Wire Fencing... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Wire Fencing...

I got the idea from a recent thread that wire fencing is a bit of an unknown to most of you? I guess it isn't very common in the US.

Here in Australia it is the most common type of fencing that horses are kept in - Normally they are kept in paddocks originally made for sheep or cattle.

I have my horses behind wire all the time. They have been in plain wire, plain wire with sighter wire on the top strand, wire with a stand off hot wire, and at the moment, plain wire with a strand of barb on top.

I've only had maybe one or two fence injuries in the 10+ years i've had horses in these fences, and both were due to extenuating circumstances (Mainly other horses getting loose and into the adjoining paddocks).

I am well aware that wire isn't the safest fencing for horses - However it doesn't have to be the horror story many people think it is.

I think the main things that make wire fencing safer are:

1. Space.

The horses need space within the paddock to run around, play, spook, etc. without risking running into the fences. I would really avoid using tiny paddocks that have wire fences as in the smaller spaces, especially if there is a dominant horse, they can get pushed into the fences with no way to escape. A decent amount of space means they don't run that risk.

2. Design.

This is an obvious one. The shape of the paddock needs to facilitate movement - So no narrow parts heading into corners, etc. The same reasons as above - So they can't be caught in against the fence.

3. Seperation.

The best way to keep wire fencing safe is to NOT have other horses on the other side of it. Playing over the fence, fighting over the fence - These are the easiest way to get a horse injured in a fence.

4. Tension.

The fence needs to be TIGHT. Loose wire wraps and tangles. Our fences are always secured with metal star pickets with wooden stay posts cemented in every now and then (These stay posts are at least six inches wide). Wire fences need to be kept well tensioned, and it is impossible to do with sub-standard posts.


I guess I just wanted to dispel some untruth's out there about wire fences. If you manage it right, it is no more dangerous than any other type of fencing.

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post #2 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 05:02 PM
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You'll get no argument from me. Until recently (when I put up the electric tape fence), all we had was wire fencing and while we have had the occasional cut or scrape from it, in almost 30 years, only once that required more care than they could get at home.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 05:03 PM
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Yeah I read some of the threads and it seems wire is quite uncommon overseas.

I've always kept my horses in wire/star picket paddocks. Only small yards or saddling areas have ever been made out of full wood. Its not that I deliberately want to keep my horse in wire - its just that is all there is. Even at reasonably pricey agistment centres - wire is the only option.

I've had a couple of nicks and scrapes on my horses, but the only semi biggish (still pretty small) injury happened a week or so ago. My horse was in a new paddock with other horses and being bullied and he some how went of the fence. He scraped his back legs but it wasn't serious enough to call out the vet. The top two strands came down, and thinking about it, if he had gone over a wood fence, it might have actually been worse. That is about it with injuries from fences for me

Its surprising that the US is so against wire - but here it is considered the norm.
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 10:22 PM
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Great post Wild_Spot. I got the same feeling.
In 18 years with horses, always being kept in some form of wire fencing, I've had ONE injury. That was from a friend putting her new mare into a paddock next to another mare and mare's being mare's and new horses and all just had to fight through the fence.
Most horses I've come across either don't go near it, or they're smart enough to not get in a blind panic IF they get stuck.
Cultural differences huh
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 10:34 PM
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We have had horses get hurt in Field Fencing and Cattle Pannels but never in the Barbwire or Hot Wire. They like to put their feet on the fences and they get them stuck in the squares.

I hate cattle Pannels, they are the most dangerous fancing out there IMO and what makes it worse is that Fugly recommends them as a movable stall for rescue horses... What?!
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 10:38 PM
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The wire in the other post was a different type of wire than what is commonly used. How wire (electric fence) is routinely used but the braided wire in the other thread is commonly used to support telephone poles.

You realize by posting this you're going to probably start a debate all over again right?

*Dreams are within reach, you just have to go that extra mile to catch them*
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't intend to start a debate, just shed some light on different practices. however I enjoy a good debate so if so, so be it! :]

There were comments in the other posts about ANY kind of wire, not just the wire the OP had used - It really surprised me reading them as wire is such a wisely accepted type of fencing here. It got me thinking, and I figured it might get others thinking as well if I posted it. I also feel that many people run into problems with wire because of the points I posted.

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:01 AM
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I don't know about everyone else on that particular thread but it wasn't so much about the fence that I was worried, but the horse that the fence was supposed to contain.
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:27 AM
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We have kept our horses in barb wire for the 10 years we've had them. The paddocks have always been 15+ acres of grass though. I think the space and feed tend to keep them mostly away from the fences.

"If you can't see a thoroughbred has talent, you're probably too dumb to ride one anyway."
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 07:01 AM
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I agree with smrobs and amerea. If you are referencing the thread that I am guessing it had nothing to do with not using wire fencing.

Though most people do not use galvanized aircraft cable. I am guessing you do not either.

I have no issue with a properly installed fence of any type. (Properly installed fence also includes the right fence for the situation, a small (20'x30' small, not acres small) paddock should not be barbed wire.)
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