We have bought one horse have started fencing with smooth wire and are thinking of putting barbed wire on top wire. Do you think we should put barbed wire on top or smooth wire?
We are always looking for and recommend safer alternatives for fencing horses. To be honest, we avoid using barbed wire, as it can cut a horse very easily at even a slight impact with the fence. The vet bill may amount to more than the cost of the fence if a horse sustains a significant injury. Smooth wire was originally developed for fencing cattle with tough hides. If smooth wire is going to be used with horses, it should be electrified or clearly marked for visibility. Horses' hides are not like cattle, and smooth wire can cause an injury much more easily to horses. Additionally, barbs on a fence can catch and pull manes and tails on horses.
An alternative suggestion would be to use a top "sight" rail constructed of high tensile wire coated with a polymer. You can choose white, black or brown; you may want to go with white since smooth wire is hard to see and the white greatly increases the visibility of your fence lines. There are a lot of options for the width of the rail as well. You can choose a rail that is as wide 5.25'', 4.25'', 1'' or coated high tensile wire that is 5/16'' in diameter. These rails are not only strong, but highly visible as well.
I hope this will help you. If you have further questions or comments, or interested in discussing more fencing alternative, please let me know. Thank you for your question.