Four Factors To Consider When Building A Wooden Fence For Your Horse Pasture

Posted on: 5 June 2017

As a horse owner, you probably already spend a lot of time worrying about your animals' welfare. You don't want to spend every moment that they're turned out hoping that your fence keeps them properly enclosed and protects them from injuries. If the time has come to build a new pasture fence--and you have your heart set on a wooden fence--it's important to put some deep thought and planning into your fence construction project from the get-go. This way, you'll have a safe, secure fence that eases your worries, rather than causing them.

Here are four factors to consider as you build a horse fence.

Choose the right wood.

Pine is cheap, which leads many horse owners on a budget to choose it for their pasture fences. However, pine fencing develops rot rather quickly, so you'll likely spend more on repairs in the long run. If you can afford to spend a bit more up front, you're best off going with a sturdier wood like cedar or oak. Both are far less prone to rot, so you won't have to paint, stain, or replace boards as often.

Oak is a good choice if any of your horses are cribbers or wood-chewers, as it does a better job of standing up to their teeth. Cedar is a little softer, so it may develop some pits and rough edges if horses crib on it. However, it is otherwise a durable fencing choice--and a popular one among horse owners whose animals do not have these habits.

Choose your height carefully.

The industry standard for pasture fencing is 54", which is 4 1/2 feet. If you have average-sized horses or ponies, this is certainly sufficient. However, there are some circumstances under which you're better off going with a 5-foot, or even a 6-foot-tall fence.

  • You have tall, 17+ hand horses who are can more easily jump a shorter fence.
  • Your horse has a history of jumping the pasture fence.
  • Your horse has jumped heights of 4'6" or higher under saddle, and you therefore worry that he might jump the fence.
  • Your pasture is located near a thruway or other dangerous area and you want to be extra careful to prevent horses from jumping out.

Put the rails on the inside.

When assembling your fence, be sure to nail the fence rails to the inside of the posts. This way, if a horse leans against the fence or kicks a board, it won't pop off as easily as it would if it were on the outside. You also do not have to worry as much about sharp ends of nails poking through and posing a hazard to your horse if a board comes loose; the nails will be on the outside of the fence.

Be prepared to add electric wiring.

Many horses respect a wooden fence, but there are some who love leaning against the fence, cribbing on it, or rubbing against it to the point that they develop sores. If you don't currently have a wooden fence, you may not realize your horse has one of these habits until you put one up. Thankfully, there is an easy solution: installing an electric wire along the inside of the top fence rail. 

Be prepared for the possibility that you'll need to do this from the get-go. Position your fence so that any electrical wire you need to add can be run from the barn or the nearest electrical source. When planning your budget, reserve some money for the cost of the electrical wiring if you need it.

To learn more about building the safest, most secure pasture fence, reach out to fencing contractors in your area.