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Time for an electric fence

Time for an electric fence

When we first arrived here at the farm, there was wiring for an electric fence but it wasn’t hooked up to anything. Eventually we removed the wiring because it simply didn’t look good and we didn’t really need it. Now we think it’s probably time to reconsider. We decided to barbecue so I headed outside around 6, just in time to see Moonshine stepping over a section of fence near the barn. She was the third horse to do so. Cash and Romeo were already enjoying the irresistible grass on the other side of the fence. In this case, the grass really is greener on the other side. Valentine, our huge (to us) Walking Horse is the likely culprit for knocking down the fence. He’s always reaching his giraffe neck over to nibble on grass and at almost 1300 pounds, it doesn’t take much leaning to push out nails. I don’t know why the person who built the fence didn’t put the boards on the inside but Valentine has been known to snap boards in half, too. But for all of his brute strength and fence mischief, he’s never escaped after knocking boards down and this time he was far away from the other horses as if to disassociate himself with the escapees.

Horses on wrong side of fence
These horses are on the wrong side of that broken fence.

So I grabbed a bucket with some feed and Mikki grabbed a halter and lead rope and we headed up to coax the horses back onto the correct side of the fence. Mikki headed for Cash first because of that last incident where we chased him through the woods for four hours. He started to walk away but Mikki was able to get the lead rope around his neck, after which he was compliant. Next, I tempted Moonshine with some feed but with a mouth full of yummy green grass, she turned and walked away. Romeo, who lives to eat (and love) came over and happily snarfled the feed without competition. That is, until Moonshine noticed. Once she knew someone else wanted it, she wanted it too and I was able to walk them over the fence again. We led them all to the barn and fed them their evening rations while we went about fixing the fence.

Wooden fences are nice but they require a lot of upkeep. Ours is aging and in need of new paint. Several of the boards are warped and should probably be replaced. Each time this kind of thing has happened (the horses rarely escape but board do occasionally come down), we replace the boards using screws instead of nails. This time we did that and added some extra braces over where the boards meet at the posts.

So that brings us to electric fences. We could go cheap and get the basic electric livestock wire or we could spend a little more and go for something like Electrobraid. We intend to replace the barbed wire with something like Electrobraid so provided the system is expandable, perhaps that’s the way we’ll go. I still like the look of the wooden fence, so we’d probably use it on the inside to keep the horses off of the fence. And because wiring to our breaker box would be difficult, solar is probably our best power source choice.

Have you caught your horses on the wrong side of the fence? Are any of you using Electrobraid or some other electric fence?`

Reminiscing About Horses and Hot Wire

Reminiscing About Horses and Hot Wire

Painted poniesJust a funny little story that I like to tell about my childhood.

I grew up in the boonies of western Arizona. A lot of my friends had horses, and frankly, I was friends with a couple of them only because they had horses. One of them, Dean, was actually a bully who liked to pick on my younger brother. I was conflicted when I hung out with him, because I loved my brother, but Dean was always nice to me, and heck, he had a horse!

So one day when I was about 10 or 11, we were taking turns riding Dean’s horse in a round pen. It was Dean’s turn, and I was standing against the fence inside the ring. Just as he rode by, I reached out and patted the horse’s rump. By a curious (and completely accidental) coincidence, I also reached behind me at the same time to lean on the fence. As luck would have it, the round pen was ringed with electric fence, what we called hot wire. That’s what I grabbed. The jolt went through me, through the horse, right to Dean. Horse bucked, Dean fell off (he was riding bareback). He was mad, I was sorry…

But man, that was darn funny. My brother thought so too.