Vinyl Fence Benefits for your horse farm
Vinyl fence is a beautiful addition to your farm. It provides the classic look of post and rail horse fence with a low maintenance product. Vinyl fence, like wood, steel and woven wireis a physical barrier. The fence should be able to physically restrain your horses -- even if they push against it. In contrast, electric fences are considered psychological barriers -- your horse can usually push past the fence, however the fear of shock prevents them from attempting that.
Vinyl fence is generally easy to install, and can accomodate varied terrain. Vinyl fence can be installed up, down and across slopes. Vinyl fence can also be customized to accomodate gullies or creeks. Fence posts are generally installed 8' apart, and for best results should be concreted into the ground.
Vinyl fence is nontoxic and 100% recyclable. Vinyl fence does not corrode like steel fence or need any toxic chemical treatments to prevent rot like wood fence.
Vinyl fence often be purchased with a selection of colors to best match your farm. In order to reduce the risk of heat damage, dark colors are generally not available. However, the light colors used for PVC vinyl fence make the fence very visible. Your horses will be able to see the fence well, even in the dark.
Vinyl fence a great choice for arenas and riding rings. Since vinyl fence is softer than the other physical barrier fences, you are less likely to be injured if your horse brushes you against the fence, or you fall onto the fence. Also, since the fence is highly visible, your horse is less likely to contact the fence during work.
Vinyl PVC fence often comes with a lifetime warranty. High quality vinyl fence should come with a "non-prorated" warranty. Check the details of the warranty before you buy -- your warranty may not cover damage caused by your horses.
Vinyl Fence Negatives for your horse farm
While vinyl horse fence is a great option, it may not make the best fence for your situation. It is one of the more expensive fencing options, generally running between $5-$10/foot plus installation.
If you are looking for a fence to match your farm's colors, vinyl fence may also not be the right choice for you. Color choices are often limited, and painting the fence can significantly affect the durability of the fence. If you live in a warm, sunny climate, dark colors can cause the fence to become over heated and either warp or melt.
Depending on the quality of construction and the energy of your horses, your vinyl fence may not stand up to the rigors of a horse farm. If your horses tend to kick or chew the fence, vinyl may quickly become ruined. In these cases, integrating an electric "stand-off" wire may help decrease the wear and tear.
Choosing a Vinyl Fence for your Horse Farm
When purchasing a vinyl horse fence, make sure you buy one that is designed for farm and ranch use. Contact the manufacturer to make sure that is is certified for livestock confinement. Some farm and ranch products are decorative fence only and not designed for confinement of horses.
You should select a fence made from 100% virgin vinyl. This will ensure that your fence is a consistent quality and strength.
Vinyl fence posts and rails have three sizes that you should compare -- Length, dimension and vinyl wall thickness. Length is how long the post or rail is. With posts, this includes the portion that will be buried. If you do not concrete the posts, you should get a longer post. You should also consider getting a post that can be buried below the frost line if you live in a particularly cold area. This will help minimize the amount of vertical shift that will occur. Dimension is the outside dimensions of the post or rail. Posts are between 4 and 6 inches thick and rails are 1x4 to 2x6 inches. The larger the size, the stronger the fence will be.
Since vinyl fence is not solid, the vinyl wall thickness tells you a lot about the strength of the fence. Most companies sell posts that have a wall thickness of .135" and rails that are .080" thick.
You have many options for the style of your vinyl fence. In additon to the standard 2, 3 and 4 rail fence, you can find cross buck and even a 6 foot high 5-rail fence (This height is required if you want to adopt a wild Mustang from the BLM)
Maintaining and Repairing the Vinyl Fence on your Horse Farm
While sold as "maintenance free", your vinyl PVC fence will look and perform at its best with some occasional mainenance and cleaning.
Your vinyl PVC fence can also be cleaned using a pressure washer. You can buy an inexpensive electrical unit at your local hardware store if you have access to water and electricity along your fence. Otherwise, consider renting a gas-powered unit. Pressure washers can generally siphon wash water from a bucket or trough, so if you put a water trough on the back of your truck, you can drive down the fence line and wash away. And while you've got the pressure washer out, take a few moments out to give your water troughs and feed tubs a quick spray. They'll look as good as new!