Before You Build: Consider This Before Your Fencing Project

This article is part of our Fencing Awareness Month brought to you by Bekaert.

Building a new fence might seem like a straightforward task, but there is more at stake than what meets the eye. Your new fence will be more than a boundary line, and a barrier for your horse. It will be a way to ensure his safety and well-being, an addition to your property, and if done correctly, a long-standing testament to a job done well. Before you build, there are a few non-negotiables you must consider ensuring the job is done well – and safely – and your new fence will last for years to come.

Plan it Out

When it comes to building a new fence, meticulous planning might be a drag at the beginning, but can save you headache down the road. Fence construction is more than just assembling posts, rails, and wires. It’s about designing a protective barrier that accommodates your horse’s natural behaviors and also mitigates risk. Here are a few factors to consider before you build, that need to be thoroughly thought out. Gather your materials beforehand, to make the process simpler and quicker.

Gather your materials and tools beforehand, so you can be prepared for your project. Galinast/

Choose Your Materials

If you’re choosing to build a wire fence, you are now tasked with determining what type of wire. Will you opt for smooth wire? No-climb fencing? Electric wire? Or are you partial towards wood fencing? Consider your goals for the fence, and then choose materials based on your horse’s needs, your climate and geography, purpose for the fence, and your budget.

Measure Twice, Build Once

There is nothing more frustrating than getting to within a few feet of being finished, and finding that you’re out of materials. Take the time to properly measure for your fence and determine how much you’ll need of all vital parts. Determine the number of fence posts, the length of wire, the number of wooden boards, and any other vital materials. It’s better to have a few too many than too few. You can always save those extra materials for repair and rebuilding!

Fencing Out and In

The purpose of your fence is undoubtedly to create a safe barrier to keep your horse where you need him to be. But have you considered if you’re fencing anything OUT? Are there predators in your area that you would like to keep out? Does your fence need to be dog-proof? Is there a busy highway near your home that you need to ensure your horse never sees? Take into consideration what you are fencing out, to determine what type of fence to build.

Know Your Purpose

Is this fence meant to section of an area for your horse to graze? Will it be his permanent residence? The purpose of your new fence will help you determine what materials to use, and how to construct it. If you’re unsure about where to start, consult with a fencing expert who can help guide you through the process.

Safety First

Once you’ve planned out your fencing project, there are a few more steps to take before you dig that first post hole. Don’t disregard these factors, as you could regret it later if you’re halfway through your project and have to start again.

Injury and Stress Prevention

Build your fence first and foremost with your horse’s safety in mind. Dangerous materials, sharp corners, and uncapped t-posts can all pose a serious risk to your four-legged friend. Fences with low visibility can become a hazard to a running horse that can’t see the barrier in front of him. Consider the fence from your horse’s point of view. Is it highly visible? Does it serve the purpose you have in mind? Is it built appropriately for his size, age, and health requirements?

Check Those Utilities

Before you dig, check for underground utilities. There will be a phone number you can call in your area to obtain information about any areas you need to avoid. If you’ve hired a contractor or professional, they’ll usually take care of this part. But, if you’re doing a DIY fence build, call before you dig to confirm that you’re not going to unexpectedly hit any underground utility lines.

Double Check Property Lines

This is especially applicable if you’ve just bought a new property and are building the first fence on the land. Double and triple check your property boundaries so you can be confident that your fence isn’t encroaching on your neighbor’s property. Avoid boundary disputes by being prepared and marking your property lines ahead of time, so you can stay within your own area.

Know Your Area’s Regulations

Depending on where you live, there might be permits you need to acquire before you build a fence. Be area and knowledgeable about any regulations regarding new installations, fences, or additions to your property. Typically, this won’t apply to a basic livestock fence, but if your fence exceeds a certain height or has a special purpose, this can be important to check into.

Consider Natural Behaviors

It’s just a fact that horse’s like to rub. On fence posts, on trees, on you, it’s just part of their natural behavior. Will your fence stand up to the pressure of a horse rubbing on it? Are your posts planted deep enough to withstand that? That saying of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ might just be the livestock mantra. Horses love to lean over fences to get a bite of grass from the other side, and often to explore their surroundings. Consider these natural behaviors when building your fence and be prepared to repair it when necessary.

Is your fence built to withstand the natural behaviors of horses, including leaning and pushing? Rachelle/

Invest the Time and Money Upfront

Invest the time and money upfront to avoid headaches down the road. Consider hiring a professional fence company to help you with your project and give you peace of mind.

The primary reason for planning a fence is to create a secure environment for your horse. Careful consideration of fence height, materials, and design prevents your horse from getting entangled, injured, or escaping, reducing the risk of accidents and potential harm. By considering the unique needs and behaviors of your horse, you lay the foundation for a secure space that allows him to thrive. Remember, the fence isn’t just a barrier; it’s a promise of safety and comfort for the creatures that rely on our care.

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