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The Right Fencing for Your Horse

Choosing the right fencing for your horse is an important decision. You must provide sufficient space for horses while ensuring that they are safely and securely contained. Although some new horse owners tend to focus more on the security of the fence, the safety is an extremely important component of the right fencing for your horse. Some popular choices for fencing include wood, welded pipe, and plastic fencing. Barbed wire, strung between wooden posts, is neither a safe nor secure choice for fencing.

Wood fencing is very popular for use on horse farms. It is strong, durable, and relatively low-maintenance. Wooden fences are easily visible to horses, which prevents them from running into the fence accidentally. They also stand up well to a fair amount of pressure, depending on the type of wood used. Hardwoods, such as oak and cedar, are better choices than pine, which is a much softer wood. Harder woods stand up better to being chewed on by horses; using rough-hewn boards rather than smooth ones can also minimize damage from chewing. Most wood fences are round posts, usually four or six inches in diameter, supporting boards that are one inch by six inches or two inches by six inches. Horses are not known for respecting boundaries such as fences, and are especially prone to running right into them when very frightened or angry. One concern with wooden fencing, therefore, is that it can break on impact leaving dangerous splintered boards. To minimize this danger, reinforce the fence by nailing the boards to the inside of the posts, and consider adding a line of electric wire on the inside of the top fence board.

Welded pipe makes for extremely strong fencing. Fences made from welded pipe can be expensive to install, but are very durable and require very little maintenance. Their durability, however, can actually prevent them from being the right fencing for your horse. Unlike wood fencing, a welded pipe fence is not going to break on impact. A horse that is easily spooked can run headlong into a welded pipe fence, leading to serious injury to the horse.

A variety of plastic fencing options are available as well, many of which are made to resemble wooden or pipe fences. Plastic fencing is often the most expensive option, but provides benefits other types of fencing do not. Plastics can be somewhat flexible while still being very durable, meaning they will give a little more on impact than welded pipe, while not breaking like wood. Most plastic fences are virtually maintenance-free, and many are made from recycled materials.

The right fencing for your horse depends in part on personal preference, availability of material, and cost considerations. Responsible horse owners must balance safety and security along with the costs of installation and maintenance when choosing fence materials. A fence that keeps your horse securely contained while also keeping her safe if she decides to test that boundary will always be the right fencing for your horse.