Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 195 - The Horse Forum
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post #1941 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 5,752
• Horses: 3
@SueC , sorry to hear about your friend Bill. Hope he is able to recover and come home.

@Spanish Rider , I'm sure it doesn't help, but I guess I'll say that we probably all go through highs and lows with riding and wondering if it's worth it. I got a boost from going to the clinics a couple of weeks ago, but now with weather, Fizz having scratches, etc. I think it might be another week before I can ride again. In a pessimistic moment, I'm wondering what the point is of having the horses only to putter around the lawn and not do much of anything with them. They're bored, they're out of shape, and so am I!

I hope next time you get on a horse, you get a little of the inspiration back. I remember reading something you wrote recently on another thread, about your lesson horse being so enthusiastic about your ride he was offering one tempis- doesn't sound like a plodding kids horse to me
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post #1942 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,898
• Horses: 3

We have a huge cold front coming in, just sitting off the West Coast, and are scrambling to get ready for the gale-force winds, torrential downpours, cold and hail forecast to go on for the better part of four days. The gales arrived this morning, the deluge is coming overnight. Brett and I finished some outdoors chores and then hauled in fallen dry banksia and eucalyptus branches to saw up into firewood. We got four large bags, all sizes from kindling to logs, sitting in the carport for what's coming, and also stuck a wheelbarrow load extra into the well-stocked woodshed. (It's just a chance to grab dry wood that's still out there, before the winter wet really sets in - very belatedly, I might add - we've had less than 150mm so far this year, which is about a third of normal precipitation to the end of May...)

Brett had an extra work shift this afternoon, on his usual day off, because a colleague was on holiday. We had a lovely lunch of T-bone steaks, mashed potato and pumpkin from the garden, and carrots with our own kale. Stewed peaches and cream for afters - our own peaches. I'm liking this F&V self-sufficiency quest.

My afternoon plans were: To fix up the section of fencing around our solar bore pump the cattle had broken, and then to take Sunsmart for a ride in the shelter of our bushland before the wet sets in. This was his exercise day - I aim to ride at least every second day - and it looked like it would be difficult until the middle of next week to go out on a trail.

The reason the fencing was broken is because we needed the little unit that normally runs that little fence as backup when a fence fault developed in our main fence over summer. And I could-not-find-the-fault!!! So I had to run the fence in two sections, in sort of limp mode, until I did. The cheapest battery-operated energiser units in local retail outlet are $170 and I wasn't keen to spend that sort of money to get another unit, while we were borrowing the backup unit for the main fence.

I found the fault this week. It wasn't in the fence itself, it was in the way it was wired to earth - initially it had been set up correctly, but for some reason, the splice line that connected both earth wires to earth had disappeared. I'd not paid attention to this, because I was looking for a hard fault, and because how does a splice line disappear? Anyway, because both earth lines are insulated, and connected to a proper earth point, this meant the earth peg was attached to an unearthed earth wire. And this upset the fence energiser. so that the fence tester read as if we had a huge hard fault somewhere.

Huge sigh of relief, after five months of looking - and I was able to collect the backup unit, for re-installing at the solar bore. The cattle had broken through that fence several times, and turned off the bore several times. I was sweating that they would begin to eat electronics, and things would get expensive. So it was with a spring in my step that I pushed my wheelbarrow filled with fencing gear, solar panel, car battery and energiser unit towards the solar bore which is about 800m from the house, while playing soccer with Jess the Kelpie, for whom just walking is never enough.

I spent around 40 minutes taking out wonky star pickets, repositioning them, replacing half-eaten polybraid (cattle think that stuff is lollies when it's not electric), and tightening everything up. I placed the car battery and solar panel in a good spot inside the enclosure, got the fence energiser unit, connected it up, and started dreaming of riding the horse. The lights were showing as they should on the energiser panel. I tested the polybraid - nothing. I tested the clips against each other - no spark. I checked both sides of the clip connections before opening up the unit - which was hard to do, because I had no flat edge on me, so had to improvise with fence pliers.

These Gallagher units aren't sealed properly, and ants get in and make havoc unless you coat the units in residual insecticide every three months, and sometimes they still get in anyway. Death unto electronic equipment-invading ants! We've had both the main and the backup repaired for ant damage several times already since 2010, at never under $100 per repair - despite increasingly assiduous spraying with ever-more-horrible surface sprays. And ants had gotten into the unit again recently, I'd evicted them, and thought the unit was still working because all the appropriate lights were flashing. Only it wasn't. The speedo was going, but the car was stationary, so to speak.

And I find this out when I've already spent nearly an hour reconstructing a fence that's going to get mauled within a week unless I have a working unit to energise it. I spend time trying to fix the unit out in the field, and I see my ride slipping away... a while later, I find the problem and realise I can't fix it myself. My mood as I was packing the defective unit and fencing tools back onto the wheelbarrow was very black indeed.

At home, I phoned the local supplier of agricultural equipment to see if he had a micro-unit in stock. He didn't; his cheapest energiser was $170. I'd seen tiny units good enough to run the 10m of fence around the bore for $40 on the Internet, so thence I repaired, hunting direct, more affordable solutions. I bought a reasonable, properly sealed unit online for under $80 which they assured me would get here Wednesday the latest - and three 500m reels of turbo braid, at under $60 each with free postage, which is about half what the agricultural suppliers charge. So good news, while I've had to spend money, I've also found an outlet that saves us money in the process.

And it wasn't dark yet, so I pulled on my riding tights, and told the dog we could at least ride the short loop before feeding the horses. Cue excited dog. On the way out, I noticed the fire in our wood heater had burnt down, so I fetched some logs from the carport and stocked the heater. I turned and walked away - then heard a thump and a crack. I turned to face the heater and discovered that the glass front was in smithereens.

And now I was panicking and calling the shop where we bought the heater. I just managed to get them before closing time. With four days of horrible weather coming up, I really didn't want to have our sole source of backup water heating out of commission, nor have to forego a cosy fire when the rain is pouring down outside. Yvonne at the other end of the line was cheerful and chirpy. They would replace the glass for us tomorrow: Take off the door and bring it in, we'll see you right for the upcoming deluge! I could have kissed her. I've never had broken glass on a heater before and had no idea how long that was going to take to fix up...

But I could also kiss my ride goodbye, because you can't leave a heater full of red-hot logs with a shattered glass front unattended unless you're interested in a house fire, and we really aren't...

The horse ride that wasn't, and a trying afternoon. Have to say though, after more steak and vegetables, and more peaches and cream, and a good rant here, I feel much better. (There were other things to eat, of course, but I enjoyed lunch so much I wanted an exact replica!)

Tomorrow I'll see if I can't don rain gear to plant some peas out, and perhaps dig a ditch that needs digging. And I'll be looking out for an opportunity to sneak in a ride if the weather gets half bearable. For now, I'm headed for an appalling episode of classic Dr Who with Colin Baker. I know it's appalling because we've started it, and Brett told me it was going to be appalling. But, I'm watching because I'm a completist and we're watching the whole classic series from start to end. To save my sanity, I shall be pitting cherries for a Blackforest Trifle.

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SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 06-06-2019 at 09:19 AM.
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post #1943 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 5,752
• Horses: 3
Having just shelled out around $175 for an energizer to bear-proof the barn, I can empathize! Hurray for helpful local businesses saving you in a pinch.
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post #1944 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,898
• Horses: 3

Maybe I should count my blessings. Electronics-invading ants, or shed-invading bears? What do you think?

It's absurd these units are so expensive. They're just a circuit board and a few capacitors etc. I'm never buying another Gallagher. I'll buy non-name-brand sealed units, thank you very much!

Best wishes to you, @egrogan , from one gourmet, horse-dabbling smallholder to another!
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post #1945 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 5,752
• Horses: 3
That's a tough one! When I lived in Louisiana, I discovered that "fire ants" were a thing. Getting stung by those things is one of the most painful insect bites I've experienced, swelling up into a puss-filled sore for days. One of my lowest moments as a teacher was forcing a student in "time out" to sit next to me on the playground despite his protests that he was sitting "too close to ants." I had just moved there and had never heard of fire ants- they don't exist where I grew up- and couldn't understand why he complained. Little did I know...and I felt awful!

So, maybe I'd pick...neither?!
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post #1946 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Hildreth, FL
Posts: 2,247
• Horses: 5
Hmmm, we are struggling with ants in our electric water pump system. Our water keeps going out because of the ants.

And we have fire ants . . . and they are awful. We have some that have gotten in the kitchen. They are super difficult to get rid of too, kind of indestructible.

I certainly hope that Bill makes a full and complete recovery. I feel like I know him from your journal.

Since this is such a loving and caring journal, my daughter's serious boyfriend dumped her on Friday. She is devastated--won't eat, can't sleep, cries all the time. It's so hard on a parent to see your child in such pain.
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post #1947 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 11,600
• Horses: 4
Ants blew out my AC a couple of summers ago. They love electronics.

Went to get hay for the horses yesterday. Truck wouldn't start. Turned out pack rats had eaten a hole in a wiring harness along the frame of the truck, shorting out the starter. Managed to fix it in near 100 degree heat and no shade. Hope this evening to wrap that section in wire screen, then cover with tape - although that will only SLOW a pack rat. I may put out poison. I'm not a big fan of poison, but maybe I should figure anything that crawls inside the engine compartment is fair game...
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post #1948 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,898
• Horses: 3
Well, it's great to know we're all having such fun at the moment!

@egrogan , despite what I said about Gallaghers, they actually have completely sealed units for smallholders' fencing needs at really reasonable prices and free shipping in the USA - the M10 and M30 aren't even available from Australian retailers, and to ship them from the US is prohibitive for us at the moment because the exchange rate is so unfavourable for us. (You might want to buy from Australian suppliers though! ) Look here:

Also eBay is interesting for electric fencing and farm gear - including secondhand:

Ants - ecologically indispensable, but such nuisances if they mess with us. We have little Argentine ants and also various bush ants that try to colonise our house, especially in spring and summer. We bait these with ANT-RID, which is a bait solution with borax, and as long as we're always baiting, we're winning that one. For the ants not attracted by sugar, we can buy protein bait stations, also based on borax.

Fire ants made it to Queensland a while back from something shipped from the USA, and are now a spreading nuisance there. Our bitiest ants locally are Bull Ants, an inch long with huge jaws; that's bad enough, but some species have stings as well, like wasps, and the most painful bite I've ever had from anything is from that kind of ant in the bushland behind our house...

@bsms , I wonder why they're so keen on electronics - it's not just the housing, it's something about actual electronics, whether it's the associated chemicals in circuit boards etc, or the actual current. ...I've just wondered this to the search engine, and it has this:

Re rodents, we bait here, in the shed (with traps in the house for monitoring - if I have a mouse in a trap in the house, I know the bait has run out in the shed), after trying trapping-only options. With mice it's not an issue because they will crawl under something when they feel sick (another reason not to bait in the house, including the ceiling space - unless you like mausoleum smells - or should that be mouse-oleum smells?); some rats go in the open, and then get picked up by raptors etc, who can die from the passed-on poison load. Having said that, raptors tend not to hang around close to human habitations where we live. And you do have to do something to stop rodents damaging your belongings and expensive equipment. It's best to bait continuously so the populations never build up - reduces potential by-kill from carcasses as well.

@knightrider , that's really sad; it's always extra painful when young people have their first serious break-up. After that most people develop a sort of emergency mode which they can re-activate at subsequent break-ups. It's no use telling young people that the first person they are serious about in all probability won't be the person who'll be their life partner - in a few rare cases it is, but generally not, and generally for good reasons, although it doesn't feel like it at the time. I remember how devastated I was after my first serious break-up from my university days; I actually thought he was the one, but it's extraordinary, once the rose-tinted glasses came off post break-up, the realisation how unsuited we actually were to each other. I just didn't know any better and was running around in the typical biochemical haze of the first pair bond, which seems to impede objective thinking.

People grow and develop so much in their teens and twenties that it's a rare thing to end up on the same page with early relationships - and some people actually end up stunting their personal growth just to remain "compatible" with their partner. Real compatibility is about sharing fundamental values and life goals, and also about personalities and inclinations. With hobbies, I think a Venn diagram which has overlap as well as separate areas of interest is great - so that people have hobbies they share, but also can extend each other - and have some things that are just for them, with the partner not particularly involved. With my DH, every conversation we have, we're learning something from each other; and we laugh so often on a daily basis that we're wearing each others' faces out! This was never a feature of earlier relationships.

@lostastirrup , you're the second Song of Solomon fan I've met in my life - the other was a Catholic nun in 2000!!! Your tour guide must have been excellent. I'm afraid that the metaphors are so un-relatable to me (breasts like twin goats? eyes like the fishpools of Hesbon?) that were someone to try those lines on me, I'd say, "Sorry, I'm washing my hair, loverboy!" ...what I tend to do with SOS is to make up more material, such as, "Thy member is verily like unto the gargantuan serpent that creepeth mightily in Eden, and wreaketh mighty works… yawn!" - but we also do similar stuff when accidentally listening to opera and the male and female protagonists are screeching at each other; we start doing running translations of what they are singing - "Are we having potatoes AGAIN for dinner?" - "What's wrong with potatoes?" - "A man wants to see something other than potatoes at least once a month!" - "You are so ungrateful, Giovanni, why don't you do your own cooking?" etc - try it sometime, it's a good game on long car trips if your classic station is playing ghastly screechy duets...

@Spanish Rider , I'm sorry you had a mediocre experience and that your back went out as a result. Is it feeling better again? ...are there other trail places you could ride which perhaps have horses who are forward as well, for more experienced riders? Or someone who is looking for someone to trail ride with them, and has extra horses? If you had a TARDIS, @knightrider , for instance! How positive that your DH went to all that effort and rode cheerily despite being a non-rider!

About feeling blue, that's completely human, we all feel like that sometimes with things that challenge us. I think you've done so wonderfully well with getting on dressage horses and coming all this way after your ghastly accident. It shows so much grit and determination, and a talent for living in spite of obstacles. Do you know the saying, Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain? You've been dancing in the rain, and every now and then (or maybe multiple times a week, depending on your load), you're going to feel cold and miserable and exhausted. That's normal - and at the first signs of potential hypothermia, get yourself out of the rain and into a nice warm cosy nest so you can recover. Like, a sun lounge in your lovely herb garden, or in winter, curling up in a bed with an electric blanket, hot chocolate and a good book, and your lovely cat. We need to give ourselves a break sometimes. When we do, our optimism and joie de vivre will return in time. Sort of like batteries need recharging between bouts of action. It also looks like you have a lot on your plate at this point in your life anyway, so take extra good care of yourself! I think you're fabulous, and I'm sure others in the HF community admire how you've handled that particular curveball life threw at you (and it's surely not the only curveball, these things tend to come in clusters).

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 06-06-2019 at 08:55 PM.
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post #1949 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,898
• Horses: 3
A little song for anyone who's feeling down.

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post #1950 of 2048 Old 06-06-2019, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Southern Nevada
Posts: 189
• Horses: 0
I grew up in Oregon and ants were annoying but benign creatures. Then I moved to the desert and we built our home and since we were owner builders the house was open to the elements longer then most houses and we got ants. The first time I encountered desert ants I ignored them until I felt them bite! It was like someone was stabbing a needle into my hands. And then the blisters formed. I don't know if everyone experiences this or if I am sensitive but the blisters are horrible! So anytime I encounter ants I make sure they don't get on me and I grab gloves.

I love the quote "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain". Many years ago my oldest daughter received a gift of a wood box with tea inside and that quote printed on the lid. My daughter lives in London and has gotten rid of or taken most of her possessions with her. I am still storing a few boxes for her but the little box with the quote sits on one of my bookcases because I like it so much.

Yesterday, I hit the dirt. I somehow managed to not stay on Miss Lulu. I have a lovely saucer sized bruise on my hip. I will talk to the trainer to see what I did wrong. The day before Miss Lulu was a dream to ride so I don't know what happened. Life with a (green) horse, I guess??
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donkeys , free-ranging horses , french trotters , life & the universe , riding standardbreds

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