Types of Horse Fencing

horse in field with wire fencing - types of horse fencing

You could keep your horses safely confined within a defined space using a wire fence, a wooden fence, a PVC fence or a rubber fence. But if you want an option that is physically and psychologically effective at keeping your horses within bound, you might want to consider an electric fence.

While wire fences are inexpensive and effective at keep horses in, they are sometimes unseen by the equines. Consequently, horses can collide with the wire and get wounded. Wooden board fences are rigid and long-lasting. They do, however, require upkeep and are expensive to install.

With PVC fences, visibility is not an issue for the horses. However, the cost of setting them up might be an issue for you. Rubber fences are visible and flexible, so they are unlikely to cause injuries to horses. But maintaining them is pretty intensive.

Let's look at each option in more detail.

Electric Fence

Electric fencing runs on either DC power from a battery or 120-volt AC power from household electricity. While the AC-powered electric fences are relatively cheaper to operate, they cannot be used in areas without commercial power. In such cases, you will have to use battery-powered electric fences. The battery must be charged every 2-6 weeks, depending on its capacity and how much the fencing system is used.

You can charge them with a 120-volt charger if commercial electricity is available. But if you can't access the grid, you must turn to alternatives like a solar electric fence charger.

How It Works

An electric fence used for horse fencing typically delivers at least a 700-volt charge. The shock from the charge serves as a rather effective psychological deterrent that ensures the horses stay away from the fence.

Due to their relatively thick coat, any charge less than 700 volts will be ineffective on equines. So, ensure you choose a controller that offers that much voltage.

The charge from the electric fencing is delivered for a short period, so it is safe. It will not affect your horses' hearts or burn their skin.

An electrified fence made with electric tapes offers great visibility. If you opt for an electric tape fence, it may not be able to withstand windy conditions. Still, it is a worthwhile alternative to the usual electric wire.

Wire Fence

Wire fences are typically made with high-tensile smooth wire, but they may also be constructed using aluminum, mesh wire and steel wire. The use of high-tensile wire ensures that the wire offers sufficient repelling force to any opposing force from within the wire fencing.

The wires used in these fencing types are typically attached to fence posts, which support them. They may be lined up in rows, or they may be woven.

Generally, wire fencing is not very visible. While woven wires are more visible than those made into only rows, weaving the wires yourself might be a bit demanding, so you could just opt for woven wire or wire mesh instead.

Of the different types of woven/mesh fencing, diamond mesh and V mesh are some of the toughest at keeping predators out and keeping equines in.

Whatever you do, avoid using barbed wire in horse fencing. A horse fence made with barbed wire has the potential to seriously wound or even kill your equine friends.

Board Fence

horses lined up along wooden fence - types of horse fencing

There are two common board fencing options: wood and PVC (also called vinyl). Both types always come in the form of post and rail.

Wood Board Fencing

Wood board horse fencing is perhaps the most physically appealing fencing option available. Beyond being attractive, this kind of fencing is pretty rigid and highly visible. Also, it's long-lasting.

The drawback with this type of fencing is its high cost of maintenance. Sometimes horses chew on the wooden fences, and you also have to repaint them routinely. Hence, the high cost.

Besides the cost of maintenance, the initial installation price of this fence type is relatively high.

Then again, since wooden boards crack and splinter, there is a chance a horse can get badly injured if it crashes into the fence.

PVC Board Fencing

PVC is basically like wooden fencing. But instead of wood, it's made with vinyl. The upside to using vinyl instead of wood is the low maintenance requirements. You do not have to repaint PVC, and horses are unlikely to chew on it.

Rubber Fence

Rubber fencing is a safe fencing choice made with rubber strips constructed out of items like conveyor belts and old tires. Since rubbers are flexible, the horses are unlikely to get injured with this type of rail in place.

The upkeep needs of a rubber fence are pretty high, however, because you have to adjust the tightness as the rubber sags.

Pipe Fence

Pipe fencing is also made in the form of rails and posts. Pipe fences are made with metal pipes, and they can be quite expensive to set up.

On the upside, pipe fences are very rigid and visible, so, they will keep your equines in. Also, their upkeep needs are pretty limited. On the downside, because they're so rigid they can cause injuries if your horse crashes into them.

What Is the Most Traditional Fencing for Horses?

The most traditional fencing for horses is wood fencing. This type of fence is made with wood rails and wooden posts.

The wood rails are often constructed with planks or logs, particularly 2-by-6-inch planks and cedar logs. The posts are made out of logs with at least a 4-inch diameter.

What Type of Fencing Should Never Be Used for Horses?

Barbed Wire Fencing

Never use barbed wire for horse fencing. A horse may get badly injured or die if it crashes into a horse fence made with such material.

Pressure-Treated Lumber Fencing

When a horse gets close to the fence line of a wood fence, it may start chewing on the wood. If such wood happens to be treated lumber, the horse may be affected by the toxins the wood contains.


Many horse owners consider electric tape barriers to be one of the safest. However, since they are not very rigid, they tend to break when it is windy. So, instead of relying on just one fence type, the best horse fencing typically features a combination of electric-powered fencing and other commonly used fencing types like boards and meshes.

Written by: Spencer Nicholas

Feature image: Jesse Zheng Image 1: Jean Alves


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