A “Do-it-Yourself” Weekend Horse Fence

I’m sure we all know people that will bend over backwards to help another person out. Then there are a few that wouldn’t go out of their way to help a friend in need if their life depended on it. Some avoid confrontation altogether. I know that I personally have a few IOU’s outstanding to friends that I hope to have opportunity to repay someday.

I’ll admit to being somewhat of a Face-booker. I don’t think that I’m a junkie, but it is nice to keep track of old acquaintances and family. You are probably wondering how this relates to fencing, but I will eventually get there as most of my trails lead to a fence somewhere along the way.

I attended my 40 year HS class reunion a couple years ago and got re-acquainted with a few old (literally old) classmates. Some of us now keep in touch on Facebook. Recently, one of my classmates, Nancy, was in the process of moving into a new place along with her horses. I saw where she had gotten a ridiculously high bid on building some horse fence.

Reflecting back on it now, I don’t really recall if it was temporary brain damage, a soft heart, or just the overbearing male instinct of helping a damsel in distress. But, none the less, I offered to help her put up her horse fence – if she would be interested in electric fence. Many times a recipient of an act of kindness looks for a motive, especially from a guy with a salesman label on him. But, Nancy did not. I asked her to give me a sketch of the property with the dimensions, which she did the next day. I figured it up and gave her the materials price and said I would help her put it up. She accepted and I made up a list of materials and told her where she could order them from.

I guess that I also had a little motive of my own in that although I have built a lot of electric fences in my life I had never, personally, built one with Electrobraid(TM) on our PasturePro Posts. I had worked with Electrobaid before but not with our posts. This seemed like the perfect application for this system and it turned out to be so. I have a little of a pet peeve that I think anyone that sells a product should have “hands on” experience with actually using it in the field. It helps a lot in giving out “real world” advice and installation guidelines.

Anyway, the materials were ordered and received. Nancy and her brother-in-law set the corner posts and I made the 250 mile trek to put up the fence. Unfortunately, we picked the hottest two days of the year. We worked Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and were pretty well finished on Saturday afternoon.

The conclusion that I came to after building this is that I think that anyone could build this type of fence with a minimal amount of tools and knowledge. And that most 2 or 3 acre horse fences could be done easily in a weekend.

We took some photos as we built it, so I would like to share the actual installation with you. The procedure is pretty much the same as with any fence, only easier, requires fewer tools and is much more user-friendly. The corner and end posts, we used, were treated wood, set 4 feet deep, with 2 bags of sack-crete then tamped in good. These were relatively short runs of fence and I opted to not brace the ends. If the corner posts do ever move, we can add a floating brace if needed. In retrospect, we maybe should have braced the ends. The Electrobraid has a breaking strength of around 1500 pounds, which actually exceeds the strength of most high tensile wire. You can get it over-tight with the tensioning kit, if you are not careful. I told Nancy to watch the corners and if they move, I will return and show her how to put floating braces in, after the fact.

Step One. ElectroBraid utilizes a roller clip insulator that you use on the ends and corners. They are attached with two screws with a cordless drill / driver. These are used as an end strain insulator to pull the braid off of. And they can also be used at transitions. The braid is attached with a copper split bolt at the ends or with a transition the braid runs thru the roller. Step one is to measure out your wire spacing’s and attach the roller clips. This was a 4 strand fence and our spacing’s from the ground up were at 18”, 28”, 38”, and 48”.

Stretch a strand of electrobraid

Step 2, is to stretch a strand of Electrobraid from end to end.  Install it as the lowest strand and secure with a copper split bolt on one end.  With a simple tension kit (a rope ratchet device for $20) tension the other end and secure with a copper split bolt.  This strand of braid will also serve as your guide wire, so it needs to be tensioned tight. You should also snap it up and down and make sure it is straight.  This gives you a straight line to install your line posts.  Next you can lay your line posts out on the fence line. On this fence, we went with 15’ post spacing, but technically you can go as much as 30 feet. Nancy opted for the closer spacing.

Step 3, is now to drive your line posts. Notice that the guide wire is installed and tight, which gives you a good straight line to install the posts. Although this was good black dirt, I used a pilot driver, which is in the photo above. The pilot driver is the steel apparatus on a spike just beyond the fence. I use it because it allows me to drive my posts straighter and these posts are 22” in the ground. So, from my standpoint – it is less fatiguing and I get a better finished product. The line posts we used were PasturePro # 5872, 1-5/8” x 72”. The tops of the posts were 50” out of the ground to allow for a 48” height of the top wire.

Pulling additional strands of braid

Step 4, is to pull the additional strands of braid out – after all the line posts are driven into the ground. This is a simple matter of walking each stand to the other end and securing to the roller clip with a split bolt.  Electrobraid comes on 1200 foot rolls and uncoils very easily if suspended off a rod. Return to the other end, tension and secure.  (Yep, the chunky guy is yours truly, with a headband on a 95 degree humid Missouri day)

Step 5, is to attach the Electrobaid to the PasturePro Posts.  You can attach with either a cotter pin or a clip. I had taken both and gave Nancy a choice and she chose the plastic clips.

We used hex headed stainless steel screws and we did not pre-drill them. We ran them in with a driver in a cordless drill. The PasturePro posts will not split from the screw.

I had Nancy go down the fence line and mark the location of the wire spacing’s with a tape measure and a magic marker.  If the project were larger we would have made a jig to mark the locations.

Then we attached all of the plastic clips securing the Electrobraid to the posts.

You must allow for free travel of the fence wire or braid. Do not attach the wire tight to the post. This allows the post to bend or flex should it be bumped into.

Plastic clips securing the electrobraid

Admiring the results

All posts are in and all stands are attached, so you can step back and admire your work. About all that is left is to install some jumper wires to power up the fence thru the gateways and around corners, etc. We use insulated copper wire for the jumpers.

A very happy horse owner with a new fence!

A very happy horse owner with a new fence that looks great!  And it was built by two people on a couple half days worth of work.

The energizer that we used was a Speedrite 1000, a dual purpose unit that will run off of either 110V plug-in or a 12V battery.  In case of a power outage you could always hook a battery up to it.  The energizer has one output joule of power. The Electrobraid has copper conductors which have very little resistance. The electric pulse flows down the line rather nicely. The voltage reading on the fence at completion was reading 9500 volts. The horses will greatly respect this fence.

We used all copper wire for all connections including a copper ground rod and insulated copper wire underground at the gateways. We also used ¾” HDPE waterline to encase and offer additional protection for the underground wire.

Other than a manual post driver, the only real tools required were wrenches for the split bolts, wire cutters for cutting the braid and a cordless drill/driver for running in the screws.

So, if you need some new horse fencing and would like to install it yourself – this would be a good system to consider.  Call us anytime – we will be happy to help you with the details.

avatar

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.
This entry was posted in Farm Visits, Fencing Tips, Horses, How-tos, Installation. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A “Do-it-Yourself” Weekend Horse Fence

  1. avatar Lauren says:

    Thank you for an informative post. I also want to thank your company for being so prompt on sending samples to help me see the product and choose color. I will be most likely buying from Kencove. I have a few questions. For now, I am just putting up 2 small straight line sections between a vinyl fence and pipe panels. (for horses)
    I’m not sure exactly what I’ll need but I wanted to ask you why you used a braid instead of a ribbon? Also, do I really need to tap in the post 22 inches? For some reason I was only thinking of 12″.
    Thank you

    • avatar Gary Duncan says:

      Hi Lauren & thank you for your comments.
      As for the comparison between a braid and a ribbon; it is probably as much personal choice as anything. The ribbon will be more effected by wind and the lifespan will be less as a result of the constant movement. Some of the better quality braided ropes have up to a 25 year warranty. The ribbon tapes may have more visibility so that may enter as a concern for you.
      As for ground penetration of the posts; the 22″ on a 6 foot post is a guideline. This will depend on your terrain and soil types. If yours is a very short distance and on level terrain, then less depth on the post should be fine. Just remember that sandy loose soil with require more post in the ground as will clay types of soil. For instance, if installed in wet clay soil, it may shrink back from the posts during very dry times. So, adequate depth is important.
      Here is a link to another blog article about fence configurations that will answer some additional questions about how far the post should be in the ground
      http://www.pasturepro.com/blog/2011/08/electric-fence-configurations/
      Thank you,
      Gary

      • avatar Judy Fiedler says:

        Hi Gary,

        Do you live anywhere near Alpine, CA? I just bought 2.5 acres which about 2 acres are fenced with barbed wire. I don’t like barbed wire. Any suggestions and do you know anyone in the area that could be helpful to another “damsel in distress”. I am new to owning property and own two horses which I don’t want to bring up until I have it fenced safely. God Bless.

        • avatar Steve Freeman says:

          Hi Judy,

          I”m afraid your a little far away for Gary to come over and help build a weekend horse fence! We both live in the Ozarks of Missouri–Gary and I have farms about an hour apart. Gary is now selling PasturePro posts for Kencove Farm fence. If you give Kencove a call and ask for Gary he would be happy to talk to you about fence.

          You concern about barbed wire fences for horses is justified. Though many horses are enclosed behind barbed wire I’ve seen the damage horses suffer when they encounter barbed wire to never want our horses behind it.

          Do you want to remove the barbed wire fence? If so, what kind of corner posts are being used and what kind of condition are they in? If they are good, then building a new fence after removing the barbed wire and t-posts would be much easier. If not, and you need new corner posts, then I might suggest you check with your local feed and farm supply store for a recommendation for fence builders. Often you can have just the corner posts installed–which is the part of fence building that takes the most skill to build correctly. Unfortunately the nearest fence contractor we have to you is in Washington state.

          You can build your own corner posts assembly–and if you like I can send you some links to sites that explain in detail how to go about it. But they are the foundation of the fence and no matter how well you build the rest of the fence without good corners your fence will fail. As Gary explained in this blog, the rest of the fence can be relatively easy. The fence being built by Gary in the article used but a single post for a corner post. While this can work with a rope fence if you bury and set the post deep enough, it’s usually better to build a corner system using an “H” brace or a floating brace design.

          All the best,
          Steve

  2. avatar Charlie says:

    Thanks for the article. Well done. It inspired me to move forward on my horse pasture fencing using the ideas found in your article. My wife really liked the plastic clips used in lieu of the cotter pins. Where did you find them?

    • avatar Gary Duncan says:

      Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for your kind words and my appologies for my delayed reply. I’ve been at a lot of trade shows this past week without laptop.
      The clips – I picked these up from one of our distributors. The clip itself is commonly used with the plastic T-Post covers.
      Contact Greg Zeitlow of Zeitlow Distributing Co at 800-530-5158 and he should be able to help you out with the clips.
      Hope this helps and if I can be of further assistance, let me know.
      Best Regards,
      Gary Duncan

  3. avatar Ben Hartwell says:

    How do you think the new ElectroBraid compares to the original ElectroBraid?

    • avatar Gary Duncan says:

      Hi Ben,
      I’ve always liked the original Electrobraid. It has been a pure polyester braid, which has a natural high resistance to Ultra Violet (sunlight) and thus the 25 year warranty. It has a high breaking strength of around 1500 lbs. The copper conductors keep the resistence low, so it conducts the electric pulses quite well. And, it’s easy to work with.
      To be honest, I dont know what the new changes are. Please feel free to shed some light on that for us!
      I do know that the distribution channels have recently changed and that the new focus is pushing it thru the large box stores. Unfortunately, to me that will mean that the focus may change from top line quality – to fancy packaging, presentation and shelf space utilization.
      It used to come in 1200 ft rolls. I liked that size roll and was easy to work with, for me. I see now that it has changed to 600 ft or 1000 ft rolls.
      Let us know of other changes you un-cover.
      Thanks Ben, for your comment.
      Gary

  4. avatar Nancy Young says:

    Hi Gary,
    My neighbor down my shared driveway has a shih-tzu dog (short legged & hairy). Anyway, she occasionally wanders down to snoop and with the bottom strand 18 ” off the ground, could potentially slip under. I know the obvious answer is to lower the bottom strand, but dogs have been known to put their nose to the ground slide under if there is enough fur to keep the electric shock off the skin. I thought about using a strand of wire 6 inches off the ground below the ElectroBraid but thought of weeds which can short out with wire. I can use weed killer under the wire.
    The thing is, horses probably wouldn’t mind a dog, but there be 2 donkeys inside the fence and they can take out a dog if they feel like it. Any suggestions?

  5. avatar Steve Freeman says:

    Hi Nancy,

    While I think it’s very kind of you to worry about the little dog and the donkeys, I would hope in the natural order of things the shih tzu would not be trampled the first time the donkeys go after him and then learn from the experience to stay out of the paddock. The concerns you have about overloading your charger are valid, though a more powerful charger with adequate ground would lessen that concern.

    I really don’t like a low wire when fencing in nothing but horses. Two concerns:

    –if they are anywhere near the fence and paw in anticipation of feed or hay there is a chance they will catch a wire with their ankle which can be dangerous.

    –horses can cast themselves, which happens when they flip over when rolling on their back and find their feet under or against a fence. With a wire up 18″ they can still get out from under but if lower they could entangle in the wire.

    My suggestion would be to let the dog fence for itself–and be ready to explain if you find it doesn’t do a job of fending!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>