BY DAIN RAKESTRAW
Your horse fence can be the best feature of your facility, and it is a crucial and major investment that you should plan meticulously. The right fence will keep horses safe on your property, and unwanted visitors off of it.
The Purpose of a Fence
An excited horse will come into contact with the fence as it tries to escape or by accident. What happens then? Horses are prone to bolting, and they will hit the fence with great force. A safe and effective fence will hold up and keep the horse from getting injured.
Watch Out for Openings, Edges, and Projections
The fence should be free of openings that could trap a hoof or head or allow a horse to escape. Horses are extremely smart and can open latches on stall gates and doors by themselves, so it is important to keep this in mind when installing your property fence.
The ideal fence will have no projections or sharp edges that can injure a horse if it leans or falls in its direction. It should be easy to maintain and, if good quality, should last at least two decades. The No Climb and Keepsafe fence styles are designed with utmost safety in mind and fulfill the other criteria too. They are recognized across the US by horse owners, breeders, farm managers, and veterinarians as the very best for horses.
Ensure Good Visibility
Horses are far-sighted, so you’ll want to make sure the fence is clearly visible. For maximum visibility, experts recommend installing the fence at the height of your tallest horse’s eyes when it holds its head up. In most cases, this is at least five feet. Ponies can do with less, but draft horses might need more, and stallions need at least six feet.
How to Avoid Sagging
If your fence isn’t installed properly, you will find that it starts to lean or sag or has protruding wires, nails, or sharp edges in a matter of just a few months.
Sagging is particularly problematic on hilly terrain. It occurs when a fence loses tension in certain points and uneven pressure causes it to start buckling. Fence posts on hilly terrain are on opposing planes, making them especially prone to sagging because uneven pressure is created. Red Brand’s Square Deal Knot is a great way to relieve this pressure. Its specially designed shape provides extra durability and strength without compromising on flexibility.
Prevent Escapes under the Fence
A particularly intelligent horse might try to sneak out under the fence, so you need to take the distance between the lowest strand or board and the ground into account. Normally, it should be about 8 inches. If you have electric fencing, you need to know what the tension is like, how many fence strands you have, and how far apart your posts are. Poor tension poses a high safety risk. Posts that are relatively far apart will compromise fence solidity.
How to Fasten Fencing
Always fasten horizontal fencing closest to the paddock center, i.e. onto the insides of the posts. Pipes, wire, or boards will be pushed against the posts instead of off the horses if they lean on the fence.
Round posts are stronger than square ones, all other factors being equal. However, the nailing surface of round posts isn’t as secure for board rails, so you might need to spend some time fixing loose nails.
The Perfect Fence?
When it comes to keeping your horses safe and secure, proper fencing is the most important factor to consider. If you keep all of the tips we’ve laid out in mind during your fencing installation, you’ll create a perfect fence that is built with safety and durability in mind.
Dain Rakestraw is the Director of Marketing and Brand Management at Red Brand, a line of premium agricultural fencing products that is known as the most recognized brand of agricultural fencing in the United States.