This article is part of our Fencing Awareness Month brought to you by Bekaert.
If you’re a horse owner, you understand the importance of a sturdy and secure fence to keep your four-legged friend safe and happy. However, building a horse fence doesn’t have to break the bank. With some savvy planning and a bit of DIY spirit, you can create an affordable, but also reliable enclosure for your horses. Let’s explore some tips for constructing a cost-effective horse fence.
Set Clear Priorities
Before diving into the project, outline your priorities. What purpose will this fence serve? Is this your horse’s full-time enclosure, or a fence for daily turn-out? What needs does your horse have? If you’re adopting a mustang, your fencing height requirements will be different than a fence for a herd of miniature horses.
Determine the essential features your fence must have, such as height, durability, and safety. By focusing on your must-haves, you can allocate your budget more efficiently.
Plan Your Layout Efficiently
Efficient layout planning helps maximize your materials and minimize waste. Is there a way to incorporate existing features into your fence layout? Perhaps there are natural boundaries or barriers that can minimize the need for fencing in a certain part of your property. If possible, avoid hilly or uneven terrain, as it may require more materials and labor to create a stable fence line.
Along these same lines, measure precisely to determine how much of each material you will need. Save money by knowing exactly how much of something you need and avoid purchasing excess that you won’t use. Take the time to shop around and price compare. Call fencing supply or farm stores beforehand to get prices on materials and consider where the best bang for your buck is at.
Choose Materials Carefully
Pressure-treated wooden posts and boards are a budget-friendly option that offer longevity if properly cared for. However, this option will include more upkeep to ensure the wood doesn’t rot or break. Electric fencing materials are often more affordable than traditional wood or vinyl options. They can be effective for temporary enclosures or when supplemented with other materials. No climb wire is durable and cost-effective. It’s particularly suitable for large areas and can be combined with other materials for added strength.
Whatever materials you end up choosing, consider their longevity. Perhaps it’s worth the expense up front to go with a sturdy and reliable no-climb fence and solidly planted fence posts, vs. t-posts.
DIY or Professionally Installed?
This decision is entirely up to you and can end up costing or saving you money either way, depending on a few factors. If you’re confident in your abilities and this isn’t your first fencing rodeo, you can probably get by doing it yourself. However, if you’re unsure about the specifics, and new to this game, it’s worth it to talk to the professionals and have it done once and done right.
Consider Secondhand Materials
If you’re building a corral enclosure, you can often find used livestock panels online. Check your local farm groups for used fencing materials, or even hit up your local livestock auction if they have a weekly farm sale. If you decide to go with secondhand materials, do your due diligence to ensure their safety. Check for holes, evidence of disrepair, and signs of wear that can prove hazardous to your horse.
Don’t Disregard Maintenance
Maintaining your fence will save you money in the long run. If you spot signs of trouble early on and are able to quickly fix the problem, it’ll often be cheaper than having to replace the entire fence. Replacing one broken board is far cheaper than ignoring the issue and having to rebuild an entire section of fence eventually.
Put Safety First
Wanting to save money on your next fencing project is a perfectly reasonable thing. However, don’t sacrifice safety for savings. Your horse deserves a safe and comfortable space to spend his time. Above all else, including savings, prioritize his safety.