- Do place ground rods in permanently damp ground. About 95 percent of all electric fence problems are due to poor grounding.
- Don't use a charger box or energizer that isn't UL approved. UL approved chargers are certified safe for both horses and for people.
- Do check woven horse tape fencing regularly -- wind flutter can break the wire conductors making the electric fence ineffective. Large diameter, braided electric rope is visible, strong, and durable, and suitable for use as a permanent perimeter fence.
- Don't use high-tensile wire electric fencing for horses -- they can't see it, it isn't resilient, and it can cut flesh severely.
- Do ground the second from the top strand of the fence line to ensure a horse will be shocked when it touches both a hot line and a grounded line. When a horse receives a good shock, he learns to "respect" the fence and stay away from it.
- Don't plan your fence line to run through places where your horses habitually roll.
- Do check your fence voltage regularly with a voltmeter. Ensure the voltage is between 5,000 and 9,000 volts. Alternatively, use an ElectroBraidT Fence MindeT to continuously monitor the voltage on your fence. If the fence voltage drops for more than 3 seconds, the Fence MindeT will alert you by siren, flashing light and/or telephone auto-dialer, and stop all electric shocks until you can investigate.
- Don't scrimp on energy by cutting power to your fence line. Maintaining power at all times is mandatory to keeping your horses safe, and the cost is negligible -- about a dollar a month.
- Do place water troughs and feed pails well clear of your electric fence so your horses won't get shocked while trying to eat or drink.
Dave Bryson is president and CEO of ElectroBraid Fence of Nova Scotia, Canada. We thank him for his technical expertise and his knowledge of horse psychology regarding electric fences.
This article excerpted from the September 2003 issue of Horse & Rider.