Fence Part 4 – Fences around Streams

One of the frequently overlooked areas on horse farms that can benefit from fences are streams that run through pastures.

Keeping horses out of streams can help to prevent stream bank erosion and manure from polluting the streams. If you are planning your farm from bare ground you can plan your fields so that they fence horses out of streams and avoid natural drainage swales.  That way you have protected your ground and made your horses happy.  Keeping them out of the mud can also cut down on farrier bills.

It is also good idea to leave a “buffer strip” or riparian buffer along the stream bank that has a width of 15-20 feet  to allow any runoff from pastures to be filtered through before it drains into the stream. Deep rooted grasses or combination of plants, trees, shrubs, or other deep rooted plants can flourish there.  Buffer strips can allow trees to grow to help maintain a cooler temperature in the stream water which encourages aquatic life and can, depending on the type of trees planted can also provide shade for the horses in the adjacent pasture.

If your fencing is already in and the pastures defined you can also use electric tape to keep horses away from streams that run through their fields. I have seen all types of fences from four board to vinyl to single strands of electric wire used to keep horses away from water bodies. As with any fence you want to be sure it can be seen and it will be safe for the animals who will come in contact with it.

If you don’t think stream fencing is important take a look at this video. It focuses on cattle but the principle is the same.


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Shelly Ingram

I am a third generation horsewoman; My father operated a 50 horse boarding and training facility in northern California, where he specialized in re-training spoiled horses. I was his demonstration rider and general assistant in all aspects of running the ranch. I went on to work for several major show and race horse trainers, eventually opening my own barn where I focused on Junior and Amateur riders. I have trained numerous champion horses and riders on all levels and in variety of disciplines. I have also worked as a journalist and have more than a decade of experience in land use planning.

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