All boundaries for pastures and paddocks need careful maintenance in order to ensure the safety of your horse. A field may look secure but careful examination could reveal holes in hedges, gaps in stone walls or even a rusty lock on a gate.
All boundaries should be at least 4.5 feet in height and properly maintained to keep your horse happy and safe at all times. Here are a few tips to follow.
A natural field boundary in the form of a hedge always needs to be checked. Over the years, part of the hedge might die off and need to be replaced. A small gap can become a large hole and this might provide your horse with an avenue for escape – or give thieves an entry route in!
You should also check any hedges to ensure that poisonous plants haven’t taken root among the vegetation. Look out for laurel, leylandii, laburnum and yew as these plants will poison your horse.
Some hedges might need to be reinforced with a post or other forms of fencing.
In some parts of the UK, dry stone walls still dominate the scenery. Unfortunately this is a dying craft and you may find it expensive if you intend to upkeep an existing wall.
The stone wall is a perfect boundary for any paddock but you will still have to check to make sure that bricks haven’t fallen from the wall and that it is safe to use.
Post and rail fencing
All types of pasture boundary should be inspected on a daily basis and this habit applies to wooden post and rail fencing as well as all other types of perimeter fencing.
Horses love chewing so the moment that you notice that your animal has been gnawing at the posts or railings you may have to think about an alternative form of boundary.
You should also treat the wood on a regular basis in order to preserve this natural material.
You may have the smartest gate in the world but an attractive gate with a faulty locking mechanism is of no practical use whatsoever. Don’t just tie the gate up with twine and hope for the best, make sure that your gate has a secure lock.
It’s also a good idea to lay down some hardcore around the gate as this part of the field can become boggy during the winter.
If you’re thinking of investing in electric fencing, don’t let this be your sole method for securing your boundaries. You sould combine this type of fence with your existing boundary protection. It’s also a good idea to highlight the electric fence with high visibility tape.
Always remember to introduce your horse to the fence and reassure the animal.
Barbed wire can do more harm than good. It can injure your horse, isn’t always stable and anyone with an efficient set of bolt cutters can break into your field at any time. Avoid using it and don’t waste your money.