Horse fences not only protect your horse, but also your property. They are available in several different materials and choosing the appropriate type for your property and horse depends on your needs. You can take on the challenge of installing your own, or you can hire a professional contractor to do it (and to ensure safety). Below are some of the most popular options for horse fencing that should allow you to determine which is best for you.
Choosing the Right Fence Material
Wood remains a popular choice for horse fences, especially since it is natural and fits well in rural environments. However, horse owners must routinely check for rotten or loose boards and constantly re-paint or re-stain the wood to maintain the fence.
A vinyl fence does not require much maintenance at all (just a wash every now and then, as opposed to re-painting or re-staining) and closely resembles wood.
Plastic-coated wood fences have a similar appearance to vinyl and are nearly maintenance-free like vinyl, yet stronger than uncoated wood. On the inside of this type of fence would be natural wood, with a strong layer of polyethylene on the surface, making the wood stronger and more durable. It is also stronger than all-vinyl materials. When the wood cracks or splits, the plastic coating will contain any splinters.
Horses can be so rough on your fence that you may need to use an electric one. An electric fence would allow for less contact between horses and the fence��and less wear and tear. Electrified wire can be used on any existing wood or vinyl posts. When touched, the electric fence mildly shocks a horse, teaching it to know its boundaries and stay away from the fence, which preserves your fence even longer.
Electrified mesh fences, made of polyethylene polymer woven with wires to contain the horses, keep horses in their pastures and other unwanted animals from entering.
How Many Rails for a Horse Fence?
The number of rails on a fence depends on how tall it is. Top rails of horse fences are usually between 52 and 54 inches high. You will want a space of about 9 to 11 inches in between each rail, with the top edge of the top rail 2 inches from the top of the post. The bottom edge of the bottom post should be a foot above the ground. Then, you must figure how many rails you will need to construct a fence according to the appropriate spacing. It is especially important that you don't leave enough space in the fence for the horse to fit his head and leg through. Posts should be placed no more than 12 feet apart to ensure proper support.
Placement of a Horse Fence
Most gates are conveniently placed at high-traffic areas so that horses have an easily accessible route to where they get groomed and eat. But it also helps if you utilize rotational grazing if you have enough land to do so. Rotational grazing preserves your fence longer because you allow one pasture to regenerate while not being in use as the other is being used. This enables horses to graze freely, which in turn keeps them from damaging your fence trying to get more food.
For information on Fencing in general see the following article: Fencing.