The Horse

SEP 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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54 THE HORSE September 2018 because it requires less frequent repaint- ing than traditional white boards. Because you can bend green oak plank and aren't stretching wire on this fence type, you can create gradual curves on the inside corners of paddocks. Repairing this fence type is relatively easy. Safety Very safe, as long as you main- tain and replace the boards as needed. Splinters from decaying boards can be an issue. "The biggest problem I have seen with board fence is injuries from splinters, ranging from lethal pokes to 3-foot-long spikes along (horses') flanks," says Eric Peterson, DVM, of Equine Medical Associates, in Lexington, Ken- tucky. "It is very important to use decent- quality boards and replace any that are deteriorating. "I have seen horrific accidents from all kinds of fence," he adds. "There is no perfect solution." You also risk a rolling horse getting cast (legs caught) under the bottom rail, but this is rare. Initial cost Moderately high. Remem- ber to include painting in your estimates. Long-term maintenance cost The big- gest maintenance issue with this fence is that you need to paint it every two to three years and replace damaged or de- cayed boards. Fortunately, if a storm lays a tree on the fence, it will only damage limited sections. Most farms keep a small inventory of spare boards for these kinds of repairs. Modifications, such as adding or removing gates, are fairly simple, too. If maintained properly, these fences typically last 20 to 25 years before posts decay to the point that it is time to start over. Aesthetic appeal Excellent. Installing this kind of fence can change a farm's entire look. Because of its initial and long-term cost this kind of fence is used almost exclusively for horses versus other livestock. Diamond- or V-Mesh Wire Diamond-mesh and V-mesh are woven wire fence systems developed specifi- cally for horses. Like four-board fences, they consist of treated wood posts set on 8-foot centers. A 1-by-6-inch oak rail usually protects the top of the wire fence and creates a strong visual barrier. Some property owners set the fence off the ground enough to allow string trimmers to get underneath. As with all wire fence that relies on ten- sion to prevent sagging, it can be difficult to create curves and radiused corners because the tension pulls posts in over time. A top rail can help hold the posts vertical, acting as a brace, but it might be insufficient for tight curves. Safety Excellent. This fence is very strong and somewhat flexible, without the risk of breakage. The tight mesh prevents hooves, including foal feet, from going through the fence. If it is set no more than 6 inches off the ground, the chances of a rolling horse getting cast are minimal. Initial cost High. Good-quality woven diamond or V-mesh is among the most expensive wire fencing types available. Long-term maintenance cost Medium/ low. Good-quality mesh is galvanized and strong enough to withstand most impact without damage. The posts and top rail (if used) will require periodic painting. One downside of all wire fence, except high-tensile, however, is if a tree falls on it, the wire stretches very little, potentially pulling down or breaking a long length of fence. It can be difficult to repair small sections because long runs might need to be restretched after repair. Also, trimming weeds under wire fencing is always more difficult than trimming under the bottom board of a wood fence. Aesthetic appeal This type of fence with a top rail is very appealing, espe- cially to experienced horse people who appreciate its safety and the investment made. Like four-board fence, it typically identifies the property as a horse farm. "We like V-mesh fence, but it would change the look of the farm dramatically," notes Taylor. High-Tensile in a Polymer Rail This fencing type is designed to provide the strength and flexibility of high-tensile fence, with a polymer sheathing or band that creates the look of board fenc- ing and protects the horse from injury. This sytem's flexibility and strength is FARM & BARN ISTOCK.COM Many horse people appreciate the high quality and safety of V-mesh wire fencing with a top rail.

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