Some Like it Hot

Some like it hot.  No, not that kind of hot.  But apparently, our horses are much happier when it’s hot.

“Thanks.  We’ll be right over” I said to our very sweet and understanding next-door neighbor.  That was her third call this week.  How was that darned horse getting out of the pasture?!  We searched the fence, again, for obvious breaks and found nothing.  Then we went around a third time, and in the back, under a clump of trees, we found a teeny area where the rope was down.  Three quarters of the fence on our new homestead is a three-rail wood fence, but the one side is a basic rope fence.    We fixed the rope, let Star loose in the pasture, and waited.  Then we watched, unbelievably, as he snuck back to the grove of trees, used his nose to bump the rope enough for it to break loose, and quietly sneak under the rope, again, to the pasture next door!

“Wow!” said the fence guy at Fleet Farm.  “That is one smart horse!”  Yeah.  That’s not the word we’re using for him right now. 

When we lived in suburbia and boarded our horse, I’d never been a fan of electric fences.  Oh, the poor horses.  We don’t want them to get hurt!  I thought.   Now I saw firsthand that it was much more compassionate to make sure they stayed safely in their pasture, even if it meant they had to learn from a little zap.

The place we bought in October was set up with electric fencing on the wood fence part, but nothing on the rope fence, plus, when the guy moved out, he took all of the electrical components with him, save for the wire. (A word of advice: when you buy a house, don’t just assume the sellers will leave all of that great stuff you see on your showing.  Write every single little removable thing you expect to be there on your purchase agreement).

We would have to wire that fourth side, and put a fence controller box in.

Controller box
controller box

 

On our super-tight Depression-era budget, hiring an electrician was not an option.  Luckily, hubby is (even if it’s only for the sake of money) very willing to learn to do whatever needs to be done around here, and luckily, his friend is an electrician, and offered Rick step-by-step walk-through instructions over the phone (Never try to complete an electrical job without the assistance of a qualified licensed electrician).

 

Hubby put the clips for the third, electrified line in between the two existing non-electric lines, and strung the electric wire along, pulling tight, but not too tight.

installing the clips and the hot line

 

Then, following his friend’s specific instructions, he installed the control box and hooked it up to the pre-existing electric lines, which the previous owners had left intact.

 

I stayed inside during this part.  Learning new things can stress hubby out a bit, so even though I’d gladly help, he prefers to work at them alone.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I looked out the window a couple of hours later and saw Star, who’d been grounded to his stall all day, running eagerly out to the pasture.

 

Sure enough, after about a minute, he snuck over to his getaway spot and BAM!  I think that was the quickest 180 I’ve ever seen him make!

 

What a relief to know that our equine babies are safe and sound in our pasture, and all for about $120 and one hard-working hubby :-).

safe and (somewhat) happy horse, Star

 

 

7 comments

  1. Jim says:

    Wonder if you you electrify fences for cows as well? I have a small farm, totally fenced and thought of getting a couple of cows, for investment and food if need be.

    • Laurie says:

      Hey Jim, good to have you here! I know lots of people do electrify for cows, but I would guess it depends largely on the personality of the cows? The particular horse we had to electrify for is a bit…..rebellious. If he was like our other horse, we probably wouldn’t have needed to electrify at all, as she is submissive and mellow. Maybe it’s a male/female thing, and if you had only dairy cows (as a backup to use for beef if necessary) you wouldn’t need to electrify? Not sure on this one. Maybe hobby farm magazine website or a quick google search could find you some info? If you were only electrifying a small area, it shouldn’t be too expensive, and the fence that we put in is super cheap to run as well: about $15 a year. We are considering a dairy cow here as well, for milk, butter, etc., and as a backup for beef, just in case. You’ll have to keep me updated on whether or not you decided to get the cows and how that all works.

  2. Growing up we let our next door neighbors put their horses in our back 2 acres with an electric fence. It’s great for horses, but not for kids! We were always terrified to go near it. I am surprised by how reasonably priced the electric fences are!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, my girls and I have all had our run-ins with the electric fence. 🙂 It’s not set too high though, so it’ll just give you a little zap. I remember when our son was about 4, we were looking at a different hobby farm with our realtor, and before we could stop him, Sam ran and hopped up onto the fence, grabbing the wire with both hands, and got quite the jolt. Let’s just say he’s learned his lesson forever about electric fences.

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