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Horses and cyclist learn harsh electric fence lesson together


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Milo and his mother live on a beautiful property near Peterborough, Ontario. They have acres of land to roam and are well loved and looked after. They also have a paddock out front of the house and people walking or cycling past will often stop to give these friendly horses some attention or a few treats. The owner knows how popular these two are and she is fine with them having their social visits and a few apples or carrots too.brbrDave is a cyclist who travels past their house regularly. He knows there is an apple tree at the side of the road, just down from Milo's house. He stopped and filled his pockets with apples and pulled up at the corner of the paddock. Even though they were eating fresh hay, the horses trotted over happily to see what Dave had brought them.brbrThe paddock has a small tape fence that has an electric current, designed to keep the horses from wandering out onto the road. The current pulses every 6-7 seconds. Milo is particularly stubborn and adventurous and he won't stay where he is told to without this type of fence. It's for his own safety that this fence is there. The paddock also has a wire mesh fence around a good part of it. When Dave leaned over the fence to feed Milo an apple, he was careful not to touch the electric fence, but he was leaning fully on the wire fence. Because he was wearing clipped cycling shoes with a thick sole, he was not well grounded and did not notice any electric current running through the outer fence. But Milo is in contact with the ground and when his lips touched the apple, the electric current flowed through Dave's body, arm and the horse, completing the circuit and giving them both a strong jolt. Dave's jaw locked up momentarily and he felt the surge right through his teeth. Both jumped back in surprise. Dave couldn't understand how it happened, but he assumed that he or the horse touched the electric strip.brbrWhen Milo's mother approached, Dave was extremely cautious about the electric fence and he leaned far out to feed the horse and allow her to keep her distance. But this placed his entire upper body against the wire fence. When the current surged through, the horse's mouth was on the apple again and it was a repeat of the first episode with Milo.brbrDave was bewildered as he looked up and down the fence, expecting to see a point of contact between the two fences.brbrDave eventually worked up the nerve to put his hand on the outer fence and hold on. He could feel a tiny pulse of electricity every few seconds, confirming that there was a short somewhere. With poor ground contact though, the shock to just him was almost impossible to feel. It was only when he and the horse connected that the current could flow well.brbrMilo likely didn't need a physics lesson to figure this out, but Dave needed a total of three.brbrThe problem with the fence was brought to the owner's attention so she could make a correction. And Dave now puts the apples on the ground or avoids touching either fence when he reaches over. But either way, Milo and his mother will continue to get apples without the shocks.

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