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I have often been informed that a certain horse is totally impervious to an electric fence and will simply wander through the fence that is keeping others in quite comfortably. This applies also to other varieties of animal, in particular deer or impala.
There may be several reasons why this should happen and may be broken down into physical attributes or behavioural instincts.
Physical attributes includes horse with long thick coats or wearing blankets, sheep with long woolly coats. These all create an insulating barrier that require a higher voltage to bridge or strategic placing of a wire to avoid the blanket. This will be achieved by using a higher running energiser or maintaining a full 6000v plus on the fence. A tester is vital for this situation as the only other way to test a fence is to touch it - that hurts.
Behavioural instinct is normally the domain of high jumping antelope such as impala, springbok and deer where they do not investigate a fence but simply walk up to it and jump over. An electric fence relies on the psychological imprint it creates with the shock rather than the flimsy construction to function so even a high fence will not necessarily be effective.
Here it is necessary to attract the animal onto the fence by use of bait. This may simply consist of an attractant smeared on the wire to proprietary Bait Caps attached to the fence. This draws the animal onto the fence and generally use his nose and tongue to investigate the attraction. The large number of nerve endings in these organs are severely stimulated by the shock and the animal rarely returns for a second dose.
This method may be used for nearly every type of animal but need not be used on those animals that are normally inquisitive and easily controlled anyway.
There are also turn out rugs developed to allow a electric fence to be more effective when the horse is wearing one. This allows the transfer of energy through the rug to the horse.