Greener Pastures? Now You Need A Horse Fence or Fence Repair

If you're new to the Oviedo, Black Hammock, or the Geneva area and own horses, we at Custom Fence Oviedo are going to encourage you to slow down.  Stop and revisit some simple and basics concepts before replacing or fixing that horse fence.  Our goal is not to tell you all there is to know about horses.  After all, you know your horses the best;  however, we know a thing or two about fences.

Simply put: We want everyone to revisit the fundamentals, and how the basics are important when creating a long-lasting and safe fence.  Most importantly, how to avoid simple fencing mistakes or ripped off by a company's ignorance or stupidity.

Below is a quickstart guide every horse owner should read before getting an estimate for an installing a horse fence or repairing a horse fence in Oviedo, or Geneva Florida.

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Quick Start Guide To A Well Designed Horse Fence

Part One

The Horse: Instinct, Personality, and Responses.

"Always remember, a horse  relies on basic Instincts to survive.  It does not matter if its lives In the wild or in a pasture surronded by horse fence."

Annoimus.

If you own a horse or horses, I'm sure the term "Fight or Flight," possesses a very distinct meaning; however, the term "A Well Designed Horse Fence" is often defined by an owner's budget and misconception.  Sadly, in the end, it is the horse who suffers the consequence of its owner's misinterpretation.   The question is why?

The answer is simple.  Understand, the term "A well-designed horse fence" possesses no concrete definition.  It is abstract in natures and defined by four distinct purposes.

  1. The purpose of a well-designed horse fence provides a physical and visual barrier which makes horses believe escape might not be worth their time.
  2. The purpose of a well-designed horse fence addresses a specific need for horses living and situational needs.
  3. The purpose of a well-designed horse fence keeps a horse safe from the good and the bad things located on both sides of the fenceline.
  4. The purpose of a well-designed horse fence is the last line of defense when a horse instinct kicks in.

We cannot express the importance of knowing all four purposes of a well-built horse fence.   Now more than ever, the safety of your horse must be Paramount.   Not just from the things inside, but from those dangers that lay beyond that fenceline.   Here is why:

Don't be deceived by the farms and the Oaks that line Florida Ave.  The City of Oviedo and Geneva are growing and encroaching on the rural and agricultural way of life.  Sprawling green pastures are being replaced by residential housing and HOAs, all along State Roads 426 and 46.   One lane roads now carry the traffic meant for three-lanes, and those displaced predators have no place to roam but your pasture.  Understand, all are a potential threat.  All can send your horse into fight or flight mode or lead a herd's to their doom.

Our Best Advice Is Know Your Horse's Personality Trait When Designing A Horse Fence.

A good horse fence design starts with a little phycology.   Horses have brains and anything with a brain possesses some level of personality and traits. I'm not talking about those cute names often use to describe our horses like Harry Trotter,   Stumpy,  Wildfire, and for all the Star Wars fans Rogue One.   What I referencing are their actual personality types and traits a horse displays.  According to Horse Network, horses display distinct personality traits which can be categorized as social, aloof, fearful, or challenging.  Each personality types possess both passive and aggressive behavior.   It wants to learn more visit Horse Network. 

Don't be the horse owner who overlooks their horse personality when planning a horse fence.   A fearful horse next to a busy road is never a good thing.   A social or challenging horse in a pasture that abuts an HOA can spell disaster and unwanted liabilities.  An aloof horse in a pasture without predators on the prowl can unwanted stress.   So take the time to know your horse's personality.

Know How Your Horse Responds To Certain Situations When Design A Fence.

Once you have decided a personality type, look at the individual horse's responses in certain situations.   Are they easily spooked or fearful?   Are they aggressive with other animals, and are they curious?    Do they hate loud noises or stimuli?   Knowing how your horse response will allow you to pick the right fence or combination of a fence for a specific situation.   It will allow you to design a good horse fence designed to provide clarity when clarity is needed the most.

What do we mean by clarity?    It simply.   When you're not around, it is your best hope in protecting your horse from harm and itself.   It is the difference finding an empty pasture, all because the horse likes to scratch its butt on the fence line, which installed the wrong way.   It is the difference between horse crashing through a  fence, all because a semi blew his horn at impatient driver passing in a no passing lane.  Finally, it is the difference in a heated dispute with a neighbor, all because your horse is being a horse.   The list can go on and on, but knowing is half the battle.

So, when designing or repairing the fence, make sure you follow five basic rules for keeping those horse safe and avoided unwanted vet bills or loss of life.

Four Basic Rules To Designing A Horse Fence.

Rule 1:  No barbwire!!!  Horses are not cows who possess a thick skin.  The use of barbed wire, whether for human or horse, in a time of crises, is nothing more than guaranteed stitches.

Rule 2:   Make sure the fence is the right height.  The height of a fence should be a minimum of 50"  to  60".   A short fence may result in a horse jumping or leaning over the fence.  The only thing a short fence guarantee is a shortened lifespan for both the fence and the horse.

Rule 3:   Horse boards should be placed toward the pasture and posts to the outside where possible.   Boards placed on the outside will easily be knocked or forced off when pressure is applied and posts to the outside.  Posts located inside the pasture creates a tripping hazard when horse run the fenceline.     Simply put, horses are brutal on fencing and a broken leg is a game changer.

Rule 4:   Make it as visible.   Three boards at a minimum and painted.   Understand horse need visual barriers like automobile drivers traffic control devices at a four-way intersection.   Think of a highly visual fence as a stop sign for horses.

Rule 5:   Know the wire. If you are going to use woven wire to keep predators or the neighbor's pets out of a pasture, know your wire.  Using the wrong wire or placement of the wire can result in hoof entanglement.

Part Two

Know Your Surroundings: Internal and External Hazards

"We hope all danger may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise would itself be extremely dangerous."     

Abraham Lincoln

The Black Hammock, Geneva, and Oviedo area are no different than any other area.  Horses face potential threats each time they enter the pasture.   Yes, a good constructed fence will keep them contained, but it will not keep them safe.   Safe from themselves and those things that wish to do harm.    The key to keeping those horses safe is to identify, acknowledge, investigate, and assess those threats.  Then, and only then, a fence becomes a well-constructed fence.   Remember, failure to pay attention will only set the things we love up for failure.

We encourage everyone to take a moment and consider the possible threats your horse will face inside and outside that fence line.   It doesn't matter if you're planning a new fence layout or embarking on a repair.  It doesn't matter if you own forever.  The landscapes of our area is changing.

So Should I View Threats My Horse Can Face?

Let start with a literal and clinical approach.  The reason for such an approach is to  analyze the horses needs through the lens of personal preference and budget.  Understand, those are human characteristics.  We promise you natural biology, predators, and your horse do not understand.  Yes. They have instincts and are smart, but it's our job understand what a threat actually means.  Let's keep it simple:

By definition,  a threat possesses three main characteristics:

  1.  Something is warning us that this is going to happen.
  2. A person or thing that is likely to cause something unwanted to happen.
  3. The possibility that something unwanted will happen.

The nature of a threat and how much danger a threat possesses can be determined by levels of probabilities.  Probabilities such as imminent, likely, or the possibility of a particular threat occurring.  Threats designated as imminent, i.e. now, are often easily identified and handled.  Likely threats are acknowledged threats which need attention, and possible threats are potential threats on the horizon.  Each type of threat is important.

Of all probabilities, possible threats are hard for land and homeowners to identify.  The main reason is, like a well-designed horse fence, the world of a possible threat possesses no concrete definition.  It is abstract in nature and defined by a distinct purpose in mind.   The good news is possible threats can be organized into three categories: Internal, External, and Future Threats.  Lets look at some examples  related to dangers a horse may face.

  1. Internal Threats:  A internal threat to a horse can be something as simple as a shed or watering buckets located too close to the fence line, a deep or odd-shaped corner provides an area where horses can bully other horses.  Maybe its a wet pasture, or includes streams, ponds, wetlands, or stagnate water sources.    Understand, by including areas which contain water into a horses housing area, it can lead to disease, especially pythiosis skin disease or Pythium insidiosum.
  2. External Threats:    An external threats to a horse can be something as simple as the dog or dominant horse on the other side of that fence line, a predator or pack of predators, or expanding development which can cause a host of stress on the horse and legal issues.
  3. Future Threats:  The future threats your horse faces are not simple.   These threats are vast and complex, but are driven by land development.  For example, the City of Oviedo just approved a self-storage facility at the doorstep of the Black Hammock.  Seminole County Commissioners are constantly entertaining the idea of pushing back the rural boundaries.   Case in point, there is currently a proposed 140 acre mixed used, residential and commercial development near Lake Harney currently on the agenda.  Simply put, a pasture could abut an HOA, and cause your horse to face emotional, psychological, and tangible dangers as the country become the city.

The unknown is limitless.   So we encourage you to download the PDF Threat Assessment Form (TAF), which is used by Paramount Fencing, Inc. when designing a fence for horse owners.    Click Here:  TAF.   As the owner likes to say, "A little bit of planning is a great way to give the unforeseen a black eye".

TAF form is completed, it is time to analyze.

Part Three

Location, Location, Location

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”

Thomas Edison

 

As the quote by Thomas Edison suggests, good things happen with a little planning.   The reverse is also true.   Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  Part three is all about the location and management of those pastures and the fence that surround the pasture.   Simply put:  A well-managed pasture makes for happy horses and less money spent on maintenance.

When it comes to pastures, don't ignore the golden rules.  These rules are time tested and studied by major agriculture universities.  They are simple, but costly for owners and horses alike.

Golden Rule: 

  1. One grazing acre per horse.
  2. Pasture need rest too:  Rotation, Rotation, Rotation.
  3. Mow your way to a healthy pasture.
  4. Test your soil and know your PH levels.
  5. Reseed in the spring and winter months.

Now chances are that established property purchased possesses fence lines and pastures.  Maybe it is raw land purchased where new fence line and pastures need to be defined.     Regardless of the transaction type, the answer is still the same.     Will the current or suggested configuration work?   More often than not, the establish fence line and the pastures are inadequate.  The new horse's needs are different than yesterday occupants.     So it's important, to stop and to think.  Time is brutal, and it will expose anyone's lack of forethought.

We are going to approach this section differently.   Here is why.  I believe the best and smartest way to learn is from real examples.  It is those examples we can find similarities within ourselves and situations.    Below is a classic example of what the owner of Paramount Fencing says is all too common:

Most recently,  a gentleman called and requested we visit his property in the Geneva and Chuluota Florida area.    Upon arrival, the homeowner quickly expressed his frustration with the horses.  "They are destroying the fence and all my landscaping in the process.   They are simply want to be everywhere but where they should be.   The feed bill is ridiculous and there is horse crap everywhere.  My wife and I simply can't agree on how to fix it."    So we walked and talked and listen.

The homeowner was surprised and frustrated when the questioning shifted from the fence to five golden rules.

"What that got to do with the fence," he asked.
"You know the expression the grass is green on the other side?  That is your problem."  I responded.

Over the next few days, we mapped out the property and the problems.   The opening line of the analysis sent back to the customer said it all.

We are not in the business of telling you what you want to hear.   Let me get to the point.   The fence can be repaired, but the configuration was designed to match the horse owners desires and not the needs of the horses.   As of current, there are two grazing pastures.  Each is about two-thirds of an acre and must accommodate 3 horses.   Both pasture "A" and "B" are overgrown with knee-high weeds, trampled, and in their current state unusable.    There are 2.25 acres designated for sacrifice areas such as barns, paddocks, holding areas, riding rinks, and training arenas.   The front area, which you're paying to re-landscape, is being used as a supplemental pasture by your wife and horses.     Bottom line, we need to reconfigure the fence line and convert some of those sacrifice areas into pastures and you are going to have to give up a portion of your front yard.   Compromise by both parties is a must.

Next, the reason the horses are destroying the fence because the horses are leaning over the fence and eating the neighbors will manage grassed.   It does not help that the horizontal fence boards were installed incorrectly.  They are currently on the outside of the fence line instead of the inside toward the pasture.   There is no vertical synch board holding the seems when pressure is supplied.   Understand, the fence is eight years old, dried, and splitting.      As a result, all it takes is a little force from the horses and the board will pop right off.   The horse will keep doing so until you make the grass greener on your side of the fence.

Next, the pastures need love.  What is need is three pasture "A", "B", "C" each equaling a three-quarter of anchor?   We need two quarter acre supplements holding/grazing area.  The good news is we can re-use most of the fence line change the configuration and fix the perimeter fence.  In the meantime, lets bush hog the pasture and follow up with supplemental mowing.   From there, have the soil tested and lime added if necessary.  Then reseed in winter.

Most importantly, a fence line between the horse's area and your living space needs to be established so the just walk up to the back door, drink out of the pool, and scratch their butts on the kid's playground.   Entertain the above and adopted the new configuration and we are more than happy to fix the fence.  We will be more than happy to assist in the pastures and reconfiguration.

Don't, and I would encourage to call the other company that does work in the area.  Keep in mind, that will not fix the problem.       They will gladly take your money as you throw money at a temporary solution.  Regardless of your decision, I wish you the best.

Now the good news.  In the situations described above, the property owner followed the reconfiguration plan.   It took four days and all hands on deck to fix over 3800 feet of fence line and begin the process of healing the pastures.   Once completed more than just stress figuring out what to do disappear-the husband and wife stood side by side, smiled, and began talking commonly.   A stark improvement from the first day we arrived.

 

 

 

Part Four

Selecting The Right Fence Type

“A wise person makes his own decisions. An ignorant person follows public opinion.”

Chinese Proverb

 

WOOD HORSE FENCE

Wood is the most common option for horse fences. It is sturdy, cost-efficient, and has the rustic appearance that many landowners look for. It is a good choice for a horse fence material, but make sure to take into consideration all options.

Wood fencing, over time, can shrink, warp, discolor, and need minor routine maintenance.  That does not sound like a huge issue, but having to repair a mile of fencing can be a big job. Wood fencing is recommended to be painted to help horses see it, as they are both far-sighted and may not see well at night. A horse plowing into a fence can damage the fence, and harm the horse. Keeping the paint maintained can also be a task.

Wood is sturdy, but ensure that the correct posts are being used to anchor the fence into the ground. For wood fencing, Custom Fence Oviedo does not recommend anchoring with concrete, as concrete holds moisture and will actually speed up the process of post rot. The key to post-installation is to have leverage over the above ground section. For example, a 6' tall fence will use 4" x 4" x 10' line posts to provide the correct leverage ratio.

For a horse fence, it's ideal to use a mesh wiring to help prevent the horse to step through the fence. A 2" x 4" wire is best for horses, as it prevents them from stepping through or getting caught in it. Horses are much more likely to fight in a situation where they're stuck than other livestock, and their thinner skin than livestock can make getting stuck in wire a life-threatening situation for them. It is also recommended to use a "no climb" wire mesh, that has openings that are too small for the horse to step up on.

Regardless of material, it is important to understand the height requirements and the number of boards necessary to properly house a horse.   For young horses, the fence should be a minimum for 4.5 feet tall, and be a 3-rail to help prevent the horse from stepping through. Adult horses will require a height of 5 to 6 feet tall and be a 4 or 5 rail to help discourage the horse from jumping or leaning over. Pairing the correct heights, rail numbers, and wiring will assist in choosing the safest and most efficient fence for your horse.

Part Five

Know Who You Are Dealing With

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."

Thomas Sowell

 

All research and planning is done, check.  Type of material to be used decided, check.  The style of horse fence selected, check.    Now, it is time to decide who is going to complete that well thought out horse fence project.   Will it become a do it yourself (DIY) project or will it be professionally installed?

If the answer is a DIY project, one thing is for certain.   You are less likely to intentionally screw yourself over when installation begins.  It will be hard work and many weekends.    Everything is built according to plan, down to the last screw.  Then once completed, it will not be hard to stand in the middle of the pasture and pat yourself on the back.

A year or two will pass.  Then one day you will find a few horizontal horse boards on the ground or barely clinging to the post.   As you draw closer to inspect, you notice a couple posts rotted off at grade or the wire rusted so bad it's falling apart.  You will scratch your head wonder why.  After all, you have thought of everything.   This can't be.  The reality is it is so.

The question is why?  Most of the time,  DIY projects fall victim to minimum wage, home improvements, and don't forget the bugs.   Every day, consumers walk into home improvement stores with detail lists.  These type of stores are large, vast, and intimidating.  As a result, we often become overwhelmed, so we start asking questions.   The nice employee walks with you over to the garden center or lumber.

"What do you need?"  the clerk asks.
"I need a post for my horse fence," you say.
"Here is what you need," he says.
"Those are kind of expensive.  Got anything else?" you ask.
"Sure.  I think you can use these," he says.
"Cool.  Can you help me find the rest of my list?" you ask.
"What else do you need?" he asks.
"Can you help me find rest of list?" you say.
"Sure," he responds.

All seems well.  Stop.  Let me let you in on a secret that every contractor knows well.   A clerk or employees will set you up for failure before a hammer is swung.  Don't get me wrong, home improvement stores do train their employees.  Employees are trained in the duties of the position, customer service, company policies.   Product knowledge is not one of them.   Bottom line, asking clerk is like asking the Mailman how to complete your tax form.  So below are five simple steps to protect from the byproduct of unintentional ignorance.

  1.        Never shop for a project if you're rushed for time
  2.        Know exactly what you need
  3.        Ask where to find, never ask if it will work
  4.        If advice is given, test the clerk's knowledge
  5.        If you not sure if something will work, stop and look it up

 

If you choose collect fence quotes, you will soon that picking the right fence will become a daunting task.   When selecting a professional fence company, remember one simple rule.  Trust but Verify.