I laughed more heartily than usual when I recounted this chain of events to my husband. It began one evening at last feeding when I found Lucky Joe outside his electric fence paddock happily munching green grass. Actually the first clue that something was amiss was a distressed call from Lucky Joe’s paddock mate Torrin. I’ve become accustomed to that tone: someone’s getting to eat and I’m not!
I had been charging the fence battery and neglected to return it to its useful occupation before green grass was too much of a draw. Lucky Joe apparently had tested the fence and found it safe to touch and then pushed through. I returned the battery to the fence and set it on high power to make a point if either he or Torrin tried another escape.
The next morning I was out at dawn to check on my mare in the foaling shed, and all was peaceful. Not so forty five minutes later, though, when I heard the dogs barking wildly. Lucky Joe and Torrin were trotting around between the paddocks getting not only dogs but other ponies all riled up. Apparently my aged fence battery had not been up to the high charge assignment.
When I returned the geldings to their paddock, I tied them to a wood fence while I began my detective work. It appeared that the battery had done its job on the main part of the fence, but the mesh ribbon that serves as the gate had not been up to its job. It was stretched and laying on the ground. Black hair covered it in one place where Lucky Joe had apparently bent over it repeatedly until it gave way. The battery was completely dead. I left the boys tied while I repaired the gate, then, figuring they’d had at least some breakfast, I left them tied while I got morning feeding for the rest of the herd underway.
I knew I was headed to town for a new battery as soon as chores were done, and I knew I needed to occupy my two escape artists while their fence was disabled. When I brought them their vitamin buckets, I spread their hay but left them tied. I figured this would save time later so that I could let them loose to eat right before I headed to town and hopefully get back before green grass encouraged fence testing again.
Nice idea, but I once again heard that anguished cry when I approached the boys’ paddock on my way to town. Bless his heart, Torrin has rarely been a fence tester, though of course all too willing to follow where Fell Pony fence testers might lead him. No, Torrin’s facility has to do with his lead rope or more particularly the snap on his lead rope. When I arrived on my way to town to release the boys to their hay, I heard distress this time in Lucky Joe’s voice before I ever saw him. And no wonder. He’d been watching Torrin eat all the breakfast hay. Torrin had once again rolled the panic snap open by working it against a fence post, untying himself to enable the breakfast I had planned for him earlier than I wanted.
I think it was the tone of Lucky Joe’s whinny, and Torrin’s the night before, and their distress so close together in time caused by each other that made my laughter so hearty. They were missing out on the fun their friend was having without realizing the distress they were causing when on the other end. Seems perfectly logical I think! I’m happy to report that, to the boys’ dismay, the new battery has been doing its job well once put on its assignment.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2017