Every horse rider fears their horse escaping the paddock or field. A loose horse can be dangerous if it is spooked and in strange surroundings. Many horse owners have also found that horses like to use wooden posts as scratching posts, which can make the fence sag over time. Electric fencing prevents this from happening as the horse receives a small shock and over time learns to avoid touching the electric fence.
Knowing where to start however with buying an electric fence can be difficult for horse owners. This guide aims to inform the buyer how to purchase electric fences and kits on eBay.
How Electric Fences Work
Electric fences work under simple principles; a battery or mains provides power to two main strands of wire that create an electric circuit. A pulse is passed along the wire every few seconds and only creates a shock on contact when the electric circuit is completed.
Electric fences are a psychological barrier to horses rather than a physical one. A horse will invariably try to get around the fence, but quickly learns over time that each touch will result in a small shock. Electric fences are also used to keep other livestock in fields and pens. It is important to research how strong the voltage needs to be, as some breeds of horse, especially smaller horses, may get burns from an electric fence that is too strong.
Types of Electric Fences
Before the buyer goes looking for an electric fence and how to install one it is important to find out what type it is they need. There will be two main types of electric fences:
Temporary electric fences will have parts that are easy to assemble and the buyer can often have one put up in under hour. Temporary fencing can be used to create smaller exercise areas or limit grazing to a particular part of a field. Temporary fences are often lightweight and not as hardwearing as permanent fences, but are an excellent option for the horse owner who needs to move their horse around a lot.
Permanent electric fences are often used with current fence structures to prevent the horse from rubbing against posts and chewing at the fence. Permanent electric fences will be more visible to horses, standing at about 5-6 feet tall and will have runs of 4-6 conductors, compared to 2 or three conductors for a temporary fence.
Electric fences are measured in two ways, volts and joules. Voltage measures the electrical pressure; the higher the voltage the stronger the charge will be when an item or animal touches the wire. Joules are also important to consider, as this refers to the heat a wire gives off at its maximum potential. A charger with lower joules may struggle to shock a horse if there is some other type of interference happening to the wires, such as plants touching the wire. Some chargers may measure their power by miles; it is advised to select ones that measure in joules as this can be of more use to the buyer.
Components of an Electric Fence
Each electric fence will need the basic following components in order to work properly. The table below lists and describes the basic features of each item:
All electric fences are run through electricity, whether it is AC, battery or Solar powered chargers. Battery chargers are handy for temporary fences, but permanent fences are better with a mains supply of electricity, as the buyer won’t need to worry about checking the battery often to see if it has run out. Solar chargers offer the buyer the option of not having to check the battery as well as trying to connect the fence to a mains source of electricity.
Chargers can also be called energisers or fencers.
Most electrical fences will need some sort of post to attach the conductors to and run the wires across.
Posts can be made from a range of materials such as fibreglass or sturdy plastic and wood. The most popular is a simple step in plastic post, which is used for both temporary and permanent fences.
Conductors come in the form of a long tape or rope that has two or three strands of metal woven or twisted into the material. The materials used are varied but these are the most common used:
· Polytape (wide or narrow)
Conductors come in reels that are easy to unwind and make installation simple. Wire is generally a strong material but is not visible to horses, so it is advised to attach scraps of bright fabric to the wire to ensure the horse can see it.
These take the form of plastic clips or small screws and are designed to keep the conductor away from none insulated surfaces. Insulators also help maintain the distance and tension in the conductor.
How to Buy an Electric Fence on eBay
To start looking for an electric fence the buyer should start their search on the eBay homepage. On there they should select the Sports & Leisure Category, go onto the Sporting Goods page and then select Equestrian.
eBay offers the buyer the chance to look at a wide range of listings by using search methods such as keyword search or categories. Electric fences are a more unusual type of item to look for on eBay so the suggested method is to utilise the keyword search function:
- Keyword search: the buyer can start with a general search such as ‘electric horse fence’ and this will yield a range of listings that match the search term. Some of these items will be in used condition and may need picking up by the buyer.
If the buyer is looking for a specific item then they can search for ‘electric fence posts’ or ‘electric horse fence kit.’ The buyer can experiment with combinations of words to bring up listings that they might be interested in. eBay also offers a related word search. This is based on what the buyer has entered previously and suggests similar search terms. Other suggested searches could be ‘electric horse fencing tape’.
- eBay Shops: eBay offers an extensive range of professional sellers who often stock a range of goods at discounted prices. These sellers are often able to offer the buyer the chance to buy items in bulk and offer cheaper rates of postage as compared to private sellers. eBay stores will have good feedback from other buyers, they will also be happy to answer any questions the buyer might have about certain products.
How to Install an Electric Fence
This is a quick overview of the basic steps for installing an electric fence. The buyer, if in doubt, should consult an experienced horse keeper to help them install the electric fence if it is their first time.
- Measure the area carefully before purchasing any materials. It is advised to have about 10% more of materials then needed in the event of spares being needed. Decide which type of conductor is wanted and purchase enough to cover the area plus 10% extra. There should be enough fence posts purchased to stand 6-8 feet apart.
- Go to the plot on a dry day and lay all of the materials out. Begin by placing the posts equal distances apart. If using kick-in fence posts, ensure that they go deep enough. Repeat until the fence posts have marked out the area.
- Place insulators on the fence posts depending how many strands of wire will be needed. Attach the wire or poly tape to the insulators. If using wire wrap it around each insulator once before going onto the next post. Do the whole area until back at the start.
- Attach the charger and carefully follow the instructions of the charger. Test the charger is working with a fence tester.
- If the horse has not seen an electric fence before, lead the horse to it but allow the horse to explore the electric fence when it is ready. Allow it to be shocked by the fence and lead it away. The horse will develop an understanding that it is not a barrier to be crossed.
Tips to Maintain an Electric Fence
Quick, basic checks should be done most days to ensure that the electric fence is working properly and nothing is interfering with it. Checking it often will also increase the life span of the fence.
- Look for items that may interfere with the conductors, especially at the bottom. Ensure weeds are kept trimmed back and check for fallen branches after a storm.
- Check the condition of the polytape regularly; make sure that it hasn’t frayed in some places, as the metal wire running through it may break and stop conducting a charge through it.
- Check the charger often to ensure it has not developed any problems and that the key parts are free from dirt and cobwebs.
- Ensure the posts are well rooted in the ground or aren’t falling over after bad weather.
- When making checks to the fence ensure to wear thick, protective gloves and only handle the fence when everything is turned off.
Keeping a horse penned and safe is a vital matter for any horse owner to consider. Traditionally horses were kept in wooden paddocks or wooden fences in fields, but horses can easily escape and be lost and injured. Electrical fences are a cheap, safe solution to keep a horse contained. Whether the buyer is looking for a temporary fencing solution, or to replace charger, this guide can help the buyer find everything they need on eBay.