had trouble finding tack to fit him. But we were able to tack him up, and ride him around a bit. He is a very forward horse. Again it could have been the winds. But he is a very responsive horse. You ask him, and he does it. Moves off leg pressure, neck reins, and has really nice breaks. But he was a bit crow hoppy in a few places.
The reason I said to not get attached is because we weren't sure if we are going to keep him. He might be better off going to a home that will use him and give him a job. But we will try him again and see if he settles down a bit more. He's already warmed up to us a bit more. (I've been feeding him cookies and I'm totally not supposed to because that's how you spoil horses according to everyone...)
shhhh don't tell anyone!

I wasn't really impressed with his looks at the auction...but he is pretty cute.

He is little, but I don't feel like a giant on him. (p.s. I have like 3 shirts, my crash vest, and then a down filled vest on so I look larger than normal up top) The stirrups were WAY too long for me too...
So we are making the decision this weekend/week if we are going to keep him around. Hubby rode him bareback last night and said he was great. I will let you know if he stays or goes...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Okay so If I didn't lose you in one of the last posts...I'm sure this one will...

Friday night was the fall horse auction. It’s the same auction place where we bought Pistol a few years ago. Before I went I had caught wind of 4 pregnant thoroughbred mares that were set to be sold loose. They were posted on Facebook as being in the “kill pen”. Which is a bit of an understatement, not everything sold loose goes to Canada or Mexico to be processed into food for human consumption.  Some people buy loose horses and turn them into riding horses, and often times the horses are traded.

I went to the auction with intentions of helping the hubby find a new horse. He wants a roping/ranch horse and auctions can be great places to find horses for a bargain.  I mean we bought Pistol for next to nothing, and he’s been worth every penny! I ran into a couple friends who were there with intentions of helping buy the pregnant mares as well as a little fjord horse that was set to sell loose.  There had been money raised at a thoroughbred rescue in MN as well as the owner of the ranch that Piney and George were from donated money to save two of the mares. I think it is so fantastic that Thoroughbred lovers will step up and save them when they are in bad situations.

But where are the people stepping up to save the registered quarter horses? Or the registered paint horses that sell for $10 a piece? I am a thoroughbred lover. It is blatantly obvious that I am. But why are their supporters there, saving them and people who love other breeds not stepping in and saving their favorite breed? It’s because there are so many. You can’t’ save them all. Skinny horses were sold for next to nothing, because no one can afford to feed them. No one is buying them outside of auctions. What do we do with all of these horses? Sell them to be processed or let them starve to death in a pasture?

Auctions are heartbreaking.  Watching sad skinny horses, one after another go through the auction ring and the ‘kill buyer’ swooping them all up. Why are these horses there? This sounds awful, but why were they even born? People are breeding crappy horses to other crappy horses. Or letting their stud run with a band of mares. Why? Why is that crappy stud still a stud? Geld him. The offspring produced is more often than not, unbroke and will remain that way until they end up at the auction. There were hundreds of horses that went through. Here is where I am going to get told I am going to burn in hell… Auctions, and horses going to be processed into food is a necessary evil. I hate it. I hate thinking of these beautiful creatures being eaten. But what is worse? Letting them die slowly and painfully due to lack of food? We need processing plants in the states. Where there are regulations, and health checks, and humane methods of euthanizing the animal. Temple Grandin has created humane methods for setting up processing plants for horses and obviously cattle. Horses and cattle cannot be processed the same. They are different animals. But what happens is that these unwanted horses are now being stuffed into trailers and shipped long stressful distances to be processed when we could make it a bit less stressful by doing it here. We have such an emotional attachment to the horse so it’s hard for us to imagine them being turned into steaks. But it is a necessary evil. The market went into the crapper, when they shut down the processing plants in the US.

The 4 pregnant mares, actually turned out to be 5 pregnant mares. They were run through one at a time, and the meat buyer bought the first one, but the owners no saled them and said they would need $500 a piece for them. My friends talked to the owners before they went through and agreed to buy them for $100 a piece. The kill buyer had bought the first one for $250 so the owners lost money because they wanted their horses to go to good homes. They couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. No one would buy them when they tried selling them other ways. So they brought them to auction. Same story that is told all over the country. No one is buying horses. Well, we are… but you know what I mean. How many of you can afford to have 15 horses? How many of you can afford to have more than one horse? I know a lot of people board so sometimes having more than one would put too much financial strain on you. When I was boarding I was spending over $500 a month for one horse, not including the gas in my pickup to get out there. (this was when gas was SUPER high!) And these mares are all pregnant. So that is 10 horses that will need to be cared for!

And then there was an accident that happened when one of the mares was going into the sale pen. She wanted to stick with her buddy, but the gate got slammed on her face. This is an accident that could happen anywhere. And it’s an accident I’ve seen more than once. She ripped a 6 inch gash down the front of her face, exposing bone. She also fractured her skull in the process. (I’ve never seen that before though). It was an accident. The picture was posted on the local news channels facebook pages and now everyone that has seen it is out for blood of the person who did it to her. “slam the person’s head in a gate!” is one comment I’ve seen. People have been calling the auction house and demanding that they pay the vet bill of this horse. It was an accident. The owners of the horse got insurance money from the auction. How many of you have seen a horse get into a sketchy situation where they gotten into a bloody mess? I would hate that the people who are demanding the auction workers head on a stake to come out to my house and see George limping around when he had an abscess. They would probably want to burn me on the stake for animal cruelty! Obviously we took care of it and hauled him to the vet. But I have just noticed that emotions run so high when it comes to pets and horses. Most of the time it’s people who have no experience with horses who are the most passionate about helping them. And you know what, helping them is great! I’m so glad people donate to rescues! But Please realize that sometimes accidents happen. Horses can get into some pretty sketch situations. Pistol has scars all over his face and body where it looks like he tangled with some wire fencing on more than one occasion. My old palamino had a big scar across his butt where it had been stiched up. They get into accidents, just like people do. We can’t bubble wrap them, as much as we want to. Was it hard to look at the mare’s ripped up face? Yes, it was. It was heart breaking. But it was an accident. The mare got scared, and used her survival instincts and she got hurt. I hope anyone still reading this doesn’t think I am a heartless bitch. But I understand that accidents happen. And as much as we’d like to prevent them, they are going to happen.  I feel so sorry that the mare had to go through that. I feel so sorry that any horse has to go through the auction ring. But what are we going to do with all of them? Please realize I do have a heart. It’s a big bleeding heart that feels sad when I kill spiders. And I hate spiders. I hate killing anything. I once accidentally ran over a prairie dog, and I cried for 3 days.

The news caught wind of the pregnant mares and two stations contacted me. I honestly didn’t want to be involved in this on the news. Mostly because I would be put on trial by the area because of my opinions about the matter. They really made the auction look like the bad guys. And they tried to make sensational news by pulling on heart strings. 5 thoroughbred mares were saved which is so awesome, but why weren’t people saving well bred quarter horses? Why were these horses so skinny in the first place? Why did the news say that the horses were going to the glue factory? Do people still use horses to make glue? So many questions, and so many things were said in the two news stories that made me so mad. If I had been in the news story they would have cut out everything I said because what I have to say makes me sound like a heartless bitch who understands how the world works.
so that is that. I am sorry for losing the remainder of my follwers with this post. I am just frustrated with how the events turned out. I’m upset that the animal lovers out there are ready to burn down the auction center. People who have enver once been to an auction. People who don’t ask questions, just demand payback for things they don’t even understand.  It is so easy to balme the auction house and point fingers. It’s not the auction’s falt the horses are skinny. Hay is expensive and no one can afford it.
Okay I am hopping off my soap box now. I just needed to vent. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

locked up.

Happy Birthday to me! Last night I got home and was going to try on a bazillion blankets that I have in the barn to decide which ones stay, and which ones get posted online for sale. I mean as much as I’d love to keep a size 70 stable sheet, chances are pretty good I’ll never have a horse that small. I mean I’ve never had a horse that small! I would like to trade in a bunch of small blankets and get a Baker blanket. I won’t ever happen. But I girl can dream can’t she?
Well I didn’t get ANY blankets tried on. I had George’s halter out and he came up and dropped his nose into it, and then I fumbled with putting it on, because somehow the crown piece was smaller than normal. Weird. So as I was fumbling, he decided that the window of opportunity to put it on had closed, and he walked away. Then my heart sank as he walked away. He was dragging his toe, and then his leg would POP and then he would be fine for about 10 strides before it would happen again. CRAP! Really horse? REALLY?! You are not helping my case to keep having OTTB’s around, you old lemon! Actually I was more panicked at first. I was certain he had broken his leg, and it was going to be an expensive vet bill, and he would have to move into the house with us so I could care for him. But I watched him for a bit, he wasn’t in pain. He was being a crab ass. But that is normal for George. I’m beginning to wonder if everyone who knew George as a race horse and has told me “Oh George! He is quirky!” really means “Oh Geroge! He is an old crabby bastard!”  Because seriously he can be a pill when he feels like it! When riding he is a boat load of fun though! I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I say that like I’ve ridden him extensively. I haven’t. But the times I did ride him he was fun! He keeps me on my toes!

Anyways back to my old lemon horse. I looked it up the symptoms, watched YouTube videos and diagnosed him as having a locking stifle. So then I sent messages to all my blogger horsey friends, (which, by the way I am so thankful to have!) and they all gave me awesome advice. And FYI you will be seeing a few of us competing at Rolex in 2015. Mark that in your calendars!  A phone call to my vet who I personally think is one of the best in the country and am so lucky to have her so nearby, confirmed my suspicions that it was a locking stifle. She said that as long as he was able to get it unlocked on his own, I can get busy trying to strengthen his hind end. She laughed and said “lots of hill work”. Its funny because I live in North Dakota, there are no hills on the east part where I reside. I can maybe find some off ramps on the interstate… So while George’s locking stifles may not be in my favor to have another OTTB someday…It might be in favor of my hubby wanting to move out west to a place with more hills…hmmm.  Definitely something to consider. You need to pick your battles right?

So that is that. George is out of shape. I knew that. This is just now blaring in my face, that he needs to get back to work. I’m so glad it happened right before winter, when it’s cold. BUT I mean I’d rather ride when it’s cooler out than when it was 10,000 degrees with a million bugs! So as long as the snow doesn’t fly, I should be able to get back in the saddle.
Problem is when I ride I always feel so guilty because I know there is a million other things I NEED to be doing instead. But look what happens.  I don’t ride and then I get punished. I can’t win. I seriously can’t win. I need a clone. Actually I need a few clones. That would be amazing. I could send one to work, one could stay home and clean all day, one could ride horses all day, one could have a social life. It would be fantastic!
Another excuse I ALWAYS use for why I can’t ride. “It takes too long to get ready.” That is the biggest cop out ever. I’ve always used that one. Seriously, how long does it take to tack up? What 5 minutes? 3 minutes? It’s not like I have to drive to the barn that is 20 miles away. The horses are in my back yard. I can tack up and be riding in under 20 minutes. I think this excuse is directly tied to the guilt that I should be doing other things rather than doing something I enjoy.

In other news I turned 32 today. It is scary to think about it. I remember when I was 15 my best friend and I were freaking out that now that we were 15 we were halfway to 30 and that ment our lives were half over. I would smack those two girls if I saw them today...
But I took this selfie last night. I look like I've aged gracefully...

And then I took this picture this morning. I don't feel real different on my birthday... but some how I feel a bit different....

Monday, October 21, 2013

I need some guidance and or help...

So it occurred to me today that maybe this blog needs some updating. My banner is a picture of Piney and the blog title is “Good Time To Review” which was the name of my first horse.  Both of which are no longer with me.  The thing is, I’m not super creative. I’m one of those people that needs someone to guide me in the correct path, or toss some ideas out to me and I can mold them into my own concept.  So this is why I am stuck. I need help with creating a new banner/header/name/everything.

So basically. Help. I need some creative input on a new header and/or blog title. Obviously this blog isn’t about the world’s laziest thoroughbred anymore. I mean George is pretty lazy, but he is a lot of other things first. And I would hate to leave out the two red horses in my life, especially since I ride Pistol more often than I ride George.  And I mean there is Dolly, the tiny paint pony who seems to be left out of everything all the time. So If you have any wonderful ideas I’d LOVE to hear them. I’m stuck with where to go.

1….2…..3…. BRAINSTORM!

Friday, October 18, 2013

So this happened today...

I came home to find this happening...
My husband taught George to self load. I couldn't be happier. Especially since when we picked up George for the first time, loading him involved treats, then a rope halter, and then a stud chain, and then tranquilizer, and then finally a cattle crowding tub. My trailer anxiety really hindered my ability to work on trailer loading with him this summer. I get some progress and then a tiny thing goes wrong and I get freaked out. I gotta work on my trailer loading before I can work on the monsters. 
I am happy. 
George... Well he is not impressed that he got outsmarted.
He's a good boy. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The post that I do not expect anyone to make it to the end of...

This post is almost entirely for me. If you don’t read it, I probably wouldn’t blame you. It’s for my own personal ranting. Please read if you wish to!

I can’t help but read some of the horrific comments left by people on articles about the early October snow storm in South Dakota that left upwards of 75,000 (maybe more) cattle, horses, sheep etc dead. People that can easily hide behind a computer monitor a few states even a contry or world away from seeing this tragedty for what it’s worth. Most can only say they are happy that the ranchers are suffering this loss. They say that they are glad the cattle died out in nature rather than by the murderous hand of man. I’m sorry, but being suffocated to death or dying of hyperthermia sounds like a much worse death than a quick, instantaneous death in a processing plant.

I will share some of the most disgusting quotes I have found. Quotes that make my blood boil and heart break at the same time

Perhaps the loss of this livelihood will be a blessing for them (as well as for the cattle not miserably produced for slaughter), some will work in other less destructive industries, that's a good thing, in the long run, for everyone involved.”

Really? This ‘livelihood’ is something that most of these ranchers put their entire lives into. Something they were born into and for most, it’s all they know. You mean to tell me, that you are happy that for example 70 year old rancher, who has poured his entire life into something and may now possibly have lost almost all of it is out of work. Has nothing left for him? For his family? You are right, he can just find work in another area that is less destructive. I’m sure there are plenty of people willing to hire a 70 year old ex-rancher.

 “This is a shame, but in the long run, this type of cattle farming is wasteful and uses up most of our grain for cattle food. The trade off is not that good, especially with modern cattle farming methods. I eat very little beef, maybe about 4 times a year, and I stay away from fast food junk stores like Mickey D's. Same with chicken. I am not a vegan, but it does not hurt to eat good food, like vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and berries, etc. Factory farmed food of any kind is not as good for you as food raised with love and care.”

Really? Cattle farming is wasteful and uses up our grain for cattle food? That is so weird, because these cattle were on pasture, and in the winter, they eat hay. I don’t know if they ever receive “cattle food” other than grass. And it’s so cool that you can stay away from fast food junk stores like “Mickey D’s. I gonna stand up and slow clap for that, because I’m lazy, and lvoe junk food, and sometimes it’s just a convience thing. I try not to eat there often, but come one dude. It’s so awesome for a treat sometimes! And you are right, it doesn’t hurt to eat good food. And I love to eat good food…but sometimes, a double cheeseburger…is.awesome. And it’s at this point where he mentions a phrase that makes me want to karate chop people, who use the phrase, in the throat. “Factory Farmed”. NO. JUST NO! Shut the H up. Go visit a farm or ranch. A real one. Stop watching your propaganda videos and just get off your ass, and go out to visit the heartland. Learn that a farm is not a ‘factory’.


*This person made me want to donkey kick the commenter*
“Oh please! Hypothermia is way better than being led into a slaughter house where you can smell the blood of those who were killed before you. I've been severely hypothermic twice in my life, so cold I felt warm like on a Summer's day, and it's easy. Much better than being led into a bloody meat factory. If it wasn't for the Seattle Fire Department in the first case and some Army medics in the second I'd be dead. Sometimes I even wish they'd just let me be.”

Hypothermia is not a pleasant way to die. I’ve never had it. But I’ve been frickin cold. I mean I grew up in Northern Canada, and now live in NORTH Dakota. I’ve had my eyelashes frozen together. I’ve been outside when it’s so cold it hurts to breath and feels like you are inhaling pins. I’ve frostbitten my cheeks and toes. That is enough for me. I’ve been lucky that that’s where it stopped. I got warm and never had hyperthermia. These cattle were pelted with rain for like 12 hours and then they were frozen and hit with 70mph winds and snow wearing their thin summer ‘clothes’. This was no way for them to die. Modern processing plants are efficient and clean. They are processed with as little stress as possible. Most of the time the cows don’t know what is going on, and don’t even know at the moment they are killed. They are cows and I love cows, but bless their hearts, they just aren’t the brightest creature on the planet. I’ve never watched the process first hand, but I have seen videos, and I have learned about processing plants and yes, seeing it isn’t my idea of pleasant movie viewing. I know that it’s all done as humanely as possible. Almost all of the carcass is used for something. The hide, the bones, the innards, the hooves, everything is processed into something useful. Most of the time it’s processed into something that you don’t even realize its being used for. Which is why I could never be a vegan… animal byproducts are in just about everything!

Can you even get hyperthermia in Seattle?! I quite honest didn’t think it really got that cold there…

Okay, I’m gonna break it down on this one…

Let's get real hereOkay awesome!
The cattle weren't being raised to spend their lives at Leisure World - they were destined for a cruel death at the slaughterhouse. For these cows, most of their life is actually quite leisurely. They eat, sleep, poop. Repete each day. Cruel death? Quick and painless…which is actually how I hope to go. I get sad thinking that my death will be when I’m old, and it will be painful and slow. Some disease will probably take over my body, and it will fail, and I will waste away in front of my loved ones… sad. Depressing and bleak…
Meat production is wasteful, and a major contributor to climate change. Meat production is wasteful? How so? They south Dakota cows were on acres, and acres, and acres of land that isn’t suited for much else. Not much grows there. The land is beautiful I will give it that…but you can’t really grow veggies there. AND YES okay so cows do produce toxic fumes with their farts that is making a HUGE hole in the ozone layer…but I mean… really? Haven’t we helped to contribute to the climate change?
Climate change will bring more extreme weather events like this early blizzard.  Climate change is very scary. I agree with you on this one buddy. Check.
The Europeans drove the Native Americans off this land, who had lived a lifestyle in harmony with its harsh elements for many centuries. Europeans are a holes. Yeah I got it. I feel guilty for this point you have made…
Ranchers are supposed to look after their stock - that's their profession. These events have occurred previously. Losing your herd through lack of preparation is poor husbandry. Okay this is where I stop agreeing with you pal. These ranchers will do anything for their stock. The weathermen predicted a little bit of snow, and not the record-breaking amounts that slammed the region. They were unprepared. If you have a quick easy way of moving 1,000 cows 25 miles home from their summer pasture. I’m sure they would love to hear it. And if you want to donate jackets or maybe some sweaters for the cows, They would gladly take those too…Good luck putting them on a big ol cow…These events have occurred previously, but not this early.
This method of raising meat is likely unsustainable in that region. Nope, You are wrong. Their method of raising meat is the absolute best for the livestock. And it is sutiable for the region.
Eat more vegetables. No, eat more beef.


Why would I give a crap about the ranchers? These are people who make a living by exploiting and killing their cows. The important difference here to them is they didn't make a profit from the cows' suffering. I give a crap about the oppressed, the cows, not their greedy oppressors.

Why should you give a crap about these ranchers? Because they would give a crap about you. Ranchers are awesome people. I’ve gone to a stockman’s banquet and I just couldn’t believe how great those families were. They are warm and genuine. And guess what they love their cattle. Each and every one. I heard stories and have seen pictures of ranchers bringing newborn calves into their house and keeping them warm by the fire so that they have a fighting chance. These ranchers would do anything for their cattle. They’ve poured their heart and soul into them. It’s their life.
The cows being oppressed? Really? Honey I don’t think you have your facts right.

Which is why those ranchers obviously don't give a crap about their animals. Most involved in animal husbandry these days only care about money. If it costs a little more to treat the animals humanely it won't happen.

Really? Don’t give a crap about their animals? Go visit a ranch, and shut the H up.

Farmers and ranchers are destroying the US by using bad practice. This is obiously a covert PR piece. Many ranchers don't live anywhere near their land. They receive massive subsidies from the government, they are the modern dead beat scroungers of america but they have the right by the testicles and they give them whatever they want.
These are domesticated animals, ranchers let them loose in the high mountains where they pollute the rivers and destroy natural flora. Why, because it's handed to them on a plate and they sell the beef as organic, mountain meat.
But cows are not wild animals so they die easily in bad weather. The reason the ranchers keep quiet is because they know they will get reimbursed through free handouts and they don't want people to know they mistreat their animals.
Farming needs to improve, more investment and less reliance on cheap labour; and they must make better use of all the water they waste and reduce the enormous pollution they are causing.

This one hurt my brain. The last senctence “Farming needs to improve, more investment and less reliance on cheap labour” MORE investment? REALLY?! MORE? Do you know how much these farmers and ranchers have invested? I work for a farm… I’ve seen how much they have invested. It’s not a little number… it’s a number that makes my eyes bulge out of my head. I see the loan payments. And the cheap labour? Umm I ran payroll for years… no cheap labour on this farm…

And even wild animals no doubt died in that weather. There just hasn’t been a report, because they have been too busy picking up the remains of their life’s work.


And then there was this one. The icing on my cake.

It’s too late to save these cows, but we can all help other sentient farmed animals just by going vegan. Animals raised for food suffer constantly. When cows are very young, they’re branded with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and males are castrated—all without painkillers. In summer, farmers leave cows to languish in the sun without shade. In winter, cows often suffer from freezing rain and biting winds, as well as snowstorms. During slaughter, they’re hung upside-down, their throats are slit, and they are skinned and gutted. Some remain conscious through the entire process. If people want to eat meat, they have to share in the responsibility for all of the suffering that the animals endure. Or, go vegan to help stop animal suffering.

Okay, go vegan if you can. I applaud you, I really do. I couldn’t. I love meat! Meat is fantastic. I do get sad thinking that an animal had to lose its life to feed me. But I know the process of how that juicy, tender filet mignon wrapped in bacon, with a fried egg on top landed on my plate. I also know how the asparagus I have as a side got there too. Answer is modern, efficient ag practices. Chances are good that a family has put their heart and soul into each part of my meal. They have struggled through hard times and have celebrated good times! The thing is a lot of the time (not all the time though) Vegans like to paint farmers and ranchers as the  bad guys. The evil sadistic awful people who just want to torture animals and kill people with scary GMO products. So if you want to only eat anti gmo and are looking for some delicious sweet corn…good luck pal! Corn, especially sweet corn has been genetically modified for hundreds of years. Maize is the product you are looking for.
I digress… This post is just like a million other posts I’ve read about the plight of cattle. They are marked with a brand to let the world know who they belong to. Horses are branded. Heck, my horse even has a tattoo. It’s not necessarily to his liking, he said he wanted a naked lady tattoo instead of numbers, but hey, he’s a horse, and we don’t always get what we want. Their horns are cut off as a safety precaution. And I’m sure they don’t even remember it a week after it happened…much like the branding. And yes the males are castrated because have you ever been around a ton of young bulls?! No thank you! Also this way these young fellas aren’t trying to make babies with everything. You don’t need that many bulls. Sorry guys.

“The leaving the cows to languish in the sun without shade”. Cows are adapted to the weather, much like my horses. George could stand in the shade all day long…but he chooses to stand on the side of the barn and get pelted with hot sunrays all day long. In the winter Piney wanted to be outside in the worst weather imaginable. I’d pull him inside and he would go right back outside. As much as a nice cozy climate controlled barn would be. We need to realize animals are adapted to the climate. Much better than we are. Mother Nature just played a very cruel trick on the people of South Dakota. The ranchers even if they were prepared… probably would still have lost cattle. It’s just a sick and cruel thing that happened.

“During slaughter, they’re hung upside-down, their throats are slit, and they are skinned and gutted. Some remain conscious through the entire process.” I’ve seen this sort of comment more times than I can count. I can almost guarantee to you that this is not how a modern animal processing plant works. Unfortunately I can’t speak for every part of the globe where these sorts of processes take place. The cows more often than not are led in to the facility, and humanely euthanized. They are not conscious during anything other than when they first come into the building. “If people want to eat meat, they have to share in the responsibility for all of the suffering that the animals endure.” I think that people should know where their food comes from. I’m a firm believe in it actually. I’ve met the people that ‘grow’ my food. I’ve done my research too. Unfortunately so many people are so far removed from farming, that they only get their info from the internet, and documentaries on Netflix. Go meet a farmer or rancher. Learn the truth. It might surprise you in different ways than you had imagined. And then there is this last sentence “Or, go vegan to help stop animal suffering.” For the most part, animals are not suffering. All their needs are met and they are well cared for. Their caretakers often times care more for them than they do themselves. So yes the loss of animal life is huge in that storm… Think of the humans that are suffering currently because of it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013




This hasn’t really been on national news, or really any news. I just wanted to share this link on a story about the hell that western South Dakota is dealing with right now after an early winter storm. Hurricane winds mixed with record amounts of snow caused the death of around 75,000 cattle, sheep and horses. Some ranchers lost a small percentage of their livestock, while others lost upwards of 90 percent of their herd. These herds are not just “cows” to the ranchers. These herds are the result of blood sweat and tears. Hard work and years of careful breeding, management and care.  Cattle are not only the rancher’s income producers, they are like family.

Livestock had not yet grown their thick winter coats. They also were all still out on summer pasture because according to the calendar it wasn’t time to bring them home. I have seen comments posted on articles about this tragedy with people saying things like “they should have just brought them home, they knew the storm was coming!” Well that would have been a great idea, but do you realize how long it takes to bring the cows home? It isn’t a quick process. And it’s not like you can just load them up into a trailer. I’ve seen people ask “Why weren’t they in barns?” Again, while it sounds like a great idea, many animals that were in shelters were killed with the snow collapsed the roof on top of them. And getting barns big enough to hold a couple hundred cows comfortably just isn’t something that all ranchers have the luxury of having. People who are so far removed from farm and ranch life can talk all they want. Livestock are different than having dogs and cats. They are big, they aren’t trained and basically they do what they want. And unlike moving a dog or cat, you can’t just move 20 or 50, or 100, or 1000 cows easily and quickly.

The stories from ranchers contained in this article are not the stories you hear about when you hear people protesting the “plight of the modern farm animal”. The sad cows in tiny boxes portrayed in Chipolte’s new propaganda short film called “Scarecrow”. These animals are the pride and joy of the ranchers that raise them. They know everything about each heifer, bull or calf on that ranch. In the videos about "big ag" or "factory farming" you never hear these stories or see images of the big fat happy cows we have here, that live on acres and acres and acres of wide open prairie. You won't ever hear these stories about absolute heartbreak of real ranchers who some lost almost all of their lifetimes worth of work. The baby calves that were brought in and nursed back to health in their homes only to be lost to a unexpected early storm a few months later. You'll never hear the shaky voice of someone talking about losing their horses, and cows. But I am getting way, way, way off topic here. Check out this link and hopefully you won't be a crying mess like I was reading it...
And if you are curious you can check out this link but be warned.... It is very, very graphic and shows the devastation that is occurring out in the West.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When horse things derail my thought process...

So I was sitting there, at work, doing work. Mapping out fields, adding crops, applying products to fields, basically playing real life SimFarm only I can't have all the fields be strawberry fields even though everyone knows they make the most money. Well I could, but the farms record keeping wouldn't be real accurate... and I would have to spend all season picking strawberries and that wouldn't be as much fun as I would imagine. So when I added a field, something caught my eye.

Is that? Is that what I think it is?

Nah, couldn't be...could it?

It MUST be! A horse property with a cross country course, stadium jumping arena and a dressage area! Eventers!

Of course inquiring minds want to know and I did a quick investigation...these satellite images were from 2010. I searched the address and found that the place sold in 2012 but the listing sounds wonderful!
Wonderfully set up horse property boasts 110 acres, 32x50 barn with 7 box stalls, 16x30 barn and a 1 bdrm, 1 bath, 576 sq ft home. There are 2 fenced pastures with shelters and plenty of room to ride. The property also as 150'+ on Lake. Great spot for future development or a secluded getaway that offers land and lake. Buildings and fences are in great condition.

Unfortunately, a recent Google satellite image shows that the places hasn't been kept up as an awesome horse property. Sad. And boo on the "great spot for future development" part of the real estate listing! Who ever bought this failed. Big time. But who knows, maybe they are still using it as intended! I want these people as my friends if they are using it as it's supposed to be used! Maybe I need to road trip and check the potatoes to do a little investigating...


Monday, September 16, 2013

long battle

It has been an excruciatingly long battle to get George to not look like a poster child for neglected and abused animals. But I am happy to say that his ribs are almost non existent. I struggled for months and months with him but I think I figured it out. He was treated for ulcers, and he gets about 100 pounds of beet pulp twice a day, 75 pounds of Safechoice once a day, and then 64 ounces of cool calories 100. Totally kidding about those measurements, but it certainly feels like that's how much I give him.
So now that he has put on weight, it's time to put on muscle. I think when he muscles up a bit he will look great. I still am taken back sometimes at how pretty he really is. I always thought Piney was cute and probably the most adorable horse I'd ever seen in my life. But George is super elegant and classy looking. EVEN when he's covered in mud (98% of the time). I look at him and think "holy crap that is a fancy horse in my pasture!" I was going to give him a bath this weekend, but Saturday it rained all. day. long. And Sunday was super cold and our pasture was muddy so yeah that didn't happen. This week is supposed to be hot still, so I might try to bathe him after work one day. He loved baths so I am hoping that he still does. My hubby sprayed him with a hose and he loved that so I am guessing that bathing won't be a problem. But I will need nice pictures of him to enter in Niamh's awesome contest she has going on!!

This weekend we were invited to our vet's employee appreciation dinner because we are their best clients and they wanted to thank us for paying all of their salaries. Kidding! My husband was invited because of his work. It was a lot of fun despite the rain. It is always fun to visit with our vets on a more upbeat ocasion rather than the usual reasons we go in to see them. I also got to meet a few of the vets that I haven't really worked with and I must say they are a funny bunch of folks. They had a pig roast for the meal and I asked if it was a client of theirs. It was so weird seeing one of our vets cutting open the pig, it was like watching a strange, weird, bizzaro surgery.
In addition to socializing we got to meet a few of the host's goats. I want this one.... he is for sale.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

missed it by that much...

Fancy pants George has had a more exciting life than I could ever hope to have. He's probably seen some pretty cool things and no doubt has been treated way better than most horses could dream of being treated. He's probably been treated better than most people could dream of being treated come to think of it. I love having the ties to his past. They are always happy to hear stories about him now, and love giving me insights to why he is the way he is. Or that his strange behavior isn't really something new...he's done it forever.
If you didn't already know, George is a multiple stakes winner. Which, isn't super impressive considering basically every racetrack has a stakes race. But he did compete in some big races with pretty big purses against some pretty big horses. Graded 1, 2, and 3 stakes races. Which for me is so cool. I've only seen that caliber of racing on TV. It doesn't even compare to the stakes races they had at the North Dakota Horse Park that I worked at a few racing seasons. I loved that track...but it was kind of a cow track. BUT I really hope they have more than ONE weekend of racing next season...One weekend...come on! That's almost not even worth going to.

But I love me some race replays. And I love that I was able to find some of George's bigger races on the YouTube. Here is that crabby sharkhorse that lives in my pasture, in the 2007 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes race which was a Grade 1 stakes race. He was ridden by Corey Nakatani (who I've actually heard of). The purse for this race was $600,000. He finished in 4th, so he only won $30,000. I wish I came 4th in a race and walked away with that type of money...
And here he is again this time in the United Nations Stakes race, which was another Grade 1. Here he also came in 4th but this time won $42,500....pssshhht pocket change. The purse was $750,000... I can't even imagine...

Seeing him in these races, competing at this level of racing, kind of makes me realize...Hey, you know what, it's completely fine if we can't ever compete at a high level of equine competition. If we only make it to one dressage show and completely bomb an intro level test because he accidentally on purpose kills the judge, that is fine. I would be perfectly happy to just ride up and down the dirt road by our house for as long as he is able to carry me. He has run his races. He has been a warrior. He did what he was bred to do. Run fast, and win money. It is my job as his forever owner to take care of him for the rest of his life. We don't have the fanciest barn for him to live in. I don't have expensive tack. He isn't surrounded by million dollar horses. But I love him and I want to make sure that he is happy for the rest of his life. If he wants to be lame for the rest of his life (I really prefer he isn't) that is fine. If he wants to be a crackpot with a weirdo personality...that is great! The more like me the merrier! I am going to make sure he is as comfortable as I can make him until his very last breath. He is my horse and I plan to love him, and his quirks for the rest of our lives. He will have a special place in my heart. And I hope, that even though horses don't necessarily love the same as humans do that there is somewhere in his heart, he holds some sort of fondness for me... and not just because I feed him peppermints and bring him his dinner every night.

P.S I wish I had his racing saddle cloths with his name on cool would that be to have?! I wonder what happened to them...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My little pony.

I realized that I don't often talk about our Shetland pony, Princess Rainbow Sparkles Dolly. I realized I don't talk about her much because he was a bit of a pill. If you wanted to interact with her you basically had to corner her, and then tackle her. She had a halter with a catch rope on it when we got her and I learned why. She just didn't like being caught. Once you did actually catch her she was great. Super easy to handle, groom, worm, vaccinate etc. But it was the catching part that just exhausted me.
For whatever reason, a reason that I'm not even sure of, she has become a little lover. Last night when I got home from work I heard her nickering to me when I got out of my car. So I went into her pen, and usually she will tense up and then bolt the other way. She came over to me, and then started nuzzling my hands. I walked across her pen, and she followed, I ran across her pen, and she trotted after me. I stopped, she stopped. She couldn't get enough of me. It was pretty cute.
The way she is acting, is exactly what I wanted in a pony. A sweet little creature that follows me around like a puppy. Instead of the nightmareish creature that we had a month ago. This is the kind of pony that you can catch and then put little humans on. One that will follow me around with out a halter and lead rope. Oh I just love that little critter.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Always on a Friday after 5.

I got home yesterday and went to check on the ponies. Pistol was being super snugly which was kind of strange. I am glad he was snugly because I noticed his breathing was weird. He kept putting his nose right by my ears. I noticed that his nostrils were flared and he was taking rapid short breaths. First I thought he was choking. I tried giving them all dry beet pulp before and he got a little choke-y so I never did it again. I've been a freak about making sure his beet pulp is soaking wet. 
I called the vet that was obviously closed because it was after hours and they had the number of the emergency vet on call. I called up left a message and waited. Ok the meantime I was busy on my iPhone googling all types of things as I waited for my call back. Then a lightbulb went off...he sounded heave-y...quick google search and discussion with the vet when he called and we were headed to the clinic to pick up our prescription for Pistol. 
Be have banamine to administer orally and tri hist granules to mix in his feed. The fun thing...pistol gets SUPER headshy when it comes to anything going in his mouth. Yay. I have been tricking him to get it in his mouth. But seriously it hasn't been fun. I am hoping that he gets this under control and we can manage it.this horse is seriously worth his weight in gold. I hate seeing him all wheezy.
George isn't limping around anymore...but he has become an ASS! Like a serious ass. He won't let me soak his foot. The thought makes him super cranky. He has even come at me, teeth bared ears pinned. Ever since we have been treating him for ulcers he has just gotten a nasty streak in him. I am thinking he has always been like that which is why he was so famous at his previous barns. He also won't stand it if you try to call him out on his bad behavior. He is like the hulk "you won't like me when I'm angry!" I think I may be calling in some reinforcements to come help us through his attitude...I think I liked him better when he was filled with ulcers! 
And then this happened this morning. Pistol finished his breakfast and then on his own put his foot in the feed pan and continued to stand there for about 10 minutes. I hope George has been takin notes from old Pistol.
In other news doesn't look like I will have a horse ready for the schooling show in 2 weeks....

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vet visit.

As I mentioned before, George was super lame when I came home from work. So I made an appointment at the vet for 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. My ‘vet’ appointment was at 1:00 the same day and I am happy to announce that my head is fine! There is just a little bit of pinching going on by the base of my brain. I gotta say though looking at pictures of the inside of your head…so weird. Like really weird. But we didn’t see any white spots on my brain which was excellent news.
We did see this though. So weird.

Anyways when we got home it was flippin hot out. I was so excited to load George into the trailer in this heat. Trailering is my favorite thing ever! Yeah. Right.  We got everything else ready and then I went and grabbed gimpy George. Now keep in mind I had one job this summer. Get George to load in the trailer. Well apparently I forgot that I had a job and George never got his schooling on trailer loading etiquette. But we bribed him and he got into the trailer and we were off to the clinic.

When we got to the clinic we were only about 45 minutes early.  I checked us in and they said we could bring him into the examining room and cool him off. George wasn’t sure about going into the strange building. But then again George is very cautious about a lot of things. We got him in and he was a good boy. He did want to play with the fire extinguisher though…I put the kabosh on that little idea though.  He spent the rest of his time waiting calmly.
The vet we had an appointment with is one that we have used a few times for the horse beasts. He’s got a similar sense of humor as mine. When he came up I said “you know what I was thinking? I haven’t had a big vet bill in a long time, so we brought one in for you today”.  We laughed. Then it was down to work. He did his hoof testing and found that there were some hot spots by the toe. But he wanted to run a few x-rays just to be sure. He was a little concerned with George’s ankles too.

This is when George flipped his switch and became a jerk. “X-rays? Oh no. I don’t do x-rays! Radiation poisoning my friends is not my idea of a good time!” They would put his foot down on a block and then he would snatch it up and then prance around. So after a few tries they gave him some “Be good George” drugs and then he settled down and was fine for his x-rays. I think there were 6 images taken, all different angles of his foot.

Good news is. There were no fractures anywhere. His ankles did NOT have any arthritis anywhere and his joints were nice and clean. But the bad news is that George and I’s dream of competing at Rolex have been crushed. George and I’s dream of jumping was actually pretty much crushed. By the sounds of it we will be stuck on the ground. The x-rays showed that he had some considerable damage to his suspensory. The vet said for a 10 year old ex-racehorse, that raced until he was 9 that isn’t uncommon to see. George will never be a sport horse. He is going to be my trail buddy and even that might be limited to light trail riding.

Anyways the vet was able to find the abscess and then dig it out. Bright red blood came gushing out which means that it was fresh. George is a bit of a drama queen so from now on I’ll be able to tell when he’s got an abscess. They suggested soaking it a few times a day for 1-2 weeks.

Yeah that didn’t go as smoothly as I’d imagined in my head. I’ve watched horses have their feet soaked many times. The handler just lifts their foot and sets it in the shallow feed pan with water and then wait the appropriate amount of time and then lift the foot out and done. With Pistol’s abcess last year, same thing I would put his feed out and then soak his foot and he was great. (come to think of it, he was a saint for his xrays last year too!) George, well George is not like a regular horse and I am learning that. I got his foot bath ready last night and then mixed up his supper and lifted his foot up and placed it in the dish, and he panicked. He was quite certain that I was trying to drown him in the 3 inches of water. So we tried it again. And again. And again. He spilled it about 4 times. So I made a plea for help on Facebook and got some pretty great ideas to try!

This was about the 19th time I put his foot back into the water...
I have to say though; I did get upset with him. And I ended up taking out my frustration on the feed pan. I hurled it across the barn and almost took out a cat. George stood there looking at me like “U mad?” Obviously getting mad at a horse rarely does anything good. If you get upset with George he will have a meltdown.  It’s not fun when he gets upset. I was just frustrated and that poor feed pan took a beating.

I feel like such a terrible horse person when I can’t get a horse to do something. I feel that I am doing everything wrong and have no business with horses and some days I feel as if I need to just give up. But like the lyrics I posted yesterday “If it can’t make your cry, make you mad or get you high” Which is exactly what horses do. There isn’t one true horse person out there that hasn’t gotten mad, or cried over a horse. And that high that comes from horses is just the best. It can come from an amazing ride, or just that ‘a-ha!’ moment during a lesson. It’s there and I think we are always chasing after it. And horses have absolutely broken my heart. Many times, over and over again. I love those expensive, time consuming, monsters that live in my back yard. If I wasn’t a horse person my life would be so much easier! And I could have a really nice house in town, and I would have more free time. But I honestly feel bad for people that aren’t horse people. Their lives aren’t as complete.

And one more thing. Here is a picture of George yesterday. He looks about 10 times better than he did a week ago. It has been a constant struggle this summer trying to get him to put and keep weight on. We’ve been treating him for ulcers and I bumped up his feed rations. I’ve also started giving him Cool Calories 100 and I really think that was what was missing before. I know, I know he doesn’t look fantastic, but this is an improvement for him! The vet scored him as a 4 on the body scale with 5 being ideal. He is still thin, but hopefully he will continue to put weight on!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Heard this lyric in a song on the way home. I think it is something we as equestrians can relate to in regards to our sport...

If it can't make you cry
Make you mad
Or get you high
It's just a waste of time
Any ol' fool can go as far
Dress it up and play the part
But it ain't love
If it can't break your heart

George had an abscess (whew!!) but there is a bit more to the story and I will fill ya'll in tomorrow.