Q&A Questions and Answers:
I am looking for information about proper fencing for horses. We are purchasing a 100 acre farm with 46 of those acres being pasture land in southeast MN. It is currently being used for feeder cattle. All of the 46 acre pasture is currently fenced with barbed wire with electric wire run along the inside (low). You drive all over around here, and the majority of people who own horses have barbed wire fencing. But all I read is that is very dangerous. I am particularly interested in getting into rescue horses, either adopting or fostering, but those organizations do not allow barbed wire fencing at all. Which I completely understand. Speaking to other people I know who own horses, they say that one option is to place the electric wire fence up high on the top strand with a spacer so that the wire sits inside about 4-6 inches from the barbed wire. That way the horse would run into the electric wire before it gets to the barbed wire. Do you think this is a viable option? And do you think the rescue organizations would consider this ok? (I probably need to ask them)
Other than the fencing on the property, we have a perfect set up for horses. They have been a passion of mine my whole life, and I would hate for something like this to stop it or put it on hold. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated. We are new to horses and are doing our research before getting into it.
Thank you for your time.
You -- and the rescue organizations -- are absolutely correct about barbed wire... it is VERY dangerous for horses. Mounting the electric wire higher on the fence won't solve the problem. If a horse is startled and moving fast, there's only a millisecond of space between the two wires. And when a horse gets tangled in barbed wire, the result can be similar to tangling with a running chain saw.
It will take a lot of work and a bit of expense, but I'm afraid that removing the barbed wire and replacing it with a plain wire and electric wire and/or electric tape combination is your only option. (I really like the added visibility that electric tape has in any sort of breeze.) In addition, I like to see a white nylon rope at the top of the fence to improve visibility.
I doubt that any rescue group would approve, but another option might be to simply build another fence a few feet inside the old one. That would at least give you a way to safely contain the horses while you tear down the old fence.
The bottom line: with horses, barbed wire is a tragedy waiting to happen.
I hope this helps -- and I wish you the best in your big-hearted endeavor.
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