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Problems with fences

(23 Posts)
zzzzz Tue 16-Apr-13 23:40:21

Our neighbours keep horses/ponies in the field bordering ours. When we moved in 5 years ago the fence between the two properties was new/in very good condition (post and rail). It is now battered and broken (top rail) in lots of places, and leaning towards their land at about 30 degrees. Their ponies eat about 3 feet of grass on our side and I assume lean over and wobble the fence.
They use electric fence on the other Sid of their field (ie to protect their fence).

My question is this (I have no experience of land IYKWIM). Would our fence need replacing anyway (ie does it just need replacing every 5 years or so?) or are their horses causing all of the problem (in which case I should ask them to pay for it)?

As an aside would planting a line of liandii be awful? I have a child with sn and it would be much safer for everyone if he couldn't see the ponies.

Any thoughts gratefully received.

MoonlightandRoses Wed 17-Apr-13 00:06:25

In short no, the fence hasn't broken down like that through 'normal' wear and tear - it will have been the ponies pressuring it. If wooden and left untreated then you could expect a certain amount of decay in five years, but not to the extent that top rails fall off and the fence sags inwards.

I would say it's worth asking your neighbours to put up electric tape fencing a.s.a.p. (not sure where you are, but the grass is finally starting to recover from winter here and it won't be long before you find the ponies on your land eating the new growth otherwise). Placing the tape three to four feet within their boundary on your side of the field should stop this happening.

If you do just need to keep the animals out of view of your child, there's probably better options than leylandii to do it - might be worth asking on the Gardening thread for ideas on that one.

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 00:19:18

Thank you. To be honest I do think it is their horses. I just don't want to be unfair. It was a very smart fence when we moved in.

I will ask on gardening about hedgeng. I'm a bit worried that I might plant something that is poisonous or too delicious or too scratchy for their horses. I am very fond of them. blush

A friend suggested leylandii because it is so quick and dense. Clipping it is part of the plan I'm not contemplating run away leylandii!

MoonlightandRoses Wed 17-Apr-13 00:27:23

I would definitely say you are not being unfair! (As a horse owner, I would already have been around to you to offer to mend the fence and put up something at my expense to keep the beasts away.). Also, if you are having it re-done get the rail bit put on their side - that way, if the neighbours do nothing and the ponies push at the fence they are pushing the rails into the posts, rather than off them, IYSWIM?

Leylandii is dense, but can be scraggy at the bottom hence the suggestion of checking on Gardening if there's anything better. The only thing I can think of is buddleia which is not only quick growing/easy to prune, but won't hurt the ponies and the bees will love it.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 17-Apr-13 09:49:12

Yes it's the ponies wrecking the fence. Speak to the owner and ask for her to fence them off of it. To stop them grazing through and to stop your child getting mixed up with the horses, put chicken wire or livestock wire on the fence to stop either getting through!
Please don't plant leylandii. They are gigantic monster trees that spoil the view for everyone unless they are regularly trimmed back hard. It's also pointless because if the horses are hungry enough to eat through, they will eat your trees.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 17-Apr-13 09:50:06

Leylandii will also ruin your garden. Nothin grows beneath them.

newfavouritething Wed 17-Apr-13 11:25:48

Is it your fence or theirs? If it's theirs, then they should repair it to stop livestock getting onto your land. Technically if it is yours, you could remove it completely which would force them to put up their own fence. They have to fence their animals in, rather than you fence them out as such.

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 11:33:32

Very rural so garden won't be effected. If the horses will eat them it is pointless, but all the hedges are trimmed regularly so that wouldn't be a problem. It won't effect the view, but would be daft if they are gong to be munched through.

It would be better long term if it was screened so you couldn't see through. They often have a standard up pool in part of the field for the summer and this is also a safety risk. I find it all a bit stressful.

Thank you reassuring me that it isn't just wear and tear <daft emoticon> I will think some more.

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 11:35:21

It's definitely ours. sad. If I took it down they would just let their horses roam on our fields too, which would be bloody dangerous.

Pixel Wed 17-Apr-13 14:26:03

We went to see Pam Ayres last week (I know, but bear with me!). She was telling a little story about a funny thing that happened involving her dog and a new hedge. She was saying how she and her husband decided to divide a large field into two and have planted a hedge. She said it was so lovely as they could go through a catalogue and pick out lots of different plants to go in the hedge so it will be beautiful and unique.
If you are already thinking of long-term then that would be a brilliant idea, and much better for the birds etc than horrid old leylandii (which I'm not convinced wouldn't be poisonous actually).
Of course in the short term your neighbours must do something to stop their horses causing damage. I think they've got a bit of a cheek tbh because they must surely have noticed the state of the fence and should have taken steps to protect it without having to be asked.

LastMangoInParis Wed 17-Apr-13 17:20:59

A thought about the fence: could the decay and tipping have been caused by the severe rain and extreme cold over the last few months? Round this way the fences are in a terrible state (as are walls, roads, bridle and footpaths...) The damage done by severe weather this last year has been staggering, even on quite high ground and places that are usually well sheltered.
Your neighbours aren't looking good, from what you say, but if the fence is yours - and also, since there's an electric fence between their horses and it, it seems that they can't get near enough to damage it - maybe it's time to get it sorted out. And if we don't have the same awful weathher we've had this and last year, then maybe it'll last as 5 years this time around.

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 17:56:51

Their fence on the other side of the field is protected by a electric fence and is fine. My fence this side of the field isn't and the top bar is broken (on about 70% of fence) and it leans towards horses.

newfavouritething Wed 17-Apr-13 19:20:50

The top rails are probably broken by the horses scratching their backsides and/or leaning over for grass. It does seem a little strange that the fence is leaning towards the horses - I would expect it to lean away from them. Have you tried wobbling the whole thing to see if it's the dry ground and wind? A bit of rain might firm things up a bit, although the sooner you can repair it the better - if the fence has a bit of give to it, the horses will take advantage. And while I'm pondering your fencing issues - how do they manage to eat 3' of your grass - is it a short fence/tall horse combo, are are they going through/underneath?

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 19:45:31

It's short enough for them to reach over. Two wooden bars and sheep netting under the bottom bar. I wondered why it lent towards them too. There are a selection of horses two almost always there and two or three much bigger visitors (one of the visitors is a bit scary, the others are nice]

Our ground is wet not dry.

Perhaps there is a way of fixing it (ie hauling it upright again and replacing the top rail). We are totally broke and the house needs work, plus a ropey car, so replacing the whole thing is probably not an option (not that I know wha fencing costs blush )

Pixel Wed 17-Apr-13 19:59:30

Have you checked the posts at the bottom? We've lost a lot of posts this winter because they have rotted in the wet ground and snapped off. If that's the case then either the wind has caused the whole thing to lean towards the horses or perhaps one of them is a crib-biter? (I know it's supposed to be a stable vice but plenty of horses do it outside as well.) If he was grabbing hold of the tops of already weakened posts he could be pulling the fence over to their side.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 17-Apr-13 20:52:48

It sounds like its a bit the horses fault and a bit the weather. Mine have fallen down in several places this winter. The bottom of the posts have just rotted through with the wet. Several go in a row and the fence leans over. Also, it might have looked strong when you moved in, but they can rot internally quite invisibly, and the wood just loses its strength. The horses have put their heads through or over, leaned on the rails and they just give way. I personally wouldnt necessarily electrify a solid looking post and rail fence, but now they are obviously interfering with it and leaning on it, your neighbour really needs to electric fence them off on your side too.
Its fairly easy to prop it back up. Our local branch of CWG does rough posts for around £3 and 4x2 12ft rails for £4. Pull the fence over towards your side, hold it there, them knock in a new post fairly close to the broken one. Once youve done this near all of the broken posts, stand the fence back up and nail the rails to the new posts. It wont be pretty, but it will be solid.

zzzzz Wed 17-Apr-13 21:38:53

Ooooh saggy I could do that. I will go and look for rot in the morning. Once fixed would it be unreasonable to ask them to keep their ponies back from it? I can probably afford that sort of money, but the time to do it is harder as Dh works long hours and we would have to tag team as dc need constant supervision.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 17-Apr-13 21:44:10

It isnt unreasonale at all. They are damaging your fence and garden! You or DP could probably do it alone if you can tie a rope to the fence and secure it to something to make it lean the other way and give you room to knock the new post in. And you need to borrow a post smasherinerer from somewhere.

Pixel Thu 18-Apr-13 00:09:34

I'd try and do it soonish before the ground gets rock hard as you will be able to get the posts in that bit further and have a more sturdy fence in the end.

zzzzz Thu 18-Apr-13 00:15:13

thanks all of you.

Pinkponiesrock Fri 19-Apr-13 18:01:41

If the land borders both your properties then maintenance of it is split 50/50. If it does get replaced then get then to run electric along it as horses are very hard on fences.

Definitely NO to leylandii as it is poisonous to horses, a friend lost her young highland to leylandii last year.

newfavouritething Sat 20-Apr-13 13:29:13

Pink, I'm not sure that you're right about the 50/50 slit. A fence/hedge/wall or whatever is usually owned by one party. If my animals wrecked someone elses fence though, I would feel obliged to repair.

zzzzz Sat 20-Apr-13 18:06:17

It says on the deeds we own the boundary IYKWIM, and they own the other side.

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