Let's see your fence! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-24-2013, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,175
• Horses: 5
Let's see your fence!

Most people are interested in seeing pictures of horses, but right now I am more focused on the fencing that keeps them in than anything. I would love to see some different ideas for horse fencing, along with pictures and advice on how to get it ready/how it has treated you. I always thought that t-posts were a good 'long-term' fencing option, and boy was I wrong! And white electrified tape in Wisconsin winters? Not what dreams are made of!

So what types of fencing is safe for horses? Isn't? I know barbed wire is something I would never think of, especially considering I have one oaf of a horse in my pasture that will just crash through the fence. I want something that is safe, looks good, and functional in all/most weather. We have old telephone poles and (not old) cedar posts to use, and an attachment to a tractor and a skid-steer that we can use. What types of insulators are best on wood posts? Are there better alternatives on metal t-posts than plastic? (I try to keep them with caps on them, but they either break after a month or so, or my horses just pull them off.) Would it be best to have all wood posts or alternate between the treated poles and metal posts?

I would love for people's honest opinions on different types of fencing and their experiences. My new fence is definitely going to be hot, but I'd love to see other kinds of fencing as well. The reason I posted here is I wanted to talk with the majority of members on fencing, hopefully it is okay.

EDIT; I would also love to see fence that can house miniatures, chickens and is potentially dog-safe. (As in: no dogs in, no dogs out.) I am interested in being able to let other animals into the pasture while the horses aren't in there. (Chickens could be at the same time, but not dogs as ours are herding breeds and would be begging for a kick.) Obviously the fence wouldn't be hot when the dogs are in there, just in case they get hung up. But I'd like to see fencing that might cater to this as well.

Last edited by ButtInTheDirt; 03-24-2013 at 10:42 AM.
ButtInTheDirt is offline  
post #2 of 3 Old 03-24-2013, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 392
• Horses: 2
I know that I'll have a lot of people that will probably disagree, but I beg to differ about barbed wire fencing being unsafe. Barbed wire, like any other fence, should be constructed properly and have regular checkups and maintenance. Barbed wire is really only dangerous if it isn't tight enough, or if it breaks and loose coils are left on the ground. But provided that it is taut, barbed wire is effective fencing.
We've had horses for 25+ years, and they've always been in pastures with barbed wire fencing. Never had any accidents either! In fact, the majority of Iowans and Missourians use barbed wire. Most people wouldn't dream of getting anything else, since barbed wire lasts so long. But, as I said, you do need to check your fencing every so often. Big storms can bring trees down on fences, in which case you might have to tighten the wire again. But it's definitely cheaper than replacing an entire section of fence! Good hedge posts can last 40-50 years. The reason it's so popular around here is because we rotate cattle with horses (or, in our case, just put the cattle IN with the horses). Cattle (especially bulls) need fencing that has more reinforcement to keep them in.

Usually animals in pastures with barbed wire will brush up against it, and not like it. Once they brush up against it, they realize that it pokes them, and they won't go back. Some people that transition new horses to barbed wire fencing will string an electric fence around the top of the fence, to remind horses that "this is the boundary line!" But usually that can be removed after a week or so, and they'll know where they can and can't go.

Like I said, barbed wire is actually very effective and very safe if properly constructed. It must be very, very tight. It should hardly have any give. Some people think that they can just build a fence themselves, but this is a bad idea with barbed wire. Hiring a professional (with the right equipment) will save you a lot of heartbreak. Barbed wire fencing should be constructed with heavy hedge posts, and steel posts with clips. The pattern should be "hedge post, steel post, steel post, steel post, hedge post" with about 10 foot between posts. There should be 6 strands of barbed wire on the fence, and it should have huge hedge corner posts (minimum of 10 foot long; minimum 24 inches in diameter). These hedge posts should be buried about 5 feet down with a post-hole digger. There should be no movement or "migration" after being buried and tamped in. (If you have that happen, have the fencer come out and reset it. You're not getting a good fence otherwise!) Sometimes, depending upon the weather, corner posts have to be reset multiple times. We had a very wet corner in a portion of our pasture, and it had to be reset 3 times because it kept moving. The movement was minimal, but the fencer caught it and fixed it. Clips should also be placed on the steel posts to firmly attach the wire to said posts. When tightening the wire, you stretch it during warm weather, as it will tighten during cold weather. When I say "tighten it until it has barely any give," I mean it. You should be able to pretty much hang on it, and it won't sag. Can you imagine that you're strumming a guitar? That's still too much give. A professional will know what is too much, and too light. But really, you'll be able to tell. When you pull it back, you shouldn't have any slack to make a 'v' shape.

Here's a picture of my 3 doofus's at home. You can barely see an example of the steel and hedge posts in the background. At this time, the fence had just been constructed, and didn't have clips on it quite yet. Ideally, the clips should go on as it's being constructed, but our horses know the boundaries, and don't mess with the fencing.


The other thing about barbed wire fencing is that you just have to be smart about where you put horses. You never put a new horse in a separate paddock from a herd by barbed wire. They'll spike out and might get hurt. We always put new horses in an area surrounded by corral panels. After a few days to a week, we let them in with the others. They chase each other around for a while, but no one ever gets hurt. Of course, you do this in daylight too, so that they can use the whole day to figure out their new boundaries. It's also unwise to put young horses in barbed wire fencing without stringing an electric top wire on it. And if you have too many horses in too small of a pasture, then you're asking for trouble no matter what you do!

Nothing will be able to go through properly constructed barbed wire fencing. I truly believe that all the bad juju about barbed wire fencing probably comes from people that didn't have good fencing to start with.

Here's another example of barbed wire fencing. Look behind the calf, lol! The fence was new in this photo too, so it didn't have the clips on it yet.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-24-2013, 12:24 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: south of nowhere, north of nothing
Posts: 4,685
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We have a little bit of everything. One strand of barb on the cows fence.

99% of it though is square wire with piping on top

(Fencing is the white pipe to the right of my dad)

And some of the randomness with the cows...this is the fence that has the barbwire on top...used to be a pip bit the cows bent it and they stay away from the baeb wire

*Insert something witty*
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