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Pasture Alongside Road

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  • Pasture Alongside Road

    Hi CoTH, paranoid horse mom here. *waves*

    I'm moving my mare to a winter facility in a month. I'm quite happy with the decision, however there is one thing that makes me a bit uneasy: her pasture fence line is alongside a road. Not a busy road, but a road nonetheless. She's been boarded with pastures NEAR the road, but never on the road for any amount of time.

    So, the facts:

    - Pasture is about 2 acres and she'll be out 24/7. It's smaller than she's used to, but big enough that she can get away from her pasture mates (2 of them) if she needs to.
    - Fencing is electric, which she is used to. She's respectful of fences, never had an issue with trying to escape before (even when she was confined for an injury and saw her buddies were enjoying bigger spaces). The barn manager said the fences should always be live, and I will check into that.
    - She will be wearing a halter full time, cheap leather in case she gets caught up. I'm putting two plates on it, one with my contact info and one with my coach's as he's local to the area and I'm not. You know, just in case she gets out.

    Anyway, any other things I may not have thought of, or advice telling me to relax, would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I have had horses pastured next to a road for many years without any problem. I always made sure the fence was maintained and the horse was trained to respect it. Even though I had horses pastured there for about 15+ years without any issues (I have since moved a few towns over) the neighbors have not been so fortunate. They do not maintain their fences and within the past few years 2 horses have been hit and killed and people injured. So this is a tough one and wish I could offer some sort of solid advice but I say go with your gut feeling but remember its pretty rare those kind of accidents occur.


    • #3
      I have pastures next to our road (speed limit 65.) However, the fencing is 3 board wood with no climb wire mesh. I don't think I would want to have a pasture with electric fence right next to a road.


      • #4
        Well, there are different types of electric fence and they can vary a lot in how well they work and how much of a barrier they can be. I have been at a barn where the fence was a single line of maybe-hot electric wire on those step-in temp posts (so about 3' high) (no, my horse wasn't in there!), or there are all sorts of electric rope and tape products, and all sorts of ways of installing.

        Me, I doubt I'd be comfortable with just electric, no matter what type, between my horse and a road. I'd really rather have something more sturdy and always "on" (no need for electricity). Power goes out, ground is bad, things break...last barn I was at (once again thank my lucky stars I no longer board!) had no idea how electric fencing worked and I fixed it constantly. That after rescuing the BO's horse that was walking through the non-hot rope to graze and had it around his legs when I arrived! I was constantly checking and fixing that fence just to keep my own horses safe until we left.

        So if you do go there, as our former CIA neighbor says, "trust, but verify." I'd be checking the fence myself, often. And, no, just because the charger clicks, it does NOT mean all the fence is hot (a conversation I've had way too many times with people who should have known better).


        • #5
          That would definitely make me nervous, especially since the fence is not sturdy. A flimsy fence makes it easy for the horses to get out and easy for thieves or pranksters to get in (or let the horses out). But then, I have two in a pasture on a dead-end street and I worry. I also worry that someone might drive by and shoot them. The only thing is that we get only local traffic there, and very little at that, which limits the horses' exposure to weirdos, but I still worry. If it were my own property, I would put up a solid hedge of evergreen trees as a physical barrier to keep the horses in, and as a visual barrier to keep them out of sight of crazy people.

          Obviously, the worries I have are not strong enough to prevent me from boarding there, because the benefits outweigh my fears which may be totally unreasonable. But then again...
          "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina


          • #6
            I have pastures and paddocks along a busy road. We have 4 rail oak fencing with three rails of horse guard in between the boards, so basically 7 rails of fencing. I still won't allow horses to stay out on the road over night. Why? It's not keeping them in, its the drivers who can't keep their vehicles on the road. I have been here 14 yrs. and have had at least 8 cars or trucks through our fence. Luckily, I have several pastures away from the road for night turn out. So, to answer your question, I would be leery of the situation.
            I have some pasture horses out 24/7 that I let out on the road side during the day, but I herd them through a gate to another area that I have fenced off for the night.


            • #7
              It would depend entirely on the quality of the fences. If it was several electric strands on solid (e.g. wooden) posts and a hot charger, I would feel very differently about it than three strands of loose white tape on 5' t-posts, or 4' step in posts on a solar charger....

              I have roadside pasture but have solid fencing (pounded posts, 2x4 non-climb wire and a top rail.). My roadside pasture gates are also padlocked.

              I think it is possible to have electric on a road, but I would have very high standards for the fencing.


              • #8
                IME electric fence is safe for temporary interior fencing, and for certain horses and with scrupulous maintenance can be excellent for long term interior fencing. It can be an excellent adjunct to a permanent fence. However, electric fence alone is NOT an adequate barrier between horses and a road or in any situation where there is no further perimeter fence that would stop horses from having access to a road (or other dangerous areas). I've had horses respect electric fence beautifully for months and then suddenly figure out how to get through it. There's no shock if the horse runs through it so fast that it is broken in between pulses. There's no shock if the horse jumps through it and doesn't have any feet on the ground when they hit it. Sometimes, the grass on the other side is worth a quick shock. Sometimes in the heat of a scary moment, it's worth a shock to get away from something that looks like it eats horses. And then sometimes the fence works great for a while and everyone relaxes and the fence stops working and the horses are the first ones to figure it out.

                Be aware that if your horse gets out on a road and causes an accident the results could be horrifying--brutally maimed horse, injured or killed drivers/passengers, and lawsuits and lasting guilt. Saving a few dollars by choosing a boarding situation with inadequate fencing probably isn't worth the risk.


                • Original Poster

                  Well now I'm a fair bit more nervous. I've heard horror stories of loose horses + cars before, but had convinced myself that they were flukes and the electric fencing would be fine. Now I'm not so sure...

                  Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
                  Saving a few dollars by choosing a boarding situation with inadequate fencing probably isn't worth the risk.
                  Not that it really matters, but I'm not considering this place because it's cheaper, I wouldn't be saving money at all. I was going to move her for the indoor.


                  • #10
                    In some states electric fence is considered "temporary fencing" and your insurance might not cover you for damages to property and/or injuries if the horses escape. I'd be worried about the fence being on ALL the time or just "probably"!! I, personally, would want my horses behind something more permanent than electric fence...which we all know CAN fail at times!!
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                    • #11
                      My neighbor across the street had electric and one of their horses got out and got hit by a car. I don't trust electric as a perimeter fence. I do use it on occasion for inside my 3 board paddocks when I need to though, but they've gone through that when they have sheets on.

                      I live on a paved road and the one nice thing about it is that my horses don't blink an eye at school buses, big trucks, or sirens blaring down the road. So that part I like...

                      But I have 3 board brand new fencing around my property....
                      For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com


                      • #12
                        Okay, I'll be the last kid standing on the playground here...

                        My horses are pastured in a 3 acre field RIGHT next to a dirt road. The fence: 1 strand electric on ...wait for it....fiberglass posts. You know, the cheap ones you buy at Tractor Supply. The length of fence that borders the road is this, the other three sides are 5 strand gallagher fence on wooden posts.

                        It's never been an issue.

                        Prior to this pasture they were pastured in a 4 acre field with...wait for it again...4 strand barbed wire

                        Again, never a problem.

                        If the area is big enough so they aren't crowding each other into the fence, or big enough that they can spook and run away from something they think it going to eat them, without quickly coming up on a fence, you should be fine.

                        Not everyone can afford a wooden fence with no-climb mesh. Many a horse has lived in a pasture next to a road and gotten by just fine.

                        I would not let this setup deter me from boarding here, if the fences that are there seem to be adequate (i.e. not falling down and are indeed electric all the time)
                        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                        • #13
                          my mare has been in a pasture next to the road for 5+ years. For that matter, the barn is probably a 100' off the same road. Not a big deal. They did get out once because a gate that is never used was open. They have PVC fencing, which is pretty easily disassembled by ponies. However, those ponies are generally more prone to take it a part on the back side, going into the other field, not the road side.

                          I never give it any thought that they are maybe 10' from the road frequented by semis. It just isn't a problem.
                          Visit my Spoonflower shop


                          • #14
                            No gates

                            I would be okay with horses in a well maintained electric as long as the horses were good together and there was not a lot of changing of horses. However. I have known a gate to be opened by kids along a road. The horses were out and a few were killed. So no gate or anything that looks like a gate along a road way. Tuck the gates inside the property. I have a fence on a dirt road but the fence and the horses are screened by trees and foliage. If not I was willing to double fence...place a second fence line 15 feet inside the perimeter fence. Horses an go through this stuf easy as pie. Horses will chase others through a fence. PatO


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                              Not everyone can afford a wooden fence with no-climb mesh. Many a horse has lived in a pasture next to a road and gotten by just fine.

                              I would not let this setup deter me from boarding here, if the fences that are there seem to be adequate (i.e. not falling down and are indeed electric all the time)
                              I agree with you - hard fencing is expensive. And at your home, having a perimeter fence with plastic step-in posts and electric is your choice...but if a boarding barn can't do better than just "not falling down", then I would have problems.

                              Multi-strands of hot electric with pounded or driven corner posts (at least), and frequent fenceline posts (e.g. 8-10 feet apart, not 15 feet apart) that were either wood or something like 6' T-posts pounded in, would be acceptable to me.

                              Yes: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4141/...f08735d27d.jpg


                              The pounded posts in this one are great but even from this bad angle it looks like the posts are too far apart, only two strands, and therefore they are not really even tight.


                              • #16
                                I have 200 feet of road frontage with electric, Electrobraid on t-posts, three strands. What I worry about are people tossing crap over the fence, which hasn't happened yet, and stray bullets during deer season, knock on wood hasn't happened yet. There is also the possibility of a driver running off the road but we are dead straight here with a little curve above us and below us that are likely to see the drunks going off there.

                                I like the rope because it functions as a fence even when the power is off, but years ago I had three strands of barbless and if it isn't taut and the posts aren't close together the horses will figure it out and begin to eel their way through if they think there is anything better on the other side. I use tape for interiors and subdivisions but would not consider it for a roadside fence. I watched the neighbor's cows calmly plow through two strands of non electrified tape, it doesn't have any tensile strength, not even as much as the rope.

                                I have kind of a mental flow chart that starts with the basics, which is the fence and it's construction and how well it is maintained. Then there are additional questions like whether it is shared or on a road and then more questions such as whether there are other horses on the other side of a shared fence or whether the road has a dangerous curve or intersection etc etc.

                                I would have to see the fence to say whether I felt it was safe or unsafe.
                                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                Incredible Invisible