fencing choices for paddocks

Looking at the barn layout husband brought home, I figure I’ll be making two paddocks off the east side of the barn. Each paddock will feed into a separate stall and that means Pandora will have shelter immediately without having to build the pony shed (though I will be building one later for a separate grazing area).  

I’m researching the different fencing options to consider for the paddocks and eventually an arena (to be built in the fall).

Pipe fencing – it would match current fence but is too expensive for me to install at a rental. It provides a substantial visual barrier to horses in close quarters, however, there is a slim chance, because it is unyielding, that a horse can become severely injured if participating in very rough horse play (I do know of a horse who speared himself onto a pipe paddock fence and died).

West paddocks with pipe fencing

Pipe fencing with cable ~ I’ve only seen this at a few places as it is not common. However, it is a wonderful compromise with the durability and beauty of pipe fencing and the cheapness of cable. Below is rubber “rope” used below a top line of pipe for a round pen.

This cable (below) was actually utility wire that had been used and threaded through metal loops that had been sodered onto the pipe posts. A line of pipe runs along and joins the top. While the cable might break the pipe would not so continues to provide a barrier until a repair can be made. The horse in this photo is 14.2 and the top fence line high, perhaps 6′.

Wooden Board fence – would be pretty, safe and easy/quick to put up. A line of offset electric would help to prevent rubbing or kicking. Maintenance can be a hassle as boards warp with weather and age. If we owned the place I would probably go with something longer-termed with less maintenance. Spacing approx 8 ft apart.

possible option if combined with electric

If kicked by a horse, it would break (as we already know) so the chance of injury is less. However, it also means more maintenance headaches.

"I know nothing about this...."

Smooth wire– unless offset by electric would not prevent a horse from taking it down and having a potentially very nasty injury. Close quarter enclosures like this will get a lot of horse rubbing and playing on the fenceline. Having a more visually substantial barrier would be best.

This is a better choice for the perimeter fence then the paddocks or arena. Even on the perimeter, I would put in a guard wire such as black and white electrified rope or tape for better visibility. Remember, to top off t-posts to prevent horse injury. Cheap and fencing posting can be 10-12 feet if wire is stretched and anchored correctly with cemented and braced corner and ending fence posts.

Not a very visible fence

T-post with Wire Panel Fencing – The panels can be attached to wooden posts and most commonly t-posts (shown here in red and white) which provides a cheap perimeter fence. The main concern is to make sure the squares are not large enough that a hoof can be caught within. If you are going to house mini’s or foals, make the holes even smaller. All t-posts must be capped in close quarters.

Because of pawing, boredom, playing etc… in such close quarters as paddocks, I would skip this for paddock use and keep as a possibility for a perimeter fence as it keeps out dogs. I’ve found that it has a tendency to sag so make sure you pull it tigh at a bracing end post. Here it is topped with electric tape to prevent rubbing:

EquiLine – (vinyl line) – one of my favorite options as it is 100 percent plastic and will not cause the damage that wire will if a horse goes through it. Horses will bounce off it or bring it down safely. However, it would need electric (a guard strand) and I wouldn’t put at roadside as it doesn’t provide enough of a barrier.

I’ve been at stables that have used this product in paddocks and I’ve been impressed with it’s safety. Can be spaced 10 – 12 feet apart.

Equiline offset with electric

RAMM Flex Fence – a wider, plastic fencing that gives a look of “rails”. This would be a good choice for an arena and since the paddocks will be next to the arena, if I did it all in black or brown it would blend well with the black pipe fencing at the driveway. They even make a high impact product for roundpens and arenas.

Very pretty to use at property entrances, around barns, and versatile enough that it could be used for perimeter, paddocks, and arenas. Go with an 8 foot spacing in the paddocks, maybe a 10′ in the arena.

Black combination fence

Since the paddocks will need to contain minis/horses, who all know each other (as opposed to a boarding situation with horses being changed), I’ll go with a five rail fence at the paddocks. This will probably alternate with three wide, and two electric (black and white rope). The question is to use Flex Fence or wooden boards? I am guessing wooden boards will be cheaper but not as durable.

PVC or hard vinyl fence – my least favorite fence was used extensively at the Hell Barn. While it looks pretty (for a short period of time), it has several major issues: 1.) it breaks easily; 2.) when broken the shards are sharp like glass; 3.) it is expensive to build and to replace; 4.) requires a lot of fence posts that are also easily broken and are a huge pain to replace; and 5.) shows mildew after a rain.

Personally, I cannot think of one good thing to say about this fence – it’s crap that rich people buy who know nothing about horses but who want everything to be impressive to the neighbors. If you have to use it, put it in arenas and borders where there is minimum horse contact and maximum need to be “pretty.” Totally unsuitable for close quarter paddocks and roundpens.


You may want to consider other rail configurations to fit your specific needs such as your horses level of aggression or play, foals, studs, boarders with changing horses vs. a stable herd, age of horses etc…

When putting horses together in close quarters such as paddocks, always consider putting in an electric guard strand to prevent horses from rubbing, pushing or leaning on the fence. Electric would not be installed inside the riding areas but I may install an offset guard wire on the inside of the pasture that shares that fenceline.

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3 Responses to fencing choices for paddocks

  1. Pingback: fencing choices for perimeters « Horse Ideology

  2. Pingback: fencing choices for perimeters « Horse Ideology

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