With the numerous fencing designs and materials available today, making a decision on which will be the safest and most effective for your equine can seem difficult.
When it comes to making this informed decision, the best fencing to use is dependent on several factors, including size of the horses, size of the property, number of horses, and whether they are enclosed as a group or separately.
“For example, Minis could be housed safely in a much shorter fence than Warmbloods,” said Leslie Easterwood, DVM, assistant clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “The safest fence is one that keeps the horses from being able to stick their feet or heads through the fence, is tall enough to discourage jumping over, and does not have other horses directly across the fence.”
Wood or synthetic materials are safe to use for plank fences but could become dangerous if they splinter or impale the horse when dislodged.
“Electric wires and tapes can be utilized in an attempt to keep horses away from the fences, but are not always effective if they ‘ground out’ or the charger is not operational,” said Easterwood. These can be quite effective, but as with any fence, they require regular maintenance to ensure that they are operational.
Mesh or slick wire fences are other popular choices for horse owners.
“Some factors to always consider are the type of horses, number of horses on the property, number that will be housed together, finances (as some fencing options are cheaper or more expensive than others), and safety of materials,” said Easterwood.
While you’re deciding which fencing will be the safest and most effective for your horses, keep in mind that any material can be made safe if designed and built properly to prevent injury in your specific situation. There is no clear answer as to what enclosure type is best or safe for every environment; it is entirely dependent on these many different factors.