Of course... All because of human error. Like forgetting to close a gate or not latching something all the way.
Horse usually goes to the lawn and eats until noticed/caught.
I was in the hospital overnight because of surgery. my husband and kids did chores. As we are on our way back from the hospital kids call and tell me the horses are out eating the back yard. They stayed there till we drove in. I slowly( painfully) make my way to the barn to get a bucket and all 3 follow me back through the small walk thru gate that had forgotten to be latched.
I jumped on Pal mare bareback and with a halter/leadrope combo and caught him on the underpass of the freeway. Had to lead him back to the barn and keep Pal mare from eating him alive. Should have taken the high dollar cow horse but she wouldn't come when called.
I have one pasture with two gate locations. When I bring all the horses in, I leave the gate near the barn open because I'll just close it when I turn them back out again. Well, this time I don't remember what I was doing- but I turned them out at the other gate and walked back to the house without passing the open barn gate. So they just walked back out again. I think that a person could develop a safety protocol like, "Always shut the gate even if there are no horses in the field" or "Always use this gate for turning out/in" My husband is a safety team leader at a steel mill and they do a lot of research into how accidents happen and how to avoid them- and diverging from standard procedure is a big problem.
I did the same thing. I used to get annoyed at Californians when I moved here because they don't know how to close a door behind themselves. I'm always growling under my breath, "Were you born in a barn?" when someone, often a grown adult who should know better, walks into an air-conditioned building and leaves the door opened so wide that it stays propped open.
Well, it seems every time I criticize someone Karma bites me and I catch myself doing something equally stupid. With me, it was the gate. And not closing a gate behind yourself is as stupid, and more dangerous, than leaving open a building door.
I did it twice. The first time, I went in the one gate and left it open, planning to go right out. I got distracted after picking manure or something, and finding myself at the top of the pasture, exited the gate at that end. Later that day, the barn owner called me saying my horses were out. I rushed over to find them safe and sound. My friend who lived close came driving up the street and saw my two mares walking up the hill toward a vacant 50-acre lot. She walked right up to them and led the boss mare home and the other one followed.
Then, after I got my other two, I did something similar. I was going in and out of two paddocks whose gates are immediately adjacent. I closed one so the gate was in place but not latched because the latches are heavy and require both hands and a concentrated effort to open or close. When I was finished, it appeared that both gates were closed, but like I said, one was not latched. That mare escaped to a nearby grassy paddock, so no harm.
I have since made a point of closing gates every time and double checking when I leave. It was pretty scary thinking of what could have happened.
So in my case, stupidity and carelessness were the problem, and the main solution is to be careful and follow a consistent protocol. When I get my own place developed, I would like to have a perimeter fence as a backup.
One suggestion is to think about all your gate latches and know how strong they are. Lots of us use ordinary trigger snaps, but a horse can break those so now I check the label for breaking strength and usually buy special stainless steel snaps and linking hardware.
That's how mine got out, the only time they ever have. Never dawned on me how flimsy some of those snaps are. Luckily they were just grazing next door.
\"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns
I have fencing similar to RAMM. Great stuff! However, it provides loads of resistance to the wind, so I have to keep an eye on it when there's high wind (having made the mistake of using landscape timbers as fenceposts... gradually they're being replaced).
I have a convenient gate latch like a "Sure-Latch", which is great except when the ground freezes/thaws during the winter and shifts the post to the side; then when the wind blows on the fence the gate will open itself. I've gotten into the habit of using a chain on the gate whenever I suspect that the post might be shifting enough to allow the gate to open unintentionally...
Also, an acquaintance up the road from me recently had her two horses out loose, because one of them is a Busy-Lips type who figured out how to manipulate this sort of gate latch, and let himself and his buddy out to frolic through the neighborhood.
Old OTTB, for reasons known only to him, decided one winter day (when of course my brother and I were home by ourselves--and since we both went to school out of state that meant "home without a car while my parents were in town with theirs") to jump a 4'6" oak board fence in a foot of snow and take off up the driveway. Thank goodness the dark pavement of the main road he ran towards first apparently scared him, as he turned around--and ran back UP the road past our place. My brother kept after him on foot while I called a neighbor who lived that general direction (fortunately the horse turned that way at the t-intersection--not only was it towards that neighbor's place but it was a dead-end, too.) Joe jumped in his van with a lead rope and cut him off and he and my brother walked the horse all the way back.
Solution: replaced the wood fencing with three-strand Electrobraid. Never tried it again. Why he did it in the first place is one of those mysteries forever locked in the equine mind.
All my jail breaks begin and end with my husbands ApHC gelding. He's jumped the five foot gates a couple of times, figured out how to open a few gates, but his best trick is "shetland ponying" his way through the electric tape/electrbraid fence. He will stick his head under the middle strand, then wiggle through. In fact I caught him doing that yesterday. He was way over in the neighbors(non-horsey neighbors at that) frontyard chowing down on their lawn. Luckily he is always easy to catch.
My OTTB mare has only ever gotten out on her own(unassisted by the Appy escape artist) once. I truly believe she laid down to roll next to the electric tape fence and found herself on the other side. She walked up to me when I realized she was out with this look of shame and fear. "Mom, I swear I didn't mean to get out." The ApHC is unrepentant.
"But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
We have had 2 that would get mad if they were made to wait for a meal that would jump out (into the street) and trot up to the front door. We double fenced that section. My Paint was accustomed to having to scrounge for feed/grass before I got him as a 2 yr old, so he will check the fences to make sure we don't have any weak sections. He's 11 now and has made sure that we keep our fences maintained. We did have a OTTB have a panic attack in the trailer after the butt bar was up.(she has always been touchy about trailering) needless to say we found one shipping boot a mile from the house. It took 10 people with atv's, trucks and 2 on horse back 3 hours to find her. (the 2 on horseback found her). She was a couple of miles from the house in a gully, standing quietly as if waiting for someone to find her. She still had her halter, lead and 3 shipping boots on. She had torn off the chestnut on her right hind, 1/4 of her right hind hoof, had abrassions to her right hind, had a bloody nose, her back and withers were a mess from backing out under the butt bar, but she has since made a full recovery, and we sold the straight load trailer.
When the phone rings while I'm at work and someone says there are loose horses in our area I do get nervous, but usually it's because we have several neighbors who do not believe in gelding and the studs are out looking to breed something.
There was a small farm next to my parents' home. He would never let me keep a horse there, but many years later he let someobdy else keep a lone bay Appy there. It was an old farmstead with bad wire fencing and this person did nothing to improve it. The road had gotten quite busy and there was a bar up the road that caused quite a bit of traffic at closing time.
I was staying at my parents and reading late one night when I heard the clip-clop of hooves on pavement. I looked out and saw the horse strolling down the road. Of course I threw on a bathrobe and grabbed a belt. Found the horse grazing by the edge of the road with his butt in the road. Got him back into the pen and tried to make it secure.
Next morning I saw a 20 something woman over there. I went over to tell her what happened so she could fix the fence. Her respnse? "Yeah, he does that sometimes. But he doesnt go far" I advised her to strengthen the fence all the same.
Within six weeks I got the sad report that the horse had been hit by a car and had to be put down. Only good thing was that the driver wasnt hurt or killed - just traumatized.
A few weeks ago DH woke me up at 4am announcing, "The horse is in the yard!"
He had jumped a 4' 8" gate. (Well, he bent the heck out of it, but he got over.)
Now... when that gate was installed I looked at it and inquired, "Now WHY would you set the gate that low?" But I left it. And it was fine for a couple of years, until one night the pony decided the grass was greener on the other side.
The new gate is set even with the 5' no-climb wire, and there is a 6' round pen panel leaning against all the gates to his paddock until the memory of jumping out is not so fresh.
At the barn I used to board at the fencing was in fairly poor shape and is typically maintained w/ duct-tape. There is some electric fencing when they plug it in.. Needless to say my horse made one too many visits to the neighbors - generally by jumping over the fence. Needless to say that's why I used to board there. He's quite capable of jumping 4'6" + but since he's been at facilities w/more than adequate fencing, large pastures w/ good grass & hot wire he's stayed put. I think it's important to have perimeter fencing around the barn area. Another barn I boarded at didn't have perimeter fencing so if a horse got loose in the barn it could potentially head out onto the road but that was rare. I think if I lived on a fairly busy road I might have to have stallion fencing along that portion of the property if I could afford it.
Unfortunately I am cursed with a true houdini. One of my appies will escape..anything, and he's not shy about it. I've been standing by his paddock talking to my neighbor, he just walks right out.
And when I mean walks right out..
first he had electrobraid - apparently he is immune to that stuff, because it was on, and he calmly put his head through is, and squished his 16.1hh self out through the middle of it, while it was sparking like mad.
Next I redid his paddock in a 5 rail cedar with a hot wire. Seems that doesn't hold back a 1000 lb galloping horse, who yes.. did just that. And sent broken rails everywhere.
Next I tried no climb with hot wire- he didn't read the memo about the no climb part. Clambered right over it.
right now he is in 6 noclimb - with a wood top rail to seven - and I've electrified the page wire itself, with 2 strands of straight electric on the inside. He's been out twice. (sigh) destroying a section of fence in the escaping once, and the other time, I have no idea how he got out, no fence damage, but his big white ass was not in his paddock.
Oddly, he never bothers the damn gate - however it seems the fence is some sort of personal challenge for him.
Lucky for me, he had a one stop shop when he gets out. My back deck. He climbs up the stairs and stares into the sliding glass door until he gets someones attention - don't even have to get a lead rope, walk outside and he calmly jumps back off the deck (its about 5 feet up off the lawn) & follows you back to his gate waiting for you to let him back in.
Love him to death - but he drives me freakin nuts - and after owning him for his entire life, I know damn well he's giggling like a maniac every time he pulls the stunt.
Originally Posted by ExJumper
Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.
My horse was stabled next to a Houdini as a yearling, and was let out by his neighbor every morning (I didn't own him at the time). So he was quite relaxed about wondering around. He got out at a show. The night watchman said he let himself out, said hi to several of his new friends in neighboring stalls and was found a few aisles over, grazing.
He always let's you approach him and follows you back. He just has "things to do", and he just likes to walk abouts.
For those of you who mentioned people coming onto your property for whatever reason... has anyone considered padlocking gates? A barn I briefly boarded at padlocked the front perimeter gate, which, at the time, I thought was a ridiculous hazard in the event of a fire (e.g. the firemen wouldn't be able to get through the gate). But as I now have a trailer and other equipment (not to mention not-inexpensive horses) on the premises, and I am gone 12 hours a day for work, I feel a little vulnerable leaving it all out there for the taking. There has been a rash of robberies nearby, in the broad daylight.
We keep our front gate locked w/ big "No Trespassing" & "Beware of Dog" signage, because people cannot be counted on to use common sense &/or read "Beware of Dog" & "No Trespassing" signs. And, we have large livestock guardian dogs.
Also, the act of locking & unlocking the gate helps to make sure that it is securely closed. The lock was instituted after the gate was mysteriously opened one morning, and the horses went sightseeing.
In addition to locking your perimeter gates, I would recommend video security and large posted signage.
As far as concern about padlocks & fire/police emergency response - talk to them about whether they want a key or will just use bolt cutters if needed.
Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing
I'm surprised horses don't get out more often- most horses are perfectly capable of jumping over the fences they are contained within. Or just going through them. Or rolling under them- we had an evil Shetland pony who would routinely wiggle out under the bottom strand of wire and go stuff his face on grass. He didn't agree with the BO's policy about limiting rich grass to laminitis-prone ponies.
About 3 years ago, one of mine (a 16h horse!) slid under the bottom strand of RAMM fencing, which is about 18" off the ground. Nobody saw it happen, but someone was sitting in that barn aisle and looked up to see my bewildered-looking horse walk around the corner and hesitate in front of the door.
It was muddy out, and you could clearly see what had happened in the tracks. Near a corner, the bottom two strands were popped off two fenceposts and there were huge, deep slide marks going between two fenceposts and it looked a scramble had happened on the outside of the fence was he was getting up. He was muddy and clothes-lined his neck pretty good, but was otherwise fine.
I'm guessing he was galloping wildly and misjudged just how muddy that pasture was. What I wouldn't give for a security camera to have caught that
I had a breakout - mare and my old gelding (who opened their gate) got loose and were galloping around the lanes between paddocks. My stallion of course thought this was great fun, but misjudged and slid into the fence breaking the top2 boards, and ending up standing over the bottom rail with his front feet outside. I yelled at him and he carefully backed up into the field and went back to running the fence line. Yes, he is a mama'a boy (and scared of the old gelding). I added electric to the fencing and started double locking the gates after that - you don't get that lucky twice.
My husband says horses are an example of chaos theory.
My then 3 year old, not terribly athletic large pony was found grazing next to his pasture when 10 year old me and my parents came to the barn early one morning to thankfully take him to his new barn. He had obviously jumped the 4' fence that was at the bottom of a big hill when chased by his bossy pasture mate. No perimeter fencing on that property. Thankfully, he was a sensible guy and stuck around, he wasn't going to go galavanting off when there was grass next to him. I was still terrified though, even as a child I knew what could have happened. Not a scratch on him, though, so maybe he's more athletic than I thought!