First of all, I must admit that I love the way uniform fencing – one style – looks running throughout a property or even a neighborhood.
Love it! But like so many things in life, horses and horse fencing included, pretty is as pretty does, so looks sometimes has to come secondary on the list of priorities.
And those priorities, other than good looks, are first and foremost: safety for horse and human. Practicality and utility have to outweigh human esthetics and vanity. The other issue at hand is that almost any fencing will work for some horses most of the time, but not all fencing works for all horses all of the time. Which has brought me to what seems to be a continuous evolution in seeking the holy grail of the perfect horse fencing. Top on my list, after safety, is maintenance free and life-time lasting.
One caveat: this is my fence evolvement experience. Yours may be quite different. Perhaps maintaining hot wire is a personal hobby of yours. Painting a wood fence every year provides a creative outlet for your latent Michelangelo. Dabbling in duct tape repairs suits your eclectic style and personality (see my personal duct tape picture below, duct tape truly can do anything!). My choice: put the fence up and forget about it! Life is short and it’s time to ride!
So, I thought four rail pipe fencing was going to be my nirvana. And it was… for a while. Until I decided to get a yearling, who could easily fit his itty bitty head through the rails and eat the grass on the other side – even while standing in lush year-around pasture to do so. Which proves the theory that the grass IS always greener on the other side. It also proves the Monkey See Monkey Do theory, as all the mature, large headed horses in the pasture now also had to slip their heads awkwardly through the rails to reach which was now, apparently, the only thing worth eating – in the entire world.
I cringed, and cringed some more – but still could not bring myself to make hot wire maintenance my new favorite hobby.
And then the grass on the other side became harder and harder to reach so these behemoths began pushing against the beautiful, no maintenance, now leaning-and-not-so-uniform fencing. Trees started falling on it as well – bending it into abstract pieces of art (augmented by artfully placed displaced bluebird nesting boxes from said trees).
Finally, I screamed UNCLE to the universe – knowing I better do something before I lost a horse to a broken neck, or a wild escape from a failed fence due to tree fall or the fence being pushed over by marauding, starving horses.
After considering all options, the right final solution for my situation was five foot no climb fencing (3×4 wire) with round posts and top rails. I like the look of it at my farm. I appreciate I can see through the wire and still enjoy the view. I especially am liking the fact that I no longer have to worry constantly, wondering when “something very bad” was going to happen.
This thing is impenetrable, massive and sol–id. I truly believe it could easily contain small elephants, so it certainly will manage to hold my little herd of mischievous trouble makers. I cannot imagine any maintenance it could possibly need, and, rest assured, after I am long gone those posts will still be standing strong.
I had to give up my vision of a perfect uniform fence for my property as I could not rationalize or afford to replace all the pipe fencing. Sometimes one just has to make peace with a lack of utter perfection. In most of the other places the horses don’t seem to be so committed to ruining my life by risking their necks, nor the trees so determined to fall right on the fence line. But should that change, I now have the solution.
Finding the perfect horse fence for me? MISSION: POSSIBLE
For you? List your priorities, check your budget, do your own research and make your own decision on what will work best for you. Find a great, dependable contractor who takes pride in their work. Or take pride in your own workmanship if you are so inclined. And then rest easy that your horses, too, are safely and securely contained.