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Fence Posts 2013 – 2016

March 11, 2017

Friday, January 1, 2016:  Happy New Year!!  Are you ready to gear up for spring shows, rides, rodeos and more?  If you’re planning your schedule and equestrian vacations, I’ve updated my Horse ‘N Around page for 2016.

2015 provided more then 300 miles of riding for me, along with training horses, personal learning opportunities and teaching students.  Between work, family and fun, indoor time on the computer took a back seat again. Winter, when it’s too cold to ride, is optimal for updating my blog, so here I am, a cold winter’s night, beginning the year on the key board.

One of my goals for 2016, is to catch my blog up to date.  Many thanks go to my faithful followers that have had patience while waiting for new information and posts.  Keep on keeping on in 2016!  Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 12, 2015:  I’m BACK!  Today I updated my Horse ‘N Around page.  There are many equestrian opportunities available in South Dakota and the surrounding area beginning on Valentine’s Day.  The year kicked off with the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo which just ended 4 days ago.  The Zoetis Winter Classic AQHA Horse Show is one of many attractions of the Black Hill Stock Show & Rodeo.

December 12, 2014 was unseasonably warm.  With temps in the 50’s, some of us took to the trails.  More photos and info coming soon!  Happy New Year!!

Riding Zach w/ Friends

Riding Zach w/ Friends

Wednesday, May 21st:  Spring in South Dakota.  Photos downloaded, here are a couple.

Honor, Spring 2014

Honor, Spring 2014

Baltimore Oriole in Apple Blossoms

Male Baltimore Oriole in Apple Blossoms

Tuesday, May 20th:  Wow!  When I’m absent for a long length of time, it’s usually because I’ve been BUSY with “priorities”.  😦  As my photo archive keeps expanding, my “free” time for writing seems to decrease.  How can that be?  Well, today I’m “stealing” some time away from what I “should” be doing, to at least update my Horse ‘N Around page and send you a greeting here:  Hi, How are you doing?  Are you enjoying Spring or perhaps summer, depending upon where you live?  Spring arrived later then usual in southeastern South Dakota.  Cherry trees and apple trees are blooming today and yet the mulberry trees are just starting to bud out.  A few mornings ago, our temperature was 22F and water was frozen.  Burr!!  Hopefully that will be our last cold snap and Spring will continue into summer.

This morning there were Baltimore Orioles enjoying apple blossoms and building their nests.  Some Robins have hatched and are chirping for food.  The migration of water fowl has since passed, but the finches are arriving along with some blooms.  My photos will be posted later.

Wednesday, February 12th:  It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today and Valentine’s Day with a full moon on Friday.  Spring is not far away, or at least I hope so.  This winter has been the coldest it’s been in 20+ years and very dry, unlike the eastern half of the US.

There’s been recent interest and discussion regarding blanketing horses.  A couple weeks ago, our part of South Dakota experienced -60F wind chill and sustained winds from 40mph to 60mph.  While Chicago’s zoo put their polar bears indoors, our horses, cattle and other livestock remained outside.  I wonder if the polar bears were drenched in perspiration?  Our animals didn’t miss a beat!

I wrote an article regarding my experiences of blanketing my horses.  It is located in my Horse Health page and includes a link to an excellent scientific article about horses and their ability to stay warm without blanketing.

Tuesday, January 21st:  God, faith, humans and horses.  Miracles never cease.  I’ve admired this young ladies riding abilities for quite a while now.  Her amazing ability to train and free jump horses that many humans gave up on is truly a miracle.  Add God and faith into her mix and Alycia Burton’s story is a blessing to share.  Check out Alycia’s story.  Do you have one that you would like to share?  Keep the faith and keep on trying!

Wednesday, January 15th:  The Robins are back!!  Holy cow, Monday was a beautiful day and low and behold there were two robins in a cherry tree in the back yard!!  They usually don’t show up until late February or early March.

I feel like our seasons are a month early because there was a December thaw on the 28th and then an arctic blast.  Usually there is a January thaw followed by an arctic blast and although we had nice weather a few days ago, it wasn’t the melter that we had in December.  I wouldn’t mind if Spring came a month early this year.

2014 is FULL of equine!  There have never been this many local events available to post, so check out my Horse ‘N Around page for a fun horse season to participate in.  The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks site also has many horse camps and trails listed for your enjoyment.

If you’re interested in equine foot care and want to reserve your place at a free clinic, check out:  Equine Foot Care Clinic.

Friday, January 10th:  Right from the horses mouth… the South Dakota Horse Fair is cancelled for 2014 and there are no plans as of yet for the SD Horse Fair to commence in 2015.  On your mark, get set, ready…Since the SD Horse Fair cancelled their event, another group scheduled an event called the Tri-State Horse Expo.  Check out my Horse ‘N Around page for more information and events.

Saturday, January 4th:  Happy New Year!!!  Tonight I posted a story about a recent experience with a hoof injury.  You may be thinking…what a way to start the new year… a hoof injury right off the bat.  Well… as I view the world as a “glass half full instead of empty”, the injury and the timing of it could have been a lot worse.

The story along with photos are located in my Horse Health page.  Knowledge is power as we learn from each other.  Thank you for your interest.  Godspeed!

Can you believe that 2013 is over and February of 2014 will be here before we know it?  I’m looking forward to February, as Spring will be that much closer.  However, as the weather in February goes, it is usually extremely cold and I can’t imagine having record braking below zero temperatures continuing for another couple of months.  Where did global warming go?  It’s currently -2F  and the temperature is dropping.  BURR!

The Snow is Back

The Snow is Back

December was filled with days in the 50’s to days with wind chills in the negative 4o’s.  There’s a saying in South Dakota, “If you don’t like the weather, just stick around for a while.”  You guessed it… the weather can change in the blink of an eye.  Wind gusts in the 60mph range last Saturday, December 28th starting around 4:30pm and only a few hours earlier, it was 48 degrees and as still as could be.  It reminded me of a January thaw.  I wonder if our seasons are a month ahead of schedule?  Around 10:30pm last night the air smelled fresh like a Spring rain.  Would you believe that it was sprinkling?… It was and it didn’t turn to ice.  It just seemed to evaporate.

2014 is beginning with a decent schedule of equestrian events.  These range from 4-H activities and rodeos to dressage and eventing clinics and shows.  Check out the freshly pressed schedule of events on my Horse ‘N Around page.  If you’d like me to post an event, I’d be happy to do so.

It’s time to put Fence Posts 2013 into the archive.  Happy trails to you during 2014!

Monday, December 2nd:  The snow has melted and the temp is 51 and very still.  Today was an amazing day for a ride while beginning the last month of 2013.  Theena and I rode 4 miles along with Zach and his companion.  Lovely for perhaps the last ride of the year.  Theena and I practiced trail, opening and closing the mail box, swinging a back pack up and onto my back, standing still while semis sped by, she was splendid.  Breaking in our new dressage saddle has gone very well.

Theena & Me, 12/02/2013

Theena & Me, 12/02/2013

While today was unseasonably warm, Saturday, November 23rd the high was 15 and Wednesday the 27th it was 6, BURR.  Although the 23rd was only 15, the day was sunny and still and felt like 40.  Riding lessons continued.  My students practiced riding bareback on Honor, with Theena and Zach in the ring preparing for future shows.  We rode outside on Saturday and Monday and inside on Wednesday.  Remarkably, we stayed warm  and my students enjoyed their lessons.  Riding bareback in the winter helps keep the riders warm while regaining their balance and strength and building more confidence.  It’s a great way to fine tune our skills.

Saturday, November 9th:  Our first snow fall of the season was Tuesday.  We received 3″ while many places received 6″ or more.  Today, the snow is all gone except for a small portion of the base of a snow man.

Winter's First Snow Man

Winter’s First Snow Man

Mid 50’s today, it was nice to go for a ride even if the wind gusts were 30mph.  I imagine these warmer days are limited and am very thankful to be able to enjoy them.

This is a very educational video of how a snaffle bit acts inside a horses mouth:  The Effects of The Bit Part 1  I’ve seen many heavy hands being used to control a horse when a light touch is usually much more effective.  Especially during these colder days, consider keeping your horses bit warm before putting it into it’s mouth.  Happy Riding!

Monday, September 23rd:  This summer I was the announcer for several local Dressage schooling shows.  Announcing gave me the opportunity to have a birds eye view of the riders and their mounts.  I noticed that it appeared that a large number of equestrians were trying to force their horses to move in a fashion that was not comfortable for their mounts.  It caused me and other spectators to question if the riders were trying to find their horses rhythm or were the riders trying to make their horse move to the riders rhythm?  It was obvious that horses were tolerating painful requests and becoming physically sore.

Some of the equestrians were experienced riders that had spent thousands of dollars on their horses and equipment.  How could so many participants have the same condition?  One question to ask is, am I riding in correct form?  Another question is, how is my saddle fitting my horse and me?  A super video that addresses this second question is available from Schleese:  How To Tell If Your Saddle Hurts Your Horse

May God bless your relationship with your horse and fellow equestrians.  Happy riding.

Friday, August 30th:  The heat wave in the flat land of Southeastern South Dakota is nearing its end presumably this Labor Day weekend.  Along with the horrendous heat the last two weeks, was a fresh hatch of face flies.  Our heat has been in the upper 90’s and the humidity has been between 70% and 92% from dusk to dawn nearly every day.  This combination made for a heat index of 104 degrees during some days.

Wednesday evening at 8pm it was 91 degrees and the horses were perspiring the most that I’ve ever seen them perspire.   Although a sprinkler was available for them to cool off in, they chose to beat the heat by eating instead.  Their dapples showing through their damp fur was a good sign that my herd was healthy.  A salt and mineral supplement is very important all year long to help replenish the minerals lost during seasonal changes in the weather, activity, metabolism and diet.

Honor Perspiring at Dinner

Honor Perspiring at Dinner.  Notice His Dapples.

As I mentioned earlier, along with the extreme heat came a fresh batch of face flies.  Although there are two bug zappers strategically placed on the property to help manage flying insects that carry disease, the face flies were pleantiful on Wednesday.  Usually the face flies don’t cause a reaction with my horses but when they are combined with hight heat and humidity, they wreak havoc on  horses eyes.  A natural reaction is to panic if you see an eye like the one in this photo.

Reaction From Face Flies, notice the flies in the lower right of the photo.

Reaction From Face Flies, notice the flies in the lower right of the photo.

Keeping the flies away from the horses eyes with a fly mask will help prevent this reaction.  I had sprayed the horses with a good fly spray but that lasted for only a brief time.

If a horses eye is already agitated, using a fly mask for 24 hours will usually reduce the swelling. Depending upon how swelled up the eye is, wearing the fly mask for 2 days may be required for the eye to become normal.  Can you imagine how many horses manage this condition on their own because they don’t spend time with their owners very often?  I’ve noticed that this eye condition is also common in the Fall when the corn pollen content in the air is high.  If the swelling from the eye is caused from an allergen, I’ve used Bute to help combat the inflammation.  Honor’s eye was back to normal Thursday evening.

Sunday, August 18th:  Yesterday was our final show of the year.  It was a wonderful day and I wish the show season wasn’t over for us.  I feel like we were just getting started and I’m looking forward to the 2014 show season.

Don't Just Feed 'Em Ride 'Em

Don’t Just Feed ‘Em Ride ‘Em Schooling Show, July 20, 2013

Announcing for all three DJFERE shows, I learned a lot by being able to observe from above.  I am thankful for having had this opportunity and I recommend these shows to anyone who is wanting to have fun learning how to improve their equestrian skills.  Congratulations on a successful maiden show season!

Monday, August 5th:  I am not easily disappointed, but yesterday’s experience made me sad to say the least.  Yesterday I attended the Sioux Empire Fair to assist with and support my fellow equestrians that were competing in the Open Driving Show.  My grandmother was an extensive supporter of the Sioux Empire Fair and spent many hours contributing her time and energy in creating what was a splendid 4-H fair and carnival in it’s day.  Yesterday’s experience of what has happened to this icon of history, would have saddened my grandmother’s heart as it did mine.

The Vern Crangle Memorial Open Horse Show is this Friday, August 9th at the Sioux Empire Fair.  For some reason, the Sioux Empire Fair board decided not to publish a horse show schedule for 2013.  This decision has all but alienated any visitor from enjoying these shows.  This decision also has caused the participants to expend extra time and energy in planning to compete.  The show schedule is only available on line and not all participants have access to this technology.  If you are interested in the show schedule, it is located at:  Sioux Empire Fair Events Schedule

In years past, every stall, over 100, had a horse in it and there were horses tied to trailers outside on the grounds being prepared for competition.  There were equestrians from a variety of disciplines on campus all week long participating in classes and providing entertainment for the visitor.  On Sunday, August 4th, I was hard pressed to find 40 horses on the grounds, most of which were there for only the day.

I have to wonder if the Sioux Empire Fair board is trying to destroy the Sioux Empire Fair and turn it into strictly a carnival.  The 4-H animal exhibits are nearly nonexistent, so if you are interested in enjoying local farm animals, I would recommend going to the Turner County Fair.  August 12 – 15th is the Turner County Fair, which is a “true” fair and fun for the entire family.  No admission required.

Tuesday, July 30th:  Ahh, the history of the horse…  If you are searching for a rewarding historical experience in a beautiful environment that can be enjoyed in a day trip from Sioux Falls, Ashfall Fossil Beds park is an option.  At Ashfall near Royal, Nebraska, 11.8 million year old remains of four species of the modern horse were found.  Pictures will be posted later.

Yesterday, a trip to this park was an adventure that included a flat tire detour.  Well worth the flat tire delay, the park is very pretty and easy to find.  It’s a great place for a picnic and includes a nature walk with scenic overlook.

Sunday, July 28th:  Our weather has certainly been a contrast to last years drought.  I am so thankful for grass and the hay prices are starting to drop.  The trees are heavy with fruit which makes me wonder if we will have a hard winter.  I can’t believe that it was in the low 40’s last night and Fall is just around the corner.  I have MANY photos to publish and stories to share.  Can I buy some time from someone?  (I can hear it now, sure… and I’ll sell you some swamp land in Florida too.)

The DDE DJFERE, “Don’t Just Ride ‘Em Feed ‘Em” shows have been very successful.  The many contestants have been having fun and I’m learning a lot.  There is one more show this season and it’s on August 17th.  Check out my Horse ‘N Around page for more information.

South Dakota 4-H finals were this past week in Huron.   The youth show will be held at the Sioux Empire Fair on Friday, August 2nd.  Many rides and play days in the region also.  If I don’t have time to update my events page, some of this information can be found on KELOland’s site.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, July 6th:  Wonderful Independence holiday America!  Today I am remembering our fellow Americans that are recovering from past natural disasters, some of which happened several years ago and the survivors are still rebuilding their lives.  Thank you to all volunteers and financial contributors for your caring ways!!  May we unite as one nation, under God, to be the country that our founding fathers, friends and family fought and died for.  Remembering the Republic for which it stands.  Please help keep America free!!  God bless America!

A super turn out for the first DDE revival show held on the 29th!  The next show on 7/20 is sure to be another great opportunity for equestrian camaraderie.  Lets show newcomers that we can support each other and have fun.  No supremacy or bickering allowed.  Thanks for leaving your drama at home.  If you have a comment or want to share your experience, please do so at:  horses@sio.midco.net.  See you on the 20th.

Friday, June 21st:  What an awesome day yesterday for the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II that is.  Congratulations on a fantastic win at the Royal Ascot!!  Here’s the full story with GREAT photos!  Estimate Wins Gold Cu

It’s been a BUSY Spring, cleaning up after the March ice storm, replanting the pasture after last years drought, cutting down trees that died because of the drought, planting gardens and then with the Spring rains came WEEDS!  Finding Lucky a new home, training horses and teaching riding lessons.  Working and celebrating life.  I know where my time goes.

Last months centered riding clinic was fantastic!  I can’t wait to participate in another one.  Summer arrived today and the thought of July seems to make summer feel oh so short.  With temps in the 90’s arriving, it’s going to feel like July in June too.  Stay cool!

Thursday, May 23rd:  It’s been a wet and cool Spring so far.  Perfect for pasture growth and Spring flowers blooming as well as vegetable garden planting.  Unfortunately vandals are out and about come Spring too.

Done hibernating during the winter, “they” have emerged to do some damage.  It’s amazing how not even a second of destructive behavior can cause hundreds of dollars of damage.  I’m very disappointed in what is happening in the Sioux Falls community, surrounding area and even on our horse trails.  “We” work hard to have and care for the gifts that God has given to us.  Mother nature can be destructive and has been lately, but people have a choice.  I pray for the vandals that are obviously struggling with their  self respect and spirituality.  Let’s help keep America beautiful and respect and appreciate our public areas and neighbors property.

During this Memorial holiday, may God bless your celebration of memories, honoring those who have blazed the trail for us, so that “we” may have a clearer trail to travel.

Thursday, May 16th:  Spring has arrived and the corn is already a couple of inches high!  Last year the drought stumped our new pasture and prevented 99% of the grass seed from germinating.  Weeds and a few sprigs of rye germinated in two thirds of the pasture while the rest remained barren.  We’re planting again and with rain in the forecast and God’s blessings, this second planting will be productive.  Who’d have thought that we’d become farmers…?

Today I updated Horse ‘N Around.  There are three new schooling shows available for equestrians who want to further their education, training and experience without the competitive drama imposed on the unsuspecting newcomer or seasoned rider.  These will be enjoyable shows designed to promote companionship between you and your equine as well as provide an atmosphere of friendship and fun.  Don’t Just Feed ‘Em, Ride ‘Em!

Monday, May 13th:  What an amazing experience and opportunity at the Centered Riding Clinic near Ceresco, NE!  Carol O’Donnell Wilson is an excellent and very knowledgable instructor.  She taught us, a group of 11 women and one man, many centered riding techniques to help us ride with invisible aids while creating a “softer”, more relaxed, collected horse and rider experience.

We learned mounted and ground exercises to help us find our centers, balance and partnership with our mounts.  The mounts were Tennessee Walkers, my Arabian Theena, Quarter horses, a Curley and a 17 hand Clydesdale Thoroughbred Hanoverian cross used for fox hunting.  Riders consisted of beginners and intermediate to advanced level, dressage, pleasure trail, western pleasure, reiners and hunter/jumpers.  The diversity of our group afforded many learning opportunities and I highly recommend participating in the world renowned Sally Swift Centered Riding Clinics.  Stay tuned for more information.

Wednesday, April 17th:  It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to manage my site.  February 15th I was in a car accident that totaled my car and put me in a tail spin of events.  The accident wasn’t my fault and the young man who caused it was honest and responsible.  Needless to say, recovery is taking its’ sweet time.

Spring of 2013 is setting a record  in my “neck of the woods”.  Sioux Falls sustained freezing rain and snow that destroyed thousands of trees and damaged many automobiles and homes.  Driving down the streets, it looks like a battle zone with destruction in every direction.  Our electricity was off for 3 days and I know that this event doesn’t compare to hurricane Sandy, but it was an eye opener.  Today we are supposed to receive another round of sleet/snow similar to last weeks storm.  Are we prepared?  Maybe the storm will pass us by.

Be safe and think SPRING!  It’s only a 50 degree day away.  God Bless!

Thursday, February 7th:  Tuesday and Wednesday in southeastern South Dakota were nice days aside from the wind.  The horses have been rolling in the mud and Lucky looks like a chestnut.  Not having an indoor wash room for bathing, it is too cold outside for that, they are clean up projects indeed.  Theeo has mud beads in his mane that remind me of dreadlocks.  He seems to be proud of them, swishing them to and fro.

Zach and I are training for dressage and jumping.  He is very happy and sure footed when he trots over his cavaletti.  He’s getting a good work out going from the hard flat sandy soil of the pasture to the footing of the sand arena.

Several years ago, Stacy Westfall made a grand impact in the world of Freestyle Reining and bareback riding.  Last night I happened upon an inspiring video of a woman who is also living her equestrian dream.  Her name is Ann Reusser.  While watching Ann’s video, I noticed the similarities of her’s and Stacy’s routines.  Unbeknownst to me when I was watching Ann’s video, Stacy and Ann are friends that live a few miles apart.  Stacy was a clinician in Sioux Falls at the South Dakota Horse Fair a few years back.  I also saw Stacy in Madison, WI at the Midwest Horse Fair shortly after her debut.  What an aspiring inspiring couple of women.  Keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, January 29th:  One goal that I have for 2013 is to manage my blog on a weekly basis.  Although I have tried to remain active with my blog by posting something at least once a week, I feel like keeping track of current equine events on my Horse ‘N Around page and documenting my personal experiences along with posting, is an integral part of this blog.  Today I created the 2012 Fence Posts.

My second goal is to write and publish the stories that I mentioned during 2012.  I have downloaded the photos and I am pretty excited about how they turned out and I can’t wait to share them with you!

January Frost 2013

January Frost 2013

 One quiet and still morning during a January thaw, the hoar frost was beautiful and the horses were happy.  Honor is in his own dry lot this winter enjoying his senior mash twice a day along with his hay.  He is thriving on his new diet and looks and feels the best that he has during the past three years.  The rest of the herd is happy munching on a round bale in the pasture.

Monday, January 7th:  2012 was an amazing year.  The Christmas and New Years holiday was relaxing and exciting as my family and friends celebrated together.  Christ is Born!  Another birthday celebration!

Busy seems to be my all to frequent word and experience the past few years.  Do we ever become “less busy”?  I’m never bored and have taken several photos from many experiences that I want to write about.  Now as I work on the 2012 archive and begin the 2013 one, I anticipate another blessed year filled with new equine activities.

This morning I updated Horse ‘N Around.  Check it out for events that you may want to participate in.

God Bless You in 2013.

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