Horse fence can be one of the most attractive features of a horse facility, but not all fence is suitable for horses. Fencing is a major capital investment that should be carefully planned before construction.
A fence should keep horses on the property and keep away nuisances such as dogs and other unwanted visitors. Fences aid facility management by allowing controlled grazing and segregating groups of horses according to age, sex, value, or use.
Well-constructed and maintained fences enhance the aesthetics and value of a stable facility, which in turn complements marketing efforts. Poorly planned, haphazard, unsafe, or non-maintained fences will detract from a facility’s value and reflect poor management. Good fences can be formal or informal in appearance, yet all should be well-built and carefully planned.
Many experienced horse owners will relay stories about the savings for cheaper, but unsafe, horse fence (e.g. barbed wire). Eventually (and regretfully), these owners will have to pay for veterinary bills to treat their injured horses.
Often, more than one kind of fence is used at a facility. Different fences might be installed for grazing pastures, exercise paddocks, riding areas, or for securing property lines. Land topography influences the look, effectiveness, and installation of fencing. Consider different horse groups; stallions, weanlings, mares, mares with foals, and geldings all have different fencing requirements.
Pasture use may range from exercise paddocks (corrals) to grazing or hay production. Paddock layout should allow for ease of management, including: movement of horses, removal of manure, and care of the footing surface. Pasture design should allow field equipment, such as mowers, manure spreaders, and baling equipment to enter and maneuver easily. This will reduce fence damage by machinery and the time needed to work in the field.
This article presents information useful for planning fences in horse facilities. The emphasis is on sturdy, safe horse fence typically used in the eastern United States and Canada.