When Bad Things Happen to Good Fences…

I like vinyl fencing the best.  I had it around my Oregon pastures.  It was pretty and seemed to have far less breakage than the wood fences I have now.

The problem with the vinyl is that it is expensive and it is tough to clean.  You have to either lug a bucket of soapy water around or have miles of hose and extension cords to use your pressure washer.  But even with the its expense and maintenance, honestly, I prefer vinyl over wood.  If I could, I’d wrap vinyl all around my place.

But, I don’t have vinyl here.  I have wood.  Three rail wood fencing with round posts.  For those of you in the “fencing know” you’ll understand when I say I also have 6′, no-climb wire fencing around the perimeter with wood posts every 8′.  If you are nodding your head right now, you will totally get the rest of this post.  Today, I’m writing about fence woes.

In my mind, fences work if you don’t do stoopid things.  To me, if there is a fence mishap, I need to stand and take note.  What did I do to make this happen?

Most often, it is some inane thing I decided to do that created the fencing issue.  I shudda known better.  For sure, immediately upon noticing the newly sad and shattered wood boards, I always do the, “Oy, why did I do that?!” stomp.

So, today, I decided to go around to all the broken and newly mended fences and explain to you how most of these were avoidable  – after the fact.

But first, let me begin with how I woke up this morning… this is how I got the idea for this post today.


I went out, bleery eyed, to feed and saw THIS.

Something is not right with the bottom rail...

Yup.  Remi and Bodhi had decided to send me a message.  Since they cannot write a cute note and send it in a bottle launched my way, they carved it into the fence.  Oh joy.

A closer look at their handywork

This is totally my fault because I forgot.  I forgot that this is August and there is no more of anything to nibble on in their pasture.  I also forgot to install lunches during this barren late summer month… And, I forgot to give them their new salt block.

Yup.  I’ve been very neglectful.  I’m sure Remi and Bodhi were trying to tell me in their subtle ways.  I did notice them hanging around the fence more than grazing.  I did notice that they were exceptionally interested when I was near the hay barn.  I also noticed that I hadn’t moved the new salt blocks out of the barn and into where they belong — basically because they weigh 50lbs each.  But, instead of acknowledging what I was noticing, I blissfully ignored my farmer duty.

So, Remi and Bodhi stepped up their game.  They carved their needs like a huge SOS on a sandy beach.  WE NEED FOOD, MINERALS AND SOMETHING TO DO.

"What? I tried to tell you...!"

OK, I hear you.  Today, we put in the salt blocks, I have initiated lunch and also strung some new hotwire, just to break this new habit.


This one is pretty easy to detect.  This happens when two horses have a power struggle or if one horse is just too pushy.  Now, any owner that takes the time to observe during feeding time will notice who is in command and who is a bully.  Understanding this, the smart owner/feeder will put the buckets far enough apart to stave off any hostile takeover.  Or, the smart feeder person would make sure the bully/dominant horse is content to eat somewhere alone and the other horses can eat in peace.

Did I do that this week?  Uh, no.  I decided that my bully mare, Gwen, would stay on one side of the barn while I fed the other horses on the other side of the barn.  (I have recently put the lead mare in the barn to tend to her canker.  The lead mare keeps Gwen in line.)  I neglected to note that the lead mare was no longer keeping things status quo.  I needed to take caution and reassess the situation.  But, I didn’t.  And, of course Gwen had to make sure that no one else was getting more grain than she was so she pushed everyone away from their grain buckets… except Sam who decided she’d had enough.  They had a duel.  The fence lost.

Where the bucket was hanging before the war...


Again, my error.  I was moving horses around to find a good combination for when Iron Man arrives.  I put Wrigley (2 yr Morgan) and VB (tough little Icy) in with my TWH pair, Finn and BG.  I figured that they had been living across the fence from each other for 2 years, this should work out fine.  Since Wrigley is already taller than Finn, I kinda thought they’d work it out.

Wrigley, cornered, leapt into the other pasture. No one was hurt, thank goodness.

Ooops.  My bad.  Not only did Finn intimidate the larger youngster, but he also didn’t want Wrigley anywhere near his sister.  And, to make things even worse, I created a corner by cross fencing that particular pasture.

When I put them together, immediately Wrigley and Finn started arguing.  Wrigley got chased into the corner and again, the fence lost.

(Actually, I’m glad it was the fence and not Wrigley who got slammed.  Needless to say, I was able to stop the bruhaha about 3 minutes after opening the gates of hell.  It doesn’t take long for boards to crack…)


This is Finn’s doing, again.  I had him in the arena because that is his favorite place to be.  He will stand in there all day long and watch over the other horses.  It is the highest point on the farm.

But, what I didn’t think about was Slick.  I let Slick, the most precocious pony, out of his pasture to be free.

Slick’s main goal in life is to annoy others.  So, after grabbing a mouthful of grass, he ran over to the arena to taunt Finn.  The stinker pony stood right outside the barren arena and munched on green grass – just outside of Finn’s reach.

Finn was beside himself, of course.  I was inside working when I heard the undeniable CRACK of hoof against wood.

Finn inside, Pony outside, fence loses.

Darn it!  Now what did I do?  I looked out my window and saw the pony running like a maniac down the hill towards the driveway.  I look up towards the arena and see Finn running the fenceline like he was on fire.  And, of course, I see the down boards.  Great.  Why didn’t I put Finn back into his pasture before I let the pony out?  Hubby will be angry on this one…


This fence has been fixed as you can tell by the blond wood.  (I never get around to painting the fence as quickly as I should…)  This is Finn and BG’s pasture which abuts Wrigley and VB’s pasture.

This repaired break is directly behind the bathroom area of the Tennessee Walking Horses’ pasture.  Evidently, Wrigley and VB like to taunt Finn and BG when they are trying to relieve themselves.  I actually saw Wrigley lean over and bite BG in the hiney.  How annoying!  Well, on this particular day, BG had had enough of Wrigley’s nuisance behavior and she kicked the bejeesus out of the fence.  She took down three rails…  You should have seen Wrigley run away!   You’d have thought he was being chased by a mountain lioness.  And, kinda, he was… BG was pissed.   I think her ears stayed pinned for at least an  hour!  ;)

No peace in the potty area...


OK, well, I fixed this board already but it was over the new waterer.  I put a new trough in their pasture to supplement the other trough.  Evidently, someone took ownership of the new trough and a battle ensued.

Already fixed, this was the site of the BATTLE OF TROUGH

The fence took it bad on this one.  And, instead of subjecting the fence to any more injury, I moved the new trough.


This is where they play biteyface over the fence.  Sometimes the game gets out of hand and someone gets hurt… usually the fence.

The "biteyface" game. The fence loses, again.


Oy.  I hate this one.  I cannot control when a sudden move or noise wakes up a sleeping horse whose first instinct upon being startled is to kick and run!  Yup, all of my mares doze in the front corner of the front pasture by the driveway.  Some of the older mares are losing their hearing somewhat.  And, since cars go up and down the road fairly regularly, they kinda tune it all out.

OOps.  Sometimes the cars decide to come up the driveway.  Sometimes those cars are big trucks with diesel engines that make a big BACKFIRE noise as they switch gears up the steep hill.  And, oops, sleeping mares hear the backfire, have a sudden freakout, kick and ruuuuuuuunnnnnnnn!

OOps, sorry, I kicked the fence and it kinda broke…

I kicked it and it kinda broke...

I’m leaving the fence “as is” for now.  A gentle reminder that the only fence issue that I couldn’t avoid, is the only fence board still standing.

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The August Bucket Fund will benefit the charity BHFER.  To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5,  please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

4 comments have been posted...

  1. Katina

    Nice property!

    Boy, that’s a lot of kicking. Maybe it’s a mare thing?

  2. Robynne Catheron

    OMG, Dawn,that was funny as hell. Your poor fence! Holy cats, you do have a motley crew, don’t you?!! Never a dull moment at your place.

  3. cocarrot

    Dawn! “When Iron Man comes”??? Isn’t that the little mustang you wrote about sometime ago? Are you getting him? Or Am I addled with age? Is there another Iron Man?

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