Horse Fences 101


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Not any fence is effective as a fence for horses. These magnificent creatures have specific attributes and characteristics that demand certain types of fencing to protect them, as well as to keep them on the owner's property. Good, sturdy horse fences, can amount to a very large investment, especially for large animals like horses that require a correspondingly large perimeter. Many factors need to be considered before installing the best possible horse fence, such as the following:

  • Protection - Horses are grazing animals and need to roam about in the open air. They need to be protected from undesired and unauthorized visitors as well as from other animals like dogs (and in some areas, wolves).

  • Confinement - This isn't so much to keep them in, but to prevent horses from accidentally getting out. The fence must be sturdy and all exit gates must be secured by locks. Height is also an issue since horses will attempt to leap over a low fence if frightened suddenly.

  • Separation - Larger farms and breeding facilities may need to separate groups of horses by age, sex, value and use.

  • Esthetic concerns - In situations where the horses are a marketable commodity, an attractive and well-designed fencing system will enhance the impression of a well-run facility. It's also important to allow easy viewing of the horses by interested potential buyers.

  • Practicality - Working farms and ranches are busy places and the horse fence you install needs to account for this. Feed must be provided and manure removed, and easy access to the horses has to be integral to the design. Gates must accommodate horses, riders, or both.

  • Topography and Climate - By this we are referring to the lay of the land. Will the fencing be set up on a flat prairie plain or rolling pastureland? The weather may often be rainy, which may cause problems for a wooden fence.

    An electric horse fence is also an option in areas where intruding wildlife is a concern or where developed land such as airports is near the farm. These fences are low-voltage and do not harm the horses or wildlife. Taking into account all of these factors, it's well worth your while to provide the best possible fencing for your horses. Simply installing a barbed wire fence or a rickety wooden rail fence is just asking for trouble - Murphy's Law definitely applies here!

    Liz Smith writes about horse fences and other fences for fencing.

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