Wood Horse Fence
Wood is the most common option for horse fences. It is sturdy, cost efficient, and has the rustic appearance that many land owners look for. It is a good choice for a horse fence material, but make sure to take into consideration all options.
Wood fencing, over time, can shrink, warp, discolor, and need minor routine maintenance. That does not sound like a huge issue, but having to repair a mile of fencing can be a big job. Wood fencing is recommended to be painted to help horses see it, as they are both far-sighted and may not see well at night. A horse plowing into a fence can damage the fence, and harm the horse. Keeping the paint maintained can also be a task.
Wood is sturdy, but ensure that the correct posts are being used to anchor the fence into the ground. For wood fencing, Custom Fence Oviedo does not recommend anchoring with concrete, as concrete holds moisture and will actually speed up the process of post rot. The key to post installation is to have leverage over the above ground section. For example, a 6' tall fence will use 4" x 4" x 10' line posts to provide the correct leverage ratio.
For a horse fence, it's ideal to use a mesh wiring to help prevent the horse to step through the fence. A 2" x 4" wire is best for horses, as it prevents them from stepping through or getting caught in it. Horses are much more likely to fight in a situation where they're stuck than other livestock, and their thinner skin than livestock can make getting stuck in wire a life-threatening situation for them. It is also recommended to use a "no climb" wire mesh, that has openings that are too small for the horse to step up on.
Regardless of material, it is important to understand the height requirements and number of boards necessary to property house a horse. For young horses, the fence should be a minimum for 4.5 feet tall, and be a 3-rail to help prevent the horse from stepping through. Adult horses will require a height of 5 to 6 feet tall and be a 4 or 5 rail to help discourage the horse from jumping or leaning over. Pairing the correct heights, rail numbers, and wiring will assist in choosing the safest and most efficient fence for your horse.
Aluminum and Vinyl Horse Fence
Other options for horse fencing materials include both aluminum and vinyl.
Aluminum is not often seen, but is ideal if building between concrete columns. It is recommended for use in the fronts of properties for aesthetic purposes, or for businesses such as equestrian centers or stable rentals. Custom Fence Oviedo recommends Alumi-Guard aluminum products. Aluminum horse fences have an expensive upfront cost, but require less maintenance than other materials. They are available in 7 different powder-coated long lasting colors.
Aluminum horse fences are available in 2, 3, and 4-rail options and in 8-foot wide sections.
Vinyl horse fence has a moderate upfront cost, and is a great option for both horse fences and decorative field fences. Vinyl fencing is a plastic polymer, which helps give the fence a bit of flexibility if a horse were to lean against it. Custom Fence Oviedo recommends Homeland Vinyl products, which are high quality vinyl products containing titanium dioxide as a UV inhibitor. The pigments used in their colored products also contain UV protectants. This is ideal for land owners who want their white fence to stay white without much work.
Although less work than wood, vinyl horse fences are not as strong. The posts and rails are hollow, meaning they may crack if a horse were to lean too hard, or run into the fence.
Vinyl horse fences are available in 2, 3, 4, and 5-rail options and in 8-foot wide sections.
Field fence, sometimes called deer fence, is another option.
If your goal is to keep something in or out of your property, including both livestock or predators, the most cost effective option for your needs may be field fencing. Field fencing in constructed of wooden line posts and mesh wire (oftentimes "no-climb wire). They may feature a wood top rail, depending on the purpose of the fence.
Field Fence is often used around gardens or fields to keep grazing deer out, or as a simple barrier for grazing livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle.
Wired Field fence is an affordable and effective way to fence in a property. It is available up to six foot in height and can be customized to fit both you and your property's specific needs.
Barbed Wire Fence
Barbed wire fencing was the first fencing type found to be able to restrain cattle, and began being used in the mid-1800's. Today, barbed wire remains the most popular livestock fencing because of its availability and affordability.
Barbed wire is relatively affordable to install yourself or have installed, due to the materials required. Most barbed wire fences consist of only wooden posts with wire ran in between. Standard barbed wire fencing usually has the posts spaced 5 to 6 feet apart, and 3 to 5 strands of wire ran between. The galvanized wire come in three categories: classes I, II, and III. Class I has the thinnest coating and shortest life expectancy. Class I wires will begin to show rust after around 8 to 10 years, while Class III won't until around 15 to 20 years. Aluminum coated wiring is sometimes used and yields a longer life.
There are many options to string a barbed wire fence, including:
Hand-Knotting: Wire is wrapped around corner posts and knotted by hand. This is the most common method.
Crimp Sleeves: Wire is wrapped around corner posts and bound to incoming wire with metal sleeves, that are then crimped using lock cutters. This method should be avoided because the sleeves tend to slip when under tension. This method is best used for repairs in the middle of the fence line.
Wire Vise: Wire is passed through a hole drilled into the post, and is anchored onto the far side.
Wire Wrap: Wire is wrapped around a corner post, and wrapped onto a helical wire, which wraps onto an incoming wire. Friction holds the wire into place.
While affordable, barbed wire fencing requires a high amount of upkeep. It is also dangerous to most livestock, including pigs, sheep, goats, horses, and calves. It is only recommended for use with fully-grown cattle, and even then, is seen as a controversial form of fencing. This is due in part to the fact that it is dangerous for wildlife. Low flying birds or bats can have their wings ripped by the top wire, and many are too high or not visible for deer, moose, or anther animals to clear while jumping. They may get tangled in the wire and give themselves fatal energy, or die a slow death if they can not escape.
How Can I Get Barbed Wire Without Injuring Animals?
If you're dead set on a barbed wire fence, or can't afford another type of agricultural fence, there are a few ways to make your barbed wire fence safer to your livestock and wildlife. You can use small PVC pipes along the top wire of the fence to help aid in the fences visibility, and use smooth wire as the bottom wire so that animals crawling underneath don't become injured.
If you're not sure which fence type will be the best option for both your needs and the surrounding environment, visit our Fencing With Wildlife In Mind article.