One of the most traumatic events that I’ve ever experienced as a horse owner happened in the fall of 2008. We had been at the farm for almost a year when Spirit did some serious damage on the high tensile fencing that lined the perimeter and separated the pastures.
Best guess is that she was playing across the fence with the boys in the slippery mud when she slid underneath the bottom wire. Spirit being Spirit, panicked and managed to wrap her right rear leg in the wire. She pulled and literally skinned her leg straight down the cannon bone to the tendon. Luck was on our side as she just barely missed cutting in the tendon. The photo below shows her legs after the vet cut off the flap of skin and then the healing process as she grew new tissue. Side note: the photo quality stinks because I wasn’t rocking a new iPhone.
A hefty vet bill, months upon months of bandaging, and who knows how many types of remedies and medications later, she was slowly healing and her leg tissue was regenerating. Those months also left me wondering how quickly I could get rid of the high tensile fencing. If you aren’t convinced that it is the worst type of fencing for horses simply google “horse injuries wire fencing” and prepare to feast upon the loads of injuries that come from wire and (what the hell!) barbed wire fencing. Better yet, let me tell you about a certain neighbor who believes a single line dental floss is a suitable fence for some rather large horses – it’s not really dental floss but it is just as effective at NOT keeping the horses off of the road.
With some research, I learned about coated wire fencing which seemed to suit our need for electric fencing without the worry of another slice and dice episode. The horse expo was just the place to scout out some potential fence companies and score a deal. Ramm Fence was our chosen vendor and we were able to work out a show deal that provided a hefty discount. We chose the HotCote fencing (it’s now replaced with an even better version called Shockline with thinner and more pure strips of carbon for better conduction). All of the fencing claims a 1400 pound break limit and a 20 year manufacturer warranty. The non-electric lines are High Impact Raceline coated wire – these don’t have any electric conductivity.
The planned fence included 2 electric lines and 2 non-electric lines so we purchased enough fencing to cover the area plus extra for repairs. Because we already had posts installed, the electric charger hooked up correctly, and existing diagonals and braces, we did not have to install those so our focus was on the fence lines themselves and creating new pasture rotation areas with gates.
Each of the fence line rolls is 1320 feet long and comes in black, brown, or white (we went with white for visibility). All of the necessary accessories were available and purchased including round coated wire tighteners, plastic claw insulators, and tubing for corners.
Ramm also has any of the various tools needed to complete the installation including a crimp tool, wire snips, spinning wire jennies, and fence pliers (we had many of these already at the farm so we didn’t need to purchase from Ramm). The website has detailed directions for installing the fence and the support staff are super helpful if you run into an issue – you are instantly connected to a human when you call their support phone number. Bonus – they have a YouTube channel! Although they do not have an installation video for the HotCote or Shockline fencing, there are so many awesome tutorials on the site including installing and cementing posts, building diagonals, and working with the tighteners.
So let’s talk price – here is a breakdown of the cost per item:
- Shockline electric fence roll – $169/1320 foot roll (this is also the price for the non-electric rolls)
- Coated Wire Tightener – $6.28/each (these are essential for piecing together sections of the fence and maintaining tautness)
- Plastic Claw Insulators – $8.98/25
- Tubing – $12.95/100 foot roll (comes in brown, black, and white)
- Shipping – this is quoted based on the freight charges (only 1 roll can be shipped via UPS but more requires freight)
- spinning wire jenny
- 2 – 1/2″ drive socket wrenches (these are used on the tighteners)
- fence pliers
- wire snips
- crimp tool
- line marker
- beer (not really a tool but essential to any hot summer installation project)
Again, we already had most of the tools necessary for the job but we also created a wooden spinning wire jenny and a line marker out of scrap wood to help with the process. A line marker is just a scrap piece of light weight wood that is used to line up the top of the posts and the wire lines. We made ours using a 1″X2″ that was a few inches taller than the cemented and installed pressure treated wood posts. I’ve included a diagram of the fence line spacing that we used to make the line marker. Simply measure and mark out the fence line spacing with a marker on the scrap wood. Be sure to figure out the measurements for YOUR property and fence style (google wire fence spacing and wire fence line spacing for more configurations).
I’m not going to lie and say that this was a super easy job because it wasn’t BUT the end result is amazing and going on 7 years later we don’t have any major issues.
To prove just how durable this fencing is, refer back to the “Mad Cow” incident of 2012 when a loose cow broke through the fence. A few minor adjustments and we were back in business AND the cow wasn’t badly injured. We won’t discuss what happened afterwards to said cow. I’ve also watched Copper and Spirit (does she ever learn not to play with the damn fence?!?) play across the pasture fence lines, bucks and kicks included, without any injuries or damage to the fence. Big has also leaned WAY over the top line to the greener pastures on the other side (late summer, you understand) when the fence wasn’t turned on which caused the insulators to pop like squished bugs BUT the line stayed intact and a few repairs later it was as good as new.
A few minor issues (and I’m using the term loosely) that I do have:
- the tighteners can cut into the coated wire and strip the coating if you happen to angle it too far when tightening – the process to tighten is for a stronger person and can be awkward which may cause you to turn the tightener at a slight angle and cut into the wire. I’m not sure if this is something that I would complain about to the manufacturer but it is a consideration in my review.
- the plastic claw insulators are fairly easy to snap and we do have to replace them often
- I really wish they had a video tutorial for the HotCote/Shockline fencing!
So, the basic question: “is it worth it?“.
Let’s take a look back at our categories for review:
- Simplicity: how freaking easy is it to use?
- Cost: does the price tag “match” the quality of the product?
- Material Quality: are the materials durable enough to withstand the test of time?
- Effectiveness: does the product actually do what it promises to do?
Simplicity: I’m not saying that you need to have prior experience with fence installation but it is a huge benefit – particularly when installing corners, diagonals, braces, and gates. With the help of Ramm Fence YouTube channel, the installation directions, and the staff, you should be able to accomplish this with the help of at least one other person for the manual labor. IF you don’t feel comfortable installing this as a project, you can contact Ramm for a suggested installer.
Cost: Although this is a hefty investment (a few thousand in material for our project), it is worth every single penny when compared to a vet bill or worse from high tensile fencing injuries. Let’s not even talk about the emotional piece of mind that comes from quality fencing. It also adds a bit of value to the property and being Type A, I love the uniform look of the white lines across the pastures.
Material Quality: Durability is not a question with Ramm Fence – I’m convinced that the price tag justifies the high quality product and will be shopping for other fence and stall products in the future.
Effectiveness: Beyond a doubt the fence is effective and keeps the horses where they should be without worry of injury. The electric conductivity is excellent and I have personally tested this for myself. Like I mentioned above, a few minor “issues” exist with the tighteners and insulators but based on prior experience with other fence types this is fairly common.
Overall, this is an investment that will add value to your property and most importantly will protect your animals. Our plan is to continue the fencing along the new pasture for Glory and Spirit – this will mean the removal of the last tiny bit of high tensile that still exists and the potential for any issues will be gone!
For the sake of honesty, I was NOT paid or given any product for this review post.