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Electric Fencing The Basics - Track Systems (Paradise Paddocks)


Here are some commonly asked questions asked about setting up track systems (sometimes know as paradise paddocks) for horses, ponies and donkeys.  We hope you find the answers helpful if you are needing to explore the possibility of electric fencing for your equine friends.


When setting up any electric fencing system be it strip grazing, a permanent fence or a track system you will need to ask yourself some questions to help you plan your fence.  A bit of planning in the first instance will ensure a successful set up in the longer term.

  1. Will this fencing be a permanent or temporary fence system?
  2. Will you use tape or rope? And how many lines?
  3. What is the total distance to be covered – this will help determine which energiser to purchase.
  4. Will you run your system from mains, battery or battery/solar?
  5. Will you use plastic posts or wooden posts? Are there lots of changes in direction?
  6. Will you need to include gateways in your set up? If so how many?
  7. Once you have a plan you can then work out how many tensioners, connectors and insulators you might need.

I am considering a track system for my donkeys – do they work?

Most of us have to watch our waist line – especially as we get a bit older.  Some of our animals are the same – are you on constant watch for the first signs of laminitis?  They need less grass as its starts to flush in spring and summer and some people believe that the track system helps to keep the weight off as it keeps the donkeys moving.  They believe it is better for their welfare and their waist lines!

It is suggested that by creating tracks within a paddock horses, ponies and donkeys are encouraged to move as they graze.  Obstacles like logs, water and food stations, sheds, shelters and different terrain textures all make for a more interesting place to live and walk and eat.  The tracks increase the distance they walk during the day; the tracks restrict grazing whilst also encouraging movement… this is something the more traditional strip grazing methods don’t do.

We would suggest, that like any system, it is not for everyone.  It maybe that the land you have doesn’t lend itself to a track system.  Similarly it could be that it is not suited to your animals.  However, what many people have said is that they have happier, healthier and better conditioned horses, ponies and donkeys as a direct result of using the track system.


Are there any pitfalls I need to look out for?

When building your track system you need to consider how many animals will be using the system.  If there are a number of horses then it would be prudent to make a wider track to increase the amount of grazing.  This also means that if there are any bullies or dominant horses among the group that there is space for the others to get away.

However, conversely, the wider the track the less far the animals will walk.  A thinner narrower track does encourage more exercise in general as theyhave to walk further to get more food.


Which do I go for – temporary or permeant electric fencing?

It’s true you could set up your fence with ordinary fencing… but electric fencing is particurly effective for this style of grazing.

Initially, we would recommend using a temporary set up first of all to see if this grazing system will work for the animals in your care and for the land you are running it on.  You will suss out very quickly if this is going to work for you and your animals.  If it does work for you and your animals when using the temporary kit and it is something you want to install permanently then it would be time to add more features and set up the fencing in a more permanent way.


How do you set up a track system with electric fencing?

As already mentioned… you have to decide if you are going to put up a temporary or permanent system.  This is how we would set up these systems -

  1. Temporary System – Draw out your plan on a piece of paper – write in the measurements and where the gateways and corners need to be positioned. Generally people will create a circular track around the outside of a field – but any configuration that suits would work as long as it is a track. You would need to consider-
    1. As with any electric fence you would need to choose an energiser (mains, battery or battery/solar) and an earth stake to suit.
    2. How many plastic and wooden posts do you require for corners and tension?
    3. How many gateways? Remember that gateways require a wooden post on either side to make it secure.
    4. How many lines of tape or rope? And then the total distance x lines of rope.
    5. You may require tensioners, line to line connectors, warning signs and a fence tester too!


  1. Permanent System – again planning is key. If you have tried the temporary solution and this has worked for your horses, ponies or donkeys and paddock then it may be time to put up a more permanent solution.  The permanent fence would obviously not be movable but there would be gates available to allow access to all parts of the paddock.  As with the temporary solution make a plan and measure and estimate what is required to build your desired fencing.  We think that this works particurly well with electric rope and wooden fence posts.



What do I do with the grass that is left in the centre of the track system?

The centre section of the field can be used over time if food sources get to scarce on the track.  It would be easy to move temporary electric fencing to accommodate this.  It would also be possible to let the animals into the middle section for a few hours or overnight if they needed extra sustenance.  It has also been suggested to use sheep to graze the central section or to simply let the grass grow and create a summer flower meadow.

In the winter months, when the grass becomes more scarce, it has been suggested that with a temporary electric fence it would be possible to pack all the electric fencing away and let them have the whole paddock to graze.



Over the years summer electric fencing strip grazing has become much more common.  We think the track system takes this to another level where livestock is persuaded to exercise and to help themselves keep trim.  Track systems aren’t for everyone; some people don’t have enough space or it just wouldn’t suit their animals but for many this is going to become the system of choice.

If you have any further questions on setting up your own electric track system get in touch and we can chat you through what you might need to get you up and running… and keep those horses, ponies and donkeys fit.

For more advice on track systems get in touch:

01620 860058

Meriel Younger

About Meriel Younger

Farmers daughter (my mother was the farmer!) with many years experience of farming, equestrian and electric fencing. Living the 'good life' and forever trying to find the perfect work/life balance!
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