Horse Fence Basics
Build an Electrified Rope Fence for Your Horse
Building a rope fence for your horse is a pretty simple endeavor that most people can do on a weekend after some basic preliminary planning. The basics are pretty much the same in most fence building. Without giving you a 25 page PDF file, here are the highlights.
- Lay out your area on paper.
- Locate all corner and end posts.
- Locate all of your gateways.
- Indicate all ridges and dips in your fence line.
- Clean out and mow your fence line, preferably so that you can drive throughout your project.
- Now that you have all the basic design in front of you, take some measurements so you will know the distances to figure your materials list. Put those numbers on your design sheet.
- Choose the type of corner or end post that you will use. The "Mule" corner or end system is great for rope fencing as you can deal with an insulated corner post, which eliminates the need for end strain insulators and a lot of tying off to insulate your electrified rope from your corner/end posts.
- Other choices would be treated wood or steel. They can be built as a standard "H" brace or the "floating" brace. Take a look at our "How to" section of this website to look at different ways to build your corners.
- Choose the number of strands that you will use. With Rope fencing for horses we generally recommend either 3 or 4 strands. These will be all wired hot.
- Choose the types of gateways you will use. There are many choices available. Locate your gates to best facilitate movement of animals as well as any equipment that you will utilize in your paddocks. Brace your gate posts properly. Plan to install underground insulated wire under your gateways. Installing this into conduit will assure long life as well as facilitate maintenance down the road.
- Identify where your energizer will be installed and think about how you will route your power around your system. The use of jumper wires with proper clamps will make this rather easy.
- The first step is to locate all of your corner post, gate posts and end posts.
- Install all corner and end posts, but do not install the bracing just yet. Do not install your in-line gate posts yet.
- You now need a guide wire or rope to establish a good straight fence line. Since we are going to install a rope fence system we recommend that you use rope for your guide wire. It will latter be used as your bottom rope. For horses there really is no need for your lowest rope to be below 18" off the ground, so connect a rope to your end post and stretch it to the next corner or end post at 18" off the ground. Take some time to stretch your guide wire ( i.e. snap it up and down and get it tight and straight). If you have a rise in the lay of the land, go to that point and make sure that you have a straight line going over the rise.
- Once you have a guide wire all the way around, you can now tension them up with your tensioning kit (this kit is simply a ratchet pulley system that tensions the rope and it's very easy to use). Now you can locate any in-line gate posts, knowing that they are in a straight line with the fence.
- You can now install your bracing to your corner posts and gate posts. With the guide wire tight you can line your bracing up so that the ropes are all straight.
- The next step will be to install your line posts. The Powerflex Posts can usually be driven with a standard manual post driver, such as the ones you use for steel T-posts. Or, you can use a pilot driver or a drill, should you have rocky soils.
- Now, you will have all your corner, end, gate posts and line posts installed. So you are about ready to stretch your rope.
- Mark all your posts, indicating the location of your strands of rope. It is quite simple to take an old yard stick or something similar to use as a template. This will assure that your rope is equally spaced thru-out your system.
- If using insulated fiberglass "Mule" corners, then skip to step 11.
- If using wood or steel corners, you will now mark the locations of your end strain insulators that you will attach your rope to. You may use either rope or hi-tensile wire to attach the end insulator to the end and corner posts.
- Now you are ready to start attaching and tensioning your rope to the posts. Attach one end to the end insulator, looping it thru the insulator, and then use a rope clamp to secure it. Using a broomstick or dowel, walk the rope to the other end. Attach your tensioning kit around the other end post and tension your rope. After you have achieved adequate tension, secure the rope with a clamp.
- Now you are ready to attach the rope to all the line and brace posts.
- It is recommended that you allow the rope to "settle in" for about 24 hours, and then re-tension the rope.
- Install all jumper wires to transfer power from each leg of fence to the next.
- Install your energizer and grounding and energize your new fence. With a voltmeter, check your fence voltage. For horses normally 5KV or 5000 volts should be adequate.
- I would recommend that if you have horses that are not familiar with electric fencing, that you introduce them in a smaller area if possible. Taking the time to lead your horse around the perimeter of a newly fenced in area is probably a good idea also.
I hope that this helps you understand the basic planning and installation process of rope fence.
Other than the equipment needed to install the end and corner posts you will need only a limited number of hand tools such as: pliers, hammer, screwdrivers, marking pencils, etc.
Happy fencing! And, by all means, please feel free to call us anytime with any questions or comments. 417-741-1230