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Looking After your Horses

Posted by Katrina Boyd on
Sturdy fences are essential

There are some important aspects of caring for horses and fencing is one of the most crucial, since escapees can cause danger to themselves and others.

Most horses will happily graze and wander around their pasture all day every day, provided there is enough grass and they aren’t looking for company. But once their grazing is depleted or they feel lonely, their attention starts to wander and they may well become escape artists. This seems to particularly apply to small ponies, who are especially adapt at getting under, through or over fences.

That’s when you need a local fence company to check out all the posts and rails to ensure your little darlings aren’t going to get into danger.

There are several types of fences suitable for horses, from traditional post-and-rail where the natural rails are fitted into the posts, making a nice looking and neat finish. These are more expensive than other types so are particularly suitable when sited near the house. The type of post-and-rail that are nailed together can be pretty strong too, though they use sawn rails, giving a more uniform look if that suits your property. This type of fence can be treated prior to erection, coated with creosote or similar, or painted, traditionally in white. This is pretty high maintenance though so if you hanker after a white fence you might want to consider composite fencing as opposed to wooden fencing

Many people incorporate wire into their fences, usually for practical reasons or because it’s cheap. It’s not something we would recommend, since wire seems to have an attraction for horses – and not in a good way!

Many years ago I had a small well-fenced paddock with post-and-rail fencing, but wire stock fencing had been added around the bottom to keep in the sheep we occasionally housed. All was well for several years until my ID/TB horse decided to roll close to the fence. Somehow she caught the wire between the shoe and hoof on one of her forelegs. Luckily I looked out of the window and saw her stuck there, but I have no idea how long she had been down. It could have been a lot worse if she’d panicked, but as it was it caused a nasty bout of colic, no doubt brought on by the stress of the situation.

Needless to say, the stock fencing was ripped off and I’ve never had it since.

But even the electric wire strung along the top of fencing often to stop horses chewing it can cause problems. At a livery yard another horse recently cut himself badly on some fencing that had become detached. Bad maintenance on the part of the yard manager, but it shows how horses can get themselves into trouble quite quickly – and that one is quite accident prone!

In my view, barbed wire is always an accident waiting to happen and I have no idea why you’d use it. Horses push against it and rub, often resulting in cuts to head, neck or legs. Just give it a miss and only keep horses if you can afford to fence them in properly.