I'm kind of at a loss here! As most of you know, my mule foal was a surprise baby, and I only had a month to prepare. As a result, I only have 2 small areas with foal safe fencing. Area #1 is where they go at night or when I'm not home to keep an eye on them. There is a run in shed and a 20x20 run attached, fenced with woven wire. It's a perfect baby safe area. Problem is, it's rained non stop, and the mud in there is knee deep and stinks. I scoop poop several times a day, but the urine and mud and smashed in poop is making it disgusting in there, and they really need to be out of it for awhile to let it dry out. Area #2 is about the length of my house, big enough for the mare to trot around a little, and for the baby to goof off, but not that big either. It's a dry lot that is on a slight incline, so it doesn't really get muddy which is wonderful. The downside is, it's fenced in hot tape and hot wire. I bought a roll of hot tape, but it only did the bottom 2 1/2 strands of the 5 strand fence. The tape part won't get hot, for some reason, but it does seem to keep baby in pretty well. She has knocked the bottom tape down twice, though. I hate hot tape, seems like no matter what I do, it sags and I don't like to leave them in there for long if I'm not around in case baby gets out or tangled up somehow. But, it's the only place big enough for decent exercise that stays dry too. There is NO shelter there, other than a roof overhang that casts some shade, so in the rain, it's out.
Area #3 is not foal safe. it's the biggest area on the property, has grass, and is 3 strands of hotwire.Baby has already run through one strand of that and gotten zapped into next tuesday. She broke one wire, that was an easy fix. She wasn't being kept in there, she darted off during the move from paddock to run-in shed and ended up in that area. Ideally, this area would be best for everyone, but there is no way in heck I can afford to hot tape fence that. I won't put her in hot wire, and I can't think of a good way to make it visible like hot tape would be.
Area #4 is also not foal safe. it's a high wood split rail fence, but the bottom rail is high enough that baby can slip underneath and take off. It's along the road, and if she got out, it could be a very serious situation. The fence is great, and I could run a line of hot tape under that bottom rail to make it safe probably. It's got the most grass of anywhere. as well as a shelter tree that's big enough to protect from rain or heat. But, I can't afford to buy another $70 roll of hot tape. I could maybe run a strand of hot wire, but I don't know if that would do anything but cause a potentially dangerous situation.
I don't know what to do. I had to overdraft our bank account by $250 to pay the vet for Lucy's oxytocin and the post natal check up, and that's not counting today's farrier visit and buying hay. My husband is furious at me, and wants both mare and foal gone. The mare is exactly what I've wanted in a horse- bombproof, sound, fun, and gaited. I don't WANT to sell her because she had a baby we didn't expect or want. I can't separate mom and baby yet obviously, and she keeps breaking my fences. I don't know what to do. There's nowhere to put them other than that muddy pen with the run-in, which wouldn't be the end of the world except that I've been battling SEVERE thrush and abcesses with the mare, and all that mud is making it really bad again.
You can buy rolls of of streamer like ribbon designed to tie on the hot wire so horses can see it. It is about 1/2 inch wide and comes in rolls like tape would. You break off about 1 1/2 feet and tie it to the wire between the fence posts so that two strands hang down and flap in the wind or move. It is very cheap and sold in feed stores. That might work with the split wood fence if you ran a strand of wire a the bottom. Mules are notorious for jumping fences... Have you considered looking for someone who wants the baby and they could both move there for a couple of months.
I thought about doing that, but I was told that babies will just look for what they perceive as gaps, so I'd think baby would just bust through between streamers. Maybe not though, I don't know. That's a thought. She doesn't jump, she just rams right through.
I'm going to put an ad for the baby up in a couple weeks, but either way I can't see being comfortable leaving my mare with a stranger for 4 months. Around here, that's a good way to never see the horse again. Neighbors all have hot wire or high tensile, and I think Lucy would kick the daylights out of their horses if they were together, so that's out.
I guess I'll try the ribbon idea, worst thing that can happen is my fence gets ran through again.
A good idea would be to buy a roll of 14 guage barbless wire for the wood fence area. I believe a roll is 1/4 of a mile long. Not sure on the price but barbed wire in our area is about $50 a roll right now, so barbless should be about $30. If you can buy that and some steeples (they look like U shaped staples) and use them to secure the wire to the wood posts you will be in good shape. Just begin by wrapping the wire around the first verticle wood post (between the ground and the first horizontal board) and then wrap the end back onto the wire a whole bunch of times (like using a twist tie on a bread bag) and hammer a few steeples around the post where the wire wraps around it so it doesn't slide up or down. Run the wire on the inside and steeple the wire to the inside of the verticle wood posts (don't skip any, steeple to EVERY post) so Ms. Moal doesn't slam into the wire and pop a steeple out. Then just repeat the process if you need to run another wire between the next 2 boards. I will be honest with you, the barbless wire is tough to work with and will want to roll back up as you unroll it, so if you know someone with a barb wire stretcher that would help you out alot. It's not impossible to work with if you don't have a stretcher, but it'll be a pain in the butt unless you get someone to help you. I wish I was in your area to help. I even have a spare half roll of barbless out in the yard that I could give you.
Great advice Rusti, thank you so much! I will defintely do that for the front.
I spent the day flagging the wire fence out back every foot or so. it looks horribly tacky, but baby can see it and I let both her and mom get a zap (my fence charger is VICIOUS) and then spent 3 hours sitting out there watching and neither one challenged the fence at all. I think they needed a reminder of why we do not touch the fence! They're still in the stall at night though, visibility isn't as good in the dark!
Baby chili had a lesson in leading today, and she did a greast job! She's a smart Moal.
You're welcome, I'm glad you'll be able to do that, it'll be worth it to keep baby safe. Glad to hear she's doing so good!
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