You ever watch another horse settin to lean on a stretch of hot wire or, worse, barbed wire, and wonder if you should maybe try to stop him, or wonder why you’d bother doin that since any horse with half his horse sense should already know what happens when you lean on wire? Generally, I mind my own business and let a horse learn the hard way. After all, ain’t nobody forcin him to lean on it. If his volition wills him to zap himself or poke a hole through his own hide, maybe it’ll zap or poke some sense back into him. But, it usually doesn’t. Some horses keep goin down to the wire and bein sorely surprised by it every time. That’s just the way they’re wired.
For those addled County Island horses who don’t know what hot wire is, it’s kind of like a skinny long grey run of rope that the people will stretch from one end of a fenceline to the other, generally to prevent horses from doin things a horse would like to do, such as leanin on the fence maybe to itch his itchy spots, or leanin through it to graze the greener grass. And it may look like a rope, but it’s a rope that bites and pops and zaps. It could likely zap a horse clean off his hooves, far worse than how you get zapped by the shocky dryness in the cold time.
And a barbed wire is exactly what you’d expect it to be, a run of ropey wire covered with tiny barbs as pointy as cactus spines. That stuf’ll mess a horse up good.
The fella who keeps our feet trimmed all purty related an occurrence with a cow which reminded me of wire, while I was stuck tied there with one back leg held up in the air near his rasp while he paused to tell a tale.
As he tells it, it took place on a proper ranch, which is what got my ears pricked to begin with. And the ranch hands was stringin hot wire across a patch of fenceline that stretched across a small waterin hole, where the cattle was crossin through in the water runnin beneath the fence and thus wreakin general havoc on the wrong side of the rangeland they was supposed to graze.
It already had long, twisty strands of barbed wire on it, but cows are all-around thicker-skinned than us horses, and they generally don’t give a cow chip if they catch their hide on the barbs if they can otherwise walk under ‘em. And these cantankerous cattle did indeed regularly catch the hide across their backs on the barbed wire, but I’d wager they wore those wire scars with a smug sense of satisfaction, if I know my cattle, and I do. And so, the ranch hands ran the hot wire across the barbed wire and done made the entire deal electric across the pond to put an end to the illegal bovine border crossin.
And then the bull came, to bull his way on through the pond and the fenceline by his usual waterway.
Our horseshoein man said the bull never was the same, after that.
When he hit the newly hot wire, he flew more than a few feet and landed twitchin in the water with his legs stuck straight out like he was surely a goner, and there he laid for a real long time. Our bucket gal thusly wanted to know if the air also smelled like barbecue, but our horseshoein man said no, it did not, so there’s that.
I don’t know about the rest of the herd and the hot wire, ‘cause the tale wasn’t about them, but seems to me like the moral of the story ought to be a bull can lead himself to hot wire, but even bein shocked near to death can’t make him sink.