Thursday, March 15, 2007

The newcomer

Last night after Arick was done riding, I told him to turn Chief (the paint horse) out in the pasture with the others.  Cliff said that since it seems he's going to be here awhile, we may as well do that, rather than keep him all cooped up in a small pen alone.  We had already discussed the fact that the electric fence would no doubt be torn down a time or two... or more.

Once it was daylight, I went out to check:  sure enough, the fence was down, and the horses were grazing in the mixed-clover pasture/hayfield.  So, Cliff started his day repairing the electric fence (not really a difficult task).  My job was to get the horses out of the plot they were in.  I accomplished this by putting halters on the two easy-to-catch ones (that would be Blue and Libby) and leading them out; the others followed.

We headed to the city to "pick up a few things".  On our return, I went to check the horses.  Again, they had broken through the electric wire.  Again, I led them out.  Cliff was getting ready for work, so this time I did the repair work.

Horses have to establish a pecking order.  When a new guy arrives, he's at the bottom of the totem pole.  It's rough being the new kid on the block.  And very lonely.

You see, when Chief approaches to eat with the others, Tude chases him ruthlessly away.  If Chief is near electric fence, he's gone through it almost before it can shock him; once it's on the ground, the other horses say, "Oh boy, there's the grass-that's-greener-on-the-other-side that everybody talks about!  Let's go eat!" 

It's a process they just have to go through.  Will Chief starve?  Nope.  He'll work his way up toward the others gradually; meanwhile, he'll learn to eat when the rest of the herd is otherwise occupied.  Eventually there will be a truce, although someone will be established as boss for the long term.  And I imagine there will be electric fence to repair again before it's over.

(Added later, 4:30 PM:  I had to mend the fence for a third time, but this round, Chief was the only one in there.)

(6:00 PM:  same as 4:30 PM, only fence was down in a different place... far, far from the house.  I'll have plenty of walking when this day is over.)

(7:00 PM:  Yep, Chief is in there again alone.  But this time no fence was down.  Obviously he jumped it.  ... it isn't that high.  We're not making money on this horse, and he isn't my horse; if this continues, I will pay the grandson's gas money to take the stupid horse home.)


siennastarr said...

Always so interesting, Donna.  I learn something new from you all the time!   Love the pictures!


csandhollow said...

Fence work is never done it seems like

hestiahomeschool said...

Our Dakota is the boss mare of twelve horses...she is a real bitch at times...she can be so mean to new horses!

geocachelinda66 said...

Ok now I don't envy you.  Lol!  Linda

fmgruber said...

I've always strung three elc. wires for horses the middle one grounded. Never've had a problem. Horses get to playing or just riunning an don't see wire in time. Three strands seem easier to see than one????
Thankfully all your charges aren't going to far!

fmgruber said...

Opps. forgot to mention I use the 14 gage wire rather than 17 ga wire for the horses.

astaryth said...

Have you tried 'tagging' the fence line? Before we started using the rope electric fence (which I -really- like and the horses have no trouble seeing), we used to 'tag' the electric fence with orange or red surveyors tape. It's cheap, and what you do is take like a 12inch piece and double it, put it around the wire and pass it thru itself. Hopefully that makes sense. Anyway, it leaves two long wavy parts about 6inches long. We would put two on the top wire and one on the bottom wire between each post. The horses could then see the fence line. I don't know if that will help you, but I never had a horse run thru once we would put up the tags. It's a pain to have to keep repairing fence!

lanurseprn said...

This was an interesting entry to me!

suzypwr said...

I hope Chief gets accepted into the herd - he looks so sad!