Your horses are hard enough on your fences and gates as they chew, kick, and lean, but you may be damaging them, too. Here are several guidelines for protecting the structures against human wear and tear.
- Build a stile—a permanent set of steps—wherever you commonly climb over a fence. Blueprints for many types are available on the Internet. You can also create a pass through at a popular crossing site to allow people, but not horses, to easily enter a field.
- If you must climb you fence, do so only near a post, where you're less likely to yank a board loose. Before hoisting yourself up, sharply pull on the board to make sure it's secure and will hold your weight.
- Prevent gates from sagging on their hinges and dragging across the ground by resting them on a block of wood or even a large rock whenever they're opened or closed for an extended time. The support should be tall enough that you have to lift the gate up slightly to rest it in place.
- Use a rock or forked stick to prop open a gate and keep it from swinging and banging.
- Place reflectors anywhere there is a risk of a vehicle colliding with a fence, gate, or post in low light. Also use them to mark the fence at your farm's entryway, particularly if driving onto your property requires a tight turn from the road.