HORSES and ELECTRIC FENCES
QUESTION: We just bought our acreage last year and have been keeping our three horses in the pens that were already here. Then we tried putting them out of the pens by putting up an electric fence fastened onto the trees but they just crash through it and always get out. What do we do to stop this?
ANSWER: This happens quite a bit actually. Mostly with young horses or horses who have been confined in a very small area (lacking sufficient exercise) or horses who have no respect for fences to start with (have been kept in poor fencing where they learned to lean over it, push on it, etc.)
Some electric fencing is little more than plastic coated fine wires for carrying the currant. It may be fairly visible (colored) but wouldn't stop a poodle for strength when hit. There is also superior electric fence on today’s market but must be installed correctly for maximum safety and benefit.
I use high tensile, smooth steel wire that can't be crashed through. But do install "Break-aways" to prevent a tangled horse from getting injured in high tensile smooth wire.
Until a horse learns to respect electric fencing, a single strand of wire does not work. It must be three to four strands at normal height and spacing for horses. Otherwise they go through it, go under it or over it.
If not highly visible, use a roll of "flagging tape" and flag it every couple of feet for higher visibility. And make sure the electrical currant is full strength, not being partially grounded out by touching high grass or live trees, etc. Buy the correct rubber/plastic attachments for posts, etc. to prevent most of the currant being lost. Make sure the size of the area is large enough that the horses have freedom of movement and that a dominant horse doesn’t cause one of the others to have to hit the fence to get away from it.
Walk them around the perimeter of their new territory so they can see where the fence is. Make sure they have been exercised before hand so they don’t crash through by accident when turned loose and start running and playing.