Selecting fencing for your new paddock can be an intimidating choice. There are many fencing styles and varieties available, but taking these important key points into consideration can help to make your decision an easier one.
First and foremost in many property owners' minds, cost is often one of the top factors that weigh in your decision-making process. When you consider different types of fencing, you'll likely be presented with the material costs. But don't forget to look into the initial installation costs, as well, both in terms of the financial investment and the amount of time that you yourself might have to put into the installation.
Durability and Upkeep
The durability and upkeep of a fence will also affect its cost. Is the fencing strong and weather-resistant, or will it require painting on a yearly basis? For example, experts at leading universities estimate the cost of maintenance on wood fencing averages nearly $1.50 per foot per year.
If you're looking at electric fencing or other wire-based products, consider whether it will need regular tightening and testing. Plastic fences, such as PVC fences, require frequent power washing to remove mold growth, a factor which is nearly eliminated with thermally conducting steel fence. If you look at a paneled fence, find out how the panels hold up over time – if they break regularly, the cost of replacement panels and the time it takes to install them will increase the overall cost of the fence. There is a huge difference in life expectancy for fencing ranging from under 10 years to more than three decades.
When it comes to horse fencing, safety is a vital factor. Horses are alarmingly injury-prone, and you should always investigate the safety of potential fencing before making a decision. Are there exposed sharp edges and nails, or weak couplings or joints? Can you count on that fence to keep your horses contained and safe from roads and traffic? Consider what would happen if a horse were to collide with the fence – would it be a disaster, or is the fencing built to absorb such impacts? (Buckley Fence, LLC's unique steel board fence cushions the horse on lower impact, then springs back to a perfectly straight line. In a high-speed impact the Buckley Fence System will bow, then buckle and release to protect the horse from serious injury. Some systems will not yield and result in serious injury from high-energy collisions.)
Even if a fence costs less to purchase and install than other fencing options, if your horse is seriously injured by that fence, that fencing can suddenly become far more costly than the other fencing options which might have avoided the injury.
The fence's visual appeal is also an important factor. A fence needs to be highly visible to horses for their safety and to avoid fence collisions. You'll also want to find a fencing type that maintains the style already established by your current barn, or which fits in with the style you envision for your dream barn. Zoning laws or individual state or town restrictions may also affect the fencing choices which are available to you.
Choosing new fencing should be an exciting process – think through what you're looking for, weigh your options, and make a choice that you'll be happy with for many years.