Horse Fencing: 11 Options & What to Consider When Buying
When buying horse fencing, you will face many options. Each type of fencing has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, from cost to safety to ease of installation. Here are 11 fencing type options that you may want to consider when buying fencing for your horses.
HTP Rail, or High Tensile Polymer Rail, features high tensile steel wires that are polymer-coated. This unique design provides the fence with durability, strength, and a flexible finish to keep your horses safe.
Cost: $0.58 /ft - $0.98 /ft (Single Rail)
Appearance: Available in a variety of colors, HTP Rail has the eye-catching appearance of wood without the maintenance hassle. HTP Rail is highly visible and provides a property with the classic, picturesque appearance of a traditional horse farm.
Advantages: HTP Rail is more durable than wood and is virtually maintenance-free – it will not splinter, rust, or rot. Horses cannot crib on HTP Rail, and the rail withstands the expansion and contraction brought about by weather fluctuations. Because HTP Rail is designed as a single line of fencing, it absorbs impact without splintering and potentially injuring your horse, like wood can.
Disadvantages: No fencing is completely maintenance-free, and HTP Rail does require occasional maintenance, but much less than you would encounter with a wooden fence. HTP Rail is available in a variety of different sizes with different break strengths, so you must be sure to choose a fence that is appropriate for your horses.
HTP (high tensile polymer) line is a high tensile steel wire that is coated in polymer. This polymer coating helps to prevent the line from cutting into a horse, while providing the line with flexible strength. (Check out Centaur's PolyPlus coated line)
Cost: $0.11 /ft - $0.13 /ft (Single Line)
Appearance: HTP line creates a sleek, minimal fencing appearance. This fencing will add a modern, sophisticated, and professional touch to any property.
Advantages: Because HTP line is polymer coated, it is highly safe and will not cause cuts or abrasions. The fence doesn’t rust, stretch, or fade, and it is highly durable, even in harsh climates. HTP line is strong, and will work to keep horses in and predators out.
Disadvantages: Because HTP line is thin, its visibility isn’t as great as that of a wider board fence. Coupling HTP line with a top line of easily visible fence can solve this issue.
Hot-Coat HTP (Conductive Polymer Coating)
Hot-Coat HTP fencing features three galvanized high tensile steel wires that are coated in polymer. The Hot-Coat HTP conducts electricity, serving both as an electric fence and as a safe way to contain horses, due to the fence’s ability to absorb impact. (see Centaur's Hot Rail)
Cost: Rails (Under $1 /ft) - Lines ($0.10 - $0.15 /ft) (single rail/line)
Appearance: Hot-Coat HTP offers an attractive, appealing appearance. Available in a variety of colors, this highly visible fence brings the look of a traditional horse farm to your property.
Advantages: Hot-Coat HTP offers the same advantages as HTP Rail, in that this durable fence requires little maintenance, and it withstands weather-prompted expansions without splintering. Hot-Coat HTP is also a continuous line of fence, so it is able to absorb impact and avoid the splintering and injuries that can occur when a horse runs into a wooden fence. Additionally, Hot-Coat HTP offers the benefits of an electric fence, such as protecting your horses from predators and discouraging your horses from leaning on or through the fence.
Disadvantages: Because Hot-Coat HTP incorporates electricity, its initial setup takes more time and materials than installing a more basic fence like HTP Rail does. Powering Hot-Coat HTP also results in a (slight) increase to your monthly electric bills.
Bare wire is a single-strand wire that offers the protection of an electric fence at a low cost.
Cost: $0.03 - $0.12 /ft (single wire)
Appearance: Bare wire is not easily visible, due to its thin construction. Because of this it can provide an unobtrusive fencing system. When natural fence posts are used to support the bare wire, a fence can have a rustic appearance that would be right at home on a ranch.
Advantages: The cost of bare wire is hard to beat. Installation is easy, and bare wire has excellent strength and a long life. Maintenance is simple to perform, and the electrified fence both prevents your horses from escaping while protecting them from outside predators.
Disadvantages: Bare wire provides poor visibility, which can be a safety issue for horses. If you choose bare wire, consider keeping the fence posts closer together and using flags or electric tape to make the fencing more visible for your horse and decreases the risk that he could become tangled in the fence.
Polymer line consists of only polymer (compared to HTP line, which is wire covered with polymer), creating a safe and lightweight fencing.
Cost: $0.14 - $0.21 /ft (single line)
Appearance: Polymer line has a neat, clean, and sleek appearance. The fence lines, smaller than traditional board fencing, add a modern and professional look to a property.
Advantages: Polymer line is virtually maintenance-free, and doesn’t lose tension from -40 degrees F up through 122 degrees F. The fencing is lightweight, making installation easy, and its high break strength makes it an effective barrier. Best of all, Polymer line releases if a horse becomes entangled in the fence, a major safety advantage.
Disadvantages: Because polymer line releases if a horse becomes tangled, it may not be the best choice for a perimeter fence, as it could result in loose animals.
Your classic horse fence, wooden rail fencing consists of wooden boards (typically 3 or 4 for horses), nailed into wooden fence posts. Post and rail wooden fencing, in which the fence rails are inserted into holes in the posts, is also used. Most wooden fencing is pine, since pine resists splintering.
Cost: $3 - $9 per ft (multiple rails)
Appearance: Wooden rail fence tends to be the classic, picturesque fencing appearance that most horse owners desire. This fencing is versatile, in that it is visually suitable for a backyard barn or for a much larger multimillion-dollar equine facility.
Advantages: Wooden rail fence is strong, creating a solid barrier between horse pastures and the surrounding area. Their beautiful appearance makes wooden rail fences a favored option when it comes to horse fencing. Wooden rail fencing can also add value to a property, and is the traditional choice for many barns.
Disadvantages: Wooden rail fencing is expensive, and also requires regular ongoing maintenance. The fencing must be sanded, primed, and painted as it ages, and broken or splintered boards must be replaced. You should also always check wooden fencing regularly to be sure that nails haven’t worked loose and that the fence posts are still secure. Wooden fencing, while strong, can also splinter and injure a horse if the horse runs into the fence (http://myhorse.com/blogs/barns-farms-ranches/barns-fencing/wood-fencing-explained-by-cherry-hill%E2%80%99s-horsekeeping-on-a-small-acreage/).
Vinyl rail, also referred to as PVC fence, consists of hollow rails that resemble traditional wooden rails. The rails snap into vinyl posts, making the fencing easy to install.
Cost: $0.90 - $1.60 /ft (multiple rails)
Appearance: Vinyl rail fence comes in a variety of colors and styles, so you can find the look that best suits your barn. Vinyl rail closely resembles wooden rail fencing, giving any property the classic appearance of a traditional horse farm.
Advantages: Vinyl rail is virtually maintenance-free, and is highly durable. It is also very safe, since it is both visible and will give way under a strong impact. If a horse runs into the fencing, the vinyl rail fence will give without splintering, like a wooden fence would.
Disadvantages: Vinyl rail is not indestructible, and rails can pop out of their fence posts if a horse leans against them heavily. It is recommended that you pair a strand of electric fencing with your vinyl rail fence to prevent your horses from leaning against the fence (http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/buildings/fences/vinyl-fencing/).
Barbed wire consists of a single or dual strand of wire with sharp barbs spaced every 4 to 5 inches. Barbed wire is designed to discourage animals from leaning against it, since the sharp barbs create a painful result.
Cost: $0.03 - $0.05 /ft (single line)
Appearance: Barbed wire has little visibility, and aside from the fence posts, it almost blends into the background. Barbed wire does have a rustic appearance, and looks right at home on a ranch.
Advantages: Barbed wire provides a solid barrier and makes a popular fencing choice for cattle. Its low cost means that you can fence large areas for little cost when using barbed wire.
Disadvantages: Barbed wire is not a safe fencing for horses. Its barbs can quickly tear into a horse’s thin skin, and if a horse becomes tangled in barbed wire, the injuries can be devastating. Barbed wire has little visibility, meaning that the chances that a horse will become entangled in the fence are higher. Additionally, barbed wire requires regular maintenance to keep the fence tight (http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-keeping/fencing-mistakes.aspx).
No-climb fencing features a strong wire that is woven in a grid. The grid has small openings that prevent a horse’s hoof from becoming caught. The wire mesh creates a solid barrier and is run along a line of fence posts and a solid top fence line. This fencing is also referred to as woven wire, field fence, or diamond weave fence.
Cost: $1.39 - $1.89 /ft (whole fence height)
Appearance: No-climb fencing presents a clean and desirable appearance. The use of fence posts and a solid top fence line gives it a hint of the classic horse fencing appearance, while proper installation will result in straight, visually appearing fence lines.
Advantages: No-climb fencing creates a solid barrier between your horse and the outside area. One major advantage of no-climb fencing is the fact that other animals, like dogs or coyotes, cannot easily access the pasture. No-climb fencing features a tight weave with openings small enough to prevent a horse’s hoof from getting caught, making this a safe fencing option for horses.
Disadvantages: No-climb fencing requires regular maintenance and must be tightened seasonally to prevent gaps from forming. Additionally, you need to check the fence’s perimeter on a regular basis to make sure that trees are not growing into and warping the fence. Installing no-climb fencing over uneven terrain can be a challenge, and no-climb fencing is best for straight lines on flat land.
Electric tape, available in varying widths, is an alternative to the traditional electric wire fencing. Electric tape is made of poly fibers woven with metal strands that conduct electricity.
Cost: $0.04 - $0.28 /ft (single tape)
Appearance: Electric tape, strung tightly, creates an attractive and clean fence line. It is available in various widths, all of which have different visibilities.
Advantages: Electric tape is more visible than traditional electric wire, which is a major advantage when you are using it to contain horses. It is easy to assemble, making it useful as both a temporary and semi-permanent fence. Electric tape will not rust, and is available in a number of different colors.
Disadvantages: Electric tape with a thick width can suffer damage from heavy winds. If you live in an area with frequent heavy winds, using an electric braid is a better option (http://beefmagazine.com/pasture-range/choose-appropriate-electric-fence-wire).
Braided electric fence features metal conductors that efficiently transmit electricity, maximizing the power and reliability of an electric fence.
Cost: $0.10 - $0.14 /ft (single braid)
Appearance: Electric braids are available in a variety of different diameters, but they all have good visibility. A fence made with electric braids has a clean appearance. Electric braids are available in a number of different colors, so you can choose the one that works best with the appearance you want for your property.
Advantages: Because the metal conductors that line the electric braids efficiently conduct electricity, the fence also distributes power more efficiently. This allows your fence to operate reliably, putting power to use without excessive wastage.
Disadvantages: While electric braid fencing is highly efficient, it does require an electricity supply to be effective, and will slightly increase your monthly electric bill.
Just which fencing type is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for in cost, appearance, and other factors like safety and ease of installation.