What is the best equine fencing?

What is the best horse fencing solution for your property?

  • Affordable?
  • Safe?
  • Ease of Install?
  • On-going Maintenance?

What should you consider?

Humans have been domesticating and housing horses for over 5,000 years and whilst we’ve learned a lot, there are still a lot of things to consider when deciding what fencing is best for you and your animals.

In this article we’ll attempt to break down for you the Safety, Cost Efficiency, Install Ease and Maintenance aspects of different horse Fencing and grade them with Poor, Good and Great based off our discussions with fencing contractors and their experiences.

Post and Rail variations:

Timber, PVC & Steel

Timber Post and Rail

Timber post and rail fences provide a great sight deterrent for spooked horses but do little for them if an impact occurs, best case scenario the horse will be kept in the yard but likely will sustain injuries or worse.

Five years ago fence contractors and people in rural areas expected their timber post and rail to last 15 years, now they expect 5 to 8 years. Pine plantations used to have their trees cut down based on ‘maturation time’ (time spent planted) but unfortunately are now cut down based on their height meaning the timber isn’t as strong as it used to be.  Additionally, timber mills are restricted with how much arsenic they use to “treat” the timber so they’re more susceptible to the elements.  The end result is a fence that will need a lot of maintenance to maintain anything approaching longevity.

  • Safety – Good
  • Cost Efficiency – Good 
  • Install Ease – Poor
  • Maintenance – Poor

timber post and rail

PVC Post and Rail

Cheaper than timber post and rail and often easier to install coming in kit-sets, PVC fencing has long been used as a substitute in various colours and formats.

Whilst PVC is a great plastic for repelling water, it, unfortunately, does little against the harsh Australian sun.  Over time the chemical reaction to heat causes the PVC to become brittle thus easily broken upon impact, shattering into sharp shards and edges.

  • Safety – Poor (overtime)
  • Cost Efficiency – Good
  • Install Ease – Good
  • Maintenance – Poor

Steel Post and Rail

Long-lasting and super strong, but again with no give if an impact occurs Steel rail is a very extreme solution.  Installing will mean welding and lots of heavy lifting and the same goes for any future maintenance, your horses are not going to fare as well as other fencing types if they kick out.

  • Safety – Poor
  • Cost Efficiency – Good 
  • Install Ease – Poor
  • Maintenance – Good
Steel Rail Fence

Electric Plastic Rail

With advancements in plastics over the last 30 years came a new entrant into the fencing market; combining high tensile steel wires with flexible plastic rail.  Much like Coated Wire the quality of your rail will depend on the types of plastics used and how it’s manufactured.  Be sure to check for what warranties are offered for the best value horse fencing for your project as there are many imitations out there.

This form of fencing is quite simply the safest fencing for horses.  Its flexibility will absorb the impact of a frightened animal, it’s strength means it will stay up and not wrap around limbs, its size is easily sighted in the first place and add easy electrification to all this and you have the best fence available for your horses.

  • Safety – Great
  • Cost Efficiency – Good 
  • Install Ease – Great
  • Maintenance – Great

 

Wire Fencing:

Sighter, Mesh and Coated

Sighter Wire

There are many different versions of sighter wire, it can act as a visual deterrent for a horse but without electrification may not respect it or the posts it’s mounted on!  If purchasing sighter wire make sure it has a high tensile wire inside for the best safety results.  The polymer ‘stretchy’ tape does horrible things to legs if it gets tangled around and cinched tighter and tighter as a caught horse thrashes.  Most sighter wires go up easily and don’t need much maintenance, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best attachments as that’s usually the only difference between these products.

  • Safety – Poor
  • Cost Efficiency – Great 
  • Install Ease – Good
  • Maintenance – Good
sighter wire

Mesh

Whilst there are many forms and styles of Mesh fencing on the market, as long as the gaps aren’t big enough for hoofs or limbs to fit through Mesh will be a very safe fence for your horses, especially foaling paddocks.  Combined with an electric rail will ensure young horses learn early to leave the fences alone!

Whilst Mesh looks great upon install after a short time the Mesh often bows/sags with impacts from horses or the elements and is very hard to strain back up to its initial taught state.  Potential repeated replacing of the mesh panels could mean cost efficiency drops.

  • Safety – Great
  • Cost Efficiency – Good 
  • Install Ease – Poor
  • Maintenance – Poor

Coated Wire

Different to sighter wires, Coated Wires are usually a high tensile wire coated in a variety of plastics.  The difference in products will come down to what plastics are in the product you’re investigating (premium polyethylene vs pvc’s and other polymer blends), quality of attaching buckles and it’s also helpful when you can electrify it!

Very cheap to purchase, DIY friendly and often with a long life makes this a great financial option when fencing on a budget.  If electrified it will keep your horses respectful of fencelines and if panicked the plastic coating at most should only cause some fur-burn but no coiling or piercing should ever occur.

  • Safety – Good
  • Cost Efficiency – Great 
  • Install Ease – Good
  • Maintenance – Great
hotcote horserail fencing

Contact us today for an obligation free quote.

We can help design your horse fencing project and work with any budget, your long lasting safe fencing is only an email away