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Once snubbed in equestrian circles, electric fences now come in forms well suited for horse properties. Time was, everyone who owned livestock knew the basic rules: cattle and sheep needed to be enclosed with electric wire, but horses were best off behind wood planks or poles. The improvement in fencing technology in the last ten years has outstripped the advances made in the previous sixty years. Designed in wider braids, ribbons or bands for greater visibility, modern electric fencing is the choice of a growing number of horse-keepers, who find that many of the old beliefs - that electric fencing is painful, unsafe, expensive, unreliable and difficult to maintain - are no longer true.
Electric fences offer a barrier that horses respect, and the newer materials and erecting techniques that are designed to flex under pressure, are less likely to injure a kamikaze or Houdini. They are lighter in construction and designed to have a “rubber band” effect. Their very lightness and portability is a great feature in paddock rotation and laminitis prevention. They are domesticated and if they have all the food, water, shelter and friends they want, most horses aren't likely to try to leave their familiar surroundings. On the other hand, horses do pose a special challenge: short of a 3 metre concrete wall, not much will hold in a 500 kilogram animal who's determined enough to escape. You are after all simply fencing in the desire.
Touch an electric fence once and you'll know why it works; it's not very painful -- about the equivalent of a sharp slap -- but you'll remember the sensation, and you won't want to repeat it anytime soon. Horses, too, learn quickly that they don't want to bump, push through, rub against or chew on electric fences.