Barbed Wire Fencing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Barbed Wire Fencing

Can you use barbed wire fencing for horses?
Some say it's perfectly fine.
Some say it's too dangerous.

So...?
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post #2 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:18 AM
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I have known people who use barbed wire for horses. I guess when it comes to "can you", you can do anything you want. But I personally wouldn't. If a horse in panic runs into or through a barbed wire fence, it's going to hurt them bad, possibly even kill them. If something happens and the fence is compromised for some reason and the wire is loose or sagging in a place you haven't noticed, a horse's foot could get caught in it, which is a bad situation with fencing in general but the barbed wire would likely cause additional panic and struggle on the horse's part and again cause a lot of damage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, while they can be vaccinated against this, a horse cut by something like barbed wire can develop Tetanus, which is also life-threatening.

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post #3 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:25 AM
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I wouldn't use it out of choice.
I have kept horses in fields shared with livestock where barbed wire has been used and on the whole the horses have been OK other than destroying blankets/rugs on it.
I've seen some really horrible injuries caused by the stuff though so if I'm fencing purely for horses I wouldn't touch it

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #4 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:37 AM
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Barb wire is part of life out west.
I have seen injuries from many other forms of fencing; smooth wire, wood boards, pipe, hog wire, electric, panels.

For me, I think if you are fencing for your own horses at home considering how many horses you are keeping for the area is key. If I lived on 2 acres and had 5 horses I probably wouldn't choose to keep them in a barb wire lot. If I had 5 horses fenced on 200 aces I would go with barb wire.

Keeping it tight, as with any fencing, will reduce issues.
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post #5 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:39 AM
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I would not choose it. Unfortunately our woods and trails are littered with barbed wire embedded in trees and buried under leaves and branches since cows used to roam here decades ago and it was never removed. I'm terrified of getting tangled in it while riding and would not intentionally want horses kept in it. After having to extract one of my horses from a tangle in electrobraid last weekend- and having a very fortunate happy ending- I can't even begin to imagine what would have happened had the fence been barbed wire rather than the braided rope. That incident is making me reconsider whether I'll use the electrobraid when we fence another pasture this summer or go with another option that's not as likely to loop around a leg if the horse somehow ends up in it. There are pros and cons to most materials but barbed wire is one that doesn't really have any pros given the size and set up of my pastures.
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post #6 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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No to barbed wire for horses. Not even if you bubble wrap your horses. I've seen too many devastating injuries and deaths from horses vs barbed wire.
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post #7 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 10:56 AM
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I'd avoid it if possible. Yes, it 'Can' and IS used, used a lot in my area, and amazingly, injuries don't seem to happen all that often in my experience at various boarding farms that used it (ususally as only the top strand over other fencing). Sonny never hurt himself, and of ALL the horses at those farms, I only knew of one who did. He ripped the upper eyelid and had had problems with that eye ever since, even though a Vet stitched it , meds, etc. I wouldn't risk it .Good luck.

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post #8 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 11:36 AM
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We have barbed wire. 40 acres east of our house. 75 west of our house. All barbed wire. BUT. we run cattle too and I can tell you what cows do with horsewire - they walk right through a five strand fence like deer will do.

The only strip that isn't barbed wire is the stretch of fence directly behind the house and it is horse wire, with a hot wire ran down the same stretch to... dissuade... persistent heifers. (Swimming pool floaties, a fence placed to darn close to the pool, pool floaties, and a windy hill equal spending a fortune in pool floaties every year. I made him tear out the barbed wire and put in horse wire to save the floaties)

SO FAR I haven't had any barbed wire injuries on our horses. I've seen cuts and tears on them from brush, briers, and stobs on trees though. BUT. As others have said - the size of the acreage makes a difference. If my horses spook, they have a long way to run before they hit fence. If they squabble, they don't do it right against the fence, they like to be in the open where they have room to maneuver.

However. I'd say if you don't have to use it, don't.



We have no choice really - can't run hot wire around the whole perimeter of both sides of our property - deer bust through it, sticks fall down out of trees and ground it out. We tried, fought it for a year in the creek bottom west of us, and it was a daily patch job. Finally gave up. Cows don't give a fig about horse wire, and steel pipe fencing won't get it done either - the ground is too wet, water table is just three feet below the surface in the low areas of our land.
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post #9 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 11:45 AM
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So long as it isn't pasture for cows as well I don't run barbed wire for horses ever out here. The reason is because we have so many bears, cougars, and wolves all of which when they go through their phase of pushing livestock around to see if it is prey or not will run horses through or up against/along fences. I usually catch it before hand when they are still in the just nosing around phase and take care of the issue but to be on the safe side I run smooth wire with a top strand of hot wire to keep the horses from leaning on/over the fences and stretching them out. If I am pasturing cattle in the same place I am keeping my horses then it is going to be in an area that is 40 acres to 1,000s of acres and then it is barbed wire simply because cattle will push down and bust up anything but barbed wire or mutli-strand electric wire with a good solid ground and high output fencer.
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post #10 of 60 Old 04-10-2019, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyTheCornbread View Post
So long as it isn't pasture for cows as well I don't run barbed wire for horses ever out here. The reason is because we have so many bears, cougars, and wolves all of which when they go through their phase of pushing livestock around to see if it is prey or not will run horses through or up against/along fences. I usually catch it before hand when they are still in the just nosing around phase and take care of the issue but to be on the safe side I run smooth wire with a top strand of hot wire to keep the horses from leaning on/over the fences and stretching them out. If I am pasturing cattle in the same place I am keeping my horses then it is going to be in an area that is 40 acres to 1,000s of acres and then it is barbed wire simply because cattle will push down and bust up anything but barbed wire or mutli-strand electric wire with a good solid ground and high output fencer.

Excellent reasons! As much as I love the big North American predators (They are gorgeous, fierce, stunning... but also hell on livestock) I am also glad coyotes and the occasional, but very shy mountain lion, are all we have to deal with here. A loyal pack of cow dogs will usually keep the 'big' predators ran off.



Now if they can just run off the sound of feral hogs that have moved into our bottom land and are tearing it up that'd be great.

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