Fence building – replacing barbed wire part 1

Barbed wire is bad for horses. Today we began replacing it. We’ve spoken of the dangers of barbed wire before. The biggest problem seems to be that horses get tangled in it when no one is looking and can end up seriously wounded. We know people whose horses have died this way.  The property we’re on has a mix of wood fence and barbed wire and was probably used a long time ago for cattle. We plan to replace all of the barbed wire at some point but as you can imagine, the cost would be pretty high on a property this size (7+ acres of pasture). So for the visible areas, we’re continuing with a three board wooden fence, electrified as necessary on the top row. For the rest of the pasture, we’ll probably use something inexpensive but effective like Electrobraid.

Horse Fence WalkthroughSince Pop and Granny moved in on property adjacent to the pasture, it made sense to replace this fence first. So we started by selecting a spot for a walk-through gate. Normally this would be in the shape of a V but we’re building a hybrid version in the shape of a U. Basically it’s wide enough for a human to slide through but not a horse. If built right, you don’t need to open and close anything because the horses won’t fit in. From here, we’ll replace a section at a time until all of the barbed wire between the two properties is gone.

Today was nice and mostly warm, in the upper 60s and dry so there were no concerns about the concrete we’re using on our fence posts setting and drying. We used an auger (post hole digger for a tractor) on the Kubota that saved us a lot of work. Augers don’t seem to work well in clay soil so what might take a minute or two in Missouri takes twenty or more minutes in east Tennessee. But it beats digging by hand!  Taking the advice of someone who build a lot of fences, we covered the part of the pressure treated 4x4s we used as fence posts in roofing tar paper in an attempt to keep moisture and dirt away from the wood. It’s cheap and easy to do and we’re hoping it will add life to the posts.

As with any project, especially one where learning is involved, it’s taking longer than we expected but we’re getting better at it with each post we stick in the ground. By the time we’re done, we’ll be fence installation experts!

I’ll show before and after pictures in an upcoming post.

barbed wire

About Bill

Long-winded horse newbie, aspiring amateur barrel racer and cowboy mounted shooter. Bill has a "horse problem" and regularly wears a t-shirt that reminds him "I don't need another horse." A favorite quote is from John Wayne: "Courage is being scared but saddling up anyway," which pretty much describes how he feels every time he gets on a horse.
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3 Responses to Fence building – replacing barbed wire part 1

  1. Great idea to build the U shaped ‘gate’ opening. I see them a lot for hiking trails, but never considered them to be built for private property. Please share a photo when completed if you don’t mind?

    ~Lisa

  2. Bill says:

    Will do, Lisa. So far so good. No escapes yet and getting in and out of the pasture is SO much easier at this spot now. I’m embarrassed to admit we used to stretch the opening between the barbed wire to get through, which of course stretched the barbed wire even more.

  3. JIM BALL says:

    need recent information on the installation of barb wire fence. ie. how far apart should the metal posts be placed. how far between the metal post
    the metal post should the wood pull posts be placed? rebel ranch stables. jim

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