I needed to ride some fence.
The cows are grazing corn stalks over the winter. Picking up any corn dropped by the combine and putting fertilizer back into the ground. We put up electric fence earlier this fall but deer and antelope can be hard on things and the fences around the next field needed checked and connected before we opened the gate.
The last few days have been warm, especially for December. Not today though. Today it’s cold and cloudy, the occasional snow flake falling from the sky.
I had to decide. Would I hop on a fourwheeler and buzz quickly around the field? Or would I take the time to saddle Rusty?
A fourwheeler would be able to go fast, the tools I might need would already be in the tool box. I could get back to where it was warm faster.
On the other hand, Rusty always needs ridden. The work and exercise would do us both good. I always want to use the horses more around the place, if I’m going to say I want to then I better get to it whe I have a chance.
I wasn’t sure myself which option would win out, until I found myself pulling my saddle out.
All bundled up and in my long underwear, it was chilly getting started. On Rusty’s back I quickly got warm though. He was not happy about this and was jigging and asking to go back. The heat coming through the saddle felt great and I enjoyed focusing on the places I could feel it the strongest.
In the corn field he must have decided that if we had to work we might as well work fast and was ff at a trot or sometimes a canter. Not the most effective for finding places an electric fence might be shorting but warm and fun. We’d still be able to find anywhere the deer had destroyed the fence.
After closing gates I got off on the far side of the field to check for spark. While I checked Rusty sifted through corn husks and grazed on some corn.
There was no spark. I thought I might end up having to come back with a fourwheeler, more supplies and the ability to get to a far corner I couldn’t get a horse across the fence too. Despite that as we rode along I thought about how happy I was that I had brought Rusty instead of giving into ease and speed.
He is great working on tricks in the arena. It is good for his mind and to get him to listen to and work with me.
He needs this though. It’s so good for a horse to get out and have a job to do. The more a horse does the more a horse can do. Which seems obvious but think about it. Brains build new pathways every time we are exposed to something different or unusual for us. If we never see or do anything different our brains use the same pathways over and over again wearing ruts that are hard to get out of. Every time he stopped to stare off into the distance watching a semi go by on the highway, no more than a moving speck to us, or looking in the other direction at things to small for me to see, he was learning, experiencing, building those pathways in the brain.
Loping along down the fence line built muscle for him, balance and muscle for me. We worked together, each earning more trust from the other.
A job does a horse a world of good. Of course arena work will also do a horse with a job a world of good. One isn’t better than the other. Both is best though.
In the end we even found the place where the wire was hooked over a steel post stopping the spark. Our fence worked again!
And Rusty let me check it from his back without either of us getting shocked!
Hopefully the next time I have a chance to choose between quick and easy and getting the job done with my horse I will make this same choice again and get it done right.
Of course checking fence with Rusty is never just normal…
- Beyond The Dummy
- Out To Pasture