Categories: Horses

Portable Horse Fencing: How to Install a Temporary Electric Horse Fence

Portable horse fencing needs to be cheap and convenient to set up in order for it to be a viable temporary solution for containing horses. Electric horse fencing meets both these requirements. This simple guide will show you how to go about installing electric portable horse fencing that can be quickly erected and dismantled with little effort at all.

Electrical horse fencing can be used for portable horse fencing to contain horses when they have to be corralled away from their permanent paddock, and is very useful if you frequently travel with your horse or attend shows. It can be used to temporarily, or semi-permanently, divide existing paddocks to separate your herd, or to rotate the field in which they graze. Electrical horse fencing can also be used in combination with existing fencing for added security and peace of mind, or it can be used as a stand alone permanent electric horse fence, making it one of the most flexible fencing options available.

The fencing posts that you choose to install your electric horse fence onto will depend upon whether you are wanting a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent fence. For temporary portable horse fencing, you can use movable plastic horse tread-in posts that are specially designed for this purpose, and have plastic clips built in, which hold the electrical tape firmly in place. Alternatively, you can use thin metal stakes, or fiberglass stakes fitted with insulator clips for attaching the tape to each post to prevent the current from short-circuiting.

Materials Required to Install Electric Portable Horse Fencing:

  • Energizer (fence charger) – battery or solar powered for portability
  • Batteries (single cell or 12 volt battery depending on your energizer)
  • Grounding rod/earth spike
  • Electrical horse tape (conductor) – 0.5 inch – 1.5 inch (12mm – 40mm) polytape or polyrope – (polywire is not recommended)
  • Plastic tread-ins (or fiberglass electric fence stakes + insulators)
  • Spring loaded gate breaker


Step by Step Guide for Installing Electric Portable Horse Fencing

Step 1

When installing electric portable horse fencing, place your tread-ins around the boundary of the area you wish to fence off. Posts can be spaced 30-40 feet apart if using the thin 0.5 inch tape, which is less inclined to flutter in the wind, and 20-25 feet apart if using the thicker 1.5 inch tape. Reduce the spacing between posts to 15 feet in very windy areas, especially if using the wider 1.5 inch tape, which is more likely to catch the wind.

Tip: If planting metal or fiberglass posts for your fence, bear in mind that posts can be spaced further apart for electrical portable horse fencing than when building a horse fence out of wooden boards, as 1) the electrical tape is much lighter than wooden boards, and 2) as the tape gives the horse a jolt, the fence won’t be subjected to the weight of a horse leaning against it to get to the greener grass that is always on the other side.

Step 2

Run the electric horse tape (or electric rope) through the insulator clips, pulling the tape tautly before snapping into the clip, and then running on to the next tread-in or post. Repeat until you have the tape strung tautly between all the posts.

Step 3

To make a gate break, you will need to install an isolated spring loaded plastic handle so that you can open the gate without getting shocked. If you are wanting to place multiple strands on your gate, you will need one plastic handle per strand per gate.

Grounding and Charging your Fence

Step 4

Next, you need to earth the fence. To do this, you must knock a metal grounding rod into moist soil. If you are setting up your fence in an area with dry loose soil, which is a poor conductor, then your grounding rod needs to be sunk to a greater depth, or you may need to increase the number of grounding rods used. According to the Stafix electric fencing manual, “for an electric fence to give an animal an electric shock, electrons must complete a circuit. Electrons travel from the energizer, along the wires, through the animal’s body, through the soil to the earthing system, then back up to the energizer”. Therefore, your fence needs to be properly earthed in order for it to be effective. Similarly, no part of the fence should touch vegetation as this will short circuit the system, rendering the electric fence less effective.

Step 5

Once you have the earth stakes in place, you can connect the energizer to your fence and grounding rod. The red clip is live and must be attached to the fence tape while the green clip is the earth and must be attached to the grounding rod.

Step 6

Finally, turn on the energizer and test that everything is working. An indicator light will flash to show that the energizer is working properly, but you will need to check that there is current passing through the fence. If you are brave enough you can test this by turning the power setting on low, and quickly touching the tape. If you feel a jolt, then everything is working correctly, and you have succeeded in installing your electric portable horse fencing. For the less brave, invest in a fence tester!

Tip: Place warning signage to alert anyone who may come into contact with your electrical portable horse fencing of the dangers, to prevent them from touching the fence and getting shocked.

Featured Image By Jeblad, via Wikimedia Commons
Jenny Griffin

is the Owner/Founder of Ecologix Environmental Media Services, Ecology Matters, and Stuff4Petz. Jenny is a freelance writer specializing in topics related to pet care, animal welfare, and environmental issues. She has published a series of Pet Owners Guides - view her Amazon author profile. Jenny has worked with animals all her life, having owned her own pet shop, dog grooming parlor, and educational mobile petting zoo; and has also worked in the fields of marine science and environmental education. Jenny resides on a smallholding with her extensive menagerie of rescued animals, which is in itself a full time job. When she is not writing or caring for her animals, she can be found surfing the waves at her local beach, or spending time with her horses.

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