Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Panel Discussion

If you thought this post would be a discussion of some heady topic by a group of bloggers.....
-or-
If you thought that I was going to talk about being a member of a panel discussing some exciting topic....

Then, I hate to disappoint you. This is a blog post about exactly what the title indicates it will be. I will be discussing panels... fence panels!

Don't you love it when you are led to 'see the light' and change a personal tenet? This is the case when it comes to portable fence panels for horses. When we first moved to Colorado I saw more panels in one short drive to town than I've seen in a lifetime in the east. I thought the panels looked tacky and felt they would not be substantial enough for horse fencing.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term... this is a picture of a portable fence panel:


I have always liked the look of wood fencing and my personal belief was that arenas and paddocks should be constructed from wood. There is nothing nicer than driving by fields of horses safely enclosed in split rail or board fencing. White paint is optional!


Fast forward a few years. I have acquired horses. I'm not sure how big a paddock I want. I'm not sure exactly where I want that paddock. The horses are coming tomorrow. We need fencing and we need it now! So, we acquired our first portable fencing panels. Soon we discovered that we really needed to divide the paddock so that each horse had his own space. We acquired some more paneling. Oh, how wonderful; The lady we are buying stall panels from also has some fence panels. Let's buy them. We'll have enough for a round pen!

So in a few short years I have acquired a fair number of fence panels. I love them! I can rearrange horse fencing like some people rearrange furniture! And I can do it all by myself! As I carry (push, drag, pull) panels I hear Helen Reddy singing in my mind:

If I have to, I can do anything 
I am strong.
I am invincible. 
I am woman!

Before we moved the horses to our new home we brought up some panels to limit the paddock area. Pippin can't have too much green grass at one grazing and the paddock, which hasn't seen a horse in over 5 years was full of lush grass. We actually discovered that we had given the boys too much room, so we rearranged the panels and made the paddock even smaller. Today we expanded it back to the original size. They now have about 2600 sq ft of the approximate 10,000 sq ft area to hang out in. 

The line between dirt and grass shows where the 
paneling used to end!

Yesterday I rearranged the panels at our 'old' house to make the paddocks smaller. The new buyer will have two paddocks that are 816 sq ft each instead of the 1,620 sq ft each of the boys had. We'll use those panels to separate the shed into personal spaces for each horse. Eventually we will be cutting doors from the stalls into the shed, and then the panels can be used to block off an area in the shed for storage. 

I am a convert. I have totally changed my line of thinking when it comes to portable fencing. I love it!



***Disclaimer***

All information contained on this blog post is the opinion of the writer. The information is not and should not be considered the be all and end all of fencing information. The writer is not an expert and does not consider herself to be an expert. The writer acknowledges that every horse owner has his or her own opinion about what type of fencing is best and that one horse owner's firmly held belief will differ from another's. Furthermore, horses are different. While some horses will respect a fence others will test it - push it, paw it, destroy it. The writer also acknowledges that accidents do happen and that fencing accidents can be downright dangerous. While one equestrian may have a horror story about a horse and portable paneling, another equestrian will have an equally horrifying story about a horse and wire fencing and a third equestrian will have a similar horrific tale to tell of a horse with wood fencing. If we want our horses to avoid injuries sustained from fencing we should adhere to the Cole Porter song; "Don't Fence Me In".  However, then we would run into problems with horses sustaining injuries from items in yards, automobiles on highways, vicious dogs, mad cows and homeowners wielding rakes or shovels. Additionally we would find it rather inconvenient to chase our horses down when it was time to ride them. The writer has purposefully not named the manufacturer of the portable panels that she is using nor is she promoting the use of one manufacturer’s panels over another. She recognizes that not all panels are created the same and that the quality of the product not only has to do with the care taken in the manufacture of the product but in such factors as the gauge of steel used, the type of welds and even the painted coating on the product. Horse owners using any fencing product are to understand that they are responsible for using the product as it was intended to be used and that shit happens, despite our best intentions. 

13 comments:

  1. roflmbo! The disclaimer cracked me up...especially the last sentence. LOL!

    ~Lisa

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  2. Your disclaimer is the cat's meow.

    Panels are truly handy around here, portable cattle chutes, working corrals, round pens...hubby tried to steal those but, so far, they remain as a round pen.

    We have discovered through our years of playing with panels, the style we have, even when doubled, will not with stand the assault of a 3/4 ton bull determined to leave the area...they tend to crumple like tin foil under that weight. Otherwise, I love these babies!!!

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  3. That disclaimer cracked me up. We don't see many panels around here. Maybe it would be a good idea if we did.

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  4. Ha ha, great disclaimer. Glad I have good reading glasses.

    Good post on fence panels. They are convenient, and like you said, rather fashionable in our part of the country. And come in a lovely variety of color choices.

    Pippin and Doc sure took care of their paddock grass in a hurry. They are eattin' machines.

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  5. I love panels! I've used them for many years, and have a way of moving them that I can do with my bad back: go to the middle of the panel, put your back to it, put your arms through the top space, reach down as far as you can to grab the bars below(usually the third space), bend your knees and lift. There is no real strain on arms or back as all the weight is balanced.
    Beamers pen and the mare pen are all made out of panels, and my round pen is panels. The only thing I have to say about safety is to choose panels that don't have rounded corners at the top because a critter can get a foot hung up in the V that it creates.

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  6. Glad y'all liked the disclaimer.

    @Shirley: I have adopted a similar technique... I end up with a bruise on the outside of my upper arm, but it is worth it!

    @Gail: I can imagine that even the heaviest gauge panels wouldn't hold a bull. We have a few that are crumpled... not by our boys, but by the horses of the previous owner. The deal when we bought them was we had to take all of them... even the ruined ones.

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  7. I like the disclaimer, too! :-)

    Anything safe and tested which works for the owner and keeps the horses healthy, as in your paddock choices, works for me!

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  8. I love my panels. I call them my "emergency fencing". When the teenagers stole a golf cart and drove it through my pasture fence at 2am, there were my panels to the rescue! Rather then trying to fix 300 feet of tension fencing, we just slapped up 2 panels until the sun came up!

    And yeah, Ctrl+scroll wheel was the only way I could even read the full disclaimer... and it was SO worth it!

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  9. Pippin and Doc are lovin' the new furniture arrangement!

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  10. I LOVE panels! Though they are mostly used strictly for round pens in our area because they are a lot more expensive than fencing. I agree that those wooden fences (particularly the white ones) are a beautiful sight, but I sure would hate to have to maintain it all ;o)

    I wish we had more of the panels ourselves, but as a poverty-stricken non profit they are currently beyond our budget (wanna share? *laugh*).

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  11. About those bent and twisted panels- lay them on the ground and drive the tractor over them, that's how we fix 'em! Works good. Sometimes you have to get a little creative and lay 2X4s under certain areas to improve the straightness, but it does work. If you don't have a tractor, a pickup truck works too.

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  12. I was reading the disclaimer in my head with voice-over voice and everything... then it got even better!

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  13. I favor using the woven wire also. For the reasons Bill gives, and also because it has more "give." I have used a woven wire round pen for many years, and still do. Five or six years ago we built a second round pen panels with cattle panels in a different field. It looked very spiffy. The first time we used it was at a clinic, where an out-of-control novice dog ran one of the sheep into a panel. Its neck broke and it had to be put down (fortunately, one of the clinic attendees was a vet). If that sheep had been run into wire fencing I'm sure the damage would have been minimal

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