Horses Don’t See Electric Fences – Fact or Myth?

I don’t recall exactly how many times I have heard that “Horses just don’t see electric fences” or “they run through them and get hurt.”  I wouldn’t necessarily say that it never happens; it does, it will and it can. Horses have probably run through all types of fences, but not necessarily because they didn’t see it.

Horse Fence with Black PasturePro Posts

The PasturePro post is a very safe fence post for horses. The flexibility and ability to not produce any sharp shards greatly reduces the chances of them hurting themselves like they can on a metal t-post.

Personally, as a horse owner myself, I have always felt that horses see better than we humans do. As an animal of prey they have an advanced scope of vision, developed for the detection of predators. They can see nearly 360 degrees and they easily pick up the blind spot, to the rear, with a slight turn of the head.

Additionally, probably more injuries to our equine friends come from fence posts as often as from the actual fence itself.  I over-heard a veterinarian once comment that treatment as a result of injury with steel fence posts bought him a new diesel truck every three years.

The PasturePro post is a very safe fence post for horses. The flexibility and ability to not produce any sharp shards greatly reduces the chances of them hurting themselves (check out The Bale Test video to see this flexibility in action).

Editors Note: This post was corrected on April 25, 2011. The original version contained an inaccurate quote from Dr. Evelyn Hanggi. The quote has been removed.

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About Gary Duncan

Gary has been active in the fence business for over 15 years. He also raises Highland cattle in a management intensive grazing system and was the first person to market the PasturePro post back in 2005. He enjoys discussing all things grazing and is the main contributor to the blog.
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4 Responses to Horses Don’t See Electric Fences – Fact or Myth?

  1. avatar Ryan says:

    I agree that horses will run through any fence if they are scared enough. We have an old pony, but 15 hands and 900 pounds, that got spooked by who knows what. She took off, ran right through a page wire fence with a 2×6 board at the top of the page wire. This is exactly the kind of fence a lot of people say is best for horses. The page wire was the diamond configuration so they can’t get their feet stuck, and the board should have presented an excellent visual trigger, but a scared horse just runs, and rarely cares whats infront. Incidently it wasn’t the page wire that broke but the posts. It is a fairly old fence, she broke a 5 inch wooden post off at the soil line, and bent two metal posts. After having looked at the post it was quite rotted at the soil line, but still an impressive feat. On the other side of the fence was a 30 foot bank that ends at a county highway. She slid down the bank on her side or but and ended up on the highway. Luckily she didn’t get hit. She know spends her days in a smaller paddock with 3 fences between her and the road.

  2. avatar Dr. Evelyn Hanggi says:

    While I do not mind it when people excerpt my articles (copy below), I do expect quotes to be accurate. In your article, Horse Don’t See Electric Fences – Fact or Myth, Mr. Duncan added, without permission, the final sentence, which makes it appear that it is part of my article. At no time, have I ever made a statement that a horse can see an electric fence better than a human.

    Excerpt:
    The horse’s visual world is a little different from ours – possibly a little less colourful but oh so much broader and useful around the clock. The horse’s eyes look quite different from ours but function quite similarly – with good depth perception, eye-to-eye transfer, and rotation ability. We are alike but also different because of what is important to us as a species. As owners, as trainers, as handlers, as caretakers, we must consider this if we desire to excel with horses. From this, it is safe to assume that a horse will see an electric fence better than a human will at all times of the day.”

    • avatar Gary Duncan says:

      Dr. Hanggi, I owe you an an apology. It appears that I made a serious error in the formatting of this blog article.

      The bottom sentence of this excerpt (“From this, it is safe to assume that a horse will see an electric fence better than a human will at all times of the day.”) was not from Dr. Hanggi’s article but rather in a line below her article, from the blog that the article was linked to. The article that was linked to was at: http://agrisellex.co.uk/blog/?p=155 (which now appears to no longer be on-line).

      I am very sorry for this error, and can assure you that this was not intentional. The sentence referenced above should not have been in the excerpt. It was an oversight in my own proofreading. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

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