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Best Horse Fencing Ideas and Options

Fencing can be an attractive feature of a horse facility. But remember, not all fences are suitable for your Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. Because horse fencing is a cost, you should make a planned decision. 

Your decisions are based on age, breed, and temperament of the livestock and your budget and style.  

Let’s learn more about the types of horse fencing ideas, their pros, and cons plus our expert ideas and fence options. 

2 horses grazing pasture white picket fence ideas

But First: Equine Considerations

Did you ever have a  pony ride in your childhood? You probably did, as every child dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl.  But you are not dealing with MyLittle Pony anymore

Horse fencing needs to match the physical and rational state of the horses. Colt or stallions that are physically strong need secure fencing that doesn’t break easily:  High Tensile wire or wood.  

The ones that are mentally tough need a fence that can handle their behavioral issues:   Low tension, color, width, electric wire, etc are ideal in this situation.  

Fencing an Appaloosa is necessary to stop unwanted visitors, dogs, and other wild animals.  You must corral the horses safely within the property and provide them an opportunity to exercise and graze.  

7 Tips to Consider

Before deciding on the best horse fencing, it’s important to be aware of these factors:

1. Visibility

Fences can be hard to see. Horses can see to their side pretty well. But not straight. Make sure your horses don’t end up bumping into the fencing due to a lack of visibility and injure themselves.  

2. Resilience

Horses are big and powerful. So if the fencing material used is fragile, there is a good chance it breaks, creating a sharp edge. This can cause serious injury. Care should be taken to use the material that’s resilient to weather conditions and is strong. 

3. Maintenance

Wood rots and steel rusts, but the latter lasts much longer. Be sure to always install steel posts for a long-lasting fence. Paint can increase life. High tensile fences need to be adjusted a couple of times a year. Electric fences need voltage maintenance and brush/debris removal for fire hazards. 

4. How High Should Horse Fence Be?

Your horse fencing idea must meet or exceed your athletic steed. They are more likely to jump the fence, and hence it’s important to consider a proper height range to keep them safe. 

The minimum recommended height is 5 feet (60 inches) for horses. This height will deter most from attempting to jump and will protect the horse from curious people to reach over the fence and to pet or feed the horse.  A minimum of 5 feet is both horse-safe and people-safe. 

At the fence bottom, an opening of 8 to 12 inches will keep the feet and legs from getting trapped, and also prevent foals ( baby horses) from rolling under the fence.  

However, it’s important to make sure the fence openings are either large enough - such as leg, hoof, or head won’t be trapped or too small (no more than 3 inches by 3 inches) to prevent the hoof from penetrating.  

For paddocks (a small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised)- the rule of thumb is to have a fence up to 4 to 6 inches so when the horse’s head stays in the upright position the fence should be at eye level.  

5. Durability

Because fencing a horse can be expensive, most horse owners look for installing a durable one. Keep in mind of choosing what’s better for local weather and climate. High moisture conditions, consider using galvanized or zinc coatings. Heavy snowpack can cause fences to break or bend. A beating hot sun can deteriorate vinyl and pine quickly. 

6. Beauty

Your version of style might be different from the other. Sometimes it’s a hard choice to make when it comes to beauty vs functionality. But luckily both are available in one horse fence idea.  

7. Warranty

Don’t forget to protect yourself and your pastures by only buying products that have a healthy warranty attached to them. Do the research and shop smart! 

Unsafe Horse Fencing

As a farm or ranch owner, you should not only know about the best-choice horse fence but should also know what fencing is not ideal, including for cows and pigs.  

Barbed Fencing

It is not ideal to use barbed wire. Because it is sharp and can easily tear a horse’s skin. Even though the West was tamed with barbed-wire, it is better suited as pasture fencing or for cows. 

Single Strand Wire 

This type of fencing sags easily and cant easily be re-tensioned. Horses get entangled due to the sagging. This causes panic and they can further damage your investment and drive up vet bills.  

Uncapped T-Post

This is combined with barbed wire. If you consider using this fencing you need to make sure it’s capped with plastic. Uncapped posts are dangerous and the sharp edges can injure the horses.  

What is the Safest Fencing For Horses?

Horses have their own temperament like humans. Fencing a horse will certainly keep them safe. But what happens when horses get excited or when they fight with each other?  

The answer is simple. Consider a durable and reliable, yet cost-effective fence.  

Mesh wire/V Mesh fencing is heavy-duty and considered one of the safest fences for horses. They are less expensive than most rail fences but more expensive than conventional farm woven fences with 4- to 6-inch openings. The only limitation to this fencing is: They are designed only for paddock areas.  

Ideal Fencing Types & Costs

So what’s the greatest fence material for your horse? It depends. It would be wonderful if there existed one type of good fencing we could install and be done. However, here are a few options you may want to consider based on your horse’s age, temperament, the material used for fencing your budget, needs, etc. 

Wood Fence and Which Is Best?:

 Wood is aesthetic and it is preferred over aluminum or vinyl for horse fencing. Not all types of timber are equal. The best wood for your fence depends on your needs. Cedar or lodgepole pine has different rot resistance, appearance, and durability. And of course, costs. 

Here are a few top options you might want to consider if you decide to have wood fencing for your horse. 

  • Cedarwood: An excellent choice of wood because it contains natural oils that are a deterrent to insects 
  • Cypresswood: Cypress contains cypretine, which is a natural chemical deterrent to insects, the life span of the wood increases in comparison to other trees.  
  • Pine: Non-treated pine is less expensive than cedar. Consider pressure-treated lumber as cheap posts, BUT BEWARE, it can be toxic if horses chew on it. 

Timber fences are appreciated for their aesthetics, high visibility, and good strength. 

High initial cost and high maintenance due to horse chewing, weathering, etc.  

$9 to $12 per installed foot

Average life expectancy:
10 to 15 years- Cedar can last up to 25-30 years. Painted wood lasts even longer. 

PVC Board Fence or Vinyl Fencing

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and is relatively inexpensive. It adds beauty to your property. It's easy to install and resistant to chemical and biological breakdowns. 

When installing a vinyl fence, PVC is the only type used; therefore it is usually called vinyl fencing 

Advantages :

  • It is preferred over wood because of its lifetime.  
  • Vinyl will pretty much last forever.
  •  As they don’t discolor they don't need repainting.  


  • Horses are heavy and strong but vinyl is light and the rails can break.  
  • Another important showstopper is- It needs a significant level of maintenance and is not cost-effective.  

$10 to $16 installed price per foot  

Average life expectancy:
10 to 15 years  

Electric Fencing

It is quick to install. It takes less than half the time to build compared to traditional fence systems, and this saves you both time and money. 

An electrified fence delivers a mild shock to a horse when it leans on the fence or runs into the barrier. Horses remember the safe shock and this reduces the wear and tear of the fence.  

The eyesight of a horse is not as good as dogs or some other animals. Therefore, the thin wire used may be difficult for them to see or avoid.  

$2.94 installed price per foot 

Average life expectancy:
10 to 15 years  

No Climb Horse Fence

It is made from galvanized steel to withstand harsh weather conditions and welded to increase strength and durability. The steel mesh spacing is 2"x4" that keeps animals from stepping through, walking down, or getting over the fence. They are used in large pastures.  


  • It can protect your horse's legs by preventing them from getting a foot through the fence.  
  • This will also prevent wild animals from entering your pastures 


  • It is extremely difficult to install, especially if it is your first time.  
  • It requires routine tightening.  
  • Also, it is not visible to horses and collisions can cause cutting injuries.  

$5 to $7 installed price per foot. 

Average life expectancy:
10 to 15 years 

High Tensile Wire Fencing

 "High-tensile wire" is wires under tension. This includes woven-wire fabrics, smooth-wire fences, and electric-fence designs. The wires are typically anchored to thick wood posts. 

Low initial cost


  • If the wires are not tensioned constantly, this leads to sagging of wires and can injure the horses. 
  • Rigorously maintained tension wires are safe. But they are not ideal fencing because they lack visibility. 

Varies between $4.50 to $9 per foot. 

Average life expectancy:
10 to 15 years  

So What Is The Best Fencing For Horses?

If you are in the equestrian industry, either raising broncos into steeds, most experts agree well stem pipe fencing is best for horses. Steel fences are strong and last many years. It is simply used oil field pipe, so it’s tough and the steel is low cost. 

Steel Pipe Fencing

What can be stronger than steel right? Be it a farm or a ranch, pipe fencing is the #1 choice. It is an extremely durable, versatile fencing system and provides years of trouble-free service.  


  • It is durable and doesn't break. 
  • Can hold large horses like shires.  
  • It has no sharp edges to cut or catch the horse’s legs, reducing cuts and bruising if legs are caught.  
  • It’s ideal fencing in areas with dry weather as it requires less maintenance and durability. 


  • This type of fencing is not recommended for areas with wet weather as they are prone to rust 
  • It’s expensive to install. Even though the pipe cost is cheap, it requires skilled labor.  

$13 to $19 installed price per foot 

Average life expectancy:
30 to 50 years

Since pipe steel fencing is reliable, durable, requires less maintenance, and cost-effective it is truly a winner amongst the other fences available in the market. 

What Is The Cheapest Fencing For Horses?

Even though electric fencing is the cheapest of all, it is not recommended because electric polywire breaks easily and can cut like a knife leading to serious injury or death.  It also needs more maintenance, so as they say "time is money". 

Summary of Options  

You have been through this journey from being a small pony rider to a proud horse owner now. Below are the final tips to keep in mind while you are fence shopping.  

  • Seek advice from manufacturers, as well as other barn owners, before you decide. 
  • Weigh the cost factor.  
  • Visit other farms that have the fence product you are considering so you can see it in person. 
  • The rule of the thumb is -Safety, durability, cost, the material used, and maintenance - keeping your weather conditions in mind.  

So, let’s summarize to make your horse fencing options easy:

  • Which is the cheapest?

    • Our research says electric fencing
  • Which is the safest?

    • Our research says mesh wire/ V mesh and plastic safety fence
  • Which is durable and best?

    • Our research says steel pipe fencing material