At 6 Stephen fell for a small Shetland Pony abused by other children, and often fed him his lunch. So began a lifetime love of horses.
Horses Need Space To Run
Horses are naturally roaming animals and occur in plains areas so they like to roam around while they eat. In nature they will cover several miles in a day looking for the best forage. They will wander around and then go for a run or in their case gallop. They are herd animals and prefer to be in groups for the better protection against predators.
The commonly accepted space requirement is one acre for the first horse and a half acre for each additional animal. You will find that a smaller paddock will soon be eaten bare, however smaller spaces can be used, as long as you are able to rotate paddocks periodically, to allow the grass to re-grow.
A Finished 2 Acre Paddock
Electric Fencing A Quick And Cost Effective Solution
A solar powered electric fence can be put up in the space of a couple of days or even in one if you have a couple of men with the right equipment. When we started in the horse business we had no prior experience of fencing and made a lot of mistakes. I have written this Hub so that others like us can avoid many of the errors we made.
Horses need a fence of around 5ft in height in order to make them feel that the fence is too high to jump. The top wire can be a little lower as the horses measure the height of the poles in their minds eye the wire is at the same height even when it is in fact a few inches lower!
This is good news as we can use 6ft standard wolmanized poles to make our fence. Most farmers have a truck and this is the largest tool a crowbar or sharpened steel stake is needed to make the holes, a tape measure to mark out the spacing for the poles, electric fence tape, a lithium battery powered drill with screwdriver and drill bits, decking screws, and insulators. We also need electric fence handles, and a solar charger, an earthing rod and attachment clips. These can all be bought at the local Farmers co-op or equivalent store in your area.
The Solar Electric Fence Charger
Installing The Solar Electric Fence Charger
Select a pole that will be part of the southern most side of the paddock (northern if you live in the southern hemisphere), as this is the side most exposed to the sun. Ensure that the post is large enough to carry the weight of the charger.
Insert an earthing rod (the longer the better 8ft or more) at the base of the post and hammer it into the ground with a sledgehammer. Leave the top 4 ins or so exposed, attach the negative terminal from the charger to the rod using cable designed for this purpose.
Screw a piece of wolmanized planking about the size of the charger to the post. This must be aligned due south (or north) so that the solar panel is exposed to the sun from dawn to dusk.
Mark the plank with the position of the holes in the back plate of the charger and screw in deck screws leaving the heads exposed enough to allow the charger to be slotted onto them.
Hang the charger on the pole, then attach it to the earth rod, and cut a piece of wire as shown to attach to the lower electric fence wire and a piece to go from there to the top wire as shown. Cut the wire over long as freezing makes it shrink by about 1 to 2 inches (in Canada).
The Different Attachments Showing How It Is Done
Setting Up Your Paddock
- Lay out the fence poles at 10ft spacing between centres around the perimeter of your proposed paddock. It takes around 100 to fence 2 acres. There will be some variance due to the lie of your land use your tape and it is a good idea to anchor the corner posts so you can tie a string from one corner to the next so that you keep a straight line.
- Make holes with the pointed iron rod or the crow bar. These need to be about 1 foot deep, wiggle it around to make the holes wide enough for the base of the poles. Do all the holes or at least one side at once.
- Place all the poles in the holes loosely.
- This step requires two people. Get your truck and the sledge hammer drive round the paddock post to post one man stands on the back of the truck and pounds the posts in. The other drives the truck from post to post and then gets out and hold the post straight, while it is pounded in. It takes 10 to 12 blows from an average size man to secure each post upright.
- Go round .all the posts marking the heights for the fencing tape. Two tapes will do although some farmers prefer three.
- Screw insulators on each post, use the yellow type everywhere except the corners, where you join new tape in, and the last post before the gate. In these places use the white type. Open the yellow insulators and unscrew the white one ready to take the tape as you do this.
- Attach the tape to the first pole and fasten it securely to both top and bottom insulators use two rolls of tape one for the top and one for the bottom. Unroll the tape as you walk to the next post. I use 1/2 inch tape as it takes wind, snow and frost better than the larger and heavier tapes.
- Ensure the tapes are not twisted and place in the next pair of insulators, secure it and walk to the next post and so on.
- At the corner or join point pull the tape as tight as you can and fasten it securely using the white type of insulator overlap the ends for a join and then secure. You can staple the loose ends together after cutting off excess with scissors.
- You should come back to the gate post and here use a white type of insulator and leave enough tape to reach the post for the gate handle to attach.
- Tie a handle to each tape making sure that it will just reach the closing post with the handle stretched out a bit. Attach a metal loop with washers to the post ensuring that the starting end of the tape goes over the first washer and under the second (This completes the circuit). See photograph above. Opening the gate will break the circuit and closing it completes it. Complete this for each tape.
- Your paddock is completed.
Yellow Type Electric Tape Insulators
Materials Required To Make Electric Fence
1/2 inch Electric Tape
6ft Poles 4in diameter pointed
Crow Bar, Sledge Hammer, Tape
Insulators Yellow Type
Electric Lithium Battery Powered Drill, Hands
Insulators White Type
Earth Rod (8ft min)
1 or 2
Sledge Hammer, Screwdriver
Tape Attachements For Charger
Screwdriver, Spanner or Wrench
Decking Screws 1.5 inch
Drill and Screwdriver blade bit
Electric Fence Tape
Secrets Of The Trade
The insulators are the important part. Always use loose insulators except at the corners where the tape joins a new roll and at the gate. Always use tight insulators that grip the tape at corners and the join. The tape stretches and you will need to tighten it periodically at these points only!
The tape goes on the inside of the post (i.e.) on the horses side. Then if they try to escape the post adds strength and they will break less of your insulators. If you do it the other way round they can escape real easy!
Tape breaks at about 400lbs so horses will never get injured by it. Rope breaks at about 1200 to 1800lbs so horses can break their legs if they get wrapped up in it! Remember this is a containment not a permanent secure fencing. Most horses will not challenge it after one or two shocks, they will carefully walk away from it and around the loose gate on the ground.
Electric is only suitable for short term containment and if someone is around most of the time.
Who Has Fenced Horses?
The New Horse Paddock With Resident
Solar Fence Charger
Any Suggestions From Other Horse Owners?
Stephen J Parkin (author) from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on January 30, 2015:
We learned by trial and error, by the way I was brought up in Harpenden and went to St. Alban's school! I suspect you might just know where they are? We now live in Nova Scotia at a place called Pine Grove just outside of Bridgewater.
Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on January 30, 2015:
We had to learn about electric fence the hard way. Not for horses, but for a herd of cattle. We used batteies if I remember correctly, this article would have been very useful back then. I found the information about horses also very informative, as we once rode a lot and helped out at friends stables. may be one day I'll be fencing my very own paddock, then again, maybe not. :) Nicely done.
Stephen J Parkin (author) from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on November 10, 2014:
They have been making them for a while now. It is really useful if a paddock is a long way from the barn.
Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on November 10, 2014:
I didn't even know they made solar powered electric fences. They didn't back when we had horses. They just keep coming up with new and innovative ways, don't they? Well done and interesting.