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Do you keep your horses in with electric fencing only?

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  • Do you keep your horses in with electric fencing only?

    Growing up we always did, but for some reason I am feeling paranoid about it lately.

    Most of the property is 3-board, but my neighbor very kindly lets me (and the people who owned this place before me--this fencing predated me) use an attached field, as he doesn't have horses and has enough grass to mow. That is fenced with T-posts and electric tape (3 strands, only the top one electrified).

    I find myself using it less and less, only when I'm going to be home and outside. It represents probably 1/3 of the good grass I have access to. Since I use it so little it is now by far the best grass.

    They have never escaped that field, but have gotten out generally a couple of times in the last 4 years. Both times they ran to neighboring farms, away from the road (very unhappy neighbors, but still safer) but we are not too far from a fast ish 2 lane road.

    Am I being silly?

  • #2
    Same here; when I was a kid and boarded in the country, everyone was kept in with just electric fence.

    I keep mine in with "just" e-fence and out of the front yard, but I also have a front perimeter Ramm fence, so if they got through the e-fence, they'd still be contained.

    I will say that there was a span of a few weeks where the e-fence was up, but not hot, and boy did those punks plow through it, knocking it entirely down in several places. The second I hooked it up, it hasn't been disturbed in the slightest. So I feel confident that they would never test it in their right minds. However, a panicked or excited-stupid horse would easily plow right through it. I think. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't take the chance.


    • #3
      Not too silly. I would't use it when I wasn't home until all three lines were electrified and I made sure it was very, very hot. I would also make sure my horses were electric fence trained. Then I would use the pasture.

      I have a pasture that I don't use all the time because it's not totally electrified. (It's under high tension wires and it pulls stray voltage making it very difficult to work with at times. Also, when it is hooked to the rest of the fence something weird happens and I loose voltage on all the fencing, so I just don't hook it up). So I use that pasture when I'm home or in the neighborhood so I can get home fast if a get a call about the horses being out.


      • #4
        I would electrify the other 2 strands and then I'd be comfortable. Only issue I've ever had with regular electric fencing is the gate not being hooked back up! Ugh!


        • #5
          Yes (answering the original question).
          My front sacrifice area was T-posts with electric tape until very recently. Used it for five years that way. A good hot fencer is your friend.
          My pasture (only grass area) is coated high tensile that is hot.


          • #6
            Yes and no. Tape scares me even though I use it, but I use the Eb rope right up at the edge of the road and the tape as a divider, or I have it in one spot as the fence near the house and if they go though it they end up in the orchard behind the house and there is only one way past the house. It's also two very hot strands because we hang it on the pig fence.

            There is another spot where I use tape for day grazing and they have broken through it, because it hasn't ever been energized. I don't feel they are going to put forth the energy to try to bust the rope, even when it is not energized, but the tape even I can break through. Anyway like I said, yes and no.
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible


            • #7
              electric fence is a great for internal fencing - but i would never keep my horses in it if it were the only fencing for the external property line fencing.

              property line fencing needs to be more substantial IMO.


              • #8
                The vast majority of the horses I've owned - no way, I need a more substantial fence for those times when there's a short or the power goes out.

                We used to have one small section of fence that was electric only, and one of my Arab geldings always seemed to know the second that the power went out, and he'd squeeze through the wires, and run back and forth across the back yard with his tail flagged until someone caught him and put him back in. Thank goodness he was too much of a weenie to actually leave the property. Most of the time he didn't stray more than 20 feet from the fence.

                My other Arab gelding was so terrified of the electric fence that I swear you could have fenced him in with bamboo stakes and baling twine. If it even looked like there was any possibility that it could maybe be electric, he wasn't touching it.

                At one point we had a charger that pulsed too slowly, and my Belgian Draft gelding would actually stand next to the fence, and grab mouthfuls from the other side between clicks and it didn't take long before he'd leaned on it enough to short it out, so that would be problematic if we hadn't had anything to back the electric up, though we did also have to get a new charger.

                We re-did the fence quite a while ago so that it's not all electric, and pulses faster, but my current horses are still pretty good at figuring out when it's not on, and my youngest mare is pretty hard on fences.

                So no, I don't keep my horses in with electric only, though I also don't keep them in without it. A combination seems to work the best for me. Something to keep them in when the power goes out or the fence shorts, and electric to keep them from trashing the regular fence with leaning, chewing, playing with the neighbors, and so on.
                "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                -Edward Hoagland


                • #9
                  All I have is 4 strands of horse guard fence. It holds horses, stallions, cattle and hogs. I've had very little trouble with it and its very safe.


                  • #10
                    I keep mine in 3 strand electric rope (Premier) with all strands electrified. I haven't had a problem, not even with deer going in and out of the paddocks. The only time I've had a fence semi-failure was when a tree limb dropped on top of the rope. Even then, the rope didn't break, just stretched to accommodate the limb, so the rest of the fencing was fine.

                    I don't know about tape. I've never used it.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                    • #11
                      My retired horse lives on a farm where some of the pastures are only 3-strand electrified polywire.

                      Since he'd been a show horse with limited turnout most of his life, I really wasn't sure if he would respect that stuff. Especially since it doesn't carry quite the charge that electrified wire does. But he's been very respectful of it; we've had no problems whatsoever with it.

                      We looked into electrified tape, but it REALLY does not do well in windy areas: it catches the wind and flaps around and ends up getting very stretched out. The polywire was perfect for us. And thank goodness retired Mr. Fancypants respects it, because I certainly couldn't afford to fence all that pasture with board fencing!


                      • #12
                        My perimeter fencing is 3 strand coated/tensioned wire (Gallagher) and my cross-fencing is 2 strand 1/2" tape. I'll be adding a 4th bottom strand to the perimeter fence to keep the da*@ mini-mule in in the next month. Otherwise we've never had a problem with horses breaching the perimeter (the mini mule rolls under). The tape, on the other hand, gets abused by the wind and frequently isn't that hot. It's not nearly as well respected.


                        • #13
                          Mine are in 3 strands of Horseguard. Love it.

                          I would not ever use the set up you described. For 1, t-posts need to be sleeved and capped around horses - JMHO. As well, electric fencing is only safe if it's HOT. Electric wire or tape that is not hot, plus raw t-posts, is begging for horses to start sticking heads and legs through it and demolishing themselves.
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                          • #14
                            You never know

                            I had a horse panic when he couldn't see "his" pony and he ran through two sections of 3-board fence, smashing it to smithereens, but stopped at my three strand electric horse guard tape fence. I keep all three strands electrified and hot. You just never know what might go through their minds.


                            • #15
                              I don't think you're silly.

                              You might consider a second layer of electric fence. That is, I have one horse that absolutely cannot be trusted in a single layer of electric, but she's unlikely to run through a second fence before I notice the issue. The nice thing is that the second layer can be set up to be fairly portable as well, and does not have to be expensive.

                              Horseguard has their portable fence kit that is pretty useful, and Premier1 has a really nice thick catalog that is everything electric fence, full not only of products but a multitude of ideas and tips about using it.
                              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                              • #16
                                Yes -- it stays hot and both have a healthy respect for anything REMOTELY resembling white tape.

                                Let's face it, horses will hurt themselves on a dang feather pillow, so IME, there is no appreciable safety difference between capped t-post/tape and board fencing (oh the snapped board carnage!). So you pick what you are most comfortable with. Even if I had board fencing, I would still put electric inside of it to keep the horses off, so either way, they're not going to touch that fence!

                                Quality and installation DOES matter with tape though. Do it right and it's fine, even in our hurricanes. If you don't bother, well, you get out what you put in.
                                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                We Are Flying Solo


                                • #17
                                  Electric is nice for interior paddocks, but I really prefer something a horse will literally bounce off of rather than run through as a perimeter fence.

                                  Keeping exterior electric fencing visible and hot at all times is a great theory, but doing so takes daily inspection. IME, it's a lot easier to have damaged by falling tree branches, lightning, or just having your fence charger randomly die than other kinds of fence.


                                  • #18
                                    Yes. I have over 30 acres of electric. Most of it tape. But the back pasture is wire with no charge. 17 years, many horses, and foals later. Only a couple escapes off property.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks for all the feedback.

                                      The T-posts are capped, the perimeter is all in plain view (though the tape is on the same circuit as the polywire I have inside the board fence in the other fields, so the circuit is not). My neighbor's property is not perimiter fenced. I have never seen them challenge it, but I am worried that they could run through it fairly easily--they love to charge around and stop at the last second. Agree that tape is not usually as hot as wire.

                                      I like the idea of a separate layer of electric fence. I suppose that would need to be on a separate circuit.


                                      • #20
                                        Electric fence alone makes me nervous.

                                        I have post and board (4 rail) with 5 strands of electric wire.