Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Is the Best Fence For You?

What type of fence do you use for your horses?

That is the ultimate question for horse homes, isn't it? It's a balancing act between functionality, safety, affordability, beauty, longevity, and practicality.

When we bought this home, a house in a field and nothing else, we really hoped we'd find some wonderful fencing for cheap. We'd hear our friend's stories about the $$$ they'd spend fencing--$20,000....$30,000....and up, and the smoke started coming out of our ears. Surely, we thought, there must be a better, cheaper way.

Initially, there was--it's called HOTWIRE. I love it. If you have a great charger and some 17 gauge--you can fence in the whole city for under $1,000. (Not including posts). But even hotwire has its issues--like horses who don't respect it--yes, I'm talking about you, Cowboy! At the end of the summer when everything's dry and the charge goes down, we'll find Cowboy out on our front lawn some mornings.

So, for the permanent fence (the fence we'll be working on for the next 20 years), we opted for treated wood--4x4 posts and 2x6 rails with two strands of electric running on the inside. Here are the reasons:

1. Functionality--This type of design is strong enough to create a barrier for the horses with the added electric to keep them from pushing into it to scratch or reaching over for green grass.

2. Safety--there is no way to impale themselves, get their necks or legs through or otherwise hurt themselves.

3. Affordability--Posts were about $8.00 and three 8' rails each at $6.00 plus a bag of concrete. All and all, about $28.00 per 7'. We just finished about another 500', and each year, as we can, we add more. Doing the labor ourselves, we found this to be the most cost effective fence.

4. Beauty--It looks rustic and should last a long time. It matches our home and , since, it's treated, it doesn't need to be painted each year.

5. Longevity--They say it should last at least 20 years--maybe more, if we keep it up.

6. Practicality--Our property has a lot of basalt rock. There are portions of it where the fence would run, so at these points, we had to have either a jackleg fence or some version of one. Our version was to put posts where we could and where we couldn't, my husband braced the post and poured a concrete base that melded to the slope and form of the rock.

This is the best fence for us, but what I've learned is, what's good for one horse property is NOT always good for another. There are as many different fences as horses out there. Every day my husband and I go for a walk around the neighborhood, we inspect the varied fencing techniques of our neighbors--all different--all seem to work pretty good.

Besides fencing, we are riding the trails a bit now. It's hot, so you almost have to do it early in the morning. I'm going to pull our horse trailer into the outdoor riding area this week so I can work on loading with Beautiful--it's something I haven't had to do much of since I got her--so it's about time I concentrate on it. I'll probably do it on one of the days my husband's home so he can help me. Now that we're mostly through with the projects, I'm hoping to enlist his help in working with the younger ones. Working with the horses is more fun when he's doing it with me.

Riagan, the Irish Wolfhound, is four months old now. Last week she started to accompany us to the barn off the leash. She knows not to go in with the horses. The only one who really seems interested in her is Beautiful. Beautiful is a very curious horse and she gets attached to the barn cats and the dogs.

I'm going to head out and see her now. The sun will start to go down soon and it will cool off--the best time of the day to be out there.


  1. It's been really hot here on the east coast too, routinely in the 90s and humid. We get a break for a day or two, then back up the temp goes :/

    How interesting that Beautiful bonds with the animals more so than the other horses. Do you suppose it's because she was wild, and has a different essence than the others in connecting with the animals?

  2. Your fence looks great!

    For me the best fence will always be HorseGuard electric fence. Safer than anything else out there, easy to keep up, and affordable. But mostly it's the safety I like.

    That's great that your husband will work with horses with you. Mine doesn't but he does ride with me sometimes so that's okay. :)

    Your pup has gotten so big! We have a big dog too and I have to wonder - Do Irish Wolfhounds whack people really hard with their tails? Or do they keep them down and out of the way?

  3. The fence looks GREAT!

    And in the second photo, it's hard to tell who's enjoying the snuggle more...

  4. Hi Joanne--I think I can answer that question about Beautiful. When we first adopted her, we also adopted kittens and kept them in a cage next to her stall. At that time, her stall was open to them and she could get her nose over there. After a couple weeks, we released the kittens and they'd hang out with Beautiful A LOT. She'd let them walk all through her legs and hooves and rub against her shamelessly. And, she was very gentle where she'd put each foot whenever she sensed they were near. So, I think she developed a love of cats during that vulnerable time of her life in a new place. As for the dogs, she's just a young, curious horse who likes to play--and they seem to know that, so they're both drawn to each other.

    Hi Andrea. Is all Horseguard tape bipolar? We started out with it in white--and it did great--wind or sun--but then we needed more and wanted to have brown in front, so switched to a cheaper brand in brown. You could really tell the difference!! The cheap brown stuff would break whenever we got a hard wind and it didn't carry a charge!! So, I'd give thumbs up to Horseguard as well.

    I think IW's tails do get in the way a lot. Our former IW's tail got injured in a door--so I'm overly cautious about that tail at all times.

    Thanks, Bill...and as to the hug...probably me. ;)

  5. HorseGuard does have the new bipolar fence now. They didn't when I bought mine (over 5 years ago and still strong). I love the idea of not needing a grounding rod but the color is kind of weird. It would probably be great for a horse like Cowboy who goes through the fence when the grounding rod gets dry.

  6. That is exactly the kind of fence I would have IF I had the money!! Instead we put up the 2" x 4" horse fencing and ran electric along the top. There is a section that has the fencing you are talking about, and we are going to do another part like that soon, when we can afford it. But to do the whole pasture, not happening anytime soon! I wish though!
    Your pup is so cute and getting so big!

  7. Paint Girl--There are really two ways to ask this question 1.) If you had limitless money, what fence would you build, and 2.) With the money you have to spend, what fence would you build. Two VERY different answers for ALL of us--lol!! We put up sections of fence each year, as we can afford it. By the time we retire to the old folk's home, we'll have it all done. ;)

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. If I had my druthers I think it'd be great to have one of those picture perfect white wooden fences.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. 一時的錯誤不算什麼,錯而不改才是一生中永遠且最大的錯誤..................................................

  15. 與朋友在一起,分擔的痛苦是減半的痛苦,分享的快樂是加倍的快樂。......................................................................

  16. Here in central Texas we have lots of rock, cactus, and cedars. Since rock and cactus don't make the best fences we decided to utilize the cedars we were clearing out for the fence and so far I just love it!

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.