If youve ever driven by a giant pasture in which horses are only grazing a small pvc coated temporary fence factory , roped-off plot of grass, you mightve guessed what they were up torotational grazingbut you could have found yourself wondering what keeps these horses from barreling through the flimsy-looking strands of tape confining them. This pasture management scenario is one of the most common uses of temporary fencing, but you have to do it right and with the correct materials for your horses, land, and management style. In this article well describe types and purposes of temporary fencing, how to set it up, and what to consider in the process. With rotational grazing setup, external or perimeter fencing is usually permanent, while interior fencingthat which divides the acreage into smaller sectionsis temporary and generally electric. Jim Gerrish, of American Grazing Lands Services LLC, in Patterson, Idaho, has more than 35 years of pasture management experience. Twelve years ago, Gerrish, formerly a professor in agronomy and crop ecology at the University of Missouri, moved with his wife, Dawn, to Idaho. While in Missouri they had operated a 260-acre grass farm with cattle, sheep, roped-off plot of grass 3 expanded metal grating , grazed short with weeds, says Jim Gerrish. If you take temporary fencing and visualize 30 little blocks, then move the horses every day to a new block, the health of the pasture will improve dramatically. Give each block 29 days to rest and regrow before putting horses back on it. Dividing a pasture area into smaller fields and rotating horses through them can encourage horses to graze more evenly, keep pasture grasses from becoming overgrazed, and guarantee fresh grass for a longer period of time during the growing season, he says. Allow the horses to graze the grass down to 3 to 4 inches, then move them to the next grazing area. Move temporary fences along with the horses and water sources or, if you have enough supplies, set all your fencing up at the beginning of the summer so you dont have to move it. Portable electric fencing is lightweight, inexpensive, easy to move, and requires little maintenance. I know a lot of horse owners dont think that temporary fencing will contain their horses, says Jim Gerrish. I would disagree 100% with this. Horses are perhaps one of the easiest animals to train because they are so sensitive, adds Dawn Gerrish. Once they contact an electric fence, they will probably never ever do it again. If horses are completely naive to temporary fencing, it is best to introduce them first to it within the confines of a corral, with the posts spaced at 30 feet, she suggests. Once outside of the corral, you mightve guessed what they were up torotational grazingbut you could have found yourself wondering what keeps these horses from barreling through the flimsy-looking strands of tape confining them. This pasture management scenario is one of the most common uses of temporary fencing steel grating malaysia supplier , especially in windy or snowy conditions. This helps horses visualize the fence better and makes the fence appear to be more of a barrier. Jim Hawkins is an instructor at the University of Idahos Lost River Grazing Academy and a retired livestock extension agent for the University of Idaho living near the headwaters of the Salmon River in Challis, Idaho. Since the early 2000s Hawkins has been grazing as many as 80 horses on about 50 acres of irrigated ground. Outfitters who primarily use their horses during the fall hunting season need some place to board and keep their horses the rest of the year, so they pay me to keep them during the summer months, he explains. Hawkins uses management-intensive grazing to rotate horses through set pasture areas, sizing them so horses graze each area down to no shorter than 3 inches in about a week. He sets each area up so horses have access back to the corrals. Horses are out grazing for 12 hours at night and are in the corrals for 12 hours during the daythe same way outfitters will be using them during hunting season, he explains. Or, the way any horse owner who wants to ride would use them, as we dont often ride after dark. Because he grazes mules along with horses, Hawkins uses two strands of polybraidone knee-high at 24 inches and the other chest-high at 48 inchesinstead of just one. Explaining why, he says with a laugh, Mules are just a lot smarter than most horses and most people, including me! Hawkins uses a type of temporary fencing and metal T-posts, which he sets up at the beginning of the summer and leaves throughout the grazing season. Alayne Blickle The horse person unfamiliar with rotational grazing and fencing equipment can start out by contacting a business that specializes in electric fence products, says Jim Gerrish. Sales clerks at feed supply stores often do not have specific product knowledge. The buyer needs to understand there are separate fencing products, one set for permanent fence and another for temporary fence, he says. Dont confuse the two. While perimeters and main subdivision fence can be electric fencing, perimeter fencing is usually a physical barrier made of materials such as wooden posts and diamond v-mesh horse fencing. Again, temporary fencing, which provides a portable barrier with electricity, but you have to do it right and with the correct materials for your horses 6 temporary fencing for dogs , plastic-wood composites, or fiberglass, he says. String between each post one or more strands of tape or wire. Types of temporary fencing filament include: A geared reel, for winding up and paying out the tape, is the icing on the cake, making temporary fencing easy to use and portable. We prefer a 3:1 geared ratio because it allows tape to be wound up faster with less effort than nongeared reels, she says. We also prefer a reel which will hold 660 feet of half-inch tape. The final piece of equipmentif your fence is electricis the charger, or energizer, for power. The charger needs to be appropriately sized for the job to be done, says Jim Gerrish. Most chargers are rated on a joule basis. Basically you need one joule of output energy per mile of fence on the farm. Battery units can have just as much power as plug-in units, as long as the battery charge is greater than 50%. Always use a low-impedance fence charger for portable fence, adds Dawn Gerrish, because the old-style high-impedance (charger) will heat up and melt the plastic in tape. A low-impedance charger maximizes the amount of current along the length of the fence, so you end up with a significant amount of charge at the end of the fenceline. Solar chargers will work most anywhere as long as the charger is adequately sized to handle the job. And what about solar chargers? These are fence chargers that convert the suns energy into electrical power and store it in a battery. Solar chargers will work most anywhere as long as the charger is adequately sized to handle the job, says Jim Gerrish. Finally, the best temporary electric fencing equipment is useless without proper grounding; poor grounding is the leading cause of temporary fence failurewhen your temporary fence isnt hot enough to keep horses from strolling right through it, looking for greener pastures. The shock in an electric fence needs to be enough to deter your horses from testing the fenceline. In an electric fencing system, electricity needs to complete a circuit to do its job, relying on ground rods as a route for the electricity to return to the energizer. Inadequate grounding limits the amount of electricity that can flow through the system. To ground, drive one 3- to 4-foot metal rod into the ground near the charger. Attach the grounding rod to the charger according to your fence manufacturers specifications. There are seemingly endless uses for temporary fencing. One of the most practical is to confine a horse that is rehabbing from injury. With temporary fencing, give your rehabbing horse a stall-sized, but usable, paddock so he has an opportunity to graze as well as a change of scenery. This will prevent him from racing around a field, further aggravating an injury. With visiting horses, use temporary fencing to divide large paddocks into smaller areas to accommodate your equine guests. Make sure there are no shared fencelines if you dont want them to have contact with each other. Some owners use temporary fencing as the interior fencing for track paddockslong corridors that circle the perimeter of a pasture or other area to encourage horses to move about more freely and interact with each other. A track paddock is generally set up with permanent fencing on the outside and temporary fencing on the insidetemporary fencing allows you to adjust the width and shape of the track. (To view a slideshow of track paddock designs, visit TheHorse.com/36801 .) Temporary fencing is often used as a portable corral when camping along a trail, when overnighting at a campground while traveling, or at a show or event. Other possible uses for temporary fencing include: When setting up temporary paddocks on your farm, its generally easiest to establish only as many as you think youll need firstyou can always hook up more temporary electric tape if you need to subdivide further. If you want to keep fencing and equipment costs down, you can move temporary fencing (and water) with the horses as you switch them from one grazing area to another. Make sure groups of corralled horses get along well or that pasture areas are large enough to suit their personalities so that a dominant horse doesnt pin another in a corner. Place gates so you can lead horses easily from stall to pasture and back. Remember to have a source of water for each pasture; this can be a separate water source for each grazing area or a single water source accessible from more than one area. Also, consider setting up pastures in such a way that horses can have access to shade or shelter, especially if summers in your area are very hot. Your pastures will thank you for using rotational grazing and temporary fencing, as well. Healthier pastures mean more forage production and lower hay billsand, of course, happy horses.