Electric fencing is a great choice for your horses, especially if you are looking for an economical or flexible solution, you want a low maintenance fence, or you need your fencing installed quickly. Modern electric fencing has a lot of innovative solutions that make electric fences attractive and safe for horses, and whether you are looking for flexible fencing for smaller areas, or an affordable solution for large pastures, electric fencing has options to suit just about every budget.
Even if you choose electric fencing because you need economy, it’s still worth investing in the best fencing components you can afford. You will need three major components – fence posts, a power source, and your wire, tape or braid, each of which has a range of options in price, features, and quality. Depending on your needs, it may be possible to mix and match your fencing components to find exactly the right fencing system for your budget.
At the top end of fence posts are permanent, weather-treated wooden fence posts just as you’d use for post and rail fencing. Fixed posts systems don’t have the flexibility of portable systems (although if you are creative about where you place your posts and insulators you can install some potential to change your fence line), but they are very safe and secure, easy to maintain, and they last as long as any fencing on the market. The posts you choose depend on your budget, but you’ll want pressure treated, weather resistant timber. If money is no object, sloped top or capped posts are ideal and will you give you the most years of service, but standard flat topped posts are fine if they are treated properly.
For the ultimate in fencing safety, durability, and appearance, coated wire like the Gallagher EquiFence is the perfect choice. Not only is insulated wire one of the best in terms of conductivity, meaning you can efficiently fence large areas, high visibility white coatings make it easy for horses to see and also make it look great. You just can’t find a nice fence than a professionally strung coated wire pasture! Coated wire is ale resistant to tars and breaking, and maintaining its tension by being resistant to stretching and sagging. Should your horse make contact with the fence, a high quality coated wire is much less likely to cause an injury than braided wire or tape. The best quality coated wire will last for years and won’t tear or fray, and in terms of cost per running foot the top end coated wire isn’t much more expensive than cheaper, less durable options.
Your electric fence is only as effective as your power source, and the best solutions are main-powered charger units. Your main priority will be a constant power load that is appropriate to your length of fencing – and consider the number of strands in your calculations. For maximum convenience and safety take a look at the Gallagher iSeries chargers. These chargers and add-on components include alarms to let you know if a fence is down or broken, multi-paddock monitors that tell you where a fence is down or the charge is compromised (such as grounding by a fallen branch), and portable monitor systems so you can get detailed checks on your fencing. Even though top end permanent fencing takes very little maintenance, adding an alarm or monitor means you have peace of mind that your fencing is fully operational without walking our fence line!
Investing in top of the range components for your fencing means that your investment will be the ultimate in appearance and safety. Best of all, top quality electric fencing solutions like we’ve described will last as long as any other fencing, and still be economical to install.
Of course, if you need to fence large areas or you are working on a tighter budget, there are cost-saving options. Steel multi-prong ‘step in’ fence posts, such as the Gallagher Super Heavy Duty Pigtail, aren’t fixed to the ground so do allow some flexibility, and you can make quick adjustments to tension by moving the posts. Heavier and more robust than plastic posts, steel pigtail posts have a multi-prong spike system that gives them a better grip than plastic posts and helps them stay upright, but unlike permanent posts, you still need to check them regularly. Opt for white-coated posts for added visibility. Of course, any flexible fencepost system won’t be as robust as timber posts, especially if your horses are likely to test your fencing.
To keep to your budget, you can opt for a good quality thick braided wire like the Gallagher Turbo Wire or 1.5-inch tape. Both of these will be bright and visible, carry a charge well, and resist breaking if challenged by a horse. To charge your fence, look for a mains-powered charger that carries enough joules for your length of fencing. If you can’t get power to your fencing, opt for a good quality solar charger with a battery backup form maximum effectiveness and economy.
If you are on a really tight budget, or need a cost-effective way too quickly and temporarily fence off small areas, then there some very affordable electric fence solutions. Economy electric fencing components will come in a lot cheaper than any other fencing material, and have the add benefit of being quick and easy to install – and to remove. Plastic stake fence posts are the cheapest, but they won’t stand up to pushy horses. In wet (or very dry) weather, they can tip and you need to keep an eye on them and make sure you re-stake any tipping posts. Low cost electric wire or tape works fine with plastic posts, but again you need to be prepared to maintain the tension and to check your fencing daily. Cheaper tape or wire are also generally lighter, and less visible, than better quality options, and also more susceptible to breaking if your horses really test your fence.
Low price chargers are also light and easy to move, but are best suited to small paddock areas. They won’t carry the charge you need to effectively power longer stretches of fencing, typically running less that 1.0 joules. Economy battery powered chargers are best for occasional fencing, or sectioning off grazing within a pasture, where you only need to power a short section of fence, and where it’s not a crisis if your horses end up on the other side!
Andrew Swenson, Gallagher Corporation.