If you own a horse property, you likely have it fenced in, with gates at the entrance or other points of access. However, if you're not using your fencing properly, you could put your horses or even riders at risk. Here are five things you may be doing wrong with your fencing that you should correct right away.
Not Using Proper Perimeter Fencing
Your perimeter fencing should be constructed to both keep your horses from leaving your property and to keep intruders and other critters out. Split rail fencing may look pretty, but if it's letting in unruly dogs or badgers, you may have to go with something with better screening.
Because it's intended to be permanent, your perimeter fencing should have cement-based posts at regular intervals. It should also be free of anything that could lacerate or impale a horse.
Not Utilizing Cross Fencing
Cross fencing is interior fencing that can be used to separate pastures or areas used for different purposes. Not using cross fencing severely limits your ability to make use of all your land or limits how many horses you can have at any one time. Good cross fencing can
- keep mares and stallions separated
- isolate less sociable horses
- provide protection for foals
- create distinct riding areas
- keep horses out of pastures that need to recover from overgrazing
- make horse handling safer for riders and stable staff
Cross fencing should be strong enough to keep horses separated from each other as needed, but it should also be flexible enough to move around from time to time when your requirements change. Like perimeter fencing, it should be free of any sharp edges that could injure a horse. In general, try to place cross fencing so there are corridors in between zones, which improves safety for both people and animals.
Not Giving Enough Thought To Gates
Gates can often wind up being and afterthought when you fence an equestrian property, but they shouldn't be. Ideally, all gates should be automatic rather than manual. This allows you to open them without dismounting your horse if you leave your property for a ride.
Electronic gates also allow you to take advantage of settings to automatically close them after a certain period of time. You can finally toss that sign for your boarders that says, "Chasing horses isn't nearly as fun as it looks. Please close the gate behind you."
Not Servicing Automatic Gates
Automatic gates have motors and moving parts that need servicing to keep operating in prime condition. You don't want to wind up locked out of your property after a trail ride or have the gate not closing properly, which could allow your horses to escape.
Ideally your automatic gates should be maintained by the installer or a gate specialist. Your manufacturer can suggest a maintenance schedule for you based on your usage and environment. Rain, snow, freezing temperatures, extreme heat, dust, and airborne yard debris can all affect your gate mechanisms. Likewise, if you own a busy property, with many riders coming and going, your automatic gates will need servicing more frequently than a quiet residence where just the owner comes and goes.
Not Giving Access to First Responders
Finally, don't forget to give access to first responders. If a rider is injured at your barn, and you call for an ambulance, how would rescuers gain access to the property? If you evacuate in a wildfire, would firefighters be able to enter to help protect your estate?
There are several systems available today by which horse property owners typically deal with this issue. You can install a security system that allows a master key from the fire department to override the lock. In small communities, the police and fire departments may have the pass code to your gate. Your fire department may even have a policy that dictates this for you, as well as the fact that your gates need to be maintained in good working order at all times.
Contact a company like Gibson Construction Of Nevada Inc for more help.