De[Fence]

Snow flakes twist and whirl in pulsating spirals through crevices in the barn walls. Their turbulent dance explores each available space throughout the indoor arena. The graceful flight culminates in one last frenzied spin before touching the floor.

Ponies huddle together for warmth within shelters. They occasionally reach their delicate lips over to itch a neighbor, sharing the misery that is winter.

An ear perks up, followed by another. A slam; a clack; a whoosh. Dusty peeks his head around the shelter’s wall. Brave emerges entirely.

The ponies sniff around their enclosures. They explore the world with their mouths, and frequently stir up action by delivering a mid-air kick to a friend. Mind-numbing boredom coupled with curiosity pushes them to consider the world outside the pasture. Phoenix reaches her head over the fence, looks both ways, then nibbles frozen grass. Dusty canoodles with Lexie, who lives in the next pasture. Braveheart reaches forward and delicately rubs the electric tape between his teeth.

Each of these activities takes a toll on the hotwire. If it doesn’t bend and stretch back into place, it snaps, rips, or snags. The ponies stay within the boundaries of Firefly Farm, but they sometimes discover areas of weakness within the inner fence and “go for it,” traipsing the meadow or another pasture.

Fence is time consuming and costly to repair. The mare and gelding pastures previously used solar fencers, but they aren’t effective in winter. The tape is a sightline only, and it isn’t effective anymore.  After fixing and re-wiring and tying and fixing again, I’ve come to one conclusion: it’s fencer time.

I spent the entire morning and the better part of the afternoon installing a new fencer for the back pastures. The snow screamed past my ears, destined for parts unknown. Burning chill permeated my bones, and I rubbed my hands, grateful for heavy-duty gloves. The whistle of wind through trees and a little black-and-white Border Collie kept me company.

Along with the ponies. Their warm snuffles tickled my neck, and more than once the wind carried a whinny: a plea for more treats. Snowflakes rested upon their backs; their tails dragged ice crystals. I inspected the job once before retiring to warmer quarters.

Brave touched the fence with his teeth, and instantly recoiled, licking his lips. Dusty watched, then backed away. Phoenix ducked into the shelter.

The fence is complete.  My work is done. Oh–never mind. It’s time for night chores.

January 28, 2013 053

Categories: Horses | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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