Have you been scratching your head at different fencing materials, wondering which fits your needs? Wire fencing might check off all your boxes. Selecting the perfect wire fencing for our four-legged friends can feel like a high-stakes quest, with their safety and happiness hanging in the balance. We’re smack dab in the middle of a fencing frenzy, folks, with an abundance of options to choose from.
From sturdy fixed-knot wire to economical smooth wire, in this article, we’ll embark on a ride through the world of wire fencing for horses. We chatted with fencing expert, Van Medley at Bekaert Fencing, to bring you the benefits of each type, and the function they serve.
By the time we’re done, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to pick the crème de la crème of fencing solutions for your horse’s needs.
Let’s start with a commonly selected, and popular option for horse fencing, non-climb fence. This option allows horse owners to rest easy that their horse is in a safe enclosure. Medley, a technical support manager at Bekaert states that the difference between this and a classic fixed-knot fence, is that non-climb fencing uses an ‘s’ knot.
“It’s a very smooth knot, there’s less chance of injury to an animal, and the way it is tied to the horizontal lines prevents sharp edges”, notes Medley. Non-climb fence features 2×4 openings from top to bottom, that prevent curious hooves and heads going through the fence. Horses can’t step through the openings to pull the fence down, and get to the other side, to find out if the grass is truly greener. Medley adds that this option is also great for those that have multiple different species and are looking to fence in different animals.
In addition to a smoother knot that doesn’t have sharp points, non-climb fences are sturdy and reliable. In comparison to wood fencing, wire fencing in general requires much less upkeep. Check often for sagging or loose wires, and maintain sturdy braces, and your non-climb fence will last for years.
Traditional Fixed-Knot Fence
The counterpart to the non-climb fence, is a traditional fixed knot fence. Medley explains that this fence features a knot that gives you four points of contact. He mentions that “you get a stronger knot in general, that makes for a strong fence.”
This fence is great for larger breeds, or animals that tend to push on fences. It’s also a great all-around fence for a variety of species. The fixed knot makes for a tough and durable fence, that can stand up to curious critters. Choose an option with openings small enough to avoid hooves getting stuck. The same rules apply here as with no-climb fence, install it correctly, check it often, and it will last for years to come.
When it comes to smooth wire fencing, this will be your best economical bet. Although you do sacrifice some safety features with this fence type, Medley says that if you have docile and calm animals, it might work for you. Smooth wire used in combination with electric wire can be an affordable and effective option, depending on your herd.
However, it is important to note that smooth wire fencing lacks visibility, Medley states. If you opt for smooth wire, be advised that a horse running across the field might not see it until they’re on top of it. This poses many safety hazards. Attached something to the fence such as high visibility tape or including a wooden top rail, can make the fence more visible.
Regardless of what type of wire fencing you choose, installing the braces correctly is key. “Braces are the heart of the fence”, says Medley. The fence is only as strong as the braces, and it all starts with planting solid posts. Setting your fence posts deep in the ground will not only make your fence stronger but minimize the upkeep and maintenance you’ll face if you plant unsteady posts. A general guideline is to have 40-50% of the post in the ground.
Corner braces are also an important consideration when building a new fence. Although there isn’t a specific “right” style of corner brace, consider the soil, and the purpose of your fence, before you start your corner braces. If you’re stuck, reaching out to an expert like the pros at Bekaert Fencing might be a good call, to save you headache down the road.
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No sagging wires. Medley breaks it down in simple terms; “get that fence up to tension.” Now, you don’t want to stretch your fence so much that it causes so much pressure as to lead to premature failure. However, a sagging fence is a danger to animals.
According to fence pro, Van Medley, “If the braces try to move over time, you don’t want to see slack in that top line, where something can get entangled. If things get loose, you don’t want wires to break if animals are pushing on it.” Because of this safety risk, install your fence properly the first time, and monitor it for loose or sagging wires.