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Fence Training: Introducing Horses to Electric Fencing
After installing electric fencing for horses, it’s important to properly introduce each horse to the newly fenced area.
Visibility is the key
The top training priority – and the top horse fence safety priority – is visibility. Horses must be able to see the fence from a distance, even when at a gallop, so they can slow down and avoid the fence. ElectroBraid® fencing is highly visible to horses.
For other style electric fences, place flags or tapes at regular intervals along the fence line to help your horses see the fence more easily. For the same reason, be sure to introduce horses to the fence in daylight, not in the low light conditions of dawn or dusk.
1 - Lead your horse around the perimeter with the power off
Always introduce a horse to a new pasture slowly and deliberately. For your own safety, turn OFF the fence energizer so the horse you are leading doesn’t get accidentally shocked and bolt. Lead the horse around the fence perimeter, acquainting it with the boundary.
2 - Energize the fence and allow the horse to explore alone
After the horse understands the boundaries of its new enclosure, release the horse and turn the energizer back on. Allow each horse to learn about electric fencing while loose in the paddock on its own, preferably without other horses. For safety reasons:
- Avoid holding the horse while it investigates the fence
- Stand outside the fenced area
- Ensure no other person is inside the fenced area
3 - Observe
After turning the power back on, patiently observe your horse. It’s natural for horses to test the boundaries, so watch for a long enough period of time to witness the horse receive a shock from the fence and observe its behavior. The desired reaction is for the horse to recoil from the fence. It usually takes only a shock or two for horses to respect the fence and keep a distance from the boundaries.
Additional Tips for Successful Fence Training
After training begins, do not turn off your fence energizer. The power must remain on for consistent training as well as the continued safety of your horses. Since the cost of electricity for a fence energizer is extremely low – about the same as a 100-watt light bulb – maintaining electricity at all times is a small price to pay for the security of your horses.
Situations that can cause nuisance shocks to your horses.
- Avoid placing water troughs close to the electric fence
- Avoid hanging grain pails on fence posts
- Avoid throwing hay close to the fence
With careful training, your horses will quickly respect the electric fence and remain properly and safely contained inside the enclosure.