Good Fences Make Good Horses

Today I built a fence. It is amazing to me that with a few fiberglass poles and some two inch electric tape, you can create a new sub-paddock in just 75 minutes. I could have built in less time, but I decided to go all out and use two strands of tape.

The boys were so happy when I turned them out! First they ran around bucking and snorting. But an hour later when I came back to check on them, they were both snoozing in the sun, lying flat out on the (thankfully) dry ground.

This spring has been so wet that subdividing my horses’ pasture is my only hope to keeping their feet in any kind of shape to ride them. Standing ankle deep in mud not only sucks the shoes off their feet, but it leaves the horn so soft that it’s almost impossible to hold a nail. Heck, even I lost a shoe in the paddock this week. It got sucked off my foot and then disappeared into the muck, leaving me standing on one foot like a crane, frantically digging for my missing shoe. By creating an elaborate subdivision, I’m hoping to save their feet, move them to higher ground and still preserve part of their paddock so that they will have grass in a few more weeks.

Of course, finding the right electric fence supplies took some trial and error. I started with Horse Guard Fencing, and loved how easy it was to put together. I also love the color choices. The dark brown and the dark green are a huge improvement over the fluorescent colors offered by some other manufacturers. Unfortunately, over time, half the plastic screws on the insulators broke off embedded into the plastic holder. Not a great feature.

I then discovered that Dare makes excellent insulators that work on the same fiberglass poles and which are easier to attach and which don’t break.

Keeping the fence charged was another challenge. I started with a battery charged unit but discovered that replacing it was a pain. I eschewed the solar unit because I’ve read they don’t hold as much of a charge and installed a charger in my barn. It worked beautifully until the ground became extremely dry over the summer. New lesson: to conduct properly, the ground must be moist. That’s why you see me out in the summer watering my ground rods!

Horse Guard Fencing claims to have solved the grounding problem with a new product: Bi-polar electric tape. It works without a grounding rod so will work even when the ground is dry or frozen. Too bad I have so much of the original tape installed as it sounds like an excellent innovation!

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