“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.
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:
- Welded pipe
- Woven wire
- Split rail
- Wooden posts
- Metal posts
- 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.
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Hi! Growing up on an “equestrian ranch”, my uncle (best & thriftiest man!) used a combination of different materials, depending on the pasture use.
The pature most inviting escape (the same brilliant horses, who would as humans have been chess-masters) was 2 strands of minimal guage hotwire on those tiny aluminum rod posts, no injuries.
The remainder he fenced (cheaply!) in rough-sawn cedar boards (2 horizontal, 1 flat top board, because patrons sit on rail fences…) with 1 low- tensile strand of hot bumped out on an insulator at horses’ knee height. They kept stallions and hadn’t any escapes of which I was aware.
The cedar fence was allowed to “weather” and turned a great silvery brown. Boards have been replaced occasionally, but the entire fence held up very well for at least 30 yrs with no staining. I personally worried about splintering, sharp edges if it were broken, etc. But he kept it maintained. Horses seem to find just the concept of rail and board fences extra “satisfying”! He fenced in some very hilly, wild-looking terrain with only 2 board fence, no wire, and it kept them in.
Interestingly, they recently fenced in over 18 acres with my cousin’s “dream fence”, chosen after almost 45 years of experience. Cost was no object. She chose? 3-rail white vinyl without–to my MASSIVE astonishment–electric wire!
I know picking the type of fencing depends on the type of horse. I have had problems with horses chewing on the wood fence. I live out West and have not had any problems with the barbed wire fencing. Picking the right fencing material may take time, but well worth it because it protects your animal.
I’m glad that you’re facilitating a discussion about fencing materials to use to keep horses in a pasture. I’ve been debating what kind of material would be best to keep my horses safe on my property. It’s good to know that vinyl fencing made the list. I was seriously considering using a vinyl fence since it seems really durable and low maintenance.
If I had to pick a type of fence to have around a horse pasture, I’d probably pick a vinyl one. It may just be me, but I think it’d get the job done while looking a lot better than a metal or wire fence. As long as it would hold up well in the more extreme weather here, I think I’d be happy with it.
I personally like wood fences the best. Although they aren’t cheap and harder to install, they last much longer. They look nice, and they don’t cause a lot of injuries. You may have to paint them to seal the wood posts from the weather, but other than that, there is not much maintenance that you need to do.
I had no idea that there could be such a difference in fencing. It seems like I’ve seen a lot of wood fencing of different types in my lifetime. I had horses as a kid, so I’ve been thinking about getting some more now. Thanks for sharing this article.
I installed Electrobraid over 15 years ago and have had 5 horrific injuries–all the same. Each horse rolled near the fence, caught a hind leg in the 2nd or 3rd strand which got wrapped around the leg. Every wound was identical–severing the extensor tendon and almost 3/4 around the leg, exposing bone and leaving a 3 or 4″ vertical wound. I can provide gruesome photos. The 5th horse was injured yesterday. Electrobraid doesn’t respond to my emails. I should have replaced it when it first happened. I am an experienced horseman/farm owner/fence builder and need to find a better solution for my larger pastures. All other fencing is oak 4 board. I would love some ideas but cost is a factor. Has anyone tried setting up Electrobraid with frequent “breaking points”? 651-334-4500
I fenced 11 acres with Electrobraid. Not only is the white rope easily seen…but allows to see down through the pastures as well. It’s strong (has even held huge tree limbs that have fallen on it) and easily installed. We used wood posts. I seldom even have to turn it on once the horses discovered it was hot. It looks lovely. Years ago…one of my horses was impaled on a wood fence and I’ve known others to be hurt with T posts. For us the combination of Electrobraid (four strands) and wood posts….has been idea. For the corners and to hang gates we used larger posts.
Me too. Not 11 acres, sadly, ours is much smaller, but we made our pasture 5 lines of fencing on t-posts with wooden posts in the corners- ahe top, bottom and middle the hot poly rope, and the second to bottom is just white clothesline because it’s cheaper and wasn’t going to be hot to begin with.
growing up, my parents used barbed wire which i HATED because 1. it looks like crap (IMO) 2 they only ran two strands anyway and we had a horse who would either walk over it, under it or in between it. my other horse got his leg caught in it once- he learned tho.
so when my husband and i finally got our own place- 5 lines of white poly rope the horses can see, and 3 were hot. however, last winter (we’re in Michigan), we had snow up to our *sses (literally) so we turned off the fence since it was covered in snow- but no issues because everyone learned to respect the fence. when we were able to expand the area, to save money, we took off the bottom hot line to use on the top of the newly expanded area (since it’s the first to get buried in snow anyway) so now it’s only 4 lines. still no issues.
My preference has always been electric wire. The horses learn very quickly to respect it, it is the most cost effective, and it is easy to repair when need be. Also the electric fence very deterrent to wild animals you might be trying to keep out. We had a bear try to slide under our fence and got shocked and tore the bottom wire out to get away and never came back. As far as posts, I use T-posts. They are easier to install, usually cheaper, and easier to remove to change a fenceline if need be (I have changed my own fencelines several times in our current location). I have seen injuries from T-posts, but they can be prevented by using some type of topper. The charger is the biggest investment, but there are many different sizes to choose from depending on your needs. Most companies also provide a solar powered model of some sort if you don’t have a power source.
I like the look of wood and its strength, but it usually requires a lot of maintenance and still eventually rots. I have seen many vinyl fences that when the cross board (not the post) broke, it splintered and left very sharp, jagged edges. Mesh fencing (like no-climb or welded wire or chain link) is usually fairly expensive. I have seen it get ruined very easily and thus is usually used in conjunction with electric wire. I also used to have a horse that would remove it from the posts and lay it down on the ground. When she walked over it the wires would slip between the shoe and her hoof at the heel and she would be stuck until someone came out to release her. (luckily she always stood calmly until help arrived.)
No matter what you choose, keep in mind all types have their positives and negatives. Make sure you take in consideration all safety issues involved. Good luck!
Hi Nikki, I don’t have a cule what I’m doing, I just know I have to get it done! We live in Missouri & on a budget. I mainly need a good sold border fence. Neighbors raise corn and beens so I wouldn’t want the horses to get out & get foundered. I have about 5 acres to fence for now. Do you know can I build or have a good fence built for around $5000.00 or will it cost more? I’m just a mess, I have to move horses, I have to build fence & I just don’t know what to do!
I use electric fence, mostly because it is cheap and works well. On my round pen I opted for the vinyl fence and am glad I did. To make a long story short, my QH spooked while she was in it by herself and ran through it, the fence posts snapped and she ended up walking over the vinyl….not one scratch on her. If I had the the money I would use that vinyl fence on the whole pasture, it looks nice, very little upkeep, durable, and in the commercial it shows a truck pressing into it and it doesn’t snap, which I can attest to since my horse never did snap the vinyl just the posts.
Wooden post and woven wire high enough so they can’t get their heads over has worked for me but I have had paddocks and not pastures.
Another thing is say is be careful with electric wire/cord, I’ve heard a couple horror stories of horses not seeing it and proceeding to run through it and get caught in a mess of shocking wires! Just make sure it’s visible for your horses especially if it’s in a smaller are!
We used extra wide white planks of wood fencing for a long time, the only prvlem with that was I have a pony with a nasty habit of rubbing his butt on everything! He has been checked by a vet multiple times and they say it’s just a bad habit! But anyways he would rub his but on the same fence post so many times it would just brake! And then he would proceed to jump over the fence and walk down to the gas station (across the main road)! As soon as we replaced it with electric wire in the back and barbed wore in the front, he learned pretty quick that rubbing his hind end on either of the two wouldn’t end well and we had never had a problem since! (Ps, we haven’t had the electric fence on in over 8 years and still haven’t had anymore great pony escapes(; )
We originally used 2 strands of electric steel wire fencing. However we did have several injuries with it. It was a smaller gauge and became rusty over the years, so the joints would not pull apart like they were supposed to. So we switched to 9 gauge aluminum wire fencing. We have 2 strands around the pasture, both electric. We have not had any injuries from this fencing after about 20 years of using it. We had a horse get on the wrong side of the fence posts and run over a tenth of a mile, popping insulators of the posts like popcorn. He was white and the fence just left gray streaks on his chest. The aluminum wire will break if directly hit hard. It keeps a herd of goats in too.
I have also used the tape fence and electrobraid (while renting). The tape fence did not work well at all, it did not conduct well enough to make the horses respect it. One would just duck under the fence all the time. The electrobraid was better, but after a couple years it tended to short out and was hard to keep electrified. The same horse would just crawl between the three strands and get out whenever he wanted to. So in my experience the aluminum has worked best.
Wooden post and rail with an electric poly wire running on the top (to stop them chewing), also an electric out rigger to stop the horses rubbing their bums on the fence. I’ve never had a problem with this setup.
We use barb wire because we have cows along with my horse. The only injury my horse has gotten from barb wire was a few scratches that healed up on their own. But if I would choose a fence, I’d like wooden or vinyl (?) because they’re pretty. 😀
I like Electrobraid on wooden fence posts. Another consideration is your climate! I live in Canada and we often get snow above the lower strand, which causes the fence to short out and horses no longer get a shock. I’m lucky to have 2 horses that are very respectful of fences, otherwise I would have a few escapees!
I also want those gorgeous white-rail fences encompassing rolling green hills, but since I’m not a millionaire I go for electric fencing. We have wire at the moment, which is safe once they know it’s there. When they don’t know it’s there, they just run straight through it without slowing down. I feel thick white electric tape is the best, albeit expensive; second best is electric wire with one strand of tape to make it visible. I hate barbed wire and have dealt with wounds from it (and lots and lots of ruined blankets and fly masks).
I agree with Karen, V-Mesh is the answer. I haven’t had time to read all the comments, so I don’t know if this has been addressed, but the biggest factor I have found in keeping horses safe around fencing, is to make sure they don’t have contact with other horses on the Other Side of the fence. All of our paddocks have space between them, which of course is another big expense, but I am hoping that it somehow evens out because of the zero injury factor we have had for all the years we have had this system (About 30). We do have some plank fencing as well, but if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t use it. It looks great when it’s new and painted, but the longevity and maintenance…no thanks! 🙂
We have used a lot of different materials for fencing but what works best for us is smooth wire, not high tensile. After weaning we can turn yearlings out with the herd and have never had one cut by it. A few times the older horses have run them into the fence but it stretches and gives a little so they don’t get hurt and the fence doesn’t break. It might need to be tightened once in awhile but all fence has some maintenance involved. We share a few fences with neighbors who have cattle so some of the perimeter fences have barbed wire. I agree with an earlier comment that it has a great deal to do with how much room the horses have to roam. We use a small amount of woven electric tape when we have to temporarily fence off an area but that needs to be checked often. The wind can be a problem with that but it’s so visible that once a horse hits it they never get too close again. I haven’t seen a fence yet that a horse hasn’t been hurt with, including the v-mesh. If it can happen it will.
We have just done wooden post and rail at the front of our yards the rest is 6 strand cyclone fence with single strand at the top. Funnily enough our old fences were terrible and saggy with barb wire top but never an injury, then we change it all and my young horse rolls gets his back leg through the top single wire and upon standing gets it wrapped around his leg and, like Nancy’s horse, tries to cut his back leg off, unfortunately the damage was too great and we had to euthanise him after three weeks of trying to save it. I also had a horse that kicked a round pen pipe fencing which broke the fence and it sprang in and went through his back leg and into his stomach (another euthanised) – so hence no uncovered pipe at my place. One thing I would definitely recommend is good solid gates, if my horses are going to bust a fence they would always go through a wire gate way, once we put metal farm gates in they would stop. I have heard heaps of good things about Equimesh too, not the cheapest product but very safe.
We just finished fencing two pastures about 1 acre each. My husband did a lot of research before we got started. We chose wire mesh fence for horses with wood posts. My husband wanted to put a board along top. But in the end we did not. It was recommended to put electric wire on top too. We did not. We have 4 mares
Even with their attitudes they have stayed off fence and not kicked through it.
We used four board fence to finish it off next to barn. That was more for a esthetics. I would never use barbed wire.
Centaur White Lightning coated electric wire powered by a solar charger works great for us with a 4-5 acre pasture holding 3 horses and 2 Jersey bull calves. We’ve never come close to an injury with this setup.
I have a blindie, so electric fences are out of the question. I would love to use pipe fence due to the nearly maintenance free factor, but it is cost prohibitive for me. Wood fencing would be too high maintenance due to annual painting and periodic lumber replacement due to horse crashes. I use smooth wire fencing with wood and t-posts. The wire is hard tied at one end with tensioning springs at the other. The wires are attached to the posts in a manner where they are free to slide freely through the post attachment so the entire fenceline absorbs impact instead of just the section between the posts.
So do you use the wood for corner posts or is it placed somewhere else?
My PawPaw always says horses spend their whole lives looking for a way to die and it’s our job to try and prevent it 🙂 No fencing is fool proof but I do love my electrobraid and we use 48″ horse fencing along the road front (dirt road) with a top board.
Sixty years I’ve been hearing diamond mesh (V-mesh, NOT CHAIN-LINK) is the best. It stops both the livestock and the predators, and is the least likely for a critter to get a body part hung in it – or through it! – and get injured. Even the most difficult for a kicking horse to catch the heel of his shoe in it! Some people use a couple of boards behind it for visibility – usually top and middle; horses can’t chew the boards through it, either! For ULTIMATE respect, run a hotwire with insulators to hold it about 6″ inside the fence and 6″ below the top. It needn’t be on all the time; it just serves as a reminder to the stock to respect the fence; and stops them leaning on it and making it sag and look sloppy. Cheap, light-gauge aluminum wire that will break easily if snagged will be adequate.
This vmess sounds great but Is it very expensive?
COMBO- I like a 4 strand corded electric fence- not tape. Only hot at the graze through height depending on your herd you may need two heights (pony and horse). And top it off with a white vinyl eye catcher at the top. Not rigid vinyl fencing but rather flexible visual barrier. This has worked wonderfully for me with younger and older horses. But no less than 5 strands esp. if put up in a temp. area. I have had horses go through three strands on a cold windy day.
Thanks for the advice! I’m going to look into the vmesh, not sure I have seen it before. Please keep the comments coming it will help me out a lot to hear everyone’s opinion!
I liked the pipe fence till my young horse ran into it head first and suffered a brain injury. Will never use barb wire my mare got scared and ran threw it and slit her throat and back leg really bad then and had to have 13 stitches in her neck alone. We had pipe and cable fence my horse was rolling too close to the fence and rolled over got his leg caught and the cable doesn’t give and he about sawed his back leg off after 6 months of working on his leg he was sound again after another 6 months of therapy. I have V-Mesh fence it is no climb and on one side I have wood fence. The part that has t post we put tennis balls on top of them to keep the horses safe. It is a pain some times when the horse want to play with the balls but they just slide back on and work well.
We love electrobraid . Very easy to install & the tool you use to stretch it awesome to go back to restretch later. Price is great too.
polywire or polytape with wooden posts
I also had to decide what fencing to put up on my property. I had decided on what I think is called Vinyl – wide plastic panels with two or three lines of wire within it – a neighbor here in VA has it and it looks nice.
However, while researching, I discovered exactly why pretty much all fencing where I am moving to (Northern Wyoming) is either barbwire or high tensile – the wind. I’ve been told that even the thinner electric braid will stretch and sag under the unrelenting winter winds. 60mph winds are not unusual, and we had a 130mph gust once!. V-mesh has the problem of everything that blows in that wind, catching on it, potentially loosening or taking it down.
So, high tensile wire it is. I’ll hang fence flags along it so my horse knows it’s there, as right now he’s only ever been pastured in wood fences.
We both move out to the brand new, virgin ranch and pasture in November. I have to put up two more pastures in the next year or two, so will be following this discussion closely.
We’ve used Electrobraid at 2 farms, and will use nothing else. If installed correctly it’s safe, good looking, and inexpensive. I love it, the horses respect it as did some loose cattle a few weeks ago(!), neighbors like the look. Good Stuff!
Giants Dance Farm, NE MI
Where we live in Tennessee, it is so rocky, fencing is expensive and time-consuming. I grew up in Ohio not too far from your place. Fencing was easy there. Dig a hole, put in posts. Here, we need jack hammers to get through the rock. So, we use t-posts and electric fencing and mesh fencing. Eventually, when we do the front pasture, we will do wooden fencing in front for decoration.
We have used every type of fence out there. Barb wire a necessary evil if sharing fence lines with cows. Barbless wire, surprisingly I have had horses go through without cutting their skin. It will stretch and give and posts will break before the horse gets seriously injured. High tensile will slice them open and if electrified and caught they will kill themselves trying to escape. Electric fence effective, but a pain to maintain. I prefer the tiniest of wires, because it will break. Wood tastes great and needs replacing. Sucker rod has give, but spacing has to be such they can’t get hung up somehow (and we nearly lost a horse in the most bizarre way). Sucker rod when broken can impale them (had a horse impaled through the jugular lost her). Page wire they can lay down and get their legs hung up in it. No perfect fence, but I think the barbless (with electric on top) is by far my favorite after 30 years with horses.
Electrobraid. We have never had any problems. Even when it’s between charges, the horses and donks want nothing to do with it.
Saw a colt impale himself on a t-post from a barbed wire fence. Nothing we could do. Broke my heart and I will never forget it. So unnecessary.
As a kid, the 600 acre ranch in San Diego, CA where we had our horses was fenced (and cross fenced) with barbed-wire. We had a few incidents with horses (and cattle) getting injured when some idiot opened and gate and left it laying on the ground and a horse or cow got tangled up in it. I remember my mare got cut by a downed gate and ended up with proud flesh just below her hock. Fortunately she was a very sensible mare and when she realized she was in trouble, waited for someone to untangle her rather than panic. It could have been a LOT worse!
Other than that, I don’t recall any serious injuries.
That being said, I don’t think I would ever want to use barbed wire if I could help it. I’ve heard of horses impaling themselves on broken board fences, so although that would probably be my choice, I know they are not without their own issues. I think I would prefer a combination of board and electric or board and mesh wire to keep animals safe.
We have been transfered around the country many times and have had a variety of fences. Barbed wire is probably the riskiest, even with a large acreage if you have a pawer or a curious horse. Even on twenty acres, my filly sliced her eyelid on it and my mare hung her fetlock on a piece. I was able to rescue them quickly enough and our vet was amazing with stitching the eyelid. We have always had smaller paddocks and larger pastures for turn out. We also have had stallions and mares which can create other problems in terms of fencing. I’ve had V-mesh and field fence with a top rail which works okay, but tends to look awful after some time. The horses push on it unless you run electric along it as well. I had pipe rail fencing in my paddocks last time and that looks okay until the welds get old and the paint chips. We had oak four board wood fences in Kentucky and they look beautiful at first all stained black(or white); that is until your horses decide that they want to eat it. Plus you have to stain it all every year or two! We went with wood three rail fences two runs of electric Hotcote in our paddocks here in Montana. We have smooth wire and electric Hotcote being run in the larger pastures. I really wanted to try Finishline monofilament fencing. It is safer and is an easy high tensile fence to adjust. I wanted to avoid the electric, but it seems to be the only thing that they truly respect. I put a flasher on the fence that I can see from the house so that I know that the elctric is working. Also, I would stay away from anything PVC as the injuries are worse than anything else I’ve seen other than barbed wire. T-posts can be very dangerous as well; be advised. Again, as others have mentioned, it depends on your horse(s) and your pocketbook as to what will work best for you.
I use High Tensile for cows as the posts can be 50′ apart, rather than 8′ for barbed, field fence and others. Posts are your biggest expense when fencing. I have seen a pvc coated HT product that will not cut, but rather your horses will bounce off of if they hit it (HT has those springs in-line). That will be my next horse pasture fence.
Thanks Mike for bringing up the PVC coated HT fence. I too have used this type of fencing for nearly 20 years with my horses due to its budget cost, appearance, durability, & lack of maintenance. I have seen horses run into it & bounce back, & even watched a horse put a leg between the strands yet pull it out uninjured, however, I did have a bad mishap with the uncoated HT fence that was being used as the electric barrier to keep the horses off of the main fence. It was a freak accident, but one of my horses caught his back leg in it one day when he rolled too close to the fence. Because it was uncoated HT it would not break & cut into his cannon bone. After surgery & 6+ months of healing time, he’s sound & once again my child’s trail riding partner. We replaced the electric HT strand with 1″ poly-tape, (like electro-braid), as our electric source & have had no other issues with the fence. I just wanted to bring this precaution tip to other horse owners out there who may be using HT as a main or an electric fence. God bless! Tammy 🙂
If you decide on using t-posts and wire, make sure to cover the t-posts!!! My old gelding decided to play with another horse over the fence and sliced his neck open on an uncovered t-post. 50 stitches later he was fine and it barely left a scar, but I now know to never leave a t-post uncovered 🙂
We used smooth wire on bottom two rows and electric wire on the top in our pasture. Up by the barn we used pipe fencing and love it! My corrals are pipe and all my pens are also along with a small pasture for turnout if I need to keep one apart from the others.
My favorite is probably v-mesh in pipe or v-mesh with wooden posts with electric on top with plenty of gates as you can’t crawl through it or over it. Treated wood fence is pretty nice. Pipe and cable can act like a hacksaw if a horse kicks through it and costs way too much to paint. White vinyl shatters in cold and melts in fire. Barb wire is out of the question. Good and tight 6-strand smooth wire isn’t too bad. Field fence on an outer fenceline with a smooth wire and an electric wire at top is pretty good but they can still put a foot through it.
I recently replaced my smooth wire fence with vinyl. Shortly after, I added a 4 year old horse to my pasture and the typical hierarchy struggle began and the young horse panicked and ran thru my new fence. The boards gave way but she was not injured. I was able to put the boards back in fairly easy. I am not sure I would go this route again. I would sure not recommend to some one that lives near a roadway. So, although the horse has busted thru twice it a positive thing there has not even been a scratch. The negative would be that I would worry about my horses getting out near a busy road.
I have a draft cross that is very hard on fences, he will push on a board fence until it snaps. He uses pipe panels like a ladder and breaks them. The only fence that works with him is electric.
If I could afford welded pipe that would be my first choice. For our pens we us corral panels. For our pastures we are currently using electric fencing/braided rope and have had great success with it. I think one strand is adequate between pastures but 2 or 3 strands are better for boundaries. I also like protective caps on T-Posts especially through gate/exit/entrance areas where horses come and go sometimes on the run.
I’ve used almost every kind of fence over the years. The Vmesh diamond type fencing, pulled tight, with a board across the top, middle, and bottom (or pulled tight with hot wire across the top and middle) is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s good for small fields, paddocks, or very large areas. It’s difficult for a horse to hurt themselves on it. Not impossible, but difficult. If it’s pulled tight, horses tend to just bounce off it uninjured, even if running full speed. Barbed wire and smooth wire are both awful, with smooth wire being the worst if it’s not electrified (the horses have no respect for it, and often get tangled in it, or run through it with no hesitation-and that’s even when it’s electrified but the electric is just off for a little while). Wood fencing is good, but doesn’t last long and they can get lots of splinter and stab injuries if they crash into it. Solid pipe fencing, if the pipe is heavy enough and the fence high enough is great, but they can do severe damage if they run into it hard, or kick it. Electric fence is good if it has enough current to really give them a shock to where they respect it, but it can make a person crazy trying to keep it hot enough, keep weeds down around it, make sure it doesn’t actually get shut off, or the power goes off…it’s a real headache.
I have found post and rail to be the safest. I have also used barbed wire and have had injuries on it but have found as long as there are enough strands close enough together and as long as the fence is kept in good repair and the wire tight the horses learn pretty quickly to respect the fence and they stay away from it. The trouble arises when the wire is far enough apart that the horses can get their heads through it, or when it is loose and hanging. Flat wire is the most unsafe as horses don’t respect it. Pipe is pretty great too but expensive.
I have used barbed wire when I lived in Colorado and had a 35 acre pasture. However I made it a bit safer by running Safe Fence (1.5 inch electric tape) around the top. I love using the square metal wire and then running one strand of Safe Fence along the top and bottom for smaller pastures. Gives a double fence that is strong and horse friendly. So far is my 14 years of using this fence combo I have had no injuries.
We just put in horseman’s v-mesh, no climb with a solar powered high tensile top rail. Just like this keeps predators out for the most part and keeps the horses in and off the fence.
Wood is too much labor, vinyl post and rail is not strong enough, the vinyl rail flex fence is to “iffy” for my taste and we usually see fences built with that sagging and looking horrible. I have had horses horrible sliced up with three-wire electric alone and won’t use barbed wire for the same reason.
Oh yeah I have Standardbred racehorses. Not dead-broke like ranch quarter horses, but not crazy high strung and unpredictable like Thoroughbred or Arabs, so that goes into the equation for me too.
Opps, stripped my link to the product we used, above. We used Ramm Fence’s V-Mesh No Climb Horse fence 72″ with wood posts on two 1.5 acre pastures. Just do a search to see the product.