Electric Fencing - How do I get it to shock?

I’m boldly planning to separate my large field into smaller paddocks using electric fencing. I only feel that this is bold because I have previously tried and failed to set up paddocks using electric tape. I just couldn’t figure out how to actually electrify the tape. I did manage to shock myself (not on the tape) several times in the process so at least I know it was powered on.

Anyways, I’m starting from scratch at a new barn and an older, more mature version of myself who will turn to the experts on COTH before I try again.

What equipment should I buy? And any thoughts on where I probably went wrong last time? I imagine it was not grounded but couldn’t figure out how to do that.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Didn’t you get directions with the fencer? They have had setup steps, need for grounding, with the fencers we purchased.

There are also Utube videos that explain how to do anything! Watching several who all tell you the same way to do things, are usually very helpful. You probably want to ignore the video that gave directions WAY differently than the other videos. We have learned a great many things watching Utube videos, from engine repair to seeding with a grain drill, adjusting the baler, to fixing the skidsteer.

Fencer will not work well if you don’t have a good ground rod in the dirt. Talking 8ft long rod, damp soil. May need more than one ground rod.

Perhaps hiring an electrician to connect the fencer, check grounding, install the covered GFI outlet to plug fencer into, would be a safer, faster way to learn. You can watch, ask questions and learn. Then keeping the fence hot won’t be an issue with this new information you learned.

I would gladly hire a contractor or an electrician to do the work that I need, but I need something short term and if you’ve tried to hire anyone recently you’ll quickly find that no one seems to be available for months.

I think my problem the last time I tried, I struggled to get a grounding rod in. First, my fence didn’t come with a grounding rod and I’m not sure I got the correct one (welcome to any recommendations) but also my ground is incredibly rocky, so getting a rod deep into the ground was incredibly difficult.

Do you have any youtube recommendations?

use a bi-polar fence… one strand is positive then other negative…horse has to contact both to be shocked (works really well during droughts)

this link has examples of both grounded and bi-polar systems


Look into the HorseGuard Bi-Polar tape - you don’t need a ground rod.

HorseGuard Tape


Electric fences are super easy. You need at least 1 ground rod (galvanized steel). Can also be copper. Either is fine.
I buy mine at lowes. There is a metal clamp you buy with it. Your ground wire attaches there and runs to the the electric fence box.

Here’s a picture:

Black wire is the ground, red wire is hot and goes to the fence. That one has an electric cord plug in. Usually these turn on when you plug them in. Some have an on and off switch on the bottom, some don’t.

I have not tried the Bipolar type.

The chargers can run off of batteries or solar power. I have not used the solar powered ones. I bought a dog containment one that runs off of D batteries and I use that for camping.


Picture of a ground:

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I don’t normally bury the wire to the ground rod, but if your ground rod is located farther from the charger, you might want to.

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Everywhere I have lived, the earth has really good conductivity. I only drive my ground rod in a foot or so, however far it will go until I can’t get it to move anymore. I use a t-post pounder. I attach the clamp for the wire from the ground attachment on the energizer above ground.

In areas with less conductive soil, that may not work for you.

Otherwise, the electricity has to complete a circuit back to the energizer and the ground (unless using bipolar tape which has that circuit built in). Make sure the fencing is not touching anything but plastic or ceramic insulators. Wood, metal, and even grass or weeds can ground it out.


I 3rd the Horseguard Bi-Polar fence, as it’s entire purpose is specifically for situations where the ground isn’t conducive to a ground rod, or the ground is too dry. Desert, rocks, even frozen snow-covered ground.


Can anyone recommend a solar fencer for a small paddock with no hydro?

Many times people don’t put enough grounding rods in. They also do better in a place that is not too dry. We have ours ( grounding rods) along the shop building so it gets the runoff from rainwater.

I suggest you get a book or get help to install it right.

When the weather is dry I just dump my dirty water buckets on the grounding rod.