Reliable, portable fencing is a key factor in the management of laminitic horses and Gallagher, the agricultural fencing specialist, is urging owners to take time to consider the best type of fencing for their animals.
For laminitic horse and ponies, the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence and they can quickly become accomplished escape artists, so it isimportant to choose fencing which is both safe and reliable. It is also important to remember that laminitis can occur in any season, so year-roundvigilance is required.
To help the owners of laminitic horses and ponies provide the best fencing fortheir animals, Gallagher has devised the following checklist:
- Fencing must be easily visible – if your horse is prone to spooking or barging then a tape fence is both visible and safe;
- Electric fencing is typically 50% less expensive to install than other types of fencing and provides an effective and portable solution for laminitic horses;
- Electric fencing is a psychological barrier and most horses will avoid it after their first contact;
- Some laminitics become distressed when separated from their field companions – electric fencing allows an area within a larger paddock to be fenced off, allowing horses to remain within sight of their companions;
- Managing laminitics sometimes requires fencing to be erected or moved quickly – with Gallagher’s SmartFence, a 100 metre mobile fence can be erected in just five minutes;
- Make sure you have plenty of spare posts and clips – spacing posts further apart can help save time and money;
- Make sure the fence is taut by tensioning it with the Gallagher rope tensioner;
- Use the Gallagher rope gateway set for a safe and simple gateway opening;
- For mobile horse fencing, use the Gallagher’s new stirrup post for spacing purposes
- For horses, fencing wire should be placed at 65cm, 100cm and 135cm for maximum effectiveness;
- Make sure you use an efficient battery energiser designed for use with horses;
- Inadequate earthing is the main cause of low power so make sure you test your energiser’s earthing system with a digital voltmeter or a Gallagher Smartfix;
- Discuss a year-round management programme with your vet – it is not uncommon for vet’s to see more cases of laminitis in autumn and winter so it’s important not to drop your guard;
- Watch out for sudden flushes of grass;
- Try to arrange mixed grazing with sheep to help keep the grass down;
“Choosing the right type of grass for laminitic horses is the most common enquiry we receive from horse owners,” says Ian Wilkinson, Managing Director of Cotswold Grass Seeds. “Of course, most people are not at liberty to choose the type of grass they offer to their animals;however, where owners are re-seeding an area or improving their paddocks, we would advise they steer clear of mixtures containing rye grass if their animals are prone to laminitis and choose less productive grasses instead.
“Our Natural Pony Paddock mixture is specifically designed for the laminitic and contains a wide range of the less productive grasses, many of which are native species. Laminitics will always need to monitored, as even a frosty, sunny morning can be enough to trigger this condition. However, if we can minimise the risks associated with the types of grasses a horse has access to, we can help to minimise the risk of an attack.”