With the advent of low impedance fence chargers, electric fencing has become a practical, reliable solution for horse farms seeking both permanent and temporary solutions. Not only does it keep horses from escaping, it allows stables the flexibility to manage the boundaries of their pastures according to their specific needs.
There are a number of electric fencing solutions on the market; however, they all operate based on the same technology: the fence charger or energizer (those familiar with older systems might recall the term "fencer") converts electricity into strong, short electrical pulses that travel down the fence wire every second or so. The fence can be a braided rope or woven tape with conductive material incorporated into it. When a horse touches the fence, the electricity is transmitted through its body to the ground and back to the fence charger, completing the circuit. The result: an electric shock that poses no physical threat, but that is extremely memorable.
"It’s a psychological barrier: the animal associates that electrical stimulation with the fence, and, therefore, does not cross it," says Ben Beale, MS, extension agent at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Leonardtown, Md.
Those who grew up on or around farms might recall that the electric fencing systems of yesteryear weren’t as effective. Bob Kingsbery, a livestock and fencing expert witness based in Frisco, Texas, recalls, "Old-fashioned fence chargers were low power in terms of the pulse they put out: the pulse w