Westerns contain prevalent imagery of peacefully grazing horses behind barbed wire fences. However, horses are often curious creatures and they do not have thick skin like cattle. While you may own horses for decades without an incident, there is still a good chance that your barbed wire fence could lead to a high vet bill. Learn more about horse-safe ranch fences in Carlsbad, NM and other options for your equestrian property.
Why not barbed wire?
One Google search containing the terms “horses and barbed wire” and you will find tragic tales and gruesome images. You may save money building a barbed wire fence, but future vet bills will likely cancel out any savings. Horses have much thinner skin than other livestock and can sustain serious cuts from barbed wire.
In addition, horses are very sensitive and will react to stimuli more dramatically than cows and other livestock. This means that if your usually respectful-of-fences horse feels he senses a predator, he may bolt and try to break through the fence. If you have smooth wire or electric tape, there is less chance of serious injury and, in the case of an electric fence, the jolt will help your horse get his head together. But a barbed wire fence will turn this into a disaster. Not only will it rip into him at the first impact, but he will panic more due to the injury, thrashing around and likely making it worse.
What are the alternatives?
As stated, people often spend their whole lives around horses without facing an incident. However, many horse owners decide they do not want to take the risk.
Fortunately, there are many ranch fencing options that will offer security without risking injury to your equine companions. Guadalupe Mountain Fencing, LLC offers these designs and can install them on your property:
- Wood: This is the best material for horse-safe fencing. With its solid appearance, horses are less likely to challenge it, and if they do, it has give and will break before causing serious injury.
- Smooth wire: If you want an economical choice, go with smooth wire. It is strong and low maintenance, offering some of the same advantages as barbed wire. With the right tension, horses can bounce off of it. Its only problem is with visibility, so put fence posts close together or tie streamers to the fence so horses are less likely to try to go through it.
- Coated wire: The vinyl wrapping makes this fence material more visible, which is often a challenge with plain wire fences. If horses can’t see it, there is a chance they may challenge it. Many types of coated wire are designed specifically for horses, so it offers elastic qualities that will not injure horses.
- Coated lumber: Coated lumber is wood with a PVC resin around it. This option is safe, attractive and low maintenance. It is also expensive, but could be worth it if you run a boarding facility or breed high quality horses and wish to prevent injury.
If you insist on using barbed wire, you can add additional safety precautions. Replace the top wire with a plank or smooth electric wire. Many horses may not injure themselves in accidents but will often cut their necks by resting on a top wire. If you are using barbed wire because horses share a fence line with cattle, consider setting up a smooth wire electric fence inside the horse paddock as a buffer zone to keep horses away from the barbed wire. Also, move the lowest levels of the wire fence up to 12 to 18 inches to reduce the chance of legs and feet being cut and to allow weeds and small trees to grow near the fence to enhance visibility.
Guadalupe Mountain Fencing, LLC is prepared to help you with your ranch fences in Carlsbad, NM. We can help you find the right solution for your business, livestock and property. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.