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PSA: don't use high-tensil smooth wire fence (graphic)

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  • PSA: don't use high-tensil smooth wire fence (graphic)

    DH's trainer has ridden this horse to some sort of roping finals competition four times in Vegas, but he belongs to someone else and normally lives with his owner.

    Owner has what's called New Zealand fence. From what they can tell, horse got running and slipped and slid into the fence... This is the aftermath:

    Under hind leg (yes, that's his femoral artery)

    And healed:

    Back out into competition

    IIRC, this happened in June? Anyways... there are safer fencing options out there.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

  • #2
    Yikes! I have been scared off from that fencing since a gelding I knew got his leg totally chewed up from getting tangled. It's been 10 years and the horse still stocks up badly if he's not worked.


    • #3
      Would never, ever keep a horse in that fencing.
      Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


      • #4
        Thanks for the photos. When my daughter lived in Blacksburg, VA for 4 years, many people kept their horses on pastures with high tensile wire. I had never seen the fencing before. Some people told us it was safe and we should consider it. Fortunately, our barn contractor was an experienced horse person, and he told us he had seen too many horses severely cut by high tensile wire. We put in wood fencing.


        • #5
          Never known anyone to have it that hasn't had at least one catastrophic injury. One gal I knew had two major injuries a year. One was her 2 year old stallion who made hamburger of his hind legs in it. Wouldn't touch it if it was free.


          • #6
            Yup, I've heard of stallions running through it and killing themselves trying to get to a mare (not sure why someone would keep a stallion in straight electric fencing anyway).

            That horse is really lucky he didn't open his fem. art. or that might be a whole different story you would have posted.

            I'm a big fan of electrical tape, or using a strand on top of board fencing to deter jumping the fence.


            • #7
              Ask around and you'll hear horror stories of every type of fence. Unfortunately the place we bought is all high tensile... I'd like to change it to woven wire in time. It's nasty stuff.

              I've had to put down a horse after an accident with electrobraid.

              That is an amazing recovery. I can't believe it sliced thorough his side like that, too!
              Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
              Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
              Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


              • #8
                That is so horribly frightening. This is why all our horse areas (one corral and two pastures) are fenced with polywire. This stuff is great. My Hackney pony slipped in the mud and slid through one of the cross fences years ago. Scared the crap out of me. He landed completely entangled in the polywire. He got up, shook himself, all the polywire shook off, and he calmly walked out into the pasture he'd slid into to graze. Not a mark on him, and he never showed any sign of injury.

                Any fence can cause an injury if you're just unlucky enough, of course. Had a deer jump our front pasture fence and twist a bit in flight. She somehow got a twist in the polywire, caught her leg, struggled and pulled it tight, and degloved her leg. Of course we weren't home when this happened. A school bus driver saw it, called the sheriff, who sent someone out who shot the poor thing. Luckily she didn't suffer long. But this was a freak accident, and I don't think it could happen except when an animal jumped the fence. My old horses aren't jumping anywhere.

                Had huge problems disposing of the deer carcass after that--it sat too long for any of my venison loving friends to be able to accept it. None of the predator rescues would take it for food. The county wouldn't touch it because it was on my land, even though their employee shot it (not that he had a choice). My husband finally moved it down to the path the coyotes use, and it was gone in a day. I was down in that area driving my big pony on a trail a day later, and all we found was a random leg (that he jumped over, no less--rather disconcerting when driving).



                • #9
                  Our old vet used to tell us he treated many fence injuries in horses, but the worst of all was tensile wire, way worse than barbed wire.

                  His opinion, horses didn't seem to feel tensile wire, so they kept on going or fighting being caught in it, while barbed wire has bite to it and so is respected more.


                  • #10
                    I arrived at my friend's barn just in time to find her mare standing with rear leg skin ripped hock to fetlock on the front side. Mare had kicked thru the fence and got hung up. It was VERY expensive and time consuming, mare was sound but scarred. Hate that kind of fencing! but then again, you hear horror stories with ALL kinds of fencing.


                    • #11
                      Jeebus. Poor thing.

                      I do have to say, the "after" scars were not as bad as I expected seeing the before damage.


                      • #12
                        I also knew a vet who said he'd prefer to see a horse fenced in barbed wire to the smooth high tensile- that the injuries were much worse.

                        PS- I can't bring myself to look at the pics.


                        • #13
                          While of course the injuries are horrible, I have to say I have seen HORRIFIC injuries from post and board fence. And split rail fence. And electrobraid fence.

                          If we never used anything that badly injured a horse, most of our stuff would be unusable.

                          Our current BO has kept horses in HT for decades with no significant fence injuries. Those fences are also HOTTER THAN BEJEEZUS.

                          About the only fence I will NOT use is barbed wire (naturally). I also insist on a HOTTTT strand or two of tape inside any fencing (currently HT) that my horses are in. They have a very healthy respect for tape and will not go near it.

                          I'm glad to hear the horse recovered and it's always a good reminder to be as safe as you can when keeping horses!!!
                          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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


                          • #14
                            I'm not sure if it was HT, but I have a friend whose horses lost a leg from some sort of electric fencing. The story shook me for days after she told me the first time.

                            We have electric braid...it stretches and we've had run trough's with *knock on wood* nothing but broken insulators and posts.


                            • #15
                              Years ago, I boarded at a barn that had some high tensile wire fencing separating a couple of the fields. A portion of the fence was also electric, but I can't remember if it was the high tensile part or if it was maybe an electric wire across the top.

                              Anyway, one 4th of July I went out there to ride my mare, and I heard horses squealing at each other from behind the indoor arena where this section of fencing was. It kept up for a few minutes, and then I heard some thrashing, and horses freaking out. I jumped off my mare and ran to the door in the back of the indoor and I saw one horse on the ground with his hind leg trapped between two strands of the high tensile wire. Because there was an electric fence, he was also being zapped while his hind leg was systematically being ripped to shreds. Nobody else was at the barn, and I had no clue where the box was in order to turn off the electric wire. I threw my horse back in her stall as fast as I could and started calling numbers on the barn list. Finally the BM showed up, then the neighbor with wire cutters, and then the owner of the horse. They ended up taking him to Morven Park where I believe he remained for at least a month, and he was never sound enough to be ridden again. That incident alone was enough for me to never want to board anywhere that uses that kind of wire again.
                              "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


                              • #16
                                Guess I would want more details on the fence system they had with the High Tensile wire. Just because a certain kind of wire is used, doesn't mean that the WIRE ITSELF is at fault. The High Tensile fence injuries I have seen, heard of and investigated, ALL had some installation errors, faulty part of the fence system, that led to the horse getting into the wires.

                                Most common problem? Not enough strands of wire. 2-3-4 stands of wire are NOT enough to make a correctly constructed High Tensile fence. From the original New Zealand Fence Co., horses are recommended to have EIGHT strands of wire on every line of fence. Who do you know that has eight strands in a high tensile fence?

                                Second common problem? Too many animals contained in too small of a space. You can NOT EXPECT to have 5-8 horses in a small paddock/barnyard of a half acre with ANY kind of fence and not get in trouble. Depending on the horses, lively and playful, 3or 4 can be too many! Yet I see that kind of horse keeping commonly, and the whines about injuries with ALL fences as the low guy is pushed into corners and fights to get away from dominant horse.

                                Third problem? Wire is NOT ALWAYS hot, had some issue that prevented the wires being hot. And though owner, BM, other folks know or knew it, NO ONE FIXED the problem of no electric on all the fences. Horses got pushy reaching thru, or leaning on wire, get hurt. No REASON to back away from smooth wire!

                                Fourth problem? Horses on both sides of a single wire dividing spaces. Horses fighting over wire, getting caught or tangled in it.

                                A horse falling and sliding under a fence is rare, unexpected, and not anything you can build or design fence to prevent. Just wonder how much worse horse wounds could have been with hooves going thru woven farm fence, letting him fight that before being found?

                                As mentioned, horses can and WILL get hurt on any kind of fence that is built. I also thought the healed scars looked darn good, were healing well. Horse is usable, COMPETITIVE again, which isn't always the case in fence wrecks of ANY kind. And in such a SHORT TIME span!! Great compliments to the care giver of the horse and their wound management!! Terrific work on his care.

                                Choose whatever kind of fence you want to own. But before slamming HT, ask the questions above, find out the details of fence setup. PEOPLE are the ones who often shortcut the "recommended" directions installing fences, so horse is the one who suffers for it. Didn't use adequate number of wires or rails, posts too far apart, electric is underpowered or not working right, over crowding in horse numbers on small spaces. All these things greatly raise the possibility of injuries to the animals being contained.

                                I know folks who hate vinyl rails, wood rails or board fences, after their horses got badly hurt on them. The HT wounds look horrific, but healed NICELY, which has been the case on horses I have dealt with. Does take work to get that good healing, and TIME to close the wounds. Not a lot of folks willing to put in that time and effort, so then they point at horse and say "Look what HT did to my horse". Could have healed better, if they had put in time caring for it. Too much work stalling and shoveling for stall bound horse.

                                HT is an effective fence, easy care, low maintenance way to keep horses. But you have to do it right, no shortcuts. I have had HT for years, would buy it again if we needed land fenced. HT fence is a farm tool, and like any tool, how well it works depends on how you use it.


                                • #17
                                  Those wounds healed beautifully ---however they were treated, it was done right, that's for sure.


                                  • #18
                                    Somebody down the street from me had a horse that ran through his wood fencing in a thunderstorm and impaled himself badly enough that he had to be euthanized. He had lived there a few years but had lost about half his vision to uveitis about 6 months before.

                                    Like many people have said horses can find ways to hurt themselves on any type of fencing.

                                    Bluey tends to prefer barbed wire to HT. She lives in Texas where the pastures are probably hundreds of acres. I could see were BW is more cost effective and easier to maintain than HT, 2x4 no climb or any electric fence. HUGE pastures make it less likely a horse will be crowded into the barbed wire by another horse.

                                    Me, I would be really hard pressed to keep a horse where there is any barbed wire. I almost lost my appy filly to BW. She cut her neck pretty badly on it. Vet tells me 1/4 of an inch and she would have bled out. But in our area we have much smaller paddocks and pastures.

                                    What works for fencing in one application or area of the country may not be practical in other situations. I think the most important part of fencing is that it is installed correctly and is well maintained.
                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                                    • #19
                                      When I was 18 my horse spooked and ran through a 5 board wooden fence. I watched him bleed to death in front of me while I waited for the vet.

                                      My current barn has the Ram flex fence. My dumb ass mare rolled right underneath it one day and got stuck. Thankfully they were able to take down that section and get her out - plus the horses practically bounce off that stuff. I can only imagine what would have happened if that fence had been wire or boards.

                                      Horses will find a way to kill and maim themselves no matter where you put them. Mine could probably take an eye out in a padded room if she tried!


                                      • #20
                                        My one experience with high tensile wire and a horse is pretty memorable. I was about 14. We were at a venue of a pony club rally. There had been an event the weekend before at the same venue, so we stayed the week. My mom, for some reason, was volunteered to take care of another kid and her horse for the week. One morning my mother comes running into the camper saying that the girl's horse wasn't in his stall. So we went searching for this horse everywhere, we ended up finding him in a back field way off in the distance far away from any horses, that was so weird. He ended up fracturing his elbow(open fracture) and multiple contusions on the same side of his body. We figured that he tried to jump the fence and didn't make it. He unfortunately had to be put down. I still wonder to this day what that horse was thinking running that far from any horses. I also double lock my horses stalls and double check because of that. My mom says that she still has a hard time talking to that family (it was about 20 years ago when this happened).
                                        Last edited by three_dayer; Oct. 13, 2013, 06:56 PM. Reason: grammer