Sunday, 28 July 2013

Guest Post; Electrical Fencing For Horses

Gone are the days when it was believed that electric fencing was painful, unsafe, expensive, unreliable and difficult to maintain. In fact, the opposite is true. Subsequently the benefits are unrivalled compared to other fencing solutions when it comes to looking after horses.

Electrical fences provide an effective psychological and physical barrier. As a large and strong animal, securely containing a horse can be a challenge. However as they are domesticable, they’re not likely to leave familiar surroundings if they’re properly cared for. This is what makes electrical fencing so effective; the current running through them is not enough to hurt but instead gives a small shock which is simply enough to teach them to avoid the fence in future. If they are properly looked after then they will have no reason to go near the fencing at all.

The electrical fencing works by putting a high voltage, low current pulse, approximately once per second, through a conductive fence line via an energiser. The fence line must be totally insulated from the ground so that when the horse touches the ‘live’ fence line, the horse completes the circuit, causing it to feel a shock as the current flows through its body, into the ground and back to the energiser via the earth stake.

Fences can be powered either by the mains or by a battery. In either case, however, an energiser is needed to convert the power so that it will energise the fence. The type of energiser will depend on the source of the power as well as the length of the fence.

Although believed to be more expensive due to power use, overall electrical fencing is more cost effective than other fencing options such as wood, rail, stock wire or barbed wire. As many horses rub against wooden fence posts, they can easily become breached or sag and frequently need repairs that are costly in both time and money. Wires which are barbed are also easily damaged and pose a large risk to the horses - they can easily hurt themselves and become tangled.

Electric wiring can be used to replace other fencing or can be used in conjunction with wooden and other traditional fencing materials in order to protect horses and the fence from damage. A single electrical wire or tape, held by insulators, running along the top of a wooden fence or a standalone permanent or semi-permanent fence in place of other fencing materials should be sufficient.

For standalone fencing, plastic posts are used, usually with electrical tape. Horse’s vision is not as good as our own, and therefore they are not usually able to pick out a thin electrical wire. If the first thing they know about encountering the wire is the shock, this may cause them to panic and push through the line - causing more damage to themselves and the fencing. Tape, which is thicker than wire, in a contrasting colour to the environment, is usually best as it makes the wire as visible as possible.

Installing an electrical fence is also much easier than traditional fencing. It can be done by one person, with minimal tools, saving on time and labour.

As well as keeping the horses securely contained, the electrical fencing is effective at keeping other animals out of grazing and paddock areas. Animals such as foxes could spook the horses or contaminate the area, causing illness.

There are several different types of electrical fencing: permanent; semi-permanent and temporary, and different components and ways to construct a fence. Permanent solutions will typically last for several decades, and as the name suggests, are fixed into position. High Tensile electric fence systems are very strong and can be used with very large horses. Semi-permanent electrical fences are more flexible and can be moved so that the fencing can be altered as animal control needs change over the years. Temporary fencing is the most flexible solution and can be changed to meet your needs as and when required. It can also be added to permanent electric fencing, for example, to create paddock areas which are only needed for a short time, such as isolation areas in case of illness or aggression, or for strip grazing.

Strip grazing - sectioning off a small area of the paddock so that the horses only have access to a limited amount of grass - is used to restrict the amount of food that horses have access to. This is effective for weight control, as many horses dislike being muzzled, and is also used to prevent laminitis; it is thought that too much rich grass in the diet - grass containing a high level of sugars - can contribute to the condition. Strip grazing can be used for pasture control to avoid this, by moving horses to a new strip in the evening when the sugars are at their lowest, and also altering the strips to avoid prolonged grazing on the rich grass roots. Within a permanent paddock temporary electric fencing is perfect for this.

An effective way to strip graze and ensure that horses get enough exercise is to make a track around a paddock - when the water is kept at one end then the horses will be encouraged to move around all day. The temporary electric fencing can then be moved depending on weather and grass growth.

Temporary electric fencing is also highly effective for segregating horses should one become ill, therefore preventing the spread of illness. It can also be used when breeding to contain the stallion, particularly when mares are present. The current for this purpose may need to be higher than usual in order to act as sufficient deterrent., so it is important to make sure you have properly researched what is best for your individual situation.

There are also certain types of temporary fences which are portable so that if you take a horse out riding or attend a show you can allow them to rest and graze securely by erecting the temporary fence to create a small area for them. These fences are usually light and easily packed into a rucksack.

Overall electric fencing can be a valuable asset in securing horses safely and cost-effectively. There is a solution for almost any requirement; if you are unsure of what you might need there are useful online tools which can help you define your electric fence needs and get the best for you and your horses.

Author Bio:

Olivia Henderson is the content specialist for Fi-Shock - a world leaders in electric fence systems. Fi-Shock HYPERLINK ""electric fencing systems provide safe, superior quality energisers, accessories, conductors (tape wire and rope), insulators, and electric fence components. Electric fences are an economical alternative to conventional or barbed wire fences.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Guest Post; From Tricycle to Stirrups: When is the Right Age to Start Horse Riding

Before you even come close to riding a horse you must think about the essential skills you will need to take care of a horse, to go out riding on your own and to fully develop your child into an experienced, safe rider.

What comes first
 Learning to tie, groom and lead a horse needs to be top priority when first learning how to ride. However, these can be learnt much earlier than actually physically riding a horse. Grooming a horse will not only build up your confidence around horses, but it will create a bond between you and the horse. This trust is important in a relationship of this kind.

A stable beginning
 Starting to do barn chores can be a great stepping stone when you begin to ride a horse. You will also gain more experience around the stables as well as becoming more comfortable around the creatures. Many stables will be happy to have a volunteer to help muck in. In return they might even let you ride their horses eventually.

As you probably already know, horse riding is not one of those things that you can just get up one day and master. It takes time. It takes patience. But it also takes effort and control. You will have to do a lot of work before you are ready to start ride a horse.

Which is the right horse for you?
 When starting out riding a horse you should start on an older horse. One that’s over 7 years old is recommended as they are more dependable, consistent and calmer through experience.

There are many different factors you should take into account when choosing a riding school to make sure you get a quality experience. Things to consider include:

      Surveying a wide selection of horses and ponies to find the right fit
      Choosing the right equipment. The wrong tools will only lead to a bad experience
      Choose established, reliable instructors. Those with a lot of knowledge built over years of being around horses is highly recommended.

Like learning anything new, you should try and watch at least one lesson first to get a feel of what it will be like when you go for your lessons.

 It is always good to start learning anything at a young age because it becomes almost second nature.

If your child expresses an interest in learning then there is no harm in making the introductions at an early age. This feeds their enthusiasm and ability to make decisions on what they like or dislike.

Ideally the perfect age would be anywhere from 7 upwards. However, it does depend a lot on the child's personality.

Location, Location, Location
 Along with the child's personality it also depends on the size of the branch and whether they have the appropriate equipment, horses and staff. "I would be very surprised to find any riding school teaching below the age of five or six," says Julian Marczak, chairman of the Association of British Riding Schools.

"Children don’t have the coordination before that, but, of course, you can put them on a horse or pony from a very early age so that they get the feeling for it. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how early you sit on a pony as long as you’ve got a hat on and have good supervision."

We've told you our opinion, now you tell us yours! What do you think is the perfect age to start horse riding?

Author bio: This blog was written by Adam Stevens on behalf of He loves writing about a range of different topics and hopes this blog proves useful when teaching children how to ride.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...