I am now the proud owner of nearly 50 3' deep by 8" diameter holes. Thats about 31.5 cubic feet of negative space I happily paid for. I hired a local guy, David Yokum, to come and drill out the holes necessary to build the corral, the cross-fencing, and the round-pen. Armed with a Bobcat and a 8" hydraulic drill Mr. Yokum made short work of the holes. It took him nearly 4 hours to drill out all the holes... it would have been nearly impossible to do it by hand (with a set of post-hole diggers that is). His rate is $50 bucks an hour with a minimum of two hours. He only charged me $175, I'm betting it was either the fine conversation we had or the Mountain Dew I offered that got me 25 bucks off! ;)
He hit near solid rock on each and every plunge of the auger, so much so that I'll still have to go back and clean out all the rock debris that remain in each hole. Only a handful of the holes came out cleanly (where there was actually enough dirt to stick to the bit when he pulled it out).
After cleaning out the holes I can start setting posts. The current debate is whether we need to cement them all in. The corral area is about 42' by 40'. I'm setting 4" treated wood posts every 8' and will tie each post together with 3 4x8 boards. I think I should probably cement (or use post-set as we did on the dog fence) on each of the corners or where I'll have gates hanging, but I think tamping will be sufficient on the rest of the posts. I'm thinking along the same lines on the round pen, it will be simiarly constructed with a 45' diameter. Any advice from more experienced horse-fence builders?
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