When it came time to consider fencing for our soon to be pasture, which had zero fencing anywhere, my first move was planning how we’d use the pasture spaces. For me daily turnout is a must, so is safe fencing thats low maintenance and wouldn’t explode our budget. Also, the pasture grass would be fairly newly established. ( As a note here, we cleared land and seeded for pasture first before starting any other projects on purpose. While working on the barn and other finishes we allowed the grass to establish while not being grazed. It really needs a minimum of one year from the time of seeding until grazing.) Being newer grass I wanted to have two spaces in order to alternate resting one while grazing another.
The fencing options out there are plentiful. Wood, vinyl, wire, electric, t post, wood post ….. there are pros and cons of them all.
In the end the winner for us was Safe-Fence brand electric tape.
When some think of electric fencing the tendency is to question its safety and strength. But its’s actually considered one of the safest options for horses believe it or not. Non electrified fencing tends to get leaned on , rubbed against and generally not respected by horses. This strains posts, can break and splinter boards, cause injuries, and a clever horse will find any weak points to test.
But with most horses, one shock and that electrified fence tape gets some r.e.s.p.e.c.t. There’s no nails to come loose and injure an eye, and it never gets rubbed on or pushed. Additionally, in the event of an extremely panicked horse running for it’s perceived life in your pasture, they may likely not stop at a fence line. If they run through a wood or wire fence they’ll likely also be injured, if they run through a fence line of just electric tape it will break or give fairly easily instead of injuring your horse. It’s also inexpensive by comparison and fairly easy to install.
Of course a wood board fence has that classic farm aesthetic appeal, and wire would help keep small critters from entering through your fence, but we didn’t think the safe fence looked all that bad and we don’t mind most critters. Here’s an image from a retailer of the white tape with white posts.
Here’s white tape with wood posts.
We opted to go with the black tape, as we have a wooded landscape and didn’t want the fence to stand out too much.
Here’s our installed fence.
On the fence line that opens towards our home that is the most visible, and is not against the woods, we used wood posts. Most of them from cedar trees we cleared on our property cut to 8 foot length. The rest of the posts we used pressure treated 8 foot length round posts. The posts were placed 8 feet apart as well.
The rest of the fence line borders woods and is less visible, so there we used metal t posts. They are cheaper and easier to install. We also only used 2 strands of tape along those lengths, as again it bordered dense woods and we didn’t think the horses would test it too much. We also set the posts every 8 feet.
For the wood post lengths we used 3 strands of tape. 3 or 4 strands are recommended for horse pasture fence per the retailer.
To begin installing, we planned out the exact line using string and stakes to find the best placing for the fence on the landscape itself. To install the wood posts we spray painted every 10 feet along the string line starting with the corners and then started drilling the holes there.
To drill holes we used an auger attachment on our tractor, a tool absolutely worth a purchase or rental for a big fencing project if you have a tractor. The biggest trick to using it is keeping it straight as you drill in, it helps if you have eyes on the ground to see if you need any adjustments. Any rocks you come upon may have to be broken up by hand as you drill.
After the holes were drilled we added the posts and filled in with dirt, checking that they are straight and in line with a level and then tamp the dirt around it until snug. When filling holes for the corner posts we added concrete mix in the hole, just dry not mixed with water. The water in the ground will mix with it and set the post.
We also installed braces on the corners as they have to hold up the tension from the whole line. Corner posts need some added support and also the concrete in the holes gives added stability. See part 2 for the t post and polytape install.