AMONG THE MANY investments you will make when rearing horses, fencing will be one of the most prominent ones. Fencing is a major investment, thus it requires careful planning before any form of action is taken. Fencing is crucial to keep horses on the property and unwanted animals off the property. There are also many other nuances to fencing as it should be constructed to aid facility management by allowing controlled grazing and segregating groups of horses according to age, sex and value.
For some, fencing is a do-it-yourself project while others prefer to hire a professional contractor to construct and install the fence. Regardless of how you choose to install your fence, make sure you have a plan that will guide you through the steps of constructing a good horse fence.
Good planning attributes for all fence types
Planning includes more than simply selecting a fence. It involves the aesthetics, efficiency, management practices, safety, proposed gates, fence lines, paths, traffic routes for horses and handlers, routes for suppliers and access to mowing equipment. A good plan also involves the financial aspects of fence construction.
A good fence should be at least 54 inches above ground level with round corners. Make sure that the top of the fence is at withers heights to ensure that horses don’t flip over the fence. A 20 cm clearance at the bottom will leave enough room to avoid a hoof getting trapped, and will discourage a horse from reaching under the fence for grass.
Fence post selection
The strength of a fence come from the posts, hence they are the foundation of the fence. Posts need to be strong and properly installed. Traditionally, wood is used for fence posts but some horse owners use concrete to set corner assemblies when using wooden posts. Others choose pressure-treated lumber as high-quality wood may be scarce of very expensive in their area. This manufactured lumber is treated with chemicals that resist rot, fungi, and insects. Look for treated lumber posts that are certified for in-ground use.
One con of using wooden posts is that it is time-consuming and requires hard work when installing the fence, but this hard work is not a waste of time because the wood has a highly sustainable.
Often, gates are made of wood and metal tubes because they should be as strong as the fence. Gates shouldn’t have diagonal cross-bracing because the narrow angles can trap legs, feet, and possibly heads. Gates and fences should have been equal in height, to discourage horses from reaching and attempting to jump over the gate, but wide enough to allow easy passage of vehicles and tractors.
Often, gates are located toward the middle of a fence line where horses get in and out of the enclosure. By placing the gate in the middle, horses don’t get trapped in a corner near the gate.
The inner side of the fence must be smooth — regardless of the fence material and design. Rough posts can cause injury to horses that run down the fence line. To avoid this exposure you might use an electric fence wire to create a psychological as well as a physical barrier.
Visibility also plays a major role in safety. Horses can easily see a white plank fence of wood or PVC post, but the wires are almost invisible to unruly horses or horses who are in a state of panic.
Barriers are the functional parts of fences and are made of different materials. When deciding on which barrier to using, keep in mind that it should be safe, easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Here are the most well-known barriers:
1. Wood board fence: most commonly used, low in cost and maintenance and are the most aesthetically pleasing.
2. PVC board fence: is liked by many horse owners because it is low in maintenance and gives the appearance of a wooden board fence.
3. Smooth wire: these are basically barb wires without the barbs and are the least expensive of them all.
4. V-mesh: Is praised by horse owners as the best fence material. However, its biggest downside is cost as it is the most expensive of them all.
5. Electric Fencing: these fences are both a barrier and dispense a shock that keeps horses within the enclosure.
In order to build a strong fence, a well thought out plan must be in place even before the first post is even placed in the ground. Thoughtful fence planning and layout will help make daily chores and routines more efficient. Fences differ from facility to facility, however all fences must meet the same goals and objectives: provide a strong barrier and safety. For optimal result, horse owners may combine electric-fence systems with other materials such as wood, PVC plastic, wire mesh, or high-tensile.
Sistine Capoy works as a content specialist in Horse Fence Direct and a pet owner. Featured image supplied by Sistine Capo.