Using existing wood and tposts with 15' post spacing...ways to make it safe?
First, I'm so sorry for another fencing thread (from me), but I could really use your advice.
Second, I won't pretend that I'm doing this for recycling purposes--I'm trying to save $
I'm looking for a 10 year solution (maybe the posts last longer, maybe not). This will not be the main pasture or used for foals.
Along the highway I have fencing that is in suprisingly good shape (the rest is shot). Someone suggested the state replaced it when they did culverts, I have no idea. Anyway, it is 2 strand barbwire over sagging 6" field fence. The stuff in good shape is the posts. Rotating wood and t-posts set about 15' apart. The t-posts are 4' above the ground the wood a bit taller.
There is around 475 feet of this and I really would like to come up with something to do that used the existing posts.
The Centaur t-post covers look nice, but they say that you should use one inch tape or less, and if I use tape it is HorseGuard and 1.5" wide.
Also, can you attach a t-post cover that is taller than the t-post? Most are 54" to the 48-50" t-posts. Help!
What I'm thinking about doing is top down: tape, something, something, tape, something. Thinking the bipolar? "Something" could be barbless or coated wire. It looks like the Ramm coated is ok on 15' posts (although not ideal) but the Centaur is a thicker product and not recommended for 15'. Ramm's shipping is coming out ridiculously high though.
I am not comfortable relying on an electric-only fence to contain animals along the highway, so straight tape is out. I'm not sure if the corner braces are good enough for field fence and I want something DIY. Also this is a relatively hilly area. Welded wire fencing would be easier, but I understand the negatives.
While I will eventually replace it all, if I could use the existing posts for now, that would be awesome. What have other people done? Anyone use t-post covers that are taller and how can you make sure they are absolutely secure?
As an aside, I'm stressing over what to do with my own place, my horse is currently boarded behind wood and tposts (with no covers) and plain high tinsile wire (which is what 90% of the fencing is around here). There is some irony there.
I don't like high tensile wire myself, but if you are comfortable with it, that's different. I would reccommend Electrobraid. It's what I would use. It's an electric rope, put up with a tensioner. You can definitely do 15' apart with Electrobraid. I would think maybe two strands of the tape for visibility from a distance and two strands of Electrobraid would answer what you want except it would be electric everything.
I find as long as I keep the fence HOT (ie NEVER turn it off) my horses are great with it. We don't own our own place yet, but in a series of rentals with sub-par fencing, we've "beefed it up" by adding Electrobraid on plain T-posts with toppers to contain our crew. (Which does incluce foals, yearlings, two-year olds, and older horses, all very playful TBs)
First, I'd consider that there are no horses on the other side of this fence and that there is a highway there. You are looking for the cheapest way to have a reasonably safe fence using what you already have.
Add the 30 or so t-posts that you need between the 15 foot existing posts (on craigs list about $2 to $3 each. Put up 4 foot no-climb horse fence (a little more than $1 per foot). Put tops on the t-posts and run one strand of electric tape. The full t-post covers look better but it is only the top of the t-post that is dangerous. When you use the full covers, you add the connectors to them - that's how you attach the tape. There are two screws on each connector.
Most of our pastures and some of the paddocks are fenced with t-posts and occasional wood posts (where the Z braces are installed). The fence is barbless wire, what the farm store grandly calls 2 ply cable <g>. We have had it in place since 1989 and have not had any injuries from the fence itself. We have the top and bottom wires put in on insulators and they are connected to the electric fence charger. The middle wire is held with clips and is "cold".
We use Dare brand t-post toppers and have found the black ones last longer than the yellow or white. My DH says that sunlight degrades the black plastic more slowly. We have found that we have to electrify the wire held by the toppers or the horses will pry the caps off of the posts. I would suggest you put in corner braces (either Z or H works well) and use wire strainers or springs to keep tension on the fence or it will sag and need to be restrung.
Again, we have had the fence in place for nearly 25 years now and it serves the purpose without horse injury. We originally chose our fencing for economic reasons as well. We had the home 40 acres needing fencing and, even though it is square, it takes miles of fence to enclose. Still, with the experience we have had, I would do it the same way again.
I would take down the barb wire, pull the field fence up until it is snug, then top it with Horse Guard. The Safe Fence t post covers work well, you just screw insulators into the plastic. We have a few here and they have been fine. It is OK if they are taller than the t post. If you are trying to save $$ you could also just put caps on the t posts. Horse Guard is fine with 15' between posts.
Thank you for the info. Also, I didn't know that about black plastic vs. other colors. Interesting!
I am taking down the barb and old field fence (sagging and the holes are too big), just to be clear. And I don't like smooth strand high-tinsile at all, I'm just mocking my ability to ignore that fact for now, while I stress about a fence that doesn't yet exist. I guess it is good to stress about what you can control and not about what you can't!
Thank you for answering the t-post cover question! The additional height would make me feel better too. 4 feet just seems too short.
When doing long runs of field fence I'm thinking it would be much easier to terminate every so often vs. splicing--thoughts? Stuff is heavy. Then you would need more braces at each termination though, correct?
Anyone use field fence and leave it off the ground a bit so you can mow? Maybe I'm defeating the purpose then...
If I use field fence I think I would run two strands of horseguard to keep them off it (seems like a nice butt scratcher to me?) and to keep it going all around (I'm using 3 board on the north and west line by the house and was going to run tape to keep the beaver horses at bay). Or maybe a second strand on the field fence isn't really necessary?
My road frontage is 48" field fence, with the bottom set 8" off the ground (measured when connected at each post) so I can mow under it. The gap underneath doesn't look very big, and the horses have never bothered it (cows, on the other hand...)
A bigger problem than butt-scratching was trying to lean over the fence to graze, so a hot wire along the top is a really good idea. I used the white, plastic t-post caps sold by the bagful at TSC. They're really thick and heavy and show no signs of wear after 8 years, even the ones I've had to tap off posts with a hammer so the post can be re-set.
For the cost of most of those fancy t-post covers, I could buy wood posts! I covered my t-posts around the pond with PVC. I took a chunk of t-post to the electric supply store to see which size pipe would fit best, then cut the pipe to length. To keep the wire (I used hi-tensile) where it belonged on the post, I cut a small groove in the PVC for the HT to sit it and used wire wraps like you'd attach wire to a t-post. Very inexpensive since I used old t-posts pulled from other places on the farm and works just fine- it would be prettier if I put PVC caps on the posts.
The opening on T-Sleeve covers (Centaur) is exactly 1.5 inches. It's a tight fit
for Horseguard...the tape would need to be keep nice and tight so it doesn't slip
WE recommend setting the t-posts an inch or two lower than the height of the
T-Sleeve as they tend to settle down around the t-post, so some space is a good thing. Otherwise, the t-post can end up popping the top, at least on the old style like I have. The new ones have caps that snap on.
If you want higher you can order extras and cut into 6 or 12 inch lengths, put
them on the bottom and full sleeve on top. There is hole in the bottom of the sleeve to ad a set screw so the sleeve doesn't move or down on the t-post.
PM me and will see about having you sent a sample T-sleeve.
If it is along a highway, you may want to check what the "legal" definition of a fence is for your area.
legal fence is 48" high minimum 4 strands barb wire, or exactly what I have (also why I think the state built this one when they did the culvert perhaps) 32" high 6" squares field fence with two strands of bar wire above it 48" high total
Oh and five strands minimum high tensile (54") if fencing buffalo, I believe.
Obviously horse safety wasn't really the focus and I'm sure the non-buffalo laws predate any type of vinyl or coated wire fencing options.