Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The question on the farm that has been begged for answer going on a few months now was, where in the heck a short or a fault in the hot wire fencing was. Repeatedly over this time I have studied, repaired, retightened the tape, replaced the controller, and had hoped, I had it fixed. The  next morning my efforts looked to have worked and the fence was untouched, but, then the next morning I would look out to see sagging places in the top strip of electric tape, showing clearly that one certain big brown mare had very little regard for the still inert plastic tape in her way to eating the green stuff on the other side of the fence. That silly mare knew when I had changed something about the fence and was careful not to touch it until her whiskers sniffing the wire told her it would not bite. Once she was sure it really wasn’t on, over the fence she would stretch her long neck pushing both the hot wire, and the mesh wire fencing below that, down.

My once erect wooden fence posts have all been loosened by her pushing the line and she has stepped on and crawled up the woven wire mesh fencing below the hot wire nearly to the point where she could step over the whole thing. When I heard the entire line from here to the barn moan with her leaning over it the other day, my frustration level hit the that point, where it was time to fix it or kill her. If the day saw no other thing done but this, by golly this mare was not going to ruin my fences any further.

My former neighbor, and sadly long gone friend, Col. Morris used to say that a farm needed a face lift about every twenty years. In his long life he solved this by simply moving to a new one every twenty years or so and starting over. We have now lived on this farm twenty years, as of January, and to say this place needs a complete overhaul, from fixing roof leaks, repainting, and general repairs on both the house and barn, is a gross understatement. Those pesky issues could wait but this hot wire issue though, had top priority. There is great truth that “ Good fences make good neighbors”, but also good fences keep horses where they belong, and other critters out. And thus the quest to fix the fence began like every job out here does. It begins with tools, which ones do I need, and where the heck any of them might possibly be. 

My theory had been that the grounding system to the fence was bad. So I jumped in and dug all thirty feet of that up, rewired it with new wire, and plugged the charger back on only to find it still no go. Quite frustrated with this result,  I put on my glasses and began to study the wire carefully from the charger then down the line. I found a huge problem where the current runs via a large wire, under a gate opening, and then up the next post to run the next lines of tape. There it was, at the bottom of the post where the line went downward, a broken wire, and the remaining wire that was still buried under the red packed clay and,  was no where to be seen. 

I got a pick ax out of the tool room and began digging a new trench through this twenty year old, well packed red clay gravel gate opening. Very quickly, I had to wonder my sanity. Here I was, at “my age” out there flailing a heavy steel pick at dirt that was packed harder than well aged concrete, just to keep a silly young horse from single handedly tearing up my farm. “Do I really like horses this much?” I was asking myself as I wheezed and leaned on my pick ax for air. I was not sure.   

I buried the new wire while the big mare stood watching my every move, made the new connections, and turned the charger on. Again no zap. The day was getting longer by the minute but I still kept at it. Eventually I had repaired, fixed, and replaced every variable that I could but my tester kept telling me that a very low current was going out.

I was about to cry, when I heard a very loud POP! I looked to the source of the noise to find my silly big brown mare with a very surprised look on her face. Her upper lip was curled up over her nose and she stomped and kicked in anger at this new situation and the surprise shock she had gotten when she had stuck that pretty little nose on the hot wire. Vengeance, was finally mine.

The fence has not been touched again by that silly big brown mare, and I have a pretty high level of  confidence, that it will stay that way until, the next time. 


  1. I know it sounds so cruel to say this, but there is some sort of satisfaction gained from knowing when they get that "pop." It is the same way with my 2 ponies. They always know when the fence isn't working and know exactly when they can maneuver through it. Two loose ponies in a neighborhood is NOT a good when we finally figured out the problem with our hotwire and got it fixed (thank you to my Dad, hubby and oldest son), I got that twisted feeling of both joy and satisfaction when I heard that "pop," too. It is for their safety and their own good!!

    1. you are so right, for their own good! i knew a fellow who used to check his fence by tossing a tid bit under the hot wire so his dogs would go under to get the food. when their tails hit the wire he knew if was on or not.. thats kindof mean but having a fence bully of a horse hit it, is just right