Horse Fencing: Pros and Cons of 5 different options
Posted on 19 June 2018 by Kim
When buying horse fencing, you will face many options. Each type of fencing has its own set of pros and cons, from cost to safety to ease of installation. Read our buying guide that takes you through a number of fencing options that you may want to consider when buying fencing for your horses.
Post and Rail
Your classic horse fence, this wooden rail fencing consists of wooden boards, nailed into wooden fence upright posts. Most wooden fencing is pine, since pine resists splintering.
Appearance: Wooden rail fencing tends to be the classic, picturesque fencing appearance that most horse owners desire. This fencing is versatile, in that it is visually acceptable for all yards or for a much larger multimillion-pound equine facility.
Pros: Aesthetically probably the most pleasing and a natural choice for many owners as it blends so well with the natural landscape and is entirely safe. It creates a solid barrier between fields and the surrounding area. Their beautiful appearance makes wooden rail fences a favoured option when it comes to horse fencing.
Cons: Wooden rail fencing is expensive and requires regular ongoing maintenance. The fencing must be regularly checked to be sure that nails haven’t worked loose and that the fence posts are still secure. Broken or splintered boards must be replaced. Wooden fencing, while strong, can also splinter and injure a horse if the horse runs into the fence. Post and rail fencing certainly looks the part although horses often have a tendency to chew the rails or use the upright posts as a personal scratching post which results in their needing to be replaced.
Electric fencing consists of tape with wooden or plastic posts. Wooden posts are used for "permanent" electric fencing while plastic ones tend to be used for "temporary" electric fencing.
The tape, available in varying widths, is by far the most popular choice for temporary fencing and is a good alternative to the traditional electric wire fencing. Electric tape is made of poly fibres woven with metal strands that conduct electricity.
Appearance: Electric tape, strung tightly, creates an attractive and clean fence line. It’s available in various widths, all of which have different visibilities.
Pros: Electric tape is more visible than traditional electric wire, which is a major advantage when you are using it to contain horses. It’s easy to assemble, making it useful as both a permanent and temporary fence. It’s also easy to move if you need to extend or relocate an area. Electric tape will not rust and is available in a number of different colours.
Cons: Electric tape with a thick width can suffer damage from heavy winds. If you live in an area with frequent heavy winds, using an electric braid - see below - is a better option. It needs to be regularly checked to re-tension the tape and often plastic posts often need to be re-positioned if they become loose in the ground.
Braided electric fence features metal conductors that efficiently transmit electricity, maximizing the power and reliability of an electric fence.
Appearance: Electric braids are available in a variety of different diameters but they all have good visibility. A fence made with electric braids has a clean appearance. Electric braids are available in a number of different colours, so you can choose the one that you prefer.
Pros: Because the metal conductors that line the electric braids efficiently conduct electricity, the fence also distributes power more efficiently. This allows your fence to operate reliably, putting power to use without excessive wastage.
Cons: While electric braid fencing is highly efficient, it does require an electricity supply to be effective which will slightly increase your monthly electric bill.
Bare wire is a single-strand wire that offers the protection of an electric fence at a lower cost.
Appearance: Bare wire is not easily visible, due to its thin construction and colour. Consequently, it can provide an unobtrusive fencing system. When natural fence posts are used to support the bare wire, this fencing has a rustic appearance.
Pros: The cost of bare wire is hard to beat. Installation is easy, and bare wire has excellent strength and a long life. Maintenance is simple.
Cons: Bare wire provides poor visibility which can be a safety issue for horses. If you choose bare wire, consider keeping the fence posts closer together and using flags or electric tape to make the fencing more visible for your horse and decrease the risk that he could become tangled in the fence.
Barbed wire consists of a single or dual strand of wire with sharp barbs spaced every 4 to 5 inches. Barbed wire is designed to discourage animals from leaning against it, since the sharp barbs create a painful feeling on the skin.
Appearance: Barbed wire has limited visibility, and aside from the fence posts, it almost blends into the background.
Pros: Barbed wire provides a solid barrier and is a cheap fencing option.
Cons: Barbed wire is not a safe fencing for horses. Its barbs can quickly tear into a horse’s thin skin, and if a horse becomes tangled in barbed wire, the injuries can be devastating. Barbed wire has little visibility, meaning that the chances that a horse will become entangled in the fence are higher. Additionally, barbed wire requires regular maintenance to keep the fence tight.
Which fencing is right for you, will depend on what you’re looking for in cost, appearance, and other factors like safety and ease of installation.