A fence is a major investment, yet so are your horses. A proper horse fence should not only protect your horses from escaping or wandering off, but guard them against harm or injury as well. Did you know not all fences are well-suited for horses? It is critical to learn and understand what type of fencing is ideal for horses before starting on that big project.
A carefully planned fence is the best kind of fence. Your finished result is bound to be better off if you go into your fence-building project prepared with a plan in place. When building a fence for your horse farm, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself.
- What is the best fence height for a horse enclosure?
- How much land do I want to enclose, and in turn, what amount of fencing materials will I need?
- Does my land have hills, a water source, trees, or rough terrain?
- Do I need to section off portions for controlled grazing or riding?
- What type of fence do I like? What will complement the aesthetic of my property?
- What is my budget?
Not answering these questions can cost you time and money. You don’t want to make expensive mistakes because you did not address potential pitfalls before starting construction. The most successful projects begin with proper preparation.
The Nature of Horses
Horses will test the strength of a fence. There are times when horses peacefully graze, but horses also love to be playful and roughhouse. If an excited horse knocks into your fence, it needs to be strong enough to withstand the impact.
While durability is important, you also need to think about the potential danger of certain fence materials. For example, many experienced horse owners and veterinarians agree a barbed wire fence is not the best choice when constructing a horse fence. Horses easily startle, and all it takes is one quick bolt into an unsafe fence to rack up a pricey vet bill.
Horses tend to be curious and explore, especially by reaching up and over or through a fence when attracted to something on the other side. You do not want a fence that can trap a head or hoof. In a horse’s mind, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Equine animals like to stick together. Horses are herd animals, so if you have a lone horse on one side of a fence with a group on the other, you can anticipate problems. They naturally want to socialize together.
A fence needs to be prominent enough to be visible to your horses. Horses are very aware of their environment and are constantly scanning their surroundings. If they feel in danger, they will most certainly try to escape. A fence too short can be jumped, a fence too weak can be trampled over, and a fence with sharp edges or protruding pieces can cause injury.
Types of Fences
There are many kinds of fences, all with different pros and cons. Many horse owners prefer a rail fence, either a ranch rail or split rail fence. Rail fences are a wonderful addition to any property for several reasons, including:
- Customizable – Rail fences are made with vertical posts and either two, three, or four rows of horizontal posts. The number of rows impacts rail spacing and fence height. If you want a more decorative design, you can choose to crisscross the planks instead of the rails going straight across.
- Strong – Proper installation is the key to a sturdy rail fence. A dependable rail fence begins with correctly installed posts. There is a difference between hand-set posts and driven posts. Driven posts are significantly more secure.
- Long-lasting – A rail fence can keep up with the wear and tear that comes with owning horses.
- Timeless – They look beautiful and don’t go out of style. Rail fences have been around for years and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
- Cost-effective – When trying to cover a large amount of property, you can’t go wrong with a rail fence. The open structure requires less materials to build. Plus, rail fences are easy to install. Other fencing options can really add up when you consider the higher price tag for materials in addition to the cost of installation.
Time to Plan
Are you ready to construct the ultimate horse fence? Take the time to outline your expectations. Figure out what fits your style and preferences. Construct a plan that works best for you, your budget, and your horses. Fence planning can be a tedious process, but it is worth the outcome.