What is a Horse Fence?

Vicki Hogue-Davies

A horse fence is a fence that is used to enclose horses, whether in a large pasture, pen or stall. Horse fencing comes in a variety of materials, including wood, steel pipe, vinyl, composite and electric wire or tape. Some types of horse fencing also can be used to make temporary enclosures or to divide pastures or areas into smaller pens. For safety's sake, horse fencing should be highly visible to keep horses from running into it.

Horse fences are used to keep horses within a boundary.
Horse fences are used to keep horses within a boundary.

Wood horse fencing is a traditional and attractive look for ranches and farms. The benefit of wood is that it is readily available and can be installed relatively quickly. The downside is that it also can take a beating from horses that might chew on it, kick it or run through it. Wood fencing also is susceptible to weather, so it will need regular checking and maintenance. There are several styles of wood fencing options, including rustic rail, nail-on-board and slip board.

Wood fences are commonly used on horse farms.
Wood fences are commonly used on horse farms.

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Steel pipe fencing also is a popular choice for containing horses. It is highly visible to horses, so the chances of horses running into it are reduced. A downside with steel pipe is that if a horse runs into it, the pipe will provide very little cushion. Installing steel pipe fence can be expensive, but once installed, it is durable and usually will last a long time.

Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fencing is another horse fence option. It looks attractive, the horses don't chew on it, and it can stand up to weather, so it requires almost no maintenance. It comes in a variety of colors and styles. A downside of vinyl or PVC fencing is that it can be expensive, but more importantly, it doesn't always contain horses well. The interlocking system used for this type of fencing can cause rails to fall out if horses bump into it.

A composite horse fence combines strong polyurethane with wood. The strong plastics make it resistant to weather, and horses do not like the taste, so they typically don't chew on it. Composite fencing has the look of wood, so it can be a durable and attractive horse fence choice.

Electric wire or tape fencing can be used by itself or combined with wood, vinyl and other fencing. It often is used to separate pastures for rotation purposes or seeding. By itself, electric fence does not have high visibility, so it often is best used for temporary purposes or in combination with other fencing.

Discussion Comments


"Electric wire or tape fencing can be used by itself or combined with wood, vinyl and other fencing."

Vinyl wire clips from EZ On Vinyl let you attach electric wire to vinyl fencing (existing or new) easily! It keeps the horses from leaning on the vinyl fencing and breaking it. I've had great success with them!

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