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Is Electric Fencing Safe for horses?

Posted by Maryanne Neave on

Have you ever wondered if an electric fence is really safe for your horse? We are here to help give you some peace of mind.

Many horses will actually sense that an electric fence is turned on and will maintain a distance from it. This is different with non-electrified fences where horses do not maintain any distance from the fence.

Electric fencing can be an advantage when compared to non-electric fencing for several reasons. Your horse will be safer with an electric fence, the fence is more affordable and a lot quicker and easier to install, making electric fencing the best option for your horse. Horses are smart creatures and quickly pick up the need to respect an electric fence. The purpose of an electric horse fence is to train the horse that a fence is a barrier that must not be touched, it normally only requires one shock to teach the horse to respect the fence.

Horses have thin coats and are usually well groomed and hooves in good condition. When a horse has metal horseshoes, these make an excellent connection to ground, meaning the horse will get a more intense shot, making the fence more effective and keeping your horse safer.

Horses often use traditional fencing to scratch themselves on, causing damage to the fence over time. Cribbing or wind sucking can also destroy the fence over time. An electric fence – if installed in the correct position - prevents both behaviours, protecting the horse from harm and enhancing the durability of the fence.

Two key factors that make electric fencing safe for horses is that it remains tight, reducing the risk of wrapping around a horse’s leg and that it holds a good charge of around 8000 Volts. If the charge is not enough the horse will not respect the fence as it should. Electrobraid is a braided electric fencing rope, which pure copper conductors. Copper is used in the Electrobraid because it has a very low resistance (4 times more conductive than steel), which means it carries the voltage a long way without much reduction in the charge.  The other advantage of the Electrobraid is that it can be strained up, and is very strong with a 275Kg breaking strain – unlike many tapes – which cannot be tensioned up.

In a study, performed in Europe, 20 horses were observed as they spent time in different-sized paddocks fenced with either electric or non-electric fencing.

There was very little difference in the stress levels among the different paddocks. However, they did notice that the horses in the smaller paddocks showed signed of stress, regardless of which fencing was being used – when compared to larger paddocks.

It can be therefore deduced that Electric Fencing can be considered safe for horses and does not increase their level of stress


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