Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why Is That Pony In The Chicken Coop?

Well, the mud finally dried, but now the ground is frozen again. I'm sorely regretting not building my arena last fall. I don't think I'll be getting much done with Spider for a while. Luckily, I've found a new, training prospect: Matilda the pony! I call her a pony because it's easier to say (and spell), but at 29 inches high at the wither she's technically a miniature horse. She's much too small for me to ride, but she lunges just fine, so we've been working on that. The person I bought her from said she rode and drove, I saw her ridden before I bought her, but did not get a chance to see her pull a cart. It wasn't a huge priority, anyway, seeing as I don't have a cart. However, I'm thinking that since she drives, she probably long-lines. I just need to get a surcingle that fits her. I tried the horse sized surcingle on her and it almost fit (Matilda is a little plump). I figure a pony sized one should do.

And now to answer the titular question: Why is there a pony in the chicken coop? Well, yesterday morning when I went out to feed Matilda was waiting patiently at the gate to be fed. The outside of the gate. As in: she was not inside the fence, where horses belong. The fence in question is three strand electric rope, with 18 inches between each strand. At 29 inches high, Matilda should not be able to squeeze underneath it. However, I have seen foals get pushed under or through fences by rowdy adults, or get under after rolling too close to the fence. Since there were no breaks in the fence and the charger was working properly, I assumed this was what happened. I checked her for injuries and, upon finding nothing amiss, fed her breakfast. I checked on her a few times throughout the morning, she spent most of the morning napping in the sun. I felt bad for her, who knows how long the poor dear had been trapped outside the fence.

Around noon I saw her pacing the fence. I was immediately concerned, there are many things for a nosy pony to get into in the yard. Could she be colicking? She had nibbled on the bok choy and collard greens in the garden, could those be harmful? Had she gotten into the compost pile? Suddenly there was a crash in the sun room and I had to stop watching Matilda to go find out if the crash had been caused by the dog, cat or child. It turned out to be a combination of cat and child. When I got back to the window, Matilda was nowhere to be seen. I went to the front, no Matilda. Then to the back, no Matilda. Where was that pony?

Then I saw her, she was not in the pasture at all. She was in the yard, grazing on the lawn. Suddenly it became apparent just why she was pacing the fence....she was working up the nerve to go through. Here I had been feeling sorry for her, thinking that the boys had pushed her through the fence and she had gone through herself the whole time! It's a pretty impressive feat, I've been zapped by the fence a few times and it's not pleasant. I've also seen the fence send the boys running several times. I'm guessing Matilda's yak-like coat gives her some protection, either that or she has nerves of steel.

At any rate, I had a real problem on my hands: how do you keep a horse in the fence who seems to be immune to getting shocked? You don't. So I put her in the chicken coop. Actually it's more of a chicken yard. The coop itself is a large garden shed with roosts built into the sides, and the run is more than large enough to accommodate a naughty pony. Best of all, there is absolutely no way for her to escape. *knock wood*.

This weekend we'll be running additional strands of rope between the bottom strands, which will hopefully be enough to keep Matilda in. It's supposed to snow this weekend...Oh the joys of owning a pony!.


  1. Ponies are amazing - they think about things thoroughly and with a full understanding of the consequences - then they take action - much more thoughtful than many people!

  2. OMG Matilda is sooooo cute! I WANT ONE!!!!!!

  3. Had a donkey at a farm one time that would go under all the fences. Couldn't keep him in either. Those little ones can be tricky.

    Matilda is awfully cute, though. She might be a lot of fun to work with.


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