There are multitudes of fencing choices on the market today; each has a specific purpose. These choices are narrowed by the intended use of the fence and the choice becomes further focused within the realms of maintenance and service life. 440 Fencing is manufactured from 100% steel, galvanized and powder coated, and will never need to be painted. Manufactured from new steel along with the coating makes 440 fencing the strongest, safest and most important, the longest lasting for the total care of horses and cattle. Having been galvanized, this fence will not rust. The powder coated finish seals the fence which keeps rust from ever getting a foothold. All of this creates uncompromising beauty and value not duplicated in the fence industry today, offered by anyone, at any price. This sets 440 apart with no equal. Vinyl, wood and welded pipe with wire do not compare.
Did you know: Budweiser uses 440 fencing for the Clydesdales? Yes, over seven miles of 440 fence at their breeding facility in Missouri!
Did you know: The king of Saudi Arabia uses 440 fencing for his 1200 + horses? Yes, over 16 miles was shipped to Riyadh!
Did you know: The government of the United States uses 440 fencing!
In agriculture, fences are used to keep animals in or out of an area. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, depending on terrain, location and animals to be confined. Most agricultural fencing averages about 4 feet (1.2 m) high, and in some places, the height and construction of fences designed to hold livestock, such as horses and cattle, is mandated by law.
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Horse fence can be one of the most attractive features of a horse facility. But not all fence is suitable for horses. Fencing is a major capital investment that should be carefully planned before construction. A fence should keep horses on the property. Fences aid facility management by allowing controlled grazing and segregating groups of horses according to sex, age, value, or use.
Well-constructed and maintained fences enhance the aesthetics and value of a stable facility, which in turn complements marketing efforts. Poorly planned, haphazard, unsafe, or unmaintained fences will detract from a facility's value and reflect poor management. Good fences can be formal or informal in appearance, yet all should be well built and carefully planned.
Many experienced horse owners will relay stories about the savings for cheaper, but unsafe, horse fence (barbed wire, for example) eventually being paid for in veterinary bills to treat injured horses.
Land topography influences the look, effectiveness, and installation of fencing. Consider different horse groups. Stallions, weanlings, mares, mares with foals, and geldings all have different fencing requirements. Pasture use may range from exercise paddocks (corrals) to grazing or hay production. Paddock layout should allow for ease of management, including movement of horses, removal of manure, and care of the footing surface. Pasture design should allow field equipment, such as mowers, manure spreaders, and baling equipment, to enter and maneuver easily. This will reduce fence damage by machinery and the time needed to work in the field.
Understand the purpose of a fence. The true test of a fence's worth is not when horses are peacefully grazing, but when an excited horse contacts the fence in an attempt to escape or because he never saw it during a playful romp. How will the fence and horse hold up under these conditions? A horse's natural instinct to flee from perceived danger has an effect on fence design. Like other livestock, horses will bolt suddenly, but since they are larger and faster, they hit the fence with more force. Also, horses fight harder than other livestock to free themselves when trapped in a fence. A "perfect" fence should be highly visible to horses. Horses are far-sighted and look to the horizon as they scan their environment for danger. Therefore, even when fencing is relatively close, it needs to be substantial enough to be visible. A fence should be secure enough to contain a horse that runs into it without causing injury or fence damage. A perfect fence should have some "give" to it to minimize injury upon impact. It should be high enough to discourage jumping and solid enough to discourage testing its strength. It should have no openings that could trap a head or hoof. The perfect fence should not have sharp edges or projections that can injure a horse that is leaning, scratching, or falling into it. It should be easy to maintain, and last 20 years or more. And finally, it should look appealing.
Planning includes more than selecting a fence type. It is best to develop an overall plan where the aesthetics, chore efficiency, management practices, safety, and finances are considered. The best planning involves a layout drawn to scale that shows proposed gates, fence lines, where fences cross streams or other obstacles, irregular paths along a stream or obstacle, traffic routes for horses and handlers, routes for supplies and water, vehicle traffic routes, and access for mowing equipment. All these should be in relation to buildings and other farmstead features. Select and install fencing that allows easy access to pastures and does not limit performance of stable chores. Gates should be easy to operate with only one hand so the other hand is free. Fencing should also allow easy movement of groups of horses from pasture to housing facilities. All-weather lanes should connect turnout areas to the stable. Lanes can be grassed or graveled depending on the type and amount of traffic that use them. Make sure they are wide enough to allow passage of mowing equipment and vehicles. Vehicles such as cars, light trucks, and tractors can be up to 8 feet wide. Farm equipment needs 12-to 16-foot-wide lanes to comfortably negotiate. Narrower lane widths are acceptable for smaller tractors or mowing equipment. Remember to leave room for snow storage or removal along the sides of lanes and roads. It is best to eliminate fence corners and dead-end areas when enclosing a pasture for more than one horse. By curving the corners, it is less likely that a dominant horse will trap a subordinate.
Horse fences should be 54 to 60 inches above ground level. A good rule for paddocks and pastures is to have the top of the fence at wither height to ensure that horses will not flip over the fence. Larger horses, stallions, or those adept at jumping may require even taller fences. At the bottom, an 8-inch clearance will leave enough room to avoid trapping a hoof yet will discourage a horse from reaching under the fence for grass. A bottom rail with clearance no higher than 12 inches will prevent foals from rolling under the fence.
Fence openings should be either large enough to offer little chance of foot, leg, and head entrapment or so small that hooves cannot get through. Small, safe openings are less than 3-inches square, but can depend on the size of the horse. Tension fences, such as the types that use high-tensile wires, usually have diagonal cross-bracing on corner assemblies. These diagonal wires or wood bracing provide triangular spaces for foot and head entrapment. Good fence design denies horse access to the braced area or at least minimizes hazards if entrapment occurs. Horses will test fence strength deliberately and casually. Horses often reach through or over fences for attractions on the other side, thus, sturdy fences are essential. Fences that do not allow this behavior are the safest. Keep open space between rails or strands to l2 inches or less.. The fence should be smooth on the horse side to prevent injury. If a horse leans on the fence, its weight will not push out the fasteners. Visible fences will prevent playful horses from accidentally running into them. A frightened horse may still hit a visible fence while he is blinded with fear. A forgiving fence that contains the horse without injury is better than an unyielding brick wall.
The fence post is the foundation of the fence, so its importance cannot be overemphasized. Setting posts represents the hardest work and the most time-consuming part of fence building and is absolutely the most critical to the long-term success of the fence. How deep to set the post for structural stability varies considerably with soil conditions. Soil characteristics play a major role in determining the longevity and maintenance requirements of a fence. Some soils remain wet and can quickly rot untreated wooden posts. Posts in sandy or chronically wet soil will need to be set deeper and perhaps supported by a collar of concrete casing. A typical line post depth is 36 inches. Gateposts are required to handle greater loads and are about 25 percent larger in diameter and are set deeper, often to 48 inches.
Gates should have the same strength and safety as the fence. Horse-safe tubular pipe steel gates have smooth corners and securely welded cross pipes to minimize sharp-edged places for cuts and snags. By contrast, channel steel or aluminum stock livestock gates are not recommended for horse use due to their less-sturdy construction and numerous sharp edges. Avoid gates with diagonal cross bracing. Although this strengthens some gates, the narrow angles can trap legs, feet, and possibly heads. Cable-supported gates offer a similar hazard to horses congregating around the gate. If gate supports are needed, a wooden block called a short post can be placed under the free hanging end of the gate to help support its weight and extend hardware life. The use of a cattle guard (rails set over a ditch) instead of a gate is not recommended since horses do not consistently respect them. Horses have been known to jump them or try to walk over them, which results in tangled and broken legs. Gates should be as tall as the fence to discourage horses from reaching over or attempting to jump over the gate. Gates Oenings can be up to 20-feet wide, with a minimum of 8-feet to allow easy passage of vehicles and tractors. Horse and handler gates should be no less than 4-feet wide. Human-only passages are useful for chore time efficiency. Fencing near gates needs to withstand the pressures of horses congregating around the gate, which means it needs to be sturdy, highly visible, and safe from trapping horse feet and heads. Some paddock gates are positioned to swing into the pressure of the horse to prevent horses from pushing the gate open and breaking latches. On the other hand, gates that are capable of swinging both into and out of the enclosure are helpful when moving horses. Additional latches are recommended to secure the gate in an open position, fully swung against the fence, not projecting into the enclosure. Gates are hung to swing freely and not sag over time. The post holding the swinging gate maintains this free-swinging action, necessitating a deeply set post with a larger diameter than fence line posts. Gate hardware must withstand the challenges of leaning horses and years of use. A person should be able to unlock, swing open, shut, and lock a properly designed gate with only one hand so that the other hand is free to lead a horse or carry a bucket, for example.
The most time-intensive part of fence building takes place before any ground is broken. Thoughtful fence planning and layout will help make daily chores and routines more efficient. The best fence differs from facility to facility and even within a horse property; different fence types are used to meet the objectives of the enclosure. Good fence design emphasizes a proper foundation, or post integrity. By taking the time to understand a facility's fencing needs and expectations, you can provide a safe, functional fence that will provide years of service and enhance the property's value.