Monday, September 26, 2011

Horsies on My Back

I walked outside Sunday morning and found this...

This is getting old.  Every night one or two wooden fence panels are broken.  At first I couldn't believe the horses could be doing all this destruction.  They usually break a fence panel once every few months or so, but not every single night.  This is getting to be ridiculous.

So, I considered that perhaps one of my trespassing neighbors was breaking fence panels under the cover of night just to piss me off.  I admit I've been leaving the gate unlocked.  Saturday night I heard what I thought were three gunshots, but it could have been someone hitting the fence panel with a hammer really hard.  So, I have started locking the horses up in their stalls to see if there are any broken fence panels in the morning. 

So far, nothing new has been broken.  Either the vandal knows the horses can't be blamed for the destruction if they are locked away, or my horses have been on a rampage of epic proportions.  My husband is getting angry and does not want to spend any more money on the horses:  That means no more fencing materials, no more training, no new stock trailer to treat Bombay's phobias, etc.  I think he's one hair short from asking me to find new homes for them.

I also slathered Halt Cribbing and motor oil all over the remaining fence panels...

...and the back of the barn where someone has been having a chew-fest.

All the locations where there are metal poles are the places where my husband has replaced broken wood panels over the past few days.  Don't you think that much breakage is a bit excessive?

Our hay delivery was looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  The hay farmer tried to fix it with his harrow, but the claws just kept breaking strings on the lower bales and making the stack even less stable.  So, my husband got up there and knocked down the top layers, and I moved my truck so that the stack wouldn't fall on it.

You can really see the instability from the back of the stack...

I was trying to re-stack what my husband knocked down, and the hay hook kept coming off the strings while I was pulling backward with all my might.  I fell backward onto my tush and nearly did a somersault on three different falls, and simply fell down tripping over bales two other times.  Too bad my nosy neighbors were at church, because the show was as entertaining as The Three Stooges.  Next time I work around hay, I'm going to wear a helmet and padding.

I let the horses out to eat what hay landed on the ground, but re-training them not to eat directly off the haystack was difficult. I enforced the "three strikes -- you're out" rule. The first time they snatched some hay off the stack, I said NO to remind them of the rule. The second time I threw a rock in their general direction (without hitting them) to let them know not to test me, and the third time I called out the culprit's name, waved my arms around like someone on a tarmac directing an aircraft carrier back into the paddock, and I locked the offender away from the hay and the other grazers. You should have heard the pitiful cries from those who lost their grazing privileges.  Maybe next time they will stick to the generous spillage carpeting the ground.

8 comments:

Wazzoo said...

Holy crap I have never seen horses eat wood like that!!! Are you sure they aren't part beavers??? Wow! What makes a horse chew on fences that way???

appydoesdressage said...

I hope things get better soon. It looks like the wood panels are aged so if someone was hitting them with a hammer or pulling with a crowbar you should be able to see signs of that. Do the boards look anything but chewed?
And that is one leaning haystack! Good luck, I wouldn't like to have to crawl up that.

Jeni said...

Wow -- I hope your stack doesn't fall, or worse it falls on you, or with you on it getting hay down.

Can you do a single strand of electric across the top of your fencing to keep them off it? I've had to do that now that I've got Rosie.

Breathe said...

That's terrible! I have heard of that kind of behavior but never seen it that bad. All my horse life has been spent in metal fencing.

Carol............. said...

Lots of damage to the boards. Good luck with the cribbing solutions.

We've had to redo many of our wooden fences this year since wood and Washington State spells rot after 10 or so years! LOL

fernvalley01 said...

the metal fence will certainly help , have you tried cribbing collars or are they actually chewing the boards? That stack looks pretty precarious be careful!

Mikey said...

When we put up our "real" horse fence, I made sure it was oil pipe, heavy duty. Cause horses will destroy ANYTHING they can get their teeth or hooves on. Never ceases to amaze me, the things they can do. It never ends, does it?

achieve1dream said...

Are they cribbing or chewing? If they are chewing it could be boredom or I've been told it can also be due to ulcers . . . Are any of them grumpy about being cinched/girthed up? That's another sign. I'm not sure what the treatment for ulcers is or how expensive it is so it might be an option just to try. But I guess it could just be plain boredom since they're doing it at night and every night. Do they have any toys?