How can I make sure my wire fencing is safe for my horses?
Wire fencing is a very common material for horse fencing. Some is good, some is not so good. There are definite ways to make it safe! But first things first, there is one type of wire fencing that is an absolute no in my book - barbed wire. Not just for horses, but for me, too. There is no way I would stay in one piece with barbed wire around me.
This rusted wire fence has a single row of barbed wire above it. Tetanus AND stitches, anyone?
Ideally, wire fencing around horses should be framed by wood. This protects the edges of the wire fence from teeth and hooves. The wood frame should be on the inside of the horse enclosure, assuring that the wire edges are secure away from curious noses and horse shoes. This also makes the wire easier to see.... just in case that's important...
The wood frame should also be above the ground. This is another way to protect your wire fence from hooves and horse shoes. Over time, wire fencing can sag, and the dirt can move, which may allow your wire fencing to grow into the paddock and be easily snagged by a horse shoe. This gap also gives you a space to slip feed pans under the fence for safer feeding if need be.
No noses or shoes can get snagged on the edge of this wire fence. And, feeding is easy, you can slide buckets under the fence if need be.
Your fencing should also be inspected regularly for breaks. Broken wires can poke into paddocks and create hazards. (Which basically means your horse will be magnetically drawn to that spot.) Wire snips and pliers can easily remove a broken portion and wrap the sharp end that remains to the other side of the fence.
Wire fencing can snap in places, creating sharp horse magnets.
This is nice wooden fencing, with barbed wire in between the boards. I would replace the barbed wire with hot wire to prevent horses from putting their heads and necks through and over the fence.
I also like to use electric fencing (aka hot wire) with all types of fencing. This will save you labor in fence repairs and dollars in Veterinary bills. Horses love to destroy all things expensive and inexpensive, including themselves and fencing. Adding some hot wire or tape to your fencing assures that most horses will stay far away.
Wire fencing is also just plain hard to see in some cases.
What are your tips about wire horse fencing?