On The Fence – Part 3 of 4

Lisa Kiley – March 2020
Originally published in Horsemen’s Corral Magazine – link to magazine

On the Fence – Part 3 of 4

Tips for a Smooth Installation

By now, you have hopefully been able to pick the right type of fencing for your property and your herd.  Now it’s time to get everything installed so that you can put it to work and provide a safe space for your horses to enjoy and provide you with peace of mind. 

Although we will focus on the do-it-yourselfer here, there are a few things to keep in mind when working with installers:  As we mentioned earlier in the series, getting on the schedule early is very important.  It’s also necessary to have a realistic plan about when the work will be completed.  Plan for delays, sometimes the weather doesn’t work out.  In the busy season, it may be another project that got delayed that will end up making yours run behind.  Checking an installers references shouldn’t just be limited to the quality of work, but also the quality of communication during the process.

For those of you who are planning on tackling the installation on your own, here are some tips that can make the process go smoothly:

Educate Yourself: Read the written materials that come with your fencing supplies and seek out installation videos.If you still have questions, reach out to the supplier or manufacturer directly to talk out issues.  Hitting a point where the installation may be faulty or incorrect will just end up causing more issues down the line, so it’s worth it to stop and figure out what the solution is rather than going forward and making mistakes that could have been avoided.

Installation Timeline:  Even though the time of season may have already been determined.  It helps to sit down and plot out what days are open to work on the project, then plan some rain days. If you will need to rent items, you can save money if you plan to get them for the appropriate days rather than from the start of the project.  A timeline can also make it easier to organize help from family and friends, if needed.    

Don’t Skimp on the Foundation: The foundation of a fence is properly installed corners, starts and stops.  Posts that are not appropriately set will diminish the strength of the fence.  Having to re-set post is costly and difficult, so ensuring they are installed properly the first time is essential.  Sometimes, even if the plan is to install the fence yourself, getting professional help with driving the post can be an option that can make the process easier while keeping your budget in check. 

Getting Charged Up:  For electric fencing, ground rods need to be applied in the lowest, wettest area of the pasture 10’ to 12’ apart, generally 3 is the recommended number of rods for horse fence.  The charger selection must be powerful enough for the pasture size, or horses will not respect it.  When taking wire underground for gate openings, a minimum of 12” is recommended. To protect the wire and make it easier to maintain, it should be put in conduit. In areas that will be driven over, it needs to be placed deeper and conduit should always be used. 

Good Tension:  When using diamond wire mesh, horse fence, coated wire, braided rope or tape, the ideal tension can vary.  A fence stretcher is needed for woven, no climb and welded wire to properly tension, as those styles require, and keep them from sagging.  Other styles of fencing need less tension to work properly, which will prevent them from over stressing connectors and the fence material which can lead to premature breakage.  Braided rope fencing can be tensioned with a hand tensioner.  Flex rails and coated wire typically use a barrel tensioner system. 

Although each fencing installation will pose its own set of challenges, installing fence can be educational, economical and rewarding.  With a little research, planning and hard work, your horses will be enjoying their new pastures in no time.  Next month, we will conclude our series by talking about some important maintenance reminders to keep fence looking great and properly functioning for years to come.    

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