How many boarding barns don't have perimeter fencing?
I've seen it in 2 different posts in the last week. One a few days ago where the OP's horse was spooked and took off out onto the road and the other one today when Oliverreed was catching the stallion, in a barn that didn't have a perimeter fence.
Given the nature of boarding and the random level of capability of your likely boarders that are moving horses around, the ever-changing maturity of the horses coming and going, I can't see the reasoning behind not having a perimeter fence. It seems reckless. I can see having a gate open during the day, but at least that reduces the chances of a horse getting out to that one 12' or 14' opening.
It really depends on the place and the layout, I think. I once boarded at a place with no perimeter fence and it was never a problem, but the street had no traffic and it was not an inviting place to go. The other sides were fairly steep hills and also not inviting.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
Thinking back....I've boarded at 7 different places in the last 15 years and have never had a perimeter fence at any of them that encapsulated all of the paddocks. Only one had what I'd call a perimeter around the barn.
Funny enough, the only places my horses have gotten loose have been back home on our farm and at the farm I was leasing (by myself). In all cases (has happened 4 times), the power company or a hunter either left a gate open or cut the fence. It was never an accidental gate left open by me or anyone who was supposed to be on the property.
I can see the benefit of a perimeter fence, especially if you're near the interstate or something. But for the most part, horses seem to get out and then go see other horses--not run off. So I guess I've not thought much about it.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
My barn doesn't, but its way up away from a very quite road on a hill, with hundreds of acres of hay and corn fields behind and on either side of it. If a horse got loose, i think the last place it would go would towards the road.
A lot could do with location and topography....the barn where I grew up working, boarding and riding was fenced around the entire perimeter (well over 100 acres, which for CT is quite large) except for the driveway entrance.
For that one spot, there were ropes coiled on one barn (driveway ran between barns) that you unhooked and ran across the driveway to hooked on that side. 3 ropes, acted like a fence. Driveway was too wide for solid gates...IIRC it was at least 50' wide. (ropes were stretchy...us kids looked hilarious trying to stretch them across to hook them up)
Those silly ropes had a 100% success rate keeping horses in. And that's despite the way the horses were brought in from turnout...Wild West style. Trail/barn owned horses were turned out on the back 70 or so acres, came in as a herd and driven across the property to either their barn or their paddock, so ropes went up. Boarder horses had turn in by putting up the ropes, opening stall doors and ringing the dinner bell...us kids ran behind shutting stall doors as all 30-40 horses streamed into their barns. Looking back now...you'd think it was a nightmare. However in over a decade there never had a single problem....surprisingly!
Now all that said....perimeter fence there...at least once every 2-3 years the trail horses (every single one was as calm and broke as they get...literally ANYONE could handle or ride them) would get the wind up their asses and stampede for fun in their front paddock and then one would jump the damned roadside fence and the entire herd would freaking follow. It wasn't a low fence...these were not uber-athletes or even exciting in personality...and then the alarm would go up and every barn employee and boarder would be grabbing horses or trucks and taking off after the damned herd of horses playing Can't Catch Me all over town. Through yards and subdivisions and the school, up and down roads, etc. I have NO idea why they'd do that...but they certainly had a blast! Again...nobody got injured and that's actually shocking considering it happened more than once and we're talking a minimum of 30 horses galloping all over hell and creation followed by kids and ammy riders on their own horses whooping it up and a convoy of trucks with BO and sons at the wheels...and that one drunk son.
So there's my over-long perimeter fence story.
Last couple places I boarded before bringing them home...either perimeter fenced but one was on it's own entire road and nowhere near busy areas...not to mention the one direction towards the road funneled them into a 1/2 mile fenced in race track. (which is a WICKED fun option to have at a boarding barn, BTW...very handy and soooo wish I had something similar!) The other also wasn't perimeter fenced by was set up in a way that made it tough for horses to go anywhere but the barn. None got loose past the barn...but the option was there and frankly if it were mine I'd have added more fence.
I do think it's a smart option...especially here in CT since we're not known for having huge acreage and do have lots of semi-busy to very busy roads. (and not known for decent drivers, either) But we also often have most properties very heavily wooded or hilly...or both. So somewhat natural barriers. And I well understand the cost...to fence here, if you're not capable of dooing it yourself...can be very cost prohibitive. (like everything in state) Which is probably why so many personal horse properties try to get by with t-posts and tape.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
Just from a liability standpoint, I have been amazed at the number of barns that do not have a perimeter fence here. I was trying to think back about all the places I have boarded and out of 10 barns (sometimes i was at 2 barns at once, with different trainers/disciplines), I think just 2 were fully fenced. Some were mostly contained, but had small sections with gates that were rarely (or never) closed. It was definitely a factor or me when looking at barns, especially after watching a horse get loose at one of the unfenced places and nearly run into the road as a semi was barreling down toward it! Several had fencing up front, so at first glance appeared fully contained, then you'd go out back and realize nothing kept them from visiting the neighbors, etc.
I've only boarded at 8 different barns and they have all had perimeter fencing and gates, but they gates were usually left open during the day and locked at night. I don't know if location, countrywise, makes a difference but they were all in Washington and California.
In my experience, very few barns have perimeter fencing... trying to think through all the barns I've lessoned/boarded/schooled/shown at in 30 years and I only remember 1 having a perimeter fence!
For what it's worth, in that 30 year span I have chased a few nutty horses down 50 mph paved roads NOT fun! Most horses that get loose do just go visiting along the fence lines with their buddies. The horses that run away from their friends and toward the busy roads have always been loose-screw types.
I'm also wondering if its location, because the places I've been to out here in CA have all had perimeter fences. However, Californian's just seem to like fencing more than our east coast counterparts My aunt lives nears Boston and it always boggled my mind that there was no fencing in between the houses.
I've never boarded or ridden at a barn with a 100% perimeter fence (15-20 barns, maybe more). All in GA.
My current barn is situated on a square piece of property. Pastures border the right side, neighbors fence on the left, back side is 3/4 fences but open for access to trails. The front of the property is essentially open but because of the layout it isn't where most horses want to go when loose thankfully.
A perimeter fence is important to me, and all of the barns I have boarded at have had one (although some had open driveway gates – but far away from the horse areas).
Last three barns I boarded at – had a gate that had to be opened and closed to access the property. Before that, large facility (think 7+ trainers, hundred or more horses) had perimeter fence, but no gate – open drive.
When I lived in Iowa, I boarded at 3 different barns, none of which had perimeter fencing. All three were very large properties so fencing the entire thing would have been impractical plus the layout by the barns would have made fencing just the stable yards quite challenging. We had horses get loose from time to time, but I don't recall any ever really going anywhere. Usually they would head either to the nearest grass or back to their stalls to wait to be "caught". Oh wait, I lied. At one barn, one of the boarders blasted through the front WALL of his stall (in the wee hours of the AM) and left the premises across a huge soybean field only to end up chilling in the parking lot of the USDA labs about a mile away. Some kind soul called the cops who tracked down the barn manager so he could be retrieved. Luckily, nothing bad happened but he was the only horse to get loose there that really left!
Maybe it IS regional...but I've lived/had horses in IA, TX, MI, and now VA...no perimeter fences at any of those places. I've only been here in VA for about 5 days though, so perhaps i'll run into some with the perimeter fence here. I'm not too worried for my horse's sake. If for some reason she gets out, she'll just go to the nearest grass and bury her head.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I imagine it is regional and related to the size of the properties themselves (fencing is hugely expensive, for the price of perimeter fencing around typical boarding farms in my area would be prohibitive for many), the surrounding properties (if all large farm or open space), the traffic (largely rural vs suburban), and a legacy of fencing in versus fencing out laws.
And some might say that the cost of liability should offset the cost of perimeter fencing but a big insurance policy would cost less in many instances.
I've only been at one boarding facility with perimeter fencing, and my horse still managed to get loose and slip out the people gate when someone was coming through once. They were carrying something and she saw the opening and was gone.
The first place I boarded had fencing in the front of the property toward the road, and that was the direction every loose horse I saw there ran. The last place I boarded needed perimeter fencing both for horses getting loose - they tended to stay in the barn area, but the road was very busy and very close - but also for tresspassers. It was near a wash, and people would drive up and destroy the back of the property, go four wheeling across a lesson, people from other places would come galloping through on their horses. It was a total liability nightmare for the owner.
Originally Posted by Silverbridge
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Must be regional. I'm in WNY and have never boarded/worked/ridden at a place with perimeter fencing and am struggling mightily to think of a single place with it. Can't say it's ever been a problem; I generally end up chasing loose horses through fields & woods. The gimes I've gone after loose ones on the road, they were off property on trail rides so fencing wouldn't have helped.