What is the best kind of fence for a horse pasture?

“Please help, I need advice! I just bought a place in the country & it has no fences. I need to build fence for horses & don’t know what kind of fence would be the best! I’m not crazy about putting up barbwire. What would you suggest? I’m running out of time & need to get this done so I can move my horses. Any suggestions would be helpful!”-Vicki T.

I just commented to someone the other day that I have come to the conclusion that horses can injure themselves on any fencing out there. Having said that DOES NOT mean that all horse fencing is created equal. There are clearly fencing materials that are higher risk than others. All fencing materials have pros and cons. Another thing to consider is the size of the area being fenced.

Leave a comment with your experience or your idea of the perfect fencing material.

Leave a comment with your experience or your idea of the perfect fencing material.

When most people picture Kentucky pastures they see wooden board fence. When we picture Texas, barbed wire comes to mind. Most horse owners I know have some version of electric fence somewhere on their property…why the difference?

I have spent most of my life around places that never, never used barbed wire fencing for horses. Many of the very large ranches in the west have and still do use barbed wire. While visiting one of the ranches I directly asked one of the wranglers if he had seen any major injuries because of the fencing and why barbed wire was more widely used out west. He said that he had not seen anything more than some scratches caused by the fencing BUT he said the major difference he saw was that his pastures were huge, thousands of acres huge. He felt that if the pastures had been smaller that the fencing needs or issues would have changed.

Personally, I remember my mom rehabbing a horse from a serious barbed wire wound. The vet said it was a miracle that the horse was sound but he carried the scar tissue for the rest of his life. I have also seen horses seriously injured on a number of other fencing materials and heard stories about the rest. I once saw a horse with what looked like a perfect ‘T’ brand on his lower side of his butt…from embedding the top of a metal ‘T’ post into himself….yuck.

I love four board wood fence…maybe I watched the Kentucky Derby a few too many times as a kid. I have used electro-braid in the past and would use it again but here is the real question;

What have you used? What have you liked or disliked about it? What would you use for your perfect fence material?

Fencing materials that come to mind:

  • Wood
  • Welded pipe
  • Woven wire
  • Split rail
  • Electric
  • Wooden posts
  • Vinyl
  • Plastic
  • Metal posts
  • Wire
  • High tensile

Feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment as well as commenting on these materials…just because I listed them doesn’t mean I would use them.


  1. Emma Brown on March 24, 2023 at 3:59 am

    Hi, thank you for such a brilliant post. I have been reading some blogs that gives me more knowledge all about fence for horse pasture. I must say this is one of the best among them. You have done a great research for I feel, thanks for sharing.

  2. Lyla Peterson on September 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I like the idea you mentioned of a four board wood fence, as it is generally more safe for animals. I have a horse and a few cows, so I have been thinking about what type of fencing to go for when I move next month. Some kind of chain link might also be a better option than barbed wire.

  3. Fencing Specialist Newcastle on May 24, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Great article.Thanks for sharing this article, Mike. I like the wooden fence. Fencing plays an important overall role in the daily requirements of your horses by providing a safe enclosure so they can be outdoors to graze and exercise, keeping them healthy and happy.

  4. Luke Yancey on July 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I agree- in the west people have thousands of acres and usually use barbed wire fences. I really haven’t heard about many injuries, since the horses have a lot of open space and never really come in contact with the fence. However, there are a few places I’ve seen that do not have as much land. In these cases, I’ve typically seen people use post and board fences as an effective way to contain their livestock.

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