How Many Fence Rails Do Horses Need?
A good rule of thumb is to keep rail spacing no more than 9-11 inches. This ensures there’s not enough space for your horse to get both his head and leg through the rails. However, the taller your posts are, the bigger spacing becomes between rails. Position the top edge of the top rail two inches from the top of the post. Position the bottom edge of the bottom rail approximately one foot from the ground. If your pasture has plenty of grass for your horses to graze on, wider spacing between rails may not be a problem. If your area is a dry lot, wider rail spacing may be an invitation for your horses to stick their heads through the fencing and reach for grass on the other side. If your budget doesn't allow you to fence with more rails, consider adding a deterrent rail between your larger rails.
When using a wider rail such as 525 Plus, 425, or Per4mance Flex Fence®, typical configurations are 3-4 rails. A 4-rail fence system provides a more visible barrier, closer rail spacing, and is more aesthetically pleasing. For smaller rails like Raceline & Shockline Flex Fence® coated wire, Pro-Tek electric horse fencing, or other various electric horse fencing, 4-8 rails are typical. You may decide that a combination fence system works best for you. There are many possibilities for combination fencing! Our RAMM experts have ideas & solutions, no matter what your situation is (foals, yearlings, minis, stallions, etc.), to fit your budget without sacrificing safety.
When planning, also keep in mind any future considerations; will you eventually have new additions? It's much easier to install the extra rail when building the fence, rather than adding it later. One vet bill is usually more expensive than an extra rail of fence. For nursery paddocks, please consider a 5-rail configuration. The lower three rails can be spaced closer while the top two are further apart; providing a more secure fence for the young horse with wider spacing as it grows.
On our 41st episode of Late Night Riders, we discussed the new horse paddock we installed at our headquarters in Swanton, Ohio. We went into depth about why we use Flex Fence® and no-climb wire mesh to make a safer combination fence system for the sheep. From planning to installation, we discuss a variety of great tips and tricks:
Before you can calculate how much fence you will need, you will need to measure your pasture. Read more on how to measure your fence pasture.
Additional Fence Installation Notes
- If you have smaller horses or animals, you will need to tighten up the space between rails.
- It is not suggested to have your Flex Fence® run flush with the ground, both for functionality and aesthetics.