2008 Cherry Hill ©
No single type
of fence will be suitable for all of your plans. It could be perfectly
logical for you to have five or more types of fencing on your horse acreage for
your various needs: pens, paddocks, runs, pastures, round pen, arena and so on.
Good fencing serves many purposes. It keeps horses separated and in a particular
place away from the residence, lawns, crops, vehicles, buildings, and roads.
Fences maintain boundaries and property lines. They promote good relationships
between neighbors. Fences decrease liability as they lessen the chance of
a horse doing damage to other's property; they decrease the chance of a horse
getting on the road and causing an accident; and they can be devised to keep people,
especially children and animals (especially dogs and other horses), off the property.
Good fencing is designed to keep horses from getting hurt whether the horses are
turned out or being trained. And finally, attractive fencing really can
set off an acreage and add to the value of the property.
One of the main considerations as you choose your fencing materials is that the
risk of injury is greater and more common with horses than with other livestock.
Since a horse's main purpose is movement, leg injuries, which are frequently associated
with fence accidents, can put a horse temporarily or permanently out of service.
Safe fences for horses are sturdy and well-made. Barbed wire is not a suitable
Other factors to consider when choosing fencing are materials that are sturdy,
low maintenance, highly visible, attractive, and affordable.
When laying out fence lines, avoid acute angles which can cause a horse to become
cornered by other members of the herd, even if only in play. When running,
whether from fright or exuberance, horses will go through or over fences.
Four and a half feet is the absolute minimum fence height to discourage horses
from jumping. Five to six feet is better, especially for stallions, the
larger breeds, or those specifically bred and trained for jumping.
2008 Cherry Hill ©
Remember that the smaller the enclosure the more chance there is for a horse to
get hurt, so, although all fencing must be safe, be sure to choose the very safest
fencing you can for pens, runs, and paddocks. Make sure corners are safe,
that waterers and feeders do not protrude with sharp edges or create dangerous
spaces where a horse can get caught. Be certain that there are no protruding
bolt ends; and use round headed bolts (carriage bolts) whenever possible.
Design all gates to be flush with the fence when the gate is closed. Roof
edges and the corners and bottom edges of metal sheds are particularly dangerous
and turned-out horses should not have access to them.
Guy wires for telephone poles, power lines, or antennas should not be located
in horse pastures. If you can not get around this, be sure to tie something
on the guy wires so they are more visible or set a pair of wooden posts with a
rail between them to shield a horse from the guy wire.
The areas where horses are turned out vary in size, footing, and amount and kind
of vegetation present. Pens are at least the size of a double box stall
(12' x 24'') and are meant to be a horse's
outdoor living quarters. Horses in pens must be ridden or allowed free
exercise in a larger area daily. The footing in a pen can be native soil,
pea gravel, sand, or a bedding. If bedding is used, then the pen must be
covered and protected from the weather.
A run is usually a long, narrow pen specifically designed for exercise.
A 20' x 100' run will allow a horse to trot, but if you wish to encourage your
horse to gallop, you will have to provide about 200' and make sure there is enough
room for the horse to safely turn around at the end of the run at high speed.
A paddock can
be thought of as a large grassy pen or a small pasture. Paddocks can range
from 1/2 acre to several acres. The grass must be monitored carefully or
overgrazing can turn a paddock into a dirt lot in a hurry.
Pastures are improved, well-maintained grazing areas provided mainly for their
nutritional value with the added bonus of exercise.
1: Planning Horse Facilities
2: Barn Construction
Page 3: Fencing and Turnout Areas
4: Training Facilties