Stock & Noble

Stock & Noble

Steel post and rail fencing

How many rails are best for a horse fence?     

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While designing your horse property, the number of rails you choose for your horse fence can have a significant impact on the look.  


There is a huge variety ranging from a single rail to 5 rails. The question is what’s the right number for your dream equine property?  


The problem is if you aren’t satisfied with the look or if the rails don’t meet the purpose and functionality you are seeking, then it is near impossible to make any changes to the fencing. Especially if you choose long-lasting horse fencing like Buckley Steel Fencing System, you are tied to the chosen number of rails for decades. 


At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand. We have years of experience and expertise in helping our customers design the most beautiful equine properties. We understand that the right fencing layout and design play an integral part in achieving the desired vision and meeting the needs of horse property.   


In this article, we will discuss the three big factors you should consider while choosing the number of rails. Driven by aesthetics, functionality and cost, they will help you make the right decision at the beginning itself. So, you avoid any regrets that might come later and the frustration of being stuck with the wrong choice. 


What design do you desire for your horse property? 

The most important part of designing your property is finding the right fencing solution. So if you haven’t done that yet, take this quiz to gain clarity and find your dream horse fence. 

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Different people have different design aesthetics. The number of rails can impact the overall visual experience of your property considerably. So, take some time to think whether you want a high-impact look that brings focus to your fencing and puts it in the spotlight or a more minimalistic look that highlights the other areas of your property. 


Let’s take a look when it comes to designing your property what different numbers of rails can achieve: 


1 Rail Horse Fencing 

This is an option that is chosen when the post and rail look isn’t the driver. It’s almost always used as a top rail in combination with mesh or other cheaper fences underneath. It creates a good barrier for horses as well as smaller animals, but if you’re after an ideal post and rail look then this isn’t the one for you. 


2 Rail Horse Fencing 

If you want a post and rail look, but in a way that blends with the rest of your property instead of being too overpowering then 2 Rail is a good option. It’s largely chosen by customers who want a beautiful-looking fence, but not as the main design feature. 


3 Rail Horse Fencing 

This is the most popular choice across Australia and New Zealand. No matter if it’s Timber, PVC or Steel, 3 Rail fencing is preferred by most of the property owners in their choice of material. It gives your property a more traditional post and rail look. This fencing creates a visual experience we’ve seen over the years and are accustomed to. 3 Rail is the right balance between minimalistic and overbearing fencing. 


4 Rail Horse Fencing 

As Australia grows to be the wealthiest country in the world, we are noticing a trend of 4 Rail becoming the new favourite. The ones who want to make a statement and a significant first impression choose 4 Rail. More and more people are realising how much of an impact good fencing can have on the aesthetics of their property. So if cost and functionality suit them, they want only the finest and the most impressive option. 


5 Rail Horse Fencing 

These are the maximum number of rails that most fencing manufacturers would make for horse properties. The use of 5 Rail is focused mostly on functionality and not on looks or cost. If there are stronger animals or stallions, 5 Rail fencing will help you increase the height of fences to discourage them from jumping across. 


Additional design factors that influence the choice of horse fencing rails: 


The layout of your fencing: 

At a property that has a lot of smaller or overlapping paddocks, if you use 4 Rail fencing, it can look cluttered and overbearing. One way of overcoming this is to have a very clean and clear structure to your paddock design. 

You can use our gallery for some inspiration on paddock designs. 


Another factor to consider is the actual fencing design. If there is a lot of intense fencing, you can go with one rail less than what you planned for. 


The colour of your fences: 

On a horse property, different colours will have a different visual impact. For example, if you opt for white 4-rail fences, they might become visually chaotic sooner than black. So, consider the colours and number of rails accordingly. It’s a better idea to choose fewer rails when it comes to white. 


The style of gates: 

In case you need gates along with your horse fencing, it’s important to note that as far as Buckley Steel Fencing System is concerned, gates only come in 3 or 4 rails. Single, 2 Rail or 5 Rail gates are not available. So, if you want everything to be visually aligned on your property then we advise that you choose either 3 or 4 rails. 


What are the types of horses and activities at your horse property? 

Along with the looks, the number of rails you choose is also determined by the functionality you need. For example, how calm or spirited your horses are and how many you have are key factors in your decision-making process. The larger the animals and higher the numbers are, the more rails are needed to ensure their safety and create an enclosure. 


Also take into consideration the kind of training, riding and other activities you need to conduct inside the property. The more intense work areas will need more rails. 


1 Rail Horse Fencing 

Since this option is almost always used with a mesh underneath, 1 Rail successfully keeps smaller animals inside and contains placid horses. It’s more of a functional barrier than a post and rail fence on an aspirational equine property. 


2 Rails Horse Fencing 

As far as functionality is concerned, we have successfully supplied a 2 Rail Buckley Steel Fencing System, to properties where horses are very well known by the owners and are typically calm and well-trained. They do not push or lean on the fences too excessively. 

2 Rail fences are best suited in riding arenas where you get a good view of the riding or training happening inside the arena. 

The option of 2 Rails also works well at commercial properties where the animals are very well engaged and handled by experts. They are already trained to live in a controlled environment and respect the fences. 


3 Rail Horse Fencing 

This option works well for all properties, with every kind of horse placid and trained or wild and spirited. Even if the horse pushes or leans and rubs against the fences, 3 Rail is a strong and sturdy barrier to keep them safely inside the enclosed space. 

As long as there’s no special or specific functional requirement of the property, 3 Rail is the most popular choice for most equestrian property owners in Australia. 


4 Rail Horse Fencing 

This option lets you keep your fencing nice, strong and high enough to deter the horses’ escape. With 4 rails the gaps are smaller than the 3-rail option, so it works best at properties that have smaller animals along with large powerful horses. While in 3 Rail fencing, the horses might try to push through, in 4 Rail there’s no possibility and no motivation for horses to even try to jump or escape. 

4 Rail fencing is also good for high-intensity areas like day yards, where the fences are likely to be pushed and leaned on more often. 


5 Rail Horse Fencing 

While typically the horse fences are 1.5 metres high, a 5 Rail fence option is 1.8 metres. It allows you to add height to the fencing line and avoid any jumping or escaping of powerful energetic horses. These rails also prove to be useful in a working environment like a round yard. 


If you want to keep smaller animals safely inside, mesh or electric fencing can be added to any number of rails. 


What is the budget for your fencing project? 

At the end of the day, the cost is cost tends to be the most important factor that drives all decisions.   


1 and 2 rails are more cost-effective, while 4 and 5 rails will be expensive. 3 Rail is priced at a range that is neither too high, nor too low. 


For a quick reference and comparison here is the cost of different rails of the Buckley Steel Fencing System: 


Cost of 1 Rail : $79 + GST 


Cost of 2 Rails: $111 + GST 


Cost of 3 Rails: $ 143 + GST 


Cost of 4 Rails: $175 + GST 


Cost of 5 Rails: Price on application 


Interestingly enough, when you choose Buckley Steel Fencing System the cost of material is different, but there is no difference in the cost of installation. So, whether you choose, 2, 3, 4 or 5 rails, the installation cost is going to be similar. 


However, in other fencing options like Timber Post and Rail, the cost of installing different numbers of rails will vary. 


How many rails should I choose for my horse fencing? 

As you design your horse fencing, you come across a plethora of options for the type of material, colour, and number of rails. It can get confusing to take the decision that’s right for you and your property. 


We walked through how to choose the number of rails for your horse property based on three critical factors- design, functionality, and cost. Now the decision is up to you. Take the time to evaluate your property’s aesthetics, the need of your animals, and the investment you are willing to make.  


This is a big decision, but it will ultimately help you finalize the best option right from the start and avoid any buyer’s regret, wasted time, effort, or money. to get this process started, ask yourself the following questions: 


  1. Do you want to use mesh or any cheaper solution as your main fencing and top rails are simply needed for additional barriers? A single rail would be ideal for you. 

  2. Do you want a post and rail look but want to keep the cost as well as look simple and minimalistic? 2 Rail fencing is a good idea. 

  3. Do you desire a traditional post and rail look and are more comfortable investing in a familiar and popular choice? 3 Rails is the way to go. 

  4. Are you building a forever property, want to stand apart from the crowd, and make a fabulous first impression? 4 Rails is the right choice for you and your property. 

  5. Is there a specific requirement at your property, for example, do you have spirited stallions and you need the fence to be higher and stronger? 5 rails would be perfect. 

While designing your property, along with choosing the number of rails, it’s also important to know how to pick the right colour for your horse fencing. A simple choice like white or black can completely change the look and feel of your property. So, make sure you don’t install the wrong shade.  


You can now confidently decide how many rails to select and create a beautiful equine property just the way you imagined. If you have any more questions about designing and picking the right fencing solutions, book a free personalised consultation. One of our fencing experts will call you, listen to all your needs patiently and help you make the right decisions using years of experience and expertise.  

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