There are many different fence types available, some are more suitable to contain horses than others. Ultimately your choice will be affected by your budget, whether you want a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary solution, by the terrain that you plan to fence off, and the size and nature of the horses you wish to contain.
Wooden fences are probably the most traditional for enclosing paddocks. Wood is hard wearing, can be readily cut to size, and is simple and easy to erect, just nail the cross boards onto the uprights that are sunk into the ground.
Interlocking wooden post and rail fences are very simple to erect as they require no nails or bolts. This also makes them extremely safe as there is nothing that a horse can get snagged on. They are extremely sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing.
An alternative to wood is vinyl boards. These are more expensive initially, but as they will not rot or be eaten by insects, will require little maintenance in the long run.
Wire fences are also fairly common, but it is best to use wire mesh with a small hole size to prevent a horse's foot from getting stuck in the fence. Strand wire is not recommended as horses can easily get entangled and panic, causing injury to themselves. Barbed wire is not suitable for horses as it is extremely hazardous and can cause serious bodily injury by merely brushing up against it. To avoid costly vet bills it should be avoided at all costs.
A very quick and cost effect alternative method of containment is electrified tape. Electrified equine tape comes in various thicknesses. Although more expensive, the thicker 40 mm tape is recommended for semi-permanent use due to its visibility. The thinner 12 mm tape is much cheaper, and is suitable for temporary enclosures. An energizer that can be battery, mains or solar powered, is required to electrify the tape, which is thread through a series of intermediate insulators attached to wooden or steel posts. Special fittings can be purchased to construct electrified gates. Electrified fences can be semi-permanent as when attached to fixed posts, or temporary using movable plastic tread-ins that hold the tape firmly with built-in clips. They are suitable for strip grazing, and can be very handy when travelling with horses, or attending shows where you will be camping overnight.
Regardless of the fencing option that you choose, it needs to be high enough to contain your biggest horse or highest jumper, and low enough to contain your smallest pony. The gap between the cross bars in a post and rail fence needs to be small enough to prevent a horse from getting its head through, to prevent injury to the animal and possible damage to the fence.
Not any fence is effective as a fence for horses. These magnificent creatures have specific attributes and characteristics that demand certain types of fencing to protect them, as well as to keep them on the owner's property. Good, sturdy horse fences, can amount to a very large investment, especially for large animals like horses that require a correspondingly large perimeter. Many factors need to be considered before installing the best possible horse fence, such as the following:
· Protection - Horses are grazing animals and need to roam about in the open air. They need to be protected from undesired and unauthorized visitors as well as from other animals like dogs (and in some areas, wolves).
· Confinement - This isn't so much to keep them in, but to prevent horses from accidentally getting out. The fence must be sturdy and all exit gates must be secured by locks.