Which horse fence is right? Wooden fence or electric fence, which is better for horses? Do I need to fence my horse pasture with wide rail? How do I safely corral my greedy little ponies? How high does my horse fence need to be? We answer these and other questions with this guide.
Legal information on the subject of horse fences
Every horse owner or stable operator has the duty of care for the escape-proof keeping of the horses. This includes the professional construction and the permanent supervision & maintenance of the fence system. There is a greater duty of care of herd-proof fencing for horses in high-risk areas (highways, major roads, urban areas, etc.) than in wide-open countryside areas. In some counties, wide fencing is still mandatory and in excellent conservation areas, again, completely different rules may apply. If you are unsure, it is best to contact your local regulatory agency or your equine liability insurance company. The “Guidelines for the assessment of horse husbandry under animal protection aspects” (published by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture) state: “The fencing must be such that the greatest possible safety for animals and humans is guaranteed. The species-typical behavior of the horse as a flight animal and the special features of its field of vision must be taken into account.”
Wooden fence, electric fence, fixed fence or mobile pasture fence for the horse paddock?
There is no better or worse, it always depends on the circumstances and is ultimately also a question of price. The wooden fence for horse pastures is suitable for fixed fences, fixed pastures and as an outdoor fence of a riding facility / stud. Wooden fences are often very costly, but they are also stable, robust and durable. A wooden horse fence must be well planned, otherwise you end up with too much waste.
A stable fence made of wooden slats or conveyor belts should be preceded on the inside by an electric fence (e.g. 3mm stranded wire in spacer insulators), because otherwise the horses could push the fence over with their chests or butts when pushing.
Otherwise, the horses would nibble the topmost slat and eventually break through.
Electric pasture fence for horses is divided into 3 topics: Fixed fence, outdoor fence for permanent fencing and mobile horse fence for temporary or compartment pastures.
The fixed fence, outdoor fence: For horse pasture outdoor fences, you should always use sturdy hardwood posts, metal posts (T-posts), recycled posts or other so that a high load capacity is given. Height should always be selected to match horse sizes. Wood & recycled corner posts should always be stronger than track posts, T-posts offer corner solutions. Difficult corners in soft ground should be extra reinforced if necessary.
Suitable ladder: highly visible pasture fence tape, rope or MustangWire (Horsewire).
Not suitable: Stranded wire or even barbed wire.
Pole spacing depends on ladder material; tape is much more sensitive to wind than rope. For tape, the less spacing between posts, the longer the fence will last!
With rope, the posts can be a good 5-6 meters apart, max. 8 meters.
With 2 cm wide tape, 5 meters should not be exceeded.
With 4 cm wide tape, maximum spacing 4 meters for a long lasting fence, better even less spacing.
Mobile, temporary horse pastures are quickly set & can be converted to compartment pastures. They are 90% plastic pasture fence stakes, these come in many varieties, heights & colors (stirrup stakes, double tread stakes, fiberglass stakes etc. The typical plastic stakes have receiving eyelets for rope and wide tape at different heights, no insulators are needed. If a temporary short pasture is to be set up, solid corner posts, sturdy gate posts and, depending on the size, some line fixed posts are always useful to keep the horse fence wind and weather resistant.
Suitable ladder: clearly visible pasture fence tape, 6mm pasture fence rope or 3mm strand (conditionally useful!).
Not suitable: Horsewire, wire or even barbed wire.
Pole spacing depends on the conductor material and soil conditions, because plastic poles do not have a really firm stand. Broadband is much more sensitive to wind than rope. With tape, the less spacing between posts, the longer the fence will stand!
With rope, the posts can be a good 4 -5 meters apart, max. 6 meters.
With 2 cm wide tape, 5 meters should not be exceeded.
With 4 cm wide tape, a maximum of 3 meters distance for good stand.
How high must a horse fence be?
How high to fence a horse paddock depends mainly on the size of the horses or ponies. If the horse is a show jumper, the fence should also be a little higher.
strand or rope, which is better for horses?
Basically, it’s your decision, unless a certain type of housing has been specified by the office, animal protection area for your district, the stable or horse farm. We will show you all the leaders in question once:
Pasture fence tape is certainly the most used ladder material on horse fences. Pasture fence tape with 1cm width is mostly used for small ponies, shettys, etc. or as an upstream fence row on wooden fences. The 2cm fence tape is well suited for larger ponies or horses when the paddock is quite windy and the fence spacing is quite close together due to the size of the ponies. Often referred to as “wide tape”, 4cm pasture fence tape can be used very well in windless paddocks for large horses as it is highly visible and also provides a visual barrier. Pasture fence tape always requires appropriate tape insulators. Pasture fence tape is also a good choice for the first grazing of foals, as electric fence inexperienced foals perceive the white tape better than rope or wire.
Pasture fence rope, fondly called 6mm round strand, can be well used for ponies, horses, jumpers and also stallions. Pasture fence rope is sturdy, stable, and also very resistant to wind. Pasture fence rope can be attached to many insulators easily and quickly, and the paddock posts can be spaced a little further apart than with tape.
3mm pasture fence strand or wire are of limited use with horse fences, as strand is too thin to provide real security and wire is usually too poorly visible. If an electric fence is placed in front of a hedge, a bend, or other mechanical barriers, strand or wire can also be used. Likewise, pasture fence strand and plain wire can be used well as an upstream fence row on wooden fences (browsing protection).
Barbed wire is absolutely unsuitable and must absolutely not be used in conjunction with an electric fence, please.
How much electricity must be connected to a horse fence?
In short, as much as necessary to herd the animals safely. Basically, an electric fence for horses should always reach a herding voltage of 4,000 volts. Here’s what you should consider:
Horse breed & coat condition: small horses like Fjord, Haflinger, Tinker and ponies like Shetty, Dartmoor and the other smart, thick-skinned, and greedy escape balls that look like plush balls in winter need more electricity than horses. Their thick winter coats and usually lush manes insulate well. The same is true for cold-blooded horses. Large horses (WB) also get thicker and longer coats in the winter, but not like the ponies. Most of the horses get a blanket on for various reasons. Thus, the current on the blanket will be rather powerless – but on the neck, head and legs remains effect. Besides, the warm-blooded horses are rather cautious and usually not as greedy.
Fence length, vegetation & ground conditions: The longer the fence, the more area must be covered by the fence. Overgrowth on the fence (grass, weeds, bushes, branches, brambles, ferns, etc.) are absolute power guzzlers on the pasture fence and can weaken the current strength considerably or even completely. Dry, sandy soils conduct worse than soft and moist soils, here more grounding stakes should be driven into the ground in addition to the equipment strength.
A few more tips about horse fencing
Please do not fence your horses in electron nets or knot fences, the risk of injury is very high.
Always attach insulators to the pasture fence from the inside, otherwise you may push the posts away.
Do not use metal springs as gates on horses, there is a risk of tangled tails and subsequent uncontrolled passage in the event of a power surge. The risk of injury is great, the fence without a gate is no longer safe.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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