The large cost of properly building a fence can cause a person to lose sight of the fence’s primary function and choose the least expensive route. While it doesn’t have to break the bank, doing it right the first time will be compensated later with increased safety and peace of mind and will also decrease maintenance costs and sustainability. Fencing is a very important part of any farm as it keeps your horses where you want them and away from harm.
A few things to keep in mind when determining the appropriate fencing for your facility are:
- The number of horses you want to keep in each paddock
- Number of gates required on each paddock
- Size of paddock you want
- Type of weather your facility receives
- What your budget is
- How much maintenance will the fence require
- How you want it to look
To begin, all fences should be at least four to five feet above ground (55” is an average fence height) in order to effectively and safely contain horses. The bottom rail of the fence should be anywhere from 8” to 15” off the ground depending if you have foals or larger horses.
One of the most commonly used and recommended horse fences on the market is the Flex Fence. It is a type of fencing that is constantly under tension. This 24/7 tension is taken up by the corner and the end posts, making the fencing look and feel tight. It was designed specifically for the equine industry and provides a stronger barrier than other fences. With its strong break strength and high visibility, very minimal maintenance is required. It also has the added safety of flexing on impact therefore it is a safer, stronger alternative to board or other traditional fencing. Also, few horses like to chew on polymer fencing which prolongs the life and appeal of your fence.
When getting this type of fence ready through the seasons, you need to check the brackets to make sure all screws or nails are secure. The end and corner posts also need to be inspected to make sure they will hold the appropriate tension throughout the winter. It is very important that you do not over tighten Flex Fencing in the fall as the cold weather makes the fencing contract. Too much tension will create more stress on the end and corner posts and could result in damages. Flex Fencing only needs to be tightened enough so that the rails do not sag.
Like humans, horses will avoid touching anything that gives them a shock or sting therefore electric fencing acts a psychological barrier to them. In order to be effective, electric fencing needs to have at least 5,000 volts on a fence tester. This is another way to protect your existing fence system or fencing for horses who like to lean, chew or test their boundaries. This fencing can either stand alone or be combined with any other fence system. Once installed, electric fencing is extremely easy to operate and requires very little maintenance. Since horses cannot touch or lean on the fence, it has quite a long life span and is one of the best ways to gain your horse’s respect for boundary fences.
The biggest issue with this type of fencing is making sure that the lines are tight and not shorting out at any points. If you hear a snapping sound or see a flash of light coming from the fence, you have a short. Grounding issues occur if you have low voltage or amperage on your fencing. Keeping the area underneath the fencing clear of long grass and tall weeds can also prevent grounding issues from arising. Electric fencing only works if the grounding is completed properly and the best option is to have at least three electric fence wires with two being “hot” and one being wired back to the ground rods.
There are other types of fencing that can provide a safe facility for your animals such as oak board, wire mesh and any combination of the above listed fencing. Oak board fencing provides a wonderful appearance for any facility. It can, however, be hard to maintain, with horses’ constant pressure and strain. It is best when used in conjunction with at least one line of electric fencing. Wire mesh fencing is ideal for keeping predators out while at the same time, keeping your animals contained. This is the perfect fence for small and large animals and is also safer for children and pets. Lastly, Combination Fencing can be used for a unique layout or situation. You can create any combination of strength and rail spacing to fit your horses’ needs.
Paddock fencing is a significant investment and you want to guarantee you’ve done all the research to provide your animals with the best fencing system. You want to be sure that your horses are as safe as possible because when it comes to our equine friends, an ounce of protection outweighs injury and costly vet bills. Contact a System Fencing expert to answer your questions, provide you with a quote and help make this an easy and educating experience.