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I had a phone call from a very frustrated owner. She had only recently purchased a mare and it was perfect for her - the only problem it could not be fenced in. It would demolish a post and rail or standard wire fence and simply walk through her electric fencing. The mare was not on her own and there was no fighting plus plenty of grazing in the field. The new owner was at her wits end but fortunately she lived not far from our base so I went there on Tuesday evening to have a look at her setup.
It was pretty standard with 20 mm tape onto an East Asian manufactured energiser. so I began at the source by testing between the terminals where the energiser was supplying 5000 v. Now, this would normally be adequate under the most ideal circumstances - but unfortunately this is seldom the case. When tested on the electric fence it was just under 2500 v - far too little to be effective. Going round the fence with my trusty radio set off station to pick up faults I found 4 insulators bleeding power and replaced those. The tape had several joins so I peeled away the metal filaments and twisted those together to improve the connection. This boosted the power up to 3700 v - still too little to be totally effective and the voltage drop is what can be expected from the input energy from the energiser once connected to a fence. I loaned and installed an Equistop M3 and the fence power jumped to 7200 v, now we are talking.
Now that the mare had developed a habit of simply going therough the fence, it was now imperative to break that habit. An electric fence is a psychological barrier - not a physical one. To achieve this psychological imprint onto the brain we soaked some cotton wool in a prepared solution of apple cordial and sugar. This was then tied to the tape at regular intervals around the field, the energiser was switched on and the mare released into the field with the rest of the horses.
The bait is designed to attract the target to use its' nose or tongue to test the fence. These organs are highly enervated (packed with sensitive nerve endings) so a shock is more severe than elswhere on the body. This was developed to control difficult wild animals in Africa. Only use it when necessary and not on a permanent basis
It took about 20minutes before one of the other horses tested the bait with her nose and got a hefty shock. The mare in question did not approach the fence whilst I was there so I left the fence in situ and asked the owner to phone me regarding results. I advised her to monitor the fence daily to make sure there was plenty of power in the fence.
I got a call yesterday to say that the mare had not got out of the fence as yet so the solution was being effective at this stage. It will be further monitored.