When choosing the right fencing for your horse paddock, there are many options available to you. However, no one type of fence is suitable for every horse, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Whatever material you choose, it must be safe, providing a secure barrier to contain your horses and keep out unwanted intruders.
Points to Consider When Choosing Fencing
Good fencing allows you to control your grazing and segregate different groups of horses such as geldings, mares and foals, yearlings and stallions.
First, there are a few points you need to consider when choosing the right type of fencing for your horse paddock.
Horse Fencing Cost
Cost is a significant factor. You need to consider not only the initial layout but the maintenance of the type of fencing you choose and how much it will cost in both time and money. Check out aa cost handy for each type of horse fencing.
Horses run and jump around when they are out in the paddock. If they are unable to see the fence, they could run into it risking injury.
You must choose fencing that is visible to a horse and appears as a solid barrier, making them less likely to challenge it.
Horses may try and jump out over the paddock fencing, so it should be high enough to deter this.
Terrain and Weather
Many people fail to consider the terrain, soil and weather when choosing paddock fencing, but they are vital factors.
Some fence materials can weather all climates, whereas others can only withstand moderate temperatures. Wooden fencing is unsuitable for a paddock prone to flooding as it will eventually rot.
Type of Horses Contained
If you have older horses, they are most likely not interested in getting out, so the strength of the fence is less important. A paddock containing young, active horses requires one that is robust and durable, possibly electrified, to discourage them from trying to escape or run into it.
If you have foals or miniature horses, it is wise to add woven wire fencing with small openings to prevent little hooves from becoming trapped.
Size of Paddocks
If you have large paddocks with good grazing, your horses are likely to roam around and not test the fencing. Smaller paddocks require sturdy fencing.
Qualities of Safe Horse Fencing
The horse naturally flees from danger, and this influences the design of the fence. What works for other livestock like sheep and cows is often unsuitable for equines.
The real test of a fence is one that doesn’t cause injury or breaks should a horse run into it. Ideally, the fencing has some “give” to minimize harm on impact and made from high-quality materials. It needs to be durable so it can withstand all weather elements and free from hazards like sharp edges.
Ideally, you want an attractive looking fence but never compromise on aesthetics over safety. Fencing is a considerable capital investment and requires careful planning.
It is recommended you use a professional installation company who are familiar with the needs of the horse. A fence adequately installed will last a long time, so you must choose the right one.
Good, quality fencing that is aesthetically pleasing but safe can increase the value of your property.
Types of Horse Pasture Fence
Consider each one carefully and whether they are suitable for your horses and property.
Wooden Post and Rail
Wooden post and rail fencing have long been a traditional choice for horse owners. They have an attractive appearance, are highly visible, providing a safe, solid barrier between paddocks. The type of wood you choose depends on local availability, but cedar or treated wood are the most durable choices.
Three or four evenly spaced planks or rails are typically constructed, screwed or bolted on the inside (horse side) rather than nailed.
This type of fencing is expensive to purchase and install. It needs regular maintenance to prevent rot, and damaged boards replaced. Staining and painting the fence can prolong its lifespan and creosoted posts last for several years. Some horses may rub or chew on wood, causing damage.
Vinyl or PVC Post and Rail
Vinyl or PVC post and rail fencing offers the same attractiveness and high visibility as traditional wood but without some of the downsides that timber brings.
They are available in a range of colors and designs with the most prominent advantages being easy installation and little maintenance. There is no painting or staining, but they do need washing occasionally to keep them clean. Other benefits are that they last longer than wood and horses don’t tend to chew on them.
There are downsides to this type of fencing as well. It is expensive to install and not as strong as wood. The rails can pop out if horses rub on them so you may consider using an electric line with it for extra reinforcement.
Wire Mesh Fencing
Wire mesh fencing is one of the more affordable options. It is easy to maintain and most forgiving if a horse should run into it. This type of fencing is also useful for keeping out small, unwanted predators like dogs. The most suitable types of wire mesh for a horse paddock are no climb and diamond v-mesh.
No climb is a steel wire knotted together to form two by four-inch openings. V-mesh is two wires twisted together to form two by four-inch diamond-type shapes.
Both are strong, durable, and rigid while flexible being extremely safe when installed properly. Always use grade 3 galvanized steel.
Wire mesh fencing requires strong wooden posts every six to ten feet to secure and tighten the wire. However, wire mesh is not so visible to horses compared to another fencing, so use a top rail or flagging tape for extra visibility. You can also combine with hot wire to keep horses away from the fence.