Horse Fence Frequently Asked Questions
Horse fence projects can be very challenging. For over 30 years, RAMM has helped horse owners find the safest containment solutions available. Over those years, there have been many different scenarios and we've found there are many different variables that come into play in each situation – from frost line depth to soil types, and so on! We've assembled the most common horse fence installation questions.
If you have a question more specific to your property and horses, we welcome you to call in to speak with a friendly RAMM expert at 800-434-6293.
- What Is the Best Fencing for Horses?
Everyone knows there’s not a 100% horse-proof fence; even the strongest fences can break when hit or kicked with enough force. No matter how gentle or well-trained, horses are animals so their behavior can be unpredictable. However, as horse owners, we can still choose a ''safer'' fence for our prized equine's well-being. With horses, anything is possible so it's important to pick a safer fence alternative.
RAMM specifically designed a vinyl horse fence, Flex Fence®, to be the safest alternative to traditional horse fencing systems. It consists of high-tensile wire molecularly bonded to polyethylene plastic. Instead of splintering or breaking on impact, Flex Fence® will flex up to six to eight inches, then return to its original shape. Flex Fence® is extremely strong, with the widest size [525 Plus Flex Fence®] having 4,200 pounds of break strength per rail and a Lifetime LTD Warranty!
Avoid any unecessary injuries from common fencing options like board, PVC, bare wire, and more. *The difference between a good fence and a bad fence is usually one vet bill.
- What Is a Fence “Rail”?
A fence rail is simply the term used for the horizontal piece of fence that attaches between posts. In other words, it is the fencing material itself.
Example: We suggest at a 4-rail Flex Fence® system for your horses.
- How Many Fence Rails Do I Need for My Horse?
A good rule of thumb is to keep rail spacing no more than 9-11 inches. This ensures there’s not enough space for your horse to get both his head and leg through the rails. However, the taller your posts are, the bigger spacing becomes between rails. Position the top edge of the top rail two inches from the top of the post. Position the bottom edge of the bottom rail approximately one foot from the ground. If your pasture has plenty of grass for your horses to graze on, wider spacing between rails may not be a problem. If your area is a dry lot, wider rail spacing may be an invitation for your horses to stick their heads through the fencing and reach for grass on the other side. If your budget doesn't allow you to fence with more rails, consider adding a deterrent rail between your larger rails.
When using a wider rail such as 525 Plus, 425, or Per4mance Flex Fence®, typical configurations are 3-4 rails. A 4-rail fence system provides a more visible barrier, closer rail spacing, and is more aesthetically pleasing. For smaller rails like Raceline & Shockline Flex Fence® coated wire, Pro-Tek electric horse fencing, or other various electric horse fencing, 4-8 rails are typical. You may decide that a combination fence system works best for you. There are many possibilities for combination fencing! Our RAMM experts have ideas & solutions, no matter what your situation is (foals, yearlings, minis, stallions, etc.), to fit your budget without sacrificing safety.
When planning, also keep in mind any future considerations; will you eventually have new additions? It's much easier to install the extra rail when building the fence, rather than adding it later. One vet bill is usually more expensive than an extra rail of fence. For nursery paddocks, please consider a 5-rail configuration. The lower three rails can be spaced closer while the top two are further apart; providing a more secure fence for the young horse with wider spacing as it grows.
*Note: If you have smaller horses or animals, you will need to tighten up the space between rails.
*Note: It's not suggested to have your Flex Fence® run flush with the ground, both for functionality and aesthetics.
- How Tall Should My Horse Fence Be?
Most horse owners position their top rail at wither height (52"-54" average), which will give you a taller fence if you have taller horses.
RAMM Tip: Utilizing an electric top rail will help to prevent any would-be jumpers.
- What Fence Color Is the Most Visible to Horses?
It’s long been debated what colors horses can actually see; we have found color is not as much of an issue as opposed to having more space between rails and choosing a less-safe fence alternatives. Most horses can easily move away from tree branches, tall weed patches, or anything that obstructs their path. Likewise, most horses will learn the boundary of their fenced pastures whether the color is white, black, or brown; these are all colors horses see in nature.
• White is a traditional color that can make your property appear larger because it stands out so well against a natural background. If you are in a climate with heavy snow, white fencing will not stand out as well; choosing a different color or combining white with black or brown will help.
• Black is classy, elegant, and makes quite a rich statement. It has traditionally been tied to usage on large farms. Many farms choose black fencing for its visibility in snowy weather and tendency not to show dirt.
• Brown is a more subtle color and offers a more natural look; coordinating well with tan and neutral barn/house colors. Dirt and mud are also harder to see on brown fencing.
The bottom line is your horses can see any of the available colors. Choose a color that will work best on your farm – think about the structures on your property and the overall look you want to achieve.
- How Do I Measure My Pasture?
Before you can caluclate how much fence you will need, you will need to measure your pasture. To find out how much fence you'll need, you can either walk your property with a measuring wheel, fitness phone apps, or you can determine the distance between your existing posts and add the total footage. If the area is open, you can drive stakes in the ground and string off the entire pasture.
*Note: A good rule of thumb is to have about 1.5-2 acres of land per horse.
On episode 41 of Late Night Riders, we discuss RAMM's inside tips and tricks for planning a fence project:
- What Type of Wood Posts Are the Best for Horse Fence?
Posts are the backbone of any fence system! They are just as important as your fence rails as they hold them in place and provide stability for the entire structure. If you are using wood posts, choose a pressure-treated post; they’re stronger and more resistant to wet ground, seasonal elements, and use from your horses. Pressure treatment, is a process where posts are pressure dried by creating a vacuum that extracts moisture out of the wood. The treatment is then released and pulled into the post, which goes deep inside to the heartwood [core]. The heartwood is the hardest, strongest and most resistant part of the post. To determine the quality of the posts you’re looking at, you’ll need to find out the retention level of the post. Example: a .40 retention level means the post will last 40 years under normal conditions. Once posts are completely dry, you can stain or paint them.
Don't be fooled into purchasing posts that are less expensive. If it looks too good to be true, check & double-check again before your purchase. You may think for the best deal, posts are the way to real savings, but you could be purchasing a post with a short life expectancy. Replacing posts is not as much fun as riding or hanging out with your family & friends:
- If posts are not pressure-treated, they may last less than a year if exposed to the underground natural elements! Treated posts are rolled in vats of treatment, where it mostly soaks onto the outside of the dry post, leaving much of the inside still vulnerable to moisture.
- If the post is short, the chances of your horses getting out, or an animals getting in, are greater.
- If posts are smaller in diameter or a “half-cut" post, you will loose the strength needed to withstand pressure from your horses.
- If posts sit for over a year, they become harder as time goes on; amounting to a lot of time and labor during installation.
*Tip: “post-checking” is when posts split. Checking occurs as a natural process as the post dries out over time. If your post checks, turn it to a side that has no “checking” or cracking and nail to the smooth side. If a post splits into the core, it’s different and you should follow up with your supplier.
Red Pine posts are logged in northern states and they are a softer wood than yellow southern pine, however, both posts work very well for pasture fencing. Prices vary throughout the United States due to the distance that posts are shipped to and from delivery points. Different types of fencing systems can utilize different sized posts. Please check out our product pages for post suggestions or speak with a RAMM expert for more information. You can read more on posts here.
- How Far Should Fence Posts Be Spaced for Horses?
Post spacing for horse fences varies based on a few things including the tension from the fence type, foot traffic, and the space allotted. Your fence rail's break strength will remain the same no matter what post spacing you use, but the give of the fence will change dramatically. Wider fence post spacing can create sagging if fence rails are continuously ran. You may think that you are saving money with farther post spacing, but it’s not worth chancing; the cost is minimal compared to the cost of an injury.
- For smaller, high-traffic areas or round pens, we recommend decreasing the post spacing to 8'. Additionally, PVC post spacing must be 8' on-center and wire mesh fence is best at 8' or 10'.
- Medium pastures should be spaced at 10’.
- Larger pastures can be spaced at 12'.
- If you’re only using very lightweight, electric fencing (Pro-Tek Tape, Braid, and Rope or ElectroBraid) you can space your fencing up to 15’.
*Note: When posts are set at 25', 50’, or even 100' as some companies suggest, the fencing will stretch up to 5' or more before either breaking or coming back into place. This puts your horse at an extremely greater risk of getting tangled in the fencing and possibly injured.
- How Do I Properly Brace My Fence Posts for Horses?
Bracing your fence posts is a step many people skip and is a reason why so many people have collapsing or failing containment systems. There are many things you'll need to consider, such as frost depth, soil type, bracing technique, etc. We do not recommend twitch wire or H-bracing techniques. Here are some rules of thumb for post depth:
- Line Post Holes - should be approximately 24-36” deep.
- End/Corner Posts Holes - should be 36-48” deep depending on frost line. Fill hole with concrete to approximately 4” below ground level. Make sure that the bottom of holes is at least 6” wider than top of hole.
- Diagonal Brace Post Holes - should be at a minimum of 18” deep with an 18” squared face. Hole must extend below your frost line and be 70” from the end/corner post hole (center to center). Connect your brace post and end/corner post together with a diagonal brace plate.
When filling your fence post holes with concrete, please keep the following in mind so you aren’t replacing posts or fencing down the road:
• Fill to within 4” of ground level so you can put dirt back in around your posts and grass will grow.
• Lean upright fence posts back approximately 1” away from the fence’s tension.
• Make sure your diagonal braces are in the footer no more than 3-4 inches or they could push through the concrete when tension is applied.
• Make sure all concreted holes are below front line for your area.
• Make sure your upright fence posts are correct with your string line. All of the string line should be on the outside of your corners; remember, your string line represents your fence.
*Note: The most efficient way to dig holes for your fence posts are with a 12" diameter, 48" long auger. Before you drill, call local utilities (dial 811) to mark your utility lines.
You can read more about how to properly brace your Flex Fence® in this article or the Flex Fence® installation instructions. If you have any unanswered questions, please contact a RAMM expert so your horse fencing will last for years!
- Should the Fence Rail Be on the Outside or Inside of the Fence Post?
Aesthetically, fence rails on the outside of posts may look better, but placing them on the inside is recommended. With fence rails on the inside, it will always make for a stronger containment system; the rail is in between the animal and the post. For horses who like to lean/push on the fencing or in high-traffic areas, rails on the inside of the posts will also give you the peace of mind knowing the hardware will not break off.
- Will Oiling My Posts Breakdown the Materials in Flex Fence®?
No; Flex Fence® is made with polyethylene, which is the product of choice for chemical containers because it is impervious to chemicals. Therefore, no oil chemicals will affect the fence’s integrity.
- How Do I Stop My Horse from Chewing on the Fence?
Stopping your horse from chewing [aka “cribbing”] is not easy if you have board fencing. For polymer/vinyl fencing like our Flex Fence®, most horses will not like to chew on it. because it’s not palatable material (doesn’t taste good). If horses abusing your fence rail, we recommend adding electric or a crib strap.
- What Is the Cheapest Fencing for Horses?
Pro-Tek electric rope is RAMM's most economical horse fence option and is backed by a 12-year warranty. It is comes in 656' rolls and is very easy to install.
The electric current running through the rope signals "stay away" to horses, much like a kick or nip from the dominant horse in the herd. Horses feel the "bite" and learn to stay away from fence lines. This will help slow down the wear-and-tear on your electric fencing system, providing you with more years of protection and containment!
With maximum UV protection and great visibility, Pro-Tek electric rope can be used as either a permanent or a temporary horse fencing system for grazing purposes. Electric fencing can also be a useful tool for teaching horses to respect their boundaries and RAMM's exclusive Pro-Tek electric rope can help you achieve this.
*Note: Pro-Tek electric rope is only available at RAMM.
Trying to conserve on energy costs? Solar-powered fence chargers are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly! Choose an electrical coverage option from 3 acres, up to 100 acres!
- How Do I Clean My Horse Fence?
- What Does My Flex Fence® Warranty Cover?
RAMM's Flex Fence® is available in five different options. The warranty includes any cracking peeling, chipping, discoloration, manufacturer's defect, or UV weathering. It DOES NOT cover abuse or misuse; we recommend using the manufacturer's installation instructions. Any high-tensile product [Flex Fence®] will be extremely strong, however, if you crimp or fold the fence over onto itself and apply tension, then you create a weak spot.
- Lifetime LTD Warranty | 525 Plus Flex Fence®
- 30-Year LTD Warranty | 425 Flex Fence®
- 30-Year LTD Warranty | Raceline Flex Fence® Coated Wire
- 25-Year LTD Warranty | Per4mance Flex Fence®
- 20-Year LTD Warranty | Shockline Flex Fence® Electric Coated Wire
*Note: We recommend the use of electric horse fencing in high-traffic areas.
- Are Electric Fences Safe for Horses?
Unlike the kick from actual horses, the ''bite'' horses feel from an electric fence is short-lived and doesn’t physically harm your horse. The electric current acts as the Alpha in the pecking order, so your horses are safely contained within their boundaries! In the wild, horses are herd animals, meaning there is a hierarchy among them. Horses will respect the bite, nudge, nip, or kick of a more dominant horse. Electric fencing provides that ''nip'' and helps teach horses to respect the barrier. It makes perfect sense to our horses; the fence is saying ''stay away''.
We offer many of the best electric horse fence options on the market available here: https://www.rammfence.com/fence/electric-horse-fence/
"How is your electric fence different than what I find at my local farm store?"
- Ask about the number of electrical wires in the farm store fence. You’ll probably find that RAMM’s electric fence contains more wires and has a stronger break strength. This could mean the difference between your horses staying in their pasture or getting loose.
- Find out what type of plastics the rail is constructed from. Plastic that is not UV-protected will fray from the sun's damaging UV rays.
- Don’t forget about warranties. You may find you are getting more bang for the buck by installing your pastures with RAMM’s time-proven electric fence solutions. When you purchase an electric fencing system from RAMM, you’re getting a higher quality product. Our products are farm-tested to ensure performance.
- You’re also getting customer support from a dedicated staff that will help you through your entire project, from planning-to-completion. Our representatives care about your horses and will spend time finding out about your animals and their needs and how they can help you within your budget. We’ll help you choose a fence system that will do the job it should.
*Please be aware, the best way to use any electric horse fence is according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Is It Safe to Touch Electric Horse Fencing?
Many people wonder if they will get hurt by touching an electric horse fence. RAMM's fence chargers are low-amperage and high-voltage, which produces a shock that is not harmful to humans or animals. Home electrical outlets inside your home are opposite; high-amperage and low-voltage (which is dangerous).
Should someone inadvertently contact an electrified fence, he or she will receive a shock. Always use caution and avoid touching an electrified fence with the head or upper torso. People with heart conditions, children, or elderly should avoid touching electric fences. Children should be shown the fence and given an explanation of why they should never touch the fence. If your facility will see a lot of small children or visitors who are not familiar with horses and electric fence is a concern, talk with our representatives about the other non-electric fence options we offer. We understand that electric fence is not right for every situation; we can help you find a solution that accomplishes what you need.
Always post warning signs on your electric fence to alert others of the electrical presence. Check with your local extension agency for your area’s requirements on how many electric fence warning signs must be posted (and any requirements for the sign itself). It’s also important to alert any visitors who may go near your pasture.
"Is it okay to ride in a horse paddock with electric fence turned on?"
While the electric fencing may not be harmful to you, we recommend having a separate area for riding and groundwork that is not surrounded by an electric fence. For example, should your horse contact an electrified fence while you are riding or handling it on the ground, the horse could bolt and possibly cause injury to both of you.
Moreover, if budget or space dictates otherwise, we highly advise you to TURN THE POWER OFF while you are riding with cut-off switches. Cut-off switches allow you to turn off the power to your fence rails. Determined by how your fence system is installed, you can have it set up to have specific fence rails electrified and others off. When you are finished, remember to turn the power back on.
- How Often Should I Turn on My Electric Horse Fence?
We recommend electric fencing be turned on at all times; they are designed to be electrified. Electric fences work because horses learn that when they contact the fence, they receive a shock. This teaches the horse to stay away from the fence line.
Electric horse fence rails are not as strong as most non-electric options because they are not designed to withstand constant contact from horses. If you don’t keep the fence electrified, your horse will be more likely to contact the fence. If your horse has some experiences with the fence when it is not electrified, it may lose respect for the fence and may be tempted go through it. This produces unnecessary wear-and-tear or abuse to the fence and puts your horse at risk to an accident.
The cost to keep an electric fence on 24 hours a day is quite minimal and is well worth the extra costs per month to keep your animals safe! If you're unsure whether your electric fencing is opperating adequately, we offer electric fence testers.
- What's the Difference Between Stainless Steel and Copper Electric Fencing?
Electricity actually travels around the outside of a wire, as opposed to through the wire. When copper wires are out in the elements, they eventually corrode and oxidize. Aesthetically, this is not desirable because the wires and fence can turn green. Moreover, the damage is greater than just aesthetics. Electricity has a harder time traveling over wires that are corroded, rusted, and bumpy. This means fence utilizing copper wires, such as ElectroBraid™, will have less voltage over time, causing your fence to be less effective at containing your horses.
Stainless wires will not corrode over time like copper. Therefore, stainless steel electric fencing will provide added life to your fence system. Choose from any of RAMM's exclusive Pro-Tek electric fencing options or RAMM's patented Shockline Flex Fence® electric coated wire (the strongest and most effective electrical horse containment system available on the market!).
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