Is someone messing with us or am I loosing my mind?!
Two weeks ago, my husband looked out our bathroom window to find two of our three horses out in the back pasture. We haven't been turning out in the back pasture because a portion of the fence is down. So I ran out and discovered that our third horse was in our front pasture. All horses came in with no injuries, thank goodness.
However, one of the two paddock gates was off the hinges completely and laying on the ground. The other horse's gate was unlatched & open (we have clips on all gates). I also checked the gates before I went to bed but my friend said that horses will be creative.
Then, twice just this week we found my paint gelding, who is usually kept with my Oldenburg mare, turned out with my Thoroughbred mare & the Oldenburg perfectly locked in her paddock by herself instead of with the paint. The gates are still closed/locked between them. So I can't figure out how they are getting to each other?! Or letting each other out?!
I can't wait until our cameras set up, but am I being crazy?
I don't know the area that you are in so maybe it could be kids screwing around, but my best guess is a houdini horse that thinks fences and gates are such silly contraptions. Can't wait to hear what the cameras show
One of the ranch owners had a sister in her eighties that used to come out some weekends and go for walks.
After she had been out, there would be gates open and horses mixed.
We never could catch her at it, but it definitely was done on purpose.
One sad time, one of our stallions was older and didn't get along with the geldings, so we were keeping him with an old mare in a pasture by themselves.
Well, one weekend, his gate was found open and he jumped the fence into the gelding pasture, got in a fight with the boss there and when we found them, the gelding had a broken front leg.
After that, we never again let that person go on her walks alone, someone always went with her, if she wanted or not and no more gates were found open.
Too bad there had to be a tragedy to get the problem remedied.
I would go talk with the sheriff and give notice that maybe it was happenstance, but it seems too much coincidence that so many times lately horses are getting out, to please keep an eye on things around there.
I hope you find who is doing that and put a stop to it.
any gate we want to stay closed has a lock on it as our horses learned how to open the snap locks... seems that idle time allowed them to play with the snaps as they know the pathway to greener grass is through the gate.
We have one that can easliy clear jump a five foot fence but he more comfortable in his pasture
I don't know about all of the details but how are your gates hung? They should not be able to be lifted off the hinges. It sounds like the two big screws that you put into the support post are both pointed up. The top one should point down and the bottom one should point up. You'll likely have to drill a new hole and move that top one to make that happen. Horse can and will lift a gate off it's hinges if it isn't installed properly.
I definitely wouldn't eliminate the possibility of tampering. A friend of mine though he was going nuts because his horses started moving around and getting out and it was determined that it was a disgruntled person who knew the best way to 'get' to my friend was through disturbing his horses.
As for hanging gates, we like to hang them with all the pins up and wire the top henge so it can't come off.
This way, if a horse gets in the gate or for any other reason you have to lift the gate off, you can do so quickly.
Or weld or add a big nail right on top of the top pin to avoid it be lifted, although that makes lifting it if you have to in a hurry harder.
To keep strangers from lifting the outside gates, those are chained and locked also so no one can move them if they lift them off the hinges.
Unless the gate is padlocked through the chain/around the post, you can't be totally sure a "someone" isn't having their idea of fun at your horse's expense. Ask me how I know!
This is what we do for our perimeter back gates - if needing to be opened in case of fire a key or cutting through the chain (althoughh its not thin links) could allow horses to get off property quickly. Both sides of the gate are chained so lifting gate off hinges still leaves it "up" enough to retain horses in pasture.
In the meanwhile...
Put zip ties on the closed gates. Someone opening them would have to cut those and will not have any on hand to replace them.
Make sure your gates aren't set up so a horse can remove them by lifting them off the pins if both pins point up. We had horses remove gates that were hung this way - and we were in St Lucia when it happened.Nice. They weren't found until the next day. Glad I didn't know about it until afterward...
We actually live in a very nice neighborhood very safe & friendly. All the properties are on acreage although there are only a handful of neighbors that actually have horses.
We have the two gates to the road padlocked but don't keep the gates to the pastures or runs padlocked. Although, I'm thinking tonight I will change that.
What is funny is all the same horses minus one have been on the property for years & only once did they get out before this, totally my fault. I don’t put it past the horses to open the gates but latching them?! If they are I want to get that on Youtube.
I just don't see my paint gelding jumping out, he isn't that athletic. In fact we tried to teach him to jump but he knocked down every fence. He also trips over poles on the ground. But I guess I could be wrong!?!
The fence is definitely not strong enough to hold him if he was climbing over it.
As far as how the gates are hung they aren't suppose to come off the hinges. All the gates have one hinge that points down and the other that points up so they shouldn't be able to be lifted. However, when we found the gate on the ground, one of the hinges was badly bent. We have since checked every gate on the property.
I’m just nervous because we are off a busier road & don’t want them to end up on it!
My husband is ordering cameras for the barn/paddock area but in the mean time is there any way to rule out Houdini ponies VS someone messing with us? I don’t think I have any enemies?
We have our gates chained shut with a spring loaded double ended bucket type snap. No way could the horses open that, even the impressively orally talented pony, because the snaps are over on the far side of the gate. It would HAVE to be one of us primates. Putting a lock on it would keep the primates from messing with it.
I got told a story yesterday about a buddy's horses. He keeps goats and they will squeeze through the fence right near a rock wall so he is always watching the neighbor's property for escapees - and then he discovered his HORSES were over there. Searched all the old fence and the rock wall and finally decided to walk his brand new fence, and discovered that there was a very large tree, with a new deer stand in it, just back from his property line, and the fence was neatly cut in two spots, on each side of the stand, for the deer to pass through. (And the horses, and the goats etc.) Amazing how people think.
I would double chain the hinge side, so the gate can't get knocked off the hinges and twist on one chain, with permanent chain. You can weld it into a closed loop or they make a couple of different kinds of links that close with a thorough hammering. On the other I'd use medium heavy chain and a padlock. If someone REALLY wants to mess with you it's not possible to stop them, but you can slow them down.
We are in a very severe drought, so many of us don't even have any cattle or other livestock but maybe a few horses.
One Saturday afternoon last summer gates were open every place, the chains into our neighbor cut and someone on four wheelers had been just driving around the pastures.
I found that out when the old horse was not there at evening feed.
Went looking for him and he had found some of the open gates and was heading for the expressway.
Since no one has cattle, that neighbor had left one gate unlocked and that is how the trespassers got in.
It is good that the horse didn't get on I-40 and caused a wreck, killing some, because the sheriff probably would have found who it was and they may have spent the rest of their lives in jail for their little escapade, that I am sure they thought was harmless.
Seems that there is an idiot in every place, even where you may think you don't have any.
Considering its not just one horse, and you say one of them likely isn't athletic enough to jump the fence...I'd say person. Could just be kids fooling around. Have you thought of putting electric fencing up? Bet that would help deter people! You could just run the tape around and slightly above the top board (make it obvious to a potential intruder!).
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
This may be what you mean for cameras, but I'd go with one or two game-hunting motion detect cameras (as opposed to a security system).
Another you thing you can do is put up a couple fake security cameras and "video surveillance" signs at strategic locations. They're super cheap and may deter the person from returning.
I had a similar situation where my Morgan was getting either over (3.5' standstill jump) or under (2' tall and door-width wide) his stall guard from his stall to his pen without disturbing anything. I was completely unable to imagine him either standstill jumping or shimmying under the short and narrow area. He did it multiple times and no one ever witnessed it. I never found out how and it still drives me bonkers to this day. He has never escaped in any other capacity, so he's not a known "Houdini".