SAFETY, SECURITY, AND AFFORDABILITY
When it comes to caring for your horse, safety and security should be your number one priority. But what’s the best way to accomplish this goal while keeping it affordable? There are so many options for equine enclosures that selecting the right one for your property could feel overwhelming. Start by considering these key questions to help guide you to the right solution for your property.
What is your primary concern – are you trying to keep your horses in, or predators out?
Fence styles vary considerably – from horizontal barriers with wide openings to tight mesh steel fabric. Any style chosen should be at least 48″ to 72″ high. To keep horses at bay, visual barriers are typically enough and can be made of many different materials like wooden boards, metal pipe, electrified tape, or high tensile polymer.
If your main goal is to protect your horses from unwanted predators, select a product that deters small vermin and determined coyotes from bothering your horses. Openings should be no larger than 2″x4″ to keep predators out.
What are the personality traits of your horses?
Are you caring for a young colt, a brood mare or a stallion? Is he active and rambunctious? Maybe she’s persistent – testing the strength of the fence? Are they mellow and content to graze, or easily bored? Does he tend to chew or constantly reach for something on the other side of the fence? Is she easily spooked by predators? The nature of your stable mates can help you determine the best solution for fencing. If you have a combination of personalities, be sure to build an enclosure that suits the highest need. A strong, fortified fence will protect them all.
How large will the enclosure be?
Begin your planning by determining the size and cost of your fence project. Red Brand has a handy online tool that maps out the area for your fence line and provides a cost for fencing materials. The free fence calculator uses GPS to locate your property and features a drawing tool to help estimate the amount of fence needed. You can even add gate placements to complete your project.
What is your all-in budget for your fence?
Fencing is typically 1/3 the cost of the entire project. You must also factor in gates, posts and bracing, tools, accessories, and labor. Also consider the cost of upkeep, repairs, and the time required to maintain the fence. If you don’t have time or resources to constantly repair failed fences, be sure to purchase a more affordable horse fencing option, but the best fence you can afford. It will pay off in the long run.
Does the appearance of the fence matter to you or your neighbors?
Aesthetics, local covenants or codes, and personal preference can all influence your decision on fence style and materials. An attractive, tidy fence line can be the source of great pride and can add substantial value to your property. A classic rail fence or v-mesh fence with a sight board are among the most popular and visually appealing.
What are the seasonal weather and soil conditions in your area?
Extreme temperature changes, salty air, overly dry conditions or soggy soil can all factor into the stability and longevity of your fence. Consider your unique environment when selecting fence materials and a bracing system. Materials react differently to heat, cold, and moisture, so be sure to study the characteristics of each horse fencing option or talk to your local fence dealer for recommendations. Corner posts should be made of treated wood or cement, based on soil conditions. Line posts are typically steel or wood and should be stable enough to handle the weight of the fence plus any animal pressure resulting from pushing or leaning.
Do you plan to install the fence yourself or hire a professional to do the work?
Installing a new fence is a significant investment, so be sure that the final product gives you the ultimate security and longevity you expect. Ask your local fence dealer for references or use Red Brand’s professional installer locator. If you choose to do the work yourself, you’ll find a library of useful videos and tips & tricks on the Red Brand website.
What do equine professionals say is the ultimate fence for safety?
Considered the safest horse fence, galvanized wire v-mesh features a woven pattern with no cut wires that could injure hides (learn more on selecting the best wire fencing for horses here). The wire is wrapped, or woven, in a vertical and horizontal pattern to create a tight 2-inch ‘v’ design that flexes on impact. This keeps your horses from climbing the fence and protects hooves from getting caught, while also preventing penetration by unwanted animals. Adding a sight board on the top provides a visual reminder of the fence line, and at the same time deters horses from reaching, or necking, over the fence. One more line of defense features a single line of electrified wire along the inside posts that provides a psychological barrier and prevents horses from challenging the fence or chewing the top board.
On the other end of the safety spectrum, it should be clearly understood that barbed wire is not recommended for use with horses.
COST AND LONGEVITY COMPARISON OF FENCE TYPES
Once you understand your ultimate goal for caring for your horses, compare the relative costs of these common fence materials to determine the right fit for your project. According to the University of Georgia, “the type of fence chosen depends on the priorities of the owner.” They compiled the chart below that outlines some general factors to consider when selecting a fence.
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