Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Escape Pony

I walked around the far pasture shuffling slowly and head turned to the ground. If any neighbors drove by they might think the Zombie Apocalypse had finally arrived. I wasn't undead, I was frustrated. I was scanning the edges of fences and posts for yellow insulators long abandoned or pieces of old electric wiring - the kind used for string fences. I needed to set up an electric barrier fast.

I was scavenging for what I needed because spending money at the hardware store on new wire and a new charger was out of the question. I had already spent a third of all the money in my bank account today paying towards the electric bill's balance, a prescription for my lymph node issues, feed, and some AAA batteries. I needed to not spend another nickel until the farm made some sales. I've got till the end of the month to mail the mortgage payment and what I have now in my checking account couldn't pay for half of a Yeti Cooler. Zombie life here I come. 

Merlin has been escaping through extraordinary feats of ponyism. He's learned to leap over low fences and slide under high ones. If the space between two areas isn't electric he will find a way to push through it. He is liquid, fitting into spaces most equines would never dare tread.

His reasons for wanting to escape the paddock are because over half of his normal grazing area has been fenced off. He feels shorted. I've been giving those areas time regrow and heal from years of overgrazing with sheep, horses, goats, you name it. So the whole front area of the pasture has been seeded and sectioned off and Merlin wants in at those precious new shoots of grass. He's been a very ponyish pony lately. The mare has been perfect. Mabel wouldn't so much as cross a line drawn in chalk.  Merlin has a parkour that astounds.

So I have been slowly thwarting his escape routes, every day he finds a new one. It is a miserable game of chess and makes leaving the farm stressful. I worry he'll get into the road. So today I watched him leap over a divider and knew it was time to start electrifying the entire 2 acres he is in now, starting with the easiest areas to escape. It was the area without woven wire, just stretches of t-posts. I was using non-electrified horse tape, 2 inches thick which he minded for a good long while until the grass literally became greener. So now I had to get a wire across that 40 yard stretch of pasture.

It took about an hour to find, set up, and get the fencing, insulators and wiring all in order. I don't have any other chargers that work but the pigs'. So in an act of reckless choice I unhooked their charger to use for Merlin's fence. I know this is asking for trouble but I am hoping one night doesn't get me a runaway sounder. I set it up and used my fence tester to make sure it was hot. It was.

I am hoping this does the trick. I'm glad I was able to set up that fence without spending a dime. And now I am going to get back to the stress indoors in hopes for less stress outdoors. And hey, at least it wasn't raining.