What type of fencing should I choose for my horses?
Electric or wooden fencing? Many horse owners face this choice when planning for a new fence.
Electric fence or wooden fence? Many horse owners face this choice when planning for a new fence. They often opt for electric fencing, which is less expensive than traditional wooden fences. However, the latter have a number of advantages, not least of which is its stability. Therefore, combining the two types of fence might be the best option.
Electric fencing for horses
An electric fence is not always reliable. A battery that discharges when it comes into contact with grass, a wire that comes out of the insulator because of the wind, a broken battery or broken wires - many horse owners have already experienced this kind of misfortune. Despite regular inspections and adequate maintenance, those problems can happen at any time, and horses have a particular gift to sense them. Unlike wooden fencing, which offers an almost infallible protection, electric fences are not entirely reliable.
The risk of escape is real. It is much easier for horses to break through an electric fence than through a wooden one. An electric fence is not an impressive visual obstacle, it is almost invisible to their eyes. If a horse escapes or tries to, it could be hurt or remain hung up in the wires. That risk increases in hot weather conditions, when the wires loosen. Not to mention that the owner will be held responsible in case of damage and will have to pay all the costs caused by his horse. Obviously, there is no such thing as zero risk, even with wooden fences. Some horses would try, for instance, to push the rails to get out of the paddock.
Depending on the type of posts chosen (plastic or steel), electric fencing has a much longer lifespan than wood, which eventually starts to degrade. What is more, a horse will not push against an electrified fence as it soon realises that it is better not to touch the wires.
It is also important to remember that it is much easier and quicker to install an electric fence. This is one of the reasons why this system is also almost always used for mobile fencing, for example to create temporary enclosures.
Wooden fencing for horses
Ideal for preventing vandalism and theft. An electric fence will not stop ill-intentioned people or vandals. To destroy it, they only need some basic and easy transportable tools. On the other hand, a wooden fence is much more resistant. Given the price of some competition horses the type of fencing should be chosen carefully.
Wood is a beautiful, natural material that can be used to create magnificent fences which blend harmoniously into the surrounding landscape and enhance the aesthetic appeal of equestrian facilities. Wooden fencing also comes in a range of colours for an even more attractive appearance.
Electrified wooden fencing
Although electric fencing sometimes has its drawbacks, it can be extremely useful when combined with a wooden fence, acting as a reinforced security measure for the wooden fence.
The advantages of a combined wooden and electric wire fence
- Avoids horses biting on salt-impregnated wood.
- Prevents horses from pushing against the rails, which increases the lifespan of the fence.
- Keeps horses secure in the event of a power cut.
How do I electrify a wooden fence?
One electric tape or wire is enough to dissuade horses from escaping. It needs to be as high as the highest wooden fence rail. There are various options regarding which wire to choose:
- Tapes are more noticeable, but because of their higher wind load, they easily slip out of the isolators. Various width and colours are available. They are more easily affected by snow, too.
- Ropes are easier to install, but less noticeable. There are various diameters, starting from 6 mm. Ropes are more affordable and more resistant, which can be a disadvantage since they will not break if a horse gets tangled up in them.
Isolators and energisers, what to choose?
Isolators are to be fixed directly on the posts. Choose a sliding and readjustable system, since electric wires stretch and loosen according to the weather. If the paddock is near a house, the energiser can be directly mains powered. Otherwise, opt for a battery energiser, which you will need to check regularly. There are two types of battery energiser systems:
- Rechargeable energisers, which are much more powerful than battery energisers and can therefore supply longer fences. They sometimes have a solar panel.
- Energisers with an internal battery (12V) are not rechargeable and have a limited lifespan (around 150 days). They are less powerful than rechargeable energisers. The fence supplied will thus be smaller. In addition, battery energisers discharge very quickly upon contact with plants.
As this comparison shows, a wooden horse fence fitted with an electrified system is the system with the most advantages.
- It offers the best aesthetics.
- It has a longer lifespan because horses will no longer bite or push against the wood.
- Maximum effectiveness: a solid visual barrier, plus a deterrent electrical protection system.
- Optimum security against intruders and escaping animals (even in the event of a power cut).
Before we finish, here is some more practical information about electrifying your wooden horse fence:
- Run the lower wire 15-20 cm from the ground.
- Leave a maximum gap of 20 cm between 2 wires or between the wire and the wooden rail.
- At the very least, run a wire along the top of the fence to prevent a horse trying to get over it.
- Recommended voltage of at least 4500 volts on the conductors.
- Energiser with pulse energy of at least 1.5 J.
To round off, we would also like to make it clear that horses should not get their hooves tangled in the wires, for example, when they are rolling around on the ground. Choose a very taut wire or one that will break easily to ensure the animal's welfare.
Given the wide range of options available to future owners, we visit the site of the future fence to provide you with the best possible advice.
Do you have any questions? Please feel free to contact us without obligation.