Category: Mustang rescue project

Hay Thief Caught In The Act! Or maybe just a lonely horsey?

Cheryl heard some bumping around in the barn and looked over her loft edge to see what was going on.  Honey and BaeBee were where they belonged in their stalls, but Cheryl couldn’t see Mairsiedotes anywhere.

Upon further investigation, this is what Cheryl saw:


Mairsiedotes had managed to lay down with her head under the stall wall.  We can only guess she was looking to sneak some of Honey’s hay . . . or was she just lonely???


Once Cheryl caught her in the act of . . . whatever she was doing, Mairsiedotes scrambled back to her own side of the wall.


“Who me?  I wasn’t doin’ nothin’,” one could almost hear Mairsiedotes say.

I guess I’m going to have to add another board to the bottom of that wall before someone gets themselves stuck again!

Horsey emergency at 3am!

Cheryl came into my room at 3am this morning saying something was wrong with Mairsiedotes.  She was stuck under the stall wall between her stall and Honey’s and couldn’t get out.

I knew there was a gap there of about a foot high but I didn’t think any of the horses would get stuck there considering so many of the horse stalls I have seen are made of bars which do not go all the way to the floor.

I pulled on my robe and warm jacket over my thin pj’s and pulled on my boots and followed Cheryl out into the night.

Mairsiedotes was laying calmly there, belly toward Honey’s stall, all legs under the bottom wall board between the stalls, her front legs almost all the way under.  Cheryl went to her head and continued calming her while I went into Honey’s stall and attempted to bend Mairsiedots’ front legs and get them on her side of the wall.

That wasn’t going to work.  Next, I got a long 2×10 and placed the flat part under her front feet, thinking she might be able to push herself back and out from under the wall.

That didn’t work either.  Then I got the cinch from a saddle to put under her front girth just behind her front legs.  My robe and bulky jacket were getting in the way so I peeled them off and dropped them out of the way.  I had a couple lead ropes to clip onto the ends of the cinch for when we were ready to pull.  Then I squatted down and began working that cinch under her front legs.

I felt Mairsiedotes mouth on my backside as I was kneeling and bending to reach under her legs with the cinch.  “Don’t let her bite me, Cheryl!” I said quickly, coming upright, remembering her old habit of nipping when we first started messing with cleaning her feet.

“Oh, OK!” Cheryl said as she held Mairsiedotes head securely.

I don’t know if Mairsiedotes was intending any harm or not.  Most likely she was just curious about what I was doing, but I was not taking any chances.

I got the cinch under her front legs near her belly, clipped the lead ropes to the ends of the cinch, and Cheryl and I backed up and pulled.  “HEAVE!  HEAVE!  HEAVE!”  Mairsiedotes was out from under the wall.

She sprang to her feet and moved nervously around, as if she were still a bit panicky.  We gave all the horses some alfalfa treats because, after all, they all went through quite a trauma!

This morning when Cheryl got up, Mairsiedotes was all loves and hugs and kisses to her.  She was obviously giving Cheryl big horsey thank you’s in the best way she knew how.


Mairsiedotes Gets Some Much Needed Rest

When we brought Honey and Bae home, we kept them separate from Mairsiedotes because we were not sure how well they would get along, and Mairsiedotes, being only a year old, is much smaller than the older horses.  So we alternated which horses stayed in the corral and which stayed in the pasture.  This allowed them to interact through the fence without the risk of fighting.  After a while we saw the horses would prefer to stand by each other by the fence in the hot summer sun than stand in the shade away from each other, so we put them together and watched them all move to the shade.

Thepecking order was established, of course, with Honey as top mare, Mairsiedotes as second, and Bae on the bottom.  Things were all right though, until we stopped letting them into the pasture due to rain and mud.  We kept the horses in the corral because the corral has a base of hog fuel and fir shavings to keep their feet out of the mud. And we want to keep them out of the small pasture to keep the small pasture from becoming a mud pit.  Unfortunately, the small corral was not big enough for the three of them to abide peaceably together and Mairsiedotes was getting the brunt of Honey’s nips and kicks.

Knowing this problem cannot continue, Cheryl and I finished Mairsiedotes stall today so she could rest without fear tonight.

Cheryl said Mairsiedotes laid down (in her stall) for the first time since the pasture became off limits.  Then when she was done resting, she stood up and went near the other horses who were both standing near her stall wall.  They wanted to be near each other, and could interact over the short wall, but Mairsiedotes could feel safe from Honey’s picking on her.

Our Mustang Rescue Project : First Little Pasture Finished

We finally got the little pasture ready for Mairsiedotes and let her into it today.  She began grazing immediately, and was peacefully making her way though the tall grass, when suddenly she started bucking and snorting and running around.  Mairsiedotes went a little crazy like that several times.  I wondered if she got stung by a bee or something.

When she was jumping and bucking, she kept farting explosively!  Then I wondered if that sound was what was spooking her!  She was fascinating to watch, cavorting around.  Reminded me a little of watching a kitten play.

I hope she gets along with the two horses we are scheduled to bring in tomorrow.  I’ll let you know.

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Part 9 – She is So Smart!


This morning, Cheryl went out to check on Princess Mairsiedotes, and found her in the gated stall, the stall she is not supposed to go into.  The stall that holds all the hay, grain in a closed barrel, tack, etc.  She looked up from munching on the open bale of hay as if to say, “Good Morning”.

Cheryl led her out of the stall and shut the latch.  The next time she looked over, Mairsiedotes had unlatched the stall and was inside eating the hay again.  Cheryl led her out again and shut the latch, this time putting a wire through the lock hole and twisting it so she couldn’t get in again.  Cheryl admitted to me that she couldn’t help being proud of how smart Mairsiedotes is.

Later, at dusk, I took Mairsiedotes out of the corral to let her graze on some nice grass in the yard.  She loved that!  When it started getting too dark, I put her back in her open stall with some hay, and turned to go out of the corral.  I had forgotten to shut the gate though, and Princess Mairsiedotes was out of her stall and around me before I knew what was happening.

I hurried after her, but the faster I hurried, the faster she went.  I had flashbacks of when my shetland pony got loose in the alfalfa field one day and didn’t want to be caught.  I had visions of my neighbors and what they would say if I couldn’t catch her, and her galavanting around the neighborhood, through their flowerbeds.  Fortunately, she allowed me to catch up to her when I walked slowly.  I put the lead rope around her neck and coaxed her back into the corral and Cheryl shut the gate.

This horse is no dummy!  One look at her and anyone can see her intelligence.


Mairsiedotes keeping her eye on me the day Denise brought her to her new home.

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Run In With “The Law”

our loft 3

Everything was going well until “The Man” sashayed into our back yard, clipboard in hand, taking us by surprise.  I knew immediately he was some kind of “inspector” coming to check on some neighbor’s complaint.

“Is this thing under 200 square feet?” He bellowed.

“It’s 12 x 24 feet,” my sister Cheryl answered defensively.

“You know you gotta have a permit for that,” he said, authoritatively.

“No I don’t,” Cheryl told him, impudently.  “I checked with the state laws and it says if we are building a barn or an out building for animals, we can make it any size we want without a permit.”

“Not in Marion county,” he further insisted.

“It’s a state wide law for Oregon,” Cheryl insisted back.  “I checked in two places, in the Portland city planning office in the permits division, and with the lawyer who came to our architecture class to explain the building laws.”

“Well, here in Marion county, you have to file for an exemption to not have to get a permit,” he back-peddled.  “It’s a new ordinance.”

His brusk demeanor shifted to a friendlier one when he saw our little mustang filly.  He was impressed that she was from the real wild mustang herd on Beady Butte.  He complimented us on the quality of our structure, and began reminiscing about his burros and how great they were.  We had a nice jovial visit after that, but he said we needed to go the Marion County permits office and see what they could do to help us work out a plan to bring our structure into compliance with the county rules.

Cheryl researched online about the rules here in MARION county, printed out our site plan, and we went to talk to the folks at the permit building.

Sadly, from what they said, it was true, we would have to get an exemption to build a barn because we are on AR (acreage residential) and not on exclusive farm use land.  We would have to apply to get tax exemptions to have an official farming business to be able to build whatever we wanted on our property.

On the other hand, they said, we could just cut our lean to in half, making sure each side structurally independent from the other, each side being easily under 200 square feet, and we would be in compliance.

That would be the easiest option, we decided.  “How much distance do we need between buildings?” Cheryl asked.

The man held up a piece of paper and said, “If I can slip this paper between the buildings, that would  be far enough.  If we could tear down one structure without pulling the other down, that would be enough separation.”  He grinned and we smiled.

“We can do that,” we said.

We have 20 days to comply.

We left, thinking how silly some rules are.  I suppose they serve a purpose, but for people like us, who tend to fly by the seat of our pants, it just gums up the works.  We are smart enough to make good solid structures, in fact, we tend to over due the structural integrity of the buildings we make, but maybe some people have built things that have collapsed and hurt people.  Whatever.  We will cut it in two.  Then we will build the big, fabulous barn we are planning . . . in little sections, each independent from the others.  So there.

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Part 7 – She’s Here!


We were working up to the last minute on the stall door when Mairsiedotes arrived at about 3 pm today.  Denise unloaded her from the trailer.


She seemed curious about everything, sniffing and looking around as Denise led her to our back yard.  Once in the corral, Denise had Cheryl lead her around a bit and gave them a chance to get used to each other in Mairsiedotes’s new surroundings.


Mairsiedotes seemed satisfied and began grazing.  I brought in a spray hose to spray away some cement dust, and that was interesting to her.  She came closer and watched and then I sprayed in other areas because she liked the wet grass for grazing.



Ryan brought a big bucket for her water to go into.  He filled it about half full and she drank most of it, so he filled it again.

Mairsiedotes is such a pretty little filly.  I think we will call her Princess Mairsiedotes!

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Part 6 – The Roof

Cheryl and I put the corrugated galvanized metal roof on today, with the very wonderful help of my husband John, and son Matthew. It was fun being up high and getting so much accomplished! We decided we enjoyed putting the roof on more than building the fence.

The galvanized screws came with neoprene washers that squished underneath the hex heads when tightened. This is supposed to stop any leaking. Let’s hope it works!

After the halfway mark, Cheryl and I had to have an ice cream break. 🙂

It’s important to keep our strength up!

We were supposed to bring the Mustang filly here this evening, to her new home, but rain set us back a day, so she will be coming home tomorrow instead.

At first we were discouraged by the overcast and misty sky, but at one point today, the sun peeked out and we were practically blinded, and instantly overheated from the reflection off the silver roofing.  Then we realized what a blessing the overcast sky was.  Boy did we misunderstand!  I thanked God, and the gracious weather, for those perfectly timed clouds!

our loft cropped


Could we be any happier?  I think not!

As young girls, sharing a room, we used to dream about living together and building our own houses.  We would draw our dream designs and imagine living in them.  Between the spiral houses we each built on Spirit Dreamer Mountain (our place in the hills near Cottage Grove), the art studio in Orlando, and this lean to . . . and the glorious barn we are planning, we are living our girl hood dreams!

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Part 5 – Stringers, Flashing, and Gates

We learned we had to put up 1×4 stringers, horizontally, to attach the corrugated metal roof to.  Also we put up flat sheet metal for the flashing all around the edges.

flashers and screwers

Gates with their hinges and latches had to be put in.  I learned a lot about setting gates, like set them up to be a little higher when shut because when the hinges take over the job of holding up the weight of the gate, there is a little slumping.


We were forced to take a break yesterday, due to rain, then we got busy again as the day waned away, and while working up high, we got a little silly and did a little harmless flashing.  After all, we were the flashers.


John politely averted his eyes.

Our Mustang Rescue Project : Part 4 – We’re Getting Close!

Our lean to is almost completed. The fence around the corral is also nearly done. We are expecting to get our Mustang filly, Mairsiedotes, this Tuesday.

Cheryl is scheduled to go to Spain for two weeks as a study abroad architecture student. I think she would rather stay home with her new horse!

I can understand that. We are drawing up plans for the main barn and want to get it done before winter. It will have several stalls. There will be enough to hold Mairsiedotes as well as my two horses, Honey and Dixie. John just bought them for me a few days ago. There will also be a stall for my niece Amber’s goats.

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