Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fencing in the cold

Wow is it cold here compared to ID! Apparently it was in the 70's two weeks ago, but now, the high's have only been in the upper 30's. Brrrrrr! When we left ID, it was in the upper 40's and lower 50's with barely freezing overnight. I'm just not used to this cold where the ground is actually hard in the morning! ID just doesn't get as cold (at least not where I live).

Today, we snapped the insulators on the T-posts to get started on the fencing. My dad had driven the posts before he came out to ID because he was worried that the ground would freeze hard later in Nov. So far, it is softening up during the day, so we are able to drive new posts. Half of the fencing is barb wire which we will string with electric as well (I know, barb wire is a no-no for horses, but we've always kept them in barb wire and we never had an electric fence before now!) And I've never had a horse with a wire cut until these horses. Both Catlow and Chico have pawed fences and cut the back of their pasterns. Cody just likes to lean over and graze if she can. For the half that is currently barb wire, we are putting electric fence on insulators that extend about 6 inches off the fence to keep them away from it and from leaning on it. For the other half, we had to replace the old nasty barb wire and old bent T-posts. For this half, we are putting three strands of hot-wire. I think it will work nicely. Today, we only managed to get the insulators on the posts and cut away the baby trees that had grown up in the fenceline since we last had horses around these parts (3 years ago I had an old thoroughbred named Taz who lived quite happily (and safely) in our substandard fencing, but he found a new home with a friend because I was in ID). I also walked the scrubby hill in their pasture and pulled all the burdocks (cockleburs) out. I hate pulling burs out of forelocks and tails. It mats them completely! I tossed the bur plants into the burning barrel and it made a "bur bouquet". I might try to snap a pic tomorrow, but I didn't have my camera on me today. Tomorrow we will string wire and introduce the horses to their new pasture.

This evening, my nephew came over after school and wanted to ride a horse, so we saddled Cody up, and I worked her on the ground a bit. I also showed him how to wiggle the rope and ask her to back away from him. He is being very good about listening to safety rules and being careful for himself around the horses. I led Cody, and my mom walked behind me with a hold on my nephew's jacket in case of any problems (I don't completely trust Cody...she's pretty confident, but she can also be stupid and spooky and she is in a new place right now). We walked all around the field and all was okay (Cody was walking fast, and pulling on me a bit, but she stopped whenever I asked her). At one point, she did get worried about the house across the road and the dog running up behind her, so my mom pulled my nephew off and I worked her on the ground for bit. Then he got back on and we walked back to the barn.

Then, since Cody was saddled already, I bridled her and took off for a quick ride before it got too dark. She was a little spooky and whinnied back for the others a couple times. She walked so fast and we also trotted and cantered. That tired her out a bit, so she was much calmer by the time we got back on top of the ridge heading toward the barn. I was pretty happy with how she did. I have to remember that she's only 5, she's in a new place, and I haven't ridden her in a few weeks. I'm excited because my neighbors stopped over today to see our horses and said I can use their arena (outdoor arena) whenever. I've never had an arena to work in unless I went to lessons! My neighbor's are retired and have 8 Tennessee Walkers. They breed on a small scale (don't have their own stallion) and their horses are all black or smokey black. Apparently they've been hoping for a palomino, but they keep getting smokey blacks. They are also very into learning new training methods and are doing the barefoot trimming as well.

Several of my family members (aunt, sister, mom...) have gotten hooked on watching this "puppy cam". I have seen it, and must say it is addicting. It has quite a following! At any given time, there might be 15,000-20,000 people watching it! Here's the website if you want to check it out: It's good if you have sound too...the puppies howl a lot! The site freezes up or goes off every once in a while, but they get it back on line.


Linda Reznicek said...

Good to hear you have neighbors like that.

I think you'll be fine with the barbed wire by adding the electric--I've done it before--as long as they can't paw through it. Although, sometimes the wind will blow the electric around the barbed and ground it out.

Some people may disagree with me, but I've never had a barbed wire cut on any of my horses. The electric appears to be effective.

Kara said...

The barb wire cut that my horses had was not necessarily due to pawing through the fence. What happened was the battery for the electric fence went dead, then Cody broke the old rotted posted off by leaning over it to graze. Then, it appears that both Chico and Catlow had a go at walking into it, then backing out and getting hung up on the way out. That won't happen here because our posts are not rotted and the electic will not be run on a battery. So I think they'll be okay too.