Common Problems With Fencing Horses And What You Can Do About Them

Construction & Contractors Articles

Keeping your horses contained may not be a chore equal to keeping pigs or cows penned, but some unique problems can arise which can damage the health of your horse or the strength of your fence. Here are some common issues with horse fencing and what you can do to stop and prevent them. 

1. Wire Injuries

While you may not keep your horse in a pasture surrounded by barbed wire, as barbed wire is obviously dangerous to horses, you should know that even plain wire fencing poses a danger to your horse. Wire fencing is a cheaper option than wood or metal rails, which is what makes it so attractive to horse owners. However, should your horse get tangled in the wire, the thin strands can cut deeply through their skin and muscle tissue. Sometimes, wire leads to injuries that cannot be rehabilitated, rendering the horse lame. If you absolutely cannot install another type of fencing for your horses at this time, be sure to at least have a fencing contractor inspect your fences to make sure the wire is well secured and strung tightly against the posts to reduce the chances of tangle-induced injury.

2. Chewing fences

If you invest a lot of money into installing a function and attractive wooden fence for your horse pasture, you will be dismayed to see it becoming disfigured as your horse chews on the rails, eventually weakening the rails to point of needing replacement. Chewing on wood is actually natural for a horse, but you can prevent fence chewing by

  • regularly exercising your horse. Horses that get stimulation and time outside the stall and small pasture space will fill their natural instinct to move. Allowing for full, regular movement helps to prevent chewing that results from boredom.
  • providing grazing opportunities. Horses are naturally designed to have nearly consistent food intake through grazing. If the pasture is stripped of munch-able grass, your horse will begin to chew the fence to satisfy the desire to keep on chewing. It's best to have at least two separate pasture spaces so that your horse can mow one while the other bounces back. 
  • feeding grass-based hay instead of grain and pellets. Grain and pelleted food do not have as much fiber as natural grass and hay, so horses supplement by chewing on wood, which is rich in cellulose. 
  • putting trees in the pasture space. Wood does not harm your horse-- chewing on wood is natural for them, especially in winter when there is not as much grass to eat. If you are able to build a habitat from scratch, consider fencing an area that has some trees. 

3. Escaping

When it comes to fencing an area for horses, people tend to look at the equation based on their needs: how much they can afford, how much area is available, and what looks the best. However, fencing decision should first be based on what your horse will need. Choosing the right fence will greatly reduce the chances of horses jumping the fence in search for greater freedom. If your horse is consistently jumping the fence, consider these factors in assessing your fence:

  • What is the incentive to escape the enclosure? For example, if your horse has a social personality, horses on the other side could be reasons why your horse does not like the enclosure they are in. Moving your horse to another location or changing the current location to include friends is the only option in this case.
  • Is there greener grass on the other side? If the acreage is not adequate, horses will start to forage on the other side of the fence. Horses might even lean against or break fences in order reach greener blades that are just out of reach. Consider expanding the fence or alternating pastures to prevent escapes.
  • Is your horse high energy? Young horses need more room and exercise. Some breeds are more high strung. You high energy horse may need a higher fence, as jumping in and of itself is a way to exhaust energy, especially for breeds like warmbloods and thoroughbreds that love to jump. 

For more information, contact a local fencing company, preferably one with experience in fencing horses. 

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