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Barbed wire fencing


Though I don't consider barbed wire to be the best type of fencing
for confining horses, unfortunately it exists at my place and
replacing it is cost prohibitive.

What I did find, though, was that I needed to replace it where
the horses might "challenge" it.

If you have a big huge area, then the horses generally don't have
any reason to want to be on the other side of the fence, or even
to go anywhere near it.  And, I consider that to be the only
"safe" way to confine horses in barbed give them no
reason to want to be on the other side.

In the places where the horses might find whatever is on the other
side of interest...using barbed wire is a recipe for disaster.

Barbed wire is a psychological barrier only.  If a horse wants to push on it or through will.  And if it is strung in
such a way that pushing on it or through it won't make it "give"
then the horse may rip itself to shreds trying to get away from
it.  And, I have found, that horses rarely ever injure them-
selves seriously getting pushing on barbed wire.  It is when 
they try to get away from it that they may run into difficulties.

So even horses who have been injured from getting caught in it
and ripping themselves apart trying to get out will frequently
not learn that barbed wire is something to be stayed away from 
(they just learn that it is something to be gotten away from 
after they get in to it--which may become escalating).

So, what I did at my place (since replacing 2 miles of fence was
a total non-starter) was to replace the sections of fence that
they wanted to be on the other side of (e.g. the section between 
the pasture where the mares are and the main paddocks, where my 
stallion is, the section between the pasture and the hay barn, 
the section between the pasture and the wash rack--believe it
or not, it is difficult for me to keep the herd away from the
wash area, since having a cool shower on a hot day is a treat to
be relished).  These sections have been replaced with post and
rail and/or electricity.  

But it required replacing only about 400 feet of fence, rather 
than 10,000.

In my experience, there is no safe way to teach horses to
"respect" barbed wire.  I am not even convinced that they learn
that respect if they get badly lacerated by it.  But as long as
they are happy in their home and have no reason to want to be on 
the other side of it, they just don't go near it.

Orange County, Calif.

p.s.  The good thing for me, is that my barbed wire has been 
there for going on 70 years now, so if, for some reason the horses
do "get into it," it just breaks.  The only time I have had
any problem with this is when the horses wanted to get IN to
their pasture, not when they wanted to get out :).

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