Horse Fencing: 5 Best Options For Horse Farms

What Type of Fencing Do Horses Need?

Deciding on the right type of fencing for your horse farm can be overwhelming, as several good options exist. Having built my share of horse fences, I’ve compiled the top five options to help you choose the right one for your horses.

What are the best types of horse fencing? The best type of horse fencing will depend on your situation. To create a durable and safe enclosure for your horses, you will likely want to choose from one of the following:

  • Wire Fencing
  • Electric Fencing
  • Wooden Fencing
  • PVC Fencing
  • Pipe Fencing


I’ve had the pleasure, and the displeasure, of dealing with many types of fences regarding horses. The material you use for your fence can greatly affect the price, safety, and security of your horses. Keep reading to learn what fence type is best for you!

What Type of Wire Fencing to Use for Horses?

Welded Wire and Woven Wire Fencing Is Great for Horses 

If you opt for wire fencing for horses, I recommend v-mesh or no-climb wire fencing. This type of fencing is typically the least expensive and can be secured to wooden posts or t-posts. I’ve used t-posts with wire in the past for temporary situations, which has held up well.

If you are considering using wire fencing for a more permanent option, I would recommend using wooden posts so that you can add a top rail. Not only will a top rail increase the durability of the fence, but it will create a more visible barrier for your horse.

The biggest benefit to using wire fencing is easily the cost; this fencing material tends to be the easiest on a budget. It is also straightforward to install and can be put up quickly. The main downside of wire fencing is that it is not very durable against a persistent horse and may frequently require repair. Horses can rub or push against the fencing and cause the materials to loosen and bend.

Using Electric Fencing For Horses

While it is common to use temporary “hot” panels for rotationally grazing smaller livestock, electric fencing for horses is usually electric strands, also known as tape. You will frequently see electric strands added to the top of wire fencing – this is an inexpensive way to deter a persistent horse from knocking down or pushing against wire panels. 

Electric wire can be purchased online and takes very little time to install; you can even find solar batteries to go with your electric wire, so you don’t have to worry about running extension chords.

If you’re wondering whether a mild jolt of electricity will be enough to act as a deterrent, just think about your horse’s temperament. Some horses will respect the fence with the lightest shock, while some cheeky horses may need the voltage turned up a bit!

One necessary consideration with electric fencing is proper grounding. Follow the instructions to ensure grounding is effective and adequate – if you are unsure on this front, seek out the help of someone more experienced. This is especially important in areas where thunderstorms are a common occurrence. 

Wooden Fencing For Horses

Wooden fencing is what we have recently installed on our property, as seen in the photo above. The visibility makes it an effective barrier and gives our property a more classy look.

Most wooden fences are comprised of wooden posts and boards. Pressure-treated wood can ensure that your wooden fence lasts for years to come. The rails of a wooden fence will typically consist of three or four boards. Using too many boards is better than installing the fence and finding out you didn’t use enough. We have four-board fencing about 4.5 feet tall, with the bottom board about eight inches off the ground.

There are a few downsides to wooden fences. (Watch me work on one here) The first is the cost; lumber is more expensive now than ever, and the price can quickly add up. Wood will eventually rot and will need to be replaced. In order to increase longevity, paint the fence or stain it regularly.

Secondly, you can either pay thousands of dollars for a professional to put in wooden fencing, or you can do it yourself… but my husband, Collin, and I learned it is not easy.

Lastly, wood has very little give; you will find yourself replacing boards that have been kicked, run into, or used as a scratching post.

PVC Fencing For Horses 

PVC fencing is one of the most expensive types of fencing on this list, making it cost-prohibitive for most working horse farms. The durability being weighed against the price is why you will often see PVC split-rail fencing at the front of someone’s property, with wire and t-posts fencing in the pasture at the back of the property.

If you only have a small area to fence in, or your budget is not a consideration, there are several benefits to this type of fencing.

PVC fencing is very durable – it has the aesthetics of wood without the potential for rot and insect damage. If maintained well, this type of fencing can last decades. It is also easy to install, so while you will pay more for the material, you may be able to save on the set-up.

Most PVC fencing is strong enough to withstand wind and snow, making it a solid option for just about any climate. And finally, PVC has significantly more bend than wood – so if your horse accidentally backs into a panel, it will likely give a little before bouncing back, unlike a wooden board that may break. Of course, PVC is not “horse-proof” – if you have a horse that is not content to stay confined, you’ll likely need to add a hot wire. 

Pipe Fencing For Horses

Metal pipe fencing is common on horse ranches due to its strength, durability, and flexibility. You will often see this type of fencing for round pens. The cost can vary, but it is typically more expensive than wood and less expensive than PVC. If you would like to use pipe fencing for your pasture or arena, but the cost is prohibitive, you may be able to find used panels for a lower price.

Pipe fencing is strong, particularly if you find steel that is 1.5-2” in diameter. Most horses can be confined in this type of fencing without needing electric wiring. It would take a strong, persistent horse to kick down this type of fencing. 

Metal pipe fencing is also durable; the panels will easily last decades if you use galvanized steel. The flexibility also has an advantage over other materials – if a horse crashes into or kicks at the panels, the pipe may bend, but it likely will not break. 

Metal fencing is also flexible in its usage. Metal pipe fencing can be disassembled and reassembled repeatedly, making it a great option for temporary paddocks and round pens. 

Horse Fencing You Should Avoid

There are many different types of wire fencing: high-tensile strands, barbed wire, cattle or hog panels, and smaller woven-wire or no-climb fencing. Individual strands and barbed wire are more appropriate for cattle. I’ve seen too many horses get caught up in barbed wire and become seriously injured. 

Cattle or hog panels have openings that are too large to be safe for horses. A hoof could easily get stuck between the panels and lead to injury.

There Is A Fencing Material For Every Horse

Whether you have a breeding ranch or a lesson barn, there is a type of horse fencing that will work for every situation and budget. With the information here, you should be able to narrow your search down to a couple of different materials – once you’ve done that, you can start looking for quotes to find out which would be the best fit for your pocketbook.

Because most horses are rather respectful of physical barriers, in most cases you do not need to completely break the budget to keep your horse safe and confined. You can learn more about owning and caring for horses here


Having Trouble With Your Training?

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Carmella Abel, Pro Horse Trainer

Hi! I’m Carmella

My husband and I started Equine Helper to share what we’ve learned about owning and caring for horses. I’ve spent my whole life around horses, and I currently own a POA named Tucker. You can learn more here.

Thank you for reading, and happy trails!

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