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Steele, Sadie and Gloucester


First were the horses.  When we moved out here there were no fences except a three strand barbed wire fence on the perimeter of the property.  It took us a few weeks to get horse pastures built at which point we moved our horses home.  Bless our friend Carmel Mathews for boarding them during the transition.  At the time we were just thinking of horses and that's what determined the location of the fences, the gates and the arena.  I never liked panel gates so we bought only tube or pipe gates.

When we added goats to our family we had to adjust the fences and gates a bit.  We added a couple of pens near the barn which meant more gates.  Those gates were all mesh - a frame with 4" by 4" squares - and a much better option for goats.  At the time we had an older and very well behaved dog named Cash who wasn't the least interested in trying to get into any of the pastures or pens.  Dog-proofing didn't even enter my mind.

The years passed and so did Cash.  After a year or so it seemed time for a new dog.  We picked Sadie up at the shelter.  Sadie is a totally different animal.  She loves to run but doesn't come when she's called unless she really wants to.  She loves to chase the livestock and will look for any gap under a fence or gate to get herself into the pastures.  So it was time for another round of fence/gate adjustment.

We discovered hog panels.  They are 16' long and about 4' high.  The horizontal rods that make up the gate are very close together at the bottom and farther apart at the top.  And they are very inexpensive!  What a great solution to our Sadie issue!  We hung one from nearly every gate on the property.  We could block the spaces underneath the gates so Sadie couldn't get through.  It took some changes and adaptations along the way but we pretty much had the property Sadie proofed.

Then Gloucester arrived.  I'm guessing the Angora goats try to escape like all goats do but the only ones I've ever had issues with are the dairy goats.  It was Harvard who figured out how to use an old water trough to get himself up onto a shelf of old fence boards so he could jump out of the pen from there.  And it is Gloucester, who has no knowledge or understanding of where his horns are, who keeps getting caught in things like fences and gates.  Repeatedly.

So, we come to this past week.  Steele is now an only pony.  With Jazz gone, his end of the property was getting very lonely.  Peggy and I moved him up to the top pasture last Sunday so he could be closer to all the other animals.  With the change came the inevitable adjustment of the gates again.  The gates that would remain closed needed to be Sadie proof but some of the gates now needed to stay open so I would be able to drive up to throw hay into Steele's pasture.  Moving some hog panels was required but we got it all managed.

Here is the bad gate arrangement:    

Except for Gloucester.  I wanted to be very careful to keep the goats and the pony separated until I could be there to try putting them in the same pasture.  Gloucester got his head caught in the gate so his head was in the pasture with Steele and the rest of him was not.  He was pinned in the gate for at least a couple of hours.  Interestingly, he and Steele seemed to get along great.  We cut Gloucester out of the gate and made some more adjustments to our system.

Here is the good gate arrangement:    
I think we have it all in line now.  I'm exhausted.  But I"ll rest up because I'm sure the livestock is out there right now plotting the next big thing!