Updated: May 10
Our family had some hard news. On the 15th of June we found out my step dad had brain cancer. Then on the 16th he had a grand mal seizure that sent him to the emergency room. There, we learned he only had days left to live. On the 17th, I loaded up the ponies, and headed 4 hours west, to my mom's place.
Many years ago, we lived there too, and it was one big farm. We raised our own hay and had lots and lots and lots of ponies, minis and big horses. In the years since we moved away they have pulled down all the fences, sold much of the land and sold the horse/pony sheds. They have sold the hay fields and now have a 3 acre yard, rich with flowers, trees, bushes, birds and other wildlife.
I knew that I would have to make a pen for the ponies. There aren't many fences anymore. The yard is open to the neighbors place and they have several big horses. Plus she rides in her hay field so having the ponies running loose everywhere was just not going to work.
I hauled a few things along with me so I could make a pen using T posts, push in posts and electric rope.
my solar powered charger
the grounding rod
my little sledge hammer
my T-Post pounder
my T-Post puller
my manure fork
Of course I had stuff for myself and my dogs as well. I brought my blow up bed and foam mattress toppers as I knew the house was going to fill up with family, and I would need to sleep in the back of my Tahoe. I tried to be fairly self contained.
I brought my ponies with me for a few reasons:
So my Handsome Hubby and youngest son wouldn't have to care for them.
So I wouldn't be worried about them.
So I could stay as long as I was needed.
So I could continue to manage their food intake and they wouldn't get too fat.
Having the flexibility to drop everything at home and travel with my ponies to help my mom is amazing. My job can travel with me as well which means I don't have to take vacation or sick days to be gone. I just worked straight through.
There is a lot of grass there so I drug panels and old gates from around what's left of the farm and made a redneck fence so Zorro and Oliver could be turned out in the early morning hours. That would help save some hay and mimic what we have been doing at home.
I noticed that Zorro can be out on this grass for longer hours without looking overly fat. It proves that not all grass is alike! The grass at my house is rather high in sugar and starch while the grass here, apparently, is not. This has helped me stretch my hay even further because they could be out grazing longer.
I built them a dry lot area so they can be off the grass for the afternoons and nights. I fed them some hay pellets in the morning after they come off the grass, just like we do at home. Then later in the afternoon I gave them a hay snack, then hay for dinner before I went to bed.
While my dad was having good days I stayed very close to him. Making sure I told him all the things I needed to say. He enjoyed spending time with family and their close friends during these last days.
The ponies were definitely on the back burner. I made sure they had food and fly spray but that's about it. As my dad failed further I spent a little more time with them, while he slept. This was much needed quiet time. Zorro was so sweet, standing quietly with me while I groomed him, leaning his head on my shoulder and breathing lightly into my hair while I sat and felt sad. Oliver brought levity by keeping me on my toes, nibbling on my butt whenever possible. In the mornings when I turned them out they would run and buck and play for awhile before they settled in to graze.
Now that my dad has passed, we slowly got back to walking every day. I trimmed their feet and spent a bit more time with them.
I am so grateful that my lifestyle, my handsome hubby, my youngest son and my job allowed me to come be here during this time. There really are no words to express just how blessed I feel.
My dad passed away with my mom, my aunt, my mom's best friend and myself by his side. He was never alone in the house. He was such a wonderful man, which was reflected by all the love that was shown him as he began his transition.
I was able to stay there for 3 weeks. I am home now and understand that things will never be back to 'normal'. I can no longer call him to tell him about my day or share something exciting or frustrating that happened. But I do find myself talking to him often throughout the day. We really aren't okay right now, but do understand that in time, we will be.