Last night’s thunderstorm dropped about 2 inches of rain in less than an hour. It was also accompanied by high winds. While the dogs and I took shelter in the house, I heard the familiar crack of what I thought was a branch coming down. It was raining hard enough that I couldn’t see more than 6 inches in front of me. After the rain let up and I could see, it was an unpleasant shock to see that the cottonwood that had been off the side of the horse corral had snapped at the base and fallen onto the pipe fence and into the corral. The canopy completely covered the corral and it wasn’t possible to see the horse. I dashed out to see if the horse had been hit by the tree and found her in a small 4×4 spot in the corner of the corral furthest from the tree, luckily unharmed.
A friend came by at 6:30 this morning with a chain saw and in an hour and a half we had cleared most of the corral. Unfortunately, this cottonwood hosted a beehive so as soon as the bees became active we had to stop work.
Once I deal with the bees, we will finish clearing the tree out of the corral and off the pipe fence and then I will have to find someone to repair the fence. In the meantime, the horse is now in what used to be the sheep pen on the other side of the goats.
Friends trailered my horse to my farm in December. Since I wasn’t sure where I wanted a corral, I decided to put up an electric fence for the horse in the short-term. I set it up close to a water hydrant and within sight of the house. (I had intended to convert the barn into a training building and wanted to keep dogs showing up for classes away from the livestock.)
Soon after the horse arrived we had a storm and unbeknownst to me the electric fence shorted out. The next morning I went out to feed and the horse was gone. Okay, not panicking. The property was fenced so the horse was probably just exploring the property. Or not. As it turned out, in one corner along the easement, where the gate is for my neighbors to access the easement, the fence had been cut. On 18 acres of property, the horse found the one section of fence that was down and made her escape.
All the important phone numbers are never in the phone book. I woke up the people I had bought my property from to get phone numbers for my neighbors. Several phone calls and introductions later, a neighbor half a mile away provided the number for the livestock inspector. After walking the road looking for a horse, hoof prints, or anything else that might lead me to the horse, I went home to wait, and wait, and wait some more.
A week or so after Empress went walk-about, one of my neighbors called. He had been talking with someone who happened to mention a stray horse had shown up on her property. He passed along her number and with fingers crossed I called it. I walked down the road with halter in hand a short while later to bring Empress home.
Empress resided in the exercise area for the kennel until I had a pipe corral put up shortly thereafter.
Lesson Two: check fence lines frequently