Home Fence Planning Horse Fencing Mistakes to Avoid

Horse Fencing Mistakes to Avoid

by Judy Knowler

Horse fencing is one of the most important elements of horse keeping. The fence around your horse enclosure keeps your animals safe and prevents them from running off. Therefore, any fence around your paddock, pasture, or training ground needs to be as secure as possible.

These days, it’s relatively easy to find durable, high-quality horse fencing and put it up on your own. However, if you decide to install your own horse fence, it’s very important to avoid any mistakes that could potentially harm your animals.

What should you be watching for as you set up your horse fence? Here are some of the most common fencing mistakes.

Common Fencing Mistakes

Inappropriate Fencing Type

Most horse owners know that there are certain fencing materials you shouldn’t use to pen in horses. For example, barbed wire is inappropriate for horses, as it can cut easily cut their skin and lead to severe injuries. It is important to make sure that you have the correct fencing material for your horses before you begin raising any fences.

You should also keep in mind that an “inappropriate fencing type” will vary based on the type of horse you have. Stallions may require stronger fencing than mares, and foals or ponies may require more climb-proof fencing. Think about the temperament of your horses and use that knowledge to find the right fencing type.

Proper Installation

Whether you plan to install the fence yourself or hire a professional, correct installation of your fence is the key to safety, security, and longevity. Be sure your corner posts and bracing are properly set, as they are the foundation of any fence. The fencing material must be attached in a way that provides a rigid barrier, but not so tight that it snaps under pressure. For installation tips, check out our video library.

Poor Visibility

Many horse owners rely on wire mesh fencing — and frankly, we understand why. This fencing type is durable and flexible enough to withstand horses leaning on it, yet strong enough to keep the horses in place. However, mesh fencing has one flaw: it’s very hard for horses (and humans) to see.

Poor fence visibility is simply an accident waiting to happen. Your horse is bound to run into the fence at some point, which could result in injuries or a damaged fence line. That’s why we suggest adding a “sight board” along the top of your fence to create a visual barrier everyone can see. An added benefit is that the board prevents any bending of the top wire when your horse reaches over the fence line.

Inadequate Fence Height

If you want your horses to stay in a fenced area, you need to make sure that they can’t jump the fence. The general rule for fence height is that your fence should be at least five feet tall (six feet tall if you’re fencing in a horse run or paddock).

With that said, it’s important to remember that the fence height “rule” isn’t set in stone. After all, what if you have an incredibly tall horse? If you want a more specific and customized way to determine the right fence height for your horses, make sure your fence reaches the withers of your tallest horse.

Overlooking Maintenance

Maintenance is the key to making your horse fence last. If your fence is poorly maintained, it will not work as effectively as it could, or even become a hazard for yourself and your horses. Walk the fence line regularly and check for debris, overgrowth, or damage that could affect your fence performance. These steps will go a long way towards keeping your electric fence safe and fully charged.

Uncapped T-posts

If you have a horse fence, it’s pretty likely you also have several t-posts. These posts make it easy to set up wire fencing and keep it in place. We recommend using t-posts on your fence — but we also recommend capping those t-posts for safety.

Most t-posts have a jagged, metal edge that can be extremely sharp. You might cut yourself by simply grabbing the post. Even worse, your horse could be seriously injured if they brush against one. You can avoid this danger by using a plastic or vinyl t-post cap, which slides over the post and gives you and your horses extra protection.

Poor Gate Placement

Gate placement is essential to making your fence as useful as possible. The gate shouldn’t be too far from the barn (inconvenient), too close to another structure (unsafe), or too narrow (makes moving machinery in and out impossible). Plan your gate placement early in your fencing process so you can have the right-sized gate in the perfect spot. 

And finally, let’s talk about something you can do RIGHT with your fencing: purchasing high-quality wire mesh fencing from Red Brand. We’ve been helping horse owners like you find the right fencing for their animals for 130 years, and we’re proud to get you the materials and gear you need. Find a Red Brand dealer or installer near you today.

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