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15 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Electric Horse Fence
Fence sense is extremely important. ElectroBraid® fence is a great electric fence choice for horse safety, but simple mistakes can easily lead to accidents. If you’re making any of the following 15 mistakes on your horse ranch, you may be unwittingly putting your horses at risk of accidental injury.
Mistake 1: Not introducing your horse to his new pasture.
If you don’t introduce your horse to his new pasture after your fence has been installed, he is at risk for not knowing his boundaries. A new area or newly-laid boundaries can be confusing for a horse. Turn off the power to your energizer before introducing your horse, and then begin leading him around the boundaries. After he is introduced to the area and at ease with the new surroundings, you may re-energize your fence.
Mistake 2: Constructing your electric horse fence below the minimum required height.
Horse fencing should be at least 5-feet-high to properly contain horses in field fencing, and 6-feet-tall to contain horses in stall runs and paddocks. Not installing fencing at the proper height could lead to a horse escaping the safety of his confines.
Mistake 3: Not installing a minimum of three strands of ElectroBraid®.
At least three strands of ElectroBraid® should be used, but four or more is ideal. Braid should be spaced apart appropriately for your horses’ size.
Mistake 4: Hanging feed and water buckets on or too close to the fence.
Hanging feed and water buckets (especially metal ones) on or too close to your electric fence is just asking for your horse to be unnecessarily shocked. This can torment horses and cause issues with containment. Be sure to keep feed and water buckets at least a few feet away from fences, allowing your horse ample room to eat and drink without accidental correction.
Mistake 5: Improperly grounding your fence.
Improper grounding accounts for most electric fencing issues. If your fence is not grounded, it will not complete the circuit when your horses come into contact with it. A minimum of three ground rods should be installed at least 10 feet apart; however, depending upon your soil and environmental conditions more ground rods may be needed. Check out these helpful tips for proper grounding.
Mistake 6: Turning off your energizer to save money.
Do you know how much it costs to run an energizer? It costs about the equivalent of running a 100-watt lightbulb – that’s about $1 per month. Turning off your energizer allows your horse to discover that the fence is no longer “hot” leading to the chance of escape – especially if he’s been eyeing-up that mare in the other paddock. Horses tend to test the fence by inching their faces closer and closer to it; their whiskers will stand due to the static charge. They will know when a fence is not energized.
Mistake 7: Failing to properly tension, or maintain tension on your ElectroBraid® Fence.
ElectroBraid® is designed to “give”, in order to bounce a charging horse safely back into his enclosure. When properly tensioned, the Braid is able to withstand up to 1,300 pounds of panicked-horse pressure. Follow these tensioning tips to ensure the safest possible fence conditions.
Mistake 8: Draping hoses or other materials over your fence.
Placing hoses, blankets or other materials over your fence has the potential to short out your fence line. If hoses need to be run into your paddock, run them under the fence or through the gate.
Mistake 9: Piling hay too close to the fence.
Hay is for horses – so they’re going to try to eat it. Piling hay too close to the fence could not only unnecessarily shock your horse as he tries to grab a snack, but could also short out your fence line.
Mistake 10: Not thoroughly inspecting your fence and posts after storms and during droughts.
If you’re not checking your fence line and posts after heavy storms and during droughts, you could be asking for trouble. High winds can knock branches down onto your fence wire, and dry soil could allow for loosened fence posts. Additionally, the weight of a heavy snowfall could cause sagging fence lines.
Mistake 11: Attempting energizer repairs on your own.
If you’re looking to void your warranty, disassembling your energizer is a sure way to do so. Contact the manufacturer; your issue could be solved by sending the energizer back in for repairs. ElectroBraid® fence chargers come with a three-year limited warranty that includes lightning damage; be sure to register online to activate your warranty.
Mistake 12: Using more than one energizer on your fence line.
Never use more than one energizer per paddock or continuous fence line. A fence only needs one supply of electrical current; doubling that supply is dangerous and could lead to serious injury or fire, not to mention damage to the fence.
Mistake 13: Standing near, or allowing your horses to stand near an electric fence during a storm.
Okay, maybe this is an obvious piece of advice, but it needs to be said: don’t stand near an electric fence during a storm. Remember, your fence is a giant electrical circuit at risk of being struck by lightning: if you’re too close, you will be too.
Mistake 14: Not wearing rubber-soled shoes and rubber gloves while testing your fence.
Unless you intend to go shocking yourself – which is absolutely not recommended – you should always wear proper attire while testing your fence. Just in case you make contact with the fence, rubber gloves and shoes will help to minimize the risk of an accidental shock.
Mistake 15: Neglecting to place warning signs at the proper intervals.
Not properly placing warning signs puts other people at risk of being shocked – particularly if your fence runs near a roadway or sidewalk. Use warning signs to mark an electric fence every 200-250 feet and always check local regulations on fencing. Remembering best practices when it comes to electric horse fencing will ensure that your horses are happy and safe. Do you have any other horse fence safety tips? We would love to hear your suggestions. Tell us about it in the comments or share with us next time you’re on Facebook.