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Keeping a horse on small acerage

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  • Keeping a horse on small acerage
  • Horse keeping on a small acerage kindle

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    03-01-2013, 01:02 AM
  #21
Green Broke
Two acres in Canada ( you are in Canada) so do you have some heavy grass growth in the spring ? Electro braid hot wire fence three to four strands should work. Be sure it is kept 'hot' . As soon as horses realize that the fence wont bite them, they will be out. Also, catching them can be a pain to put them up at night. I would only feed in the barn , if you want to keep the horse out 24-7 then feed in just one area . With hay the grass should last a little longer. If you irrigate don't let the horse out when it is wet.
     
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    03-01-2013, 12:13 PM
  #22
Banned
Here's the thing about fencing - if your horse is happy and content, with adequate forage, water and company, you can keep him in with baling twine. If your horse is hungry, thirsty, lonely or bored, you can't keep him in with a 6' brick wall.

This is another dimension of the horsekeeping on small acreage problem, as a general rule, the smaller the area, the better fence you need, because the horses have more incentive to break out.

This is just my opinion and my experience, others reasonably and legimately have different opinions and experiences, but I do not trust electric and T-posts alone to keep horses in. Electric braid or electric rope on properly sunk posts, with corners braced, sure. Electric wire on stepped in or hand sunk posts? Nope - too much can go wrong. The charger can fail, power outage, branch on the fence grounding it out, deer charging through it, wet ground causing the posts to shift and lean, smart horse listening to the charger and figuring out when the current pulses, and on and on and on. Since my horses are out, unsupervised, most of the time, I needed something I could trust to keep them out of the road. I have electric on the inside perimeter of all my fences to keep the horses from leaning on the fence, and that's great. As temporary cross fencing? Yup, it's great for that too. I just don't trust it as the ONLY barrier keeping the horses out of the road.

Just IME and IMO, I know plently of people will post that they keep their horses in electric only fence on T-posts and have successfully for years, and I'm sure that's true. I've just had way too many bad experiences to trust it.
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    03-01-2013, 01:41 PM
  #23
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
Here's the thing about fencing - if your horse is happy and content, with adequate forage, water and company, you can keep him in with baling twine. If your horse is hungry, thirsty, lonely or bored, you can't keep him in with a 6' brick wall.
This is indeed 95% of fencing.
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    03-01-2013, 04:10 PM
  #24
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
Here's the thing about fencing - if your horse is happy and content, with adequate forage, water and company, you can keep him in with baling twine. If your horse is hungry, thirsty, lonely or bored, you can't keep him in with a 6' brick wall.

This is another dimension of the horsekeeping on small acreage problem, as a general rule, the smaller the area, the better fence you need, because the horses have more incentive to break out.

This is just my opinion and my experience, others reasonably and legimately have different opinions and experiences, but I do not trust electric and T-posts alone to keep horses in. Electric braid or electric rope on properly sunk posts, with corners braced, sure. Electric wire on stepped in or hand sunk posts? Nope - too much can go wrong. The charger can fail, power outage, branch on the fence grounding it out, deer charging through it, wet ground causing the posts to shift and lean, smart horse listening to the charger and figuring out when the current pulses, and on and on and on. Since my horses are out, unsupervised, most of the time, I needed something I could trust to keep them out of the road. I have electric on the inside perimeter of all my fences to keep the horses from leaning on the fence, and that's great. As temporary cross fencing? Yup, it's great for that too. I just don't trust it as the ONLY barrier keeping the horses out of the road.

Just IME and IMO, I know plently of people will post that they keep their horses in electric only fence on T-posts and have successfully for years, and I'm sure that's true. I've just had way too many bad experiences to trust it.
We don't use step in posts or other "easy-to-push-in-'n'-take-out" posts because I don't trust them either. We use 2-3" wooden posts every 20 ft (sunk two ft) and we're going to add bracing and thicker posts to the corners to make it stronger AND we' re going to fence in more land.
     
    03-01-2013, 06:09 PM
  #25
Yearling
What if they don't have a companion?
     
    03-01-2013, 06:39 PM
  #26
Weanling
A lot has to do with your climate, soil type etc. Around here (south east Texas), grass would be gone almost instantaneously. I have 3 horses on 8 acres (about 3 and a half to 4 of that is actual pasture, the rest is wooded mix, so would be about, per horse, what you are speaking of), and the grass holds its own enough to stay green and not a mud pit, but that's about it. I give free access to good round bales, go thru about 1 large bale every two weeks, and 1 of the smaller rounds in about 10 days.

I have yet to do cross fencing (I'm not doing fencing since I might be getting an additional 10 acres next door, which will change fence plans) but I have 1 "sacrificial" area that I put the horses (about an acre) when it's good growing season, excessively wet, or excessively dry that I usually keep horses out of otherwise- that keeps the whole place from turning into Mars. We drag the open areas regularly to spread manure, etc.

Since we have overall more room, even if its not pasture, we haven't had any particular issues with high traffic areas (and we put the bales in different spots each time).

But, we have had very bad drought conditions. Our soil isn't terrible, but isn't great either. However, when I originally came out here (last summer) parts of it did in fact look like mars. So, we aren't starting from ideal conditions either.
     
    03-01-2013, 07:05 PM
  #27
Showing
Because the fence doesn't shock an animal that is standing on snow you need to run three wires or at least two, a hot and a neutral. Wire is your best bed for perimeter fencing as it doesn't succumb to wind. Ribbon, rope, braid, etc is fine for dividing a field but not for principal containment. If you wish to divide your pasture for summer rotation then a single hot line will suffice. If your land is fairly flat and the run is straight you can get away with a 50' spacing on the posts but the corners will use 5 posts, 3 posts set at 90* and two for cross braces. Mine go straight across then wire loops form an X on both sets of posts. The loops can be tightened if the wood should shrink.
     
    03-01-2013, 09:27 PM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
Because the fence doesn't shock an animal that is standing on snow you need to run three wires or at least two, a hot and a neutral. Wire is your best bed for perimeter fencing as it doesn't succumb to wind. Ribbon, rope, braid, etc is fine for dividing a field but not for principal containment. If you wish to divide your pasture for summer rotation then a single hot line will suffice. If your land is fairly flat and the run is straight you can get away with a 50' spacing on the posts but the corners will use 5 posts, 3 posts set at 90* and two for cross braces. Mine go straight across then wire loops form an X on both sets of posts. The loops can be tightened if the wood should shrink.
But why couldnt you use electric rope for the perimeter?
     
    03-01-2013, 10:24 PM
  #29
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
Because the fence doesn't shock an animal that is standing on snow you need to run three wires or at least two, a hot and a neutral. Wire is your best bed for perimeter fencing as it doesn't succumb to wind. Ribbon, rope, braid, etc is fine for dividing a field but not for principal containment. If you wish to divide your pasture for summer rotation then a single hot line will suffice. If your land is fairly flat and the run is straight you can get away with a 50' spacing on the posts but the corners will use 5 posts, 3 posts set at 90* and two for cross braces. Mine go straight across then wire loops form an X on both sets of posts. The loops can be tightened if the wood should shrink.
well... I know that today I got zapped by the fence, standing on snow and wearing rubber boots.
     
    03-02-2013, 11:33 AM
  #30
Yearling
I use electric rope (4 strands with 2 hot) fastened to 4-5" treated wood posts as my only fence, and it works great. We have been under between 1 and 2 feet of snow since the end of October. The fence is properly grounded and the horses do get a zap if they touch the top wire accidentally even when standing on snow. They know the fence is hot and so they don't challenge it. They also have enough space to move around and avoid the fence.

I am also in Canada and have 4 horses on just under 8 acres. A good 5 acres is fenced into 2 large paddocks / pastures. I couldn't take on any more horses as I feel we are at our maximum. I feed hay from about mid October until Mid May and with careful management and some decent moisture, can rely on the pasture grasses for the remaining 4-5 months of the year. Fortunately, although our growing season is short, it is very productive being quite a ways North.

As for management, I remove manure from the pastures twice a week. (Not in the winter). We alternate between harrowing and picking it up. Spring clean-up is a huge chore as we have to pick up as much of the winter poop as we can and give everything a good thorough harrowing. This year I am due to overseed so I will need to keep my horses off one side for a bit. Next year, I will overseed the other side. I spend hours in the summer pulling weeds by hand. We also fertilize periodically and have to mow parts of the pasture a few times each summer to ensure healthy, thicker growth. This year we are building a barn and will add a small riding paddock/ sacrifice area where we can put the horses if it gets too wet to protect the grass.

It is doable to keep horses on a smaller space, but as others have mentioned, the smaller the space, the higher the maintenance. Careful planning and due diligence go a long way. A variety of fencing materials will work, but don't skimp on the structural part that holds your fence up. Also, createas much space as you absolutely can, with at least one smaller area where the grass can be killed off. You will need to have a backup plan for drought and a plan for when it is overly wet. It isn't a bad idea to have an alternate space arranged so you can get your animals off your property while you do some maintenance or even to give the land a rest.

Good luck!
maura and Blue Smoke like this.
     

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