Honey I Broke the Gate!

It’s been a long, but enjoyable day. Hal, Quincey and I have been to the South West Christmas Equine Fayre , at Westpoint Arena, Exeter. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us. Hal buys the tickets for me each year as an early Christmas present. However, having a full day out comes at a price, and not just the money kind.

We were up and at it early, and the horses were out in the field a good hour before normal, which came as a shock to all concerned. There were cries of “I haven’t finished me hay yet!”. We then didn’t get home until about when we normally bring them in at this time of year – and we still had to muck out, fill Haynes and do water. We desperately needed a medical emergency cup of tea first though.

To be honest, it makes very little difference to me if we do things in daylight or darkness. It does make a difference to Hal though, and, despite them supposedly having excellent night vision, I suspect it matters to the horses. So there we were, about two hours later than usual, in the pitch dark,, with a freezing East wind blowing, in the act of bringing the horses in. Leo was already in and stuffing hay, and, after Sapph and Breeze had had a brief, erm, discussion about who should come in next, Hal was on his way in with Sapph. When Yours Truly broke the gate! Now, when I say gate, what I mean is a continuation of the electric fence with a spring loaded, insulated, hook style handle on the end. . I’d had thrown the bottom line over the fence to get it out of the way, and was struggling to hook the top line shut. I gave it a yank when… “It just came off in ,e ‘and your ‘omour!”. Suddenly I’m holding so much loose electric fence, have a wide open gateway, and two loose horses. Breeze took the opportunity to stroll past me and help herself to some grass, and who can blame her. It’s what happened next that has really rocked my world. “OK Florence, where are you then?” I muttered under my breath. . Breeze can be very food possessive, and I really didn’t want to get flattened if she decided she wasn’t sharing. I needn’t have worried. I was just looking for the fence, to put myself in a safe zone, when Flo walked up and stopped just inside the mow wide open gateway. She wickered quietly and reached and gently touched my arm with her nose, as if to say “I’m just here”. She then stood like a statue while I stepped away from her to hang Breeze’s head collar and the remains of the gate on the fence, . She wickered to me so I could find her again and slip her head collar on, and stood rock steady while Hal caught Breeze. Not once did she consider going through the the gate and helping herself to some grass. What a special horse!

She got an extra big haynet after all that!

Day 2 – electric Fencing and Bale Twine

I wonder who first cane up with the concept of electric fence tape. You know, that sometimes white, sometimes green, tough, nylon , ribbon, with wires running through it, that can be found all across the land, wherever horses are. Whoever it was, I’d like to shake their hand. This simple solution to a fencing need is an absolute godsend to us blind horse owners, as I expect it is to sighted owners who spend a lot of time servicing their horses needs when it’s pitch dark out there. You see, apart from the fact that it keeps my horses in the small patch of land where I want/need them to be, it makes the best, and most flexible guide rails! In fact, it’s adaptable, flexible, durable nature makes it perfect for the job. With the right amount of tape, and the correct placement of the plastic stakes that usually complete the electric fence package, , you can put a guide rail across the most undulating of terrains, and around the most circuitous of routes. Whilst it can be a bit of a faff to put up, it’s impermanence means it can fairly easily be taken down, moved, or reconfigured, when needed. I love it!

For the last year or so the way our paddocks are laid out, 2 in the bottom field and 4 in the top field, hasn’t really changed, so I, kind of, know my way around. I still use guide rails though. After all, I wasn’t actually put on this Earth to be a human volt metre. My guide rails take me to the energiser. Finding the fence by walking into it and then following it until I find the energiser, is just too painful!

This system works extremely well. Unfortunately though, are Energizer got badly damaged, when the guy we get our hay from accidentally ran over it while turning his trailer and truck around. . Hal has mended it, because obviously buying a new one would be far too difficult, but it has started giving me the occasional electric shock when I am groping around trying to find the on off knob. Hal’s simple, low tech, and extremely effective solution to this new problem is… bale Twine!

Now, anybody who has spent any time on the farm will know that, without bale twine, The entire agricultural

Economy of Great Britain would collapse. I’ve never yet been on a farm where bale Twine hasn’t been used to hold gates or doors open or closed, men’s or replace broken straps, tie up animals, .. the list goes on. Yes, it does, itself, break, and yes, it will eventually rot, but it’s durable, and there’s usually a ready supply.

So, Hal’s simple solution? Tie a length of twine to the guide rail, and then tie the other end to the small plastic D-ring that is on top of the energiser, in the corner that the on/off knob is at the bottom of. It works a treat! All I have to do is run my hand along the guide rail TIL I hit a knot , then follow the twine TIL I reach the energier, trace down the corner, and there’s the knob. It couldn’t work better. No more electric shocks for me.