Current Topic: The perimeter fencing here is less then acceptable. It's week, ineffective and in civil bylaw violation. And apparently I'm the only one who cares.
The Perimeter Fence Is Our Last Defense At Containment And It's A Disaster...
The Northern 2/3 of the property has been fenced using 3in. poles that at best are 3-1/2ft. above grade. They use a high-tensile 13ga. galvanized steel wire with four courses. The main problem is that the horses seem to constantly damage large sections at a time. The secondary problem is that the fence is electrified. Well somewhat and sometime. It's poorly engineered, rarely has more then ten percent coverage and is actually sensitive to the wind. Making it totally ineffective and actually hazardous.
The major problem is structural however it is aggravated being so intermittently electrified thus the horses pay little mind to it. Furthermore the standard hardware used to install it is inherently week and if not electrified vulnerable. It's also dangerous for horses if they get caught up in it (cast). Unfortunately... We had no choice at this time other then to repair it. Fortunately... The electrical problems were easily solved with readily available resources. Cheap.
The biggest problem was that all the connections (primary and all junctions) were made using alligator-clips. This method is not designed for use as a reliable electrical connection. There were also several places where the wire was buried, only inches, under gates and other problem areas and re-connected using alligator-clips. Considering the loss in the signal through insulation and contact resistance this system is a total failure. And the horses know it which is why there is such a constant damage and repair cycle.
With a surprisingly limited effort raising the buried sections and fixing the connection problems was remarkably simple using only local resources. We now have had regular hundred-percent electric coverage year round and we added some to the original system. But after all the years of damage the lines were hard to keep proper tension on. These are never going to last.
The remaining South 1/3 of the property is still using fifty year old barb wire. Still only three feet high. This stuff is old, rusty and a constant source of minor injury. It has to go now.
Horses will 'paw' with their feet and stick their heads anywhere it will fit to get just that one blade of grass that is greener on the other side. They startle easily. And there is a lot to spook a horse here. It's no wonder our partner used to report numerous barbwire injuries. This stuff is just hazard waiting to strike.
The South-East fence-line barbwire was easily replaced with with a 2in. electrical fencing tape. Being the perimeter fence this is still only a temporary solution. But still. It should reduce veterinary costs. Oh yeah! This fence-line is about 700ft. long. That's why we needed to just patch it and move on.
The South-West corner of the fence-line is at the front of the property and along the highway. This fence needs a more permanent solution.
We still had a lot of rails (6/4 x 6) we rough sawed and this fence-line is probably less than 300ft. before it meets up with the interior fence. The interior fence really isn't adequate but it'll have to do for now.
We have also decided to move the front fence-line sixteen feet in from the property line. This leaves a 'narrow road' in front of the property which when manicured (mowed) really helps define the property boundaries and it adds a very classy frontage appeal as well. It also allows space so that fence repair can be done from the outside of the pasture rather then the inside. Trust me... That's a huge bonus.
We also put in a circular driveway. Making loading and unloading of hay and horses a much more reasonable effort but it takes the section out of pasture. None the less, at the highway frontage, it continues the perimeter fence backed off from the property line. As you can see it has basically become lawn.
Just North of the driveway the fence has been multi-kludged. And. Not only does it border the highway it is the Stallions perimeter fence also. Additionally it blocks access to the hay barn.
We had a small amount of rails left over from the sawmill so the best we could do here was to meet up with the original fence-lines' while still reclaiming access to the barn. Although it didn't address the remainder of the frontage or the Stallions requirements it is still a step in the right direction.
And of course. On the most frequent of infrequent schedules. And at completely random locations. There is the ever popular fence repair.
This is an ongoing effort that never goes away.
Sometimes even on fences we just built. And of course gates are not immuned to failure either. Ugh!
We also had a new baby coming for the first time in a while and we had no real secure sheltered area left to birth and raise it in. The mother was no problem but the fence in the only suitable area had been compromised due to a drainage failure and the resulting deep trench through the pasture. Sadly... For the first time since we've been building fences we had to purchase the lumber. The drainage problem didn't leave us enough time to saw the lumber ourselves for this project. And something had to be done soon.
We only purchased enough material for 650 feet. There are still a few loose ends connecting to the existing fence-line and there's the interference with our plans for the 'big' barn. But it's the best we can fo for now and it's pretty darn good.
Our property is mountain-edge. Meaning it covers the divide between forest and pasture. There are game trails in the back and the wildlife frequently share the grazing of the pastures.
We are very sensitive to this relationship and do our best to make sure the fencing effort does not disenfranchise our wildlife neighbors.
Who we may eat one day.