Horse Fencing - Horse Fence options
Today's horse owner or boarding facility has many choices on the type of horse fencing they can install.
All are effective at containing horses into desired areas, and many also are aesthetically pleasing in addition to being functional.
The important fact about horse fence is that it must be highly visible. Horse fence without this feature (wire fences such as barbed wire or suspension wire) can lead to injury, sometimes serious. In addition, the fencing must be very sturdy, or must have features that cause the horse to want to avoid the fence, or much of your time will be spent in repair or replacement. And, you can be sure that the horses will find the weakest part of your fence. They always do.
Traditional horse fencing is the board fence. Rail boards (the horizontal boards) are generally one to two inches thick, attached to posts eight to ten feet apart. Fences can have two, three, four or five rails, and are generally four to six feet high, depending on the horses being fenced. Standard wood fence upkeep (painting, replacing broken or chewed rails, and re-setting posts) is also part of the tradition.
Board fence, although historically constructed of wood, are now being manufactured using other materials. Recent advances in PVC have made horse fence constructed of this material a viable alternative for strength, and certainly for upkeep. Additionally, steel tubing fence is also a good alternative, as several manufacturers now feature tough and long lasting powder coat finishes to the pipe. And surprisingly, a post and rail fence made of concrete is also available, with superior durability and casting techniques that give the fence a wood appearance.
Woven wire fencing is another traditional favorite, and is effective at containment of the horses as well as protection against animals coming into the enclosure. Some care should be taken to assure that the wire mesh is strong enough to stand up to the horse leaning against it, and that the mesh at the bottom of the fence is small enough so that hooves do not get stuck. It is often useful to include a top wooden rail on this type of fence to increase its strength and to make the boundary more visible to the horses.
Electric fence has become an increasingly popular choice for containing horses. This system relies on a wire or wire-stranded band through which a fence charger pulses an electric charge every second or so. The charge is a low current, high voltage charge that gives a good snap but is harmless to the animal (and to small children as well). Chargers can power a fence that encompasses several acres to several square miles.
Electric fence has also become useful as an adjunct to an existing fencing system, such as wooden board fence. The electrified band serves to discourage chewing and leaning on the fence, increasing its longevity.