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Stock & Noble

Stock & Noble

Buckley steel post and rail fencing

What is the safest fencing for horses?

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When you start looking for horse fences, you’ll be flooded with options that differ in quality, cost, warranty, longevity, looks and safety. You can choose whichever fencing best suits your budget and vision, but safety should be a non-negotiable factor.  

 

The main purpose of fencing is to create a visual barrier for horses and is critical for the well-being of your favourite beings as well as your peace of mind.  

 

If you don’t treat safety as a priority, fail to collect information or forget to enquire about how safe your future fencing is, it could be detrimental to the health of your horses. An unsafe fence will lead to increased chances of injuries, sickness, higher property maintenance, frequent vet visits and most importantly will create a stressful atmosphere on your dream property.  

 

At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest and safest fencing solutions to high-end properties across Australia and New Zealand. We source proven and successful fencing products globally and the most important factor we take care of is horse safety. We understand the significance of horses for their property owners and that’s why each of our fencings is picked only after it successfully passes through the filter of safety and protection. Based on our years of experience and expertise we will evaluate different fencing options and help you explore the safest fencing options available on the market.  

 

To help you ensure the safety of your horses and protect them from unexpected and unwanted injuries, we will discuss: 

  1. The must-have features of a safe fence 
  2. How safe are different horse fencing options  

 

At the end of this article, you will be able to choose the safest fencing option that’s right for your property, fits in your budget and matches your vision.  

 

3 Must-have features of a safe horse fence 

 

1. Horse fencing should be strong, smooth and well-tensioned 

 

Horses are large-spirited animals. Fencing that might be adequate for controlling farm animals is often not suited for horses because of their sheer size and strength. Plastic horse fences have break strength mentioned which implies how strong it is to handle horses. Timber and Steel both are strong materials that can effectively prevent a horse’s escape. 

 

If a horse is running at full gallop and runs into the fence, it should be flexible and smooth enough to give way and not rigid or rough enough to end up hurting, cutting or tearing the horse’s skin. Flexible Plastic Rails like Horserail and Legacy Rail are the best performers and the most popular horse fencing solutions as far as strength and flexibility are concerned. However, the posts made up of Timber and Steel might have sharp edges and screws that could result in injuries. 

 

The second in line would be Buckley Steel Fencing System. It’s strong and designed with rounded smooth edges, it has no screws, nails or fasteners. Buckley rails are strong but for safety reasons, they have been given the flexibility to buckle under direct running impact and give way. There are no known injuries caused by this product, but the experiences of owners who’ve thanked it for saving their horses. 

 

Timber Post and Rail, Cattle Rail and PVC lose their sheen in the light of flexibility. Timber posts and rails are screwed together so aren’t flexible. Cattle Rail is welded together which tends to make it extremely rigid. PVC turns brittle over time and a sudden impact might result in breaking it into pointy shards with a high chance of causing injury to the animals. 

 

The most abrasive fences are wires, mesh and electric ropes. Do take care while installing either of these on your property. EquiRope is the only tensionable soft electric braid of its kind. A wire is known to be notorious for catching a horse and has a higher likelihood of tearing the skin or resulting in other injuries. 

 

Speak to our fencing advisor who can shed more light on EquiRope and why it’s one of the safest electric braids. 

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2. Should be highly visible and of a preferred height 

 

Good and safe fencing creates a visual barrier for the horses. They should be able to see it wide and clear from a distance. The wider the fence is, the better it can be seen by the animals and creates a sense of boundary for them. The post and rail fencing solutions like Timber post and rail, Buckley Steel Fencing System, PVC and Horserail are wide enough to look stunning and make a distinctive barrier in the eyes of horses. Wired fences are extremely thin, and this is one of the reasons they rank low on visual safety. 

 

Horses are good at running and escaping. If they don’t learn to respect the fences, they will keep trying to find a way. If they escape successfully, they might run the risk of getting lost or ending up on a busy road. If they get stuck in the fencing, it could prove to be even worse with a higher chance of leg injury. That’s why a safe fence should be1.2 to 1.8 m high to discourage horses from leaning over or jumping out. The height of the bottom rail should also be somewhere between 20 to 30 cm above the ground if you are containing foals.  

 

This means that neither foals will be able to roll under it, nor an adult horse will be able to get a hoof stuck. 

 

It depends a lot on installation and how you plan your fencing. Most horse fencing options would work well if they are installed at an optimum height. 

 

3. Horse fencing should be able to withstand cribbing 

 

When horses get bored, they love to interact with the fences. Their favourite activity is to chew the fences. Timber is easy and apparently good to chew and tends to be gnawed upon a lot. It’s also one of the biggest worries of any horse property owner who has a cribber in the house. If a horse continues to chew on the fence, it will begin to break apart and there is also a chance of the horse chewing a big piece of the fence and ending up at the vet. It could lead to additional costs and time wasted on property maintenance and animal management. Some deterrents can be coated on the timber fence, but we wonder if there’s actually a solution for horse cribbing. 

 

Most other post and rail fencing like Buckley Steel Fencing System, Horserail, Legacy Rail, and PVC fencing are comparatively safer as horses typically don’t prefer these materials for cribbing.  

 

Safety of horse fencing options available to you. 

 

Steel wire/barbed wire 

Wire fencing is one of the cheapest types of fencing that is adequate for horses and while it is still very popular today it has some of the worst visibility of any fencing on our lists, especially from a distance. Many property owners choose to install a top rail to increase the visibility of an all-wire fence.  

At Stock & Noble, we offer a plastic wire – Borderline which is more visible than steel wire and is flexible to help prevent injuries in case a panicked horse runs into the fence.  

The use of barbed wire as a fencing option is controversial within the equine world. We advise not to use it as a primary fencing option when the horse can come into contact with it. 

 

Cattle Rail 

Steel Pipe Fencing or Cattle Rail is probably the strongest of all options on the market today. Steel is also highly visible which means that there’s no chance of horses not seeing it, but its rigidity means that if a horse does run into the fence, it could hurt itself because it’s not designed to flex at all. 

 

Wooden post and rail 

It is probably the most popular fencing option seen at horse properties across Australia and New Zealand. This type of fencing provides excellent containment for your animals and depending on the quality of timber used it can last for decades. 

The problem is Timber has nails and screws and could also have sharp edges on the posts. It doesn’t give way to a panicked horse. Moreover, if your horse is a cribber or likes to chew the wood this isn’t going to be the safest solution for you. 

 

PVC Post and Rail Fencing 

While cost-effective and long-lasting, PVC fencing tends to turn yellow over time and breaks under pressure. It’s a good idea to use some type of electric fencing in conjunction with PVC fence as horses will soon learn that the boards will give up if leaned on.  

The worst trait of PVC Fencing is that it can shatter and your horse can get injured by the pointy shards.   

 

Electric fencing – tape, rope and polymer wire 

The most important thing to understand about electric fencing is that it is primarily a psychological barrier. So ideally it should be used in conjunction with a perimeter fence system.  

Electric rope fencing like EquiRope can be used by itself or in conjunction with almost any other type of fence. Equirope is soft on the animals’ skin and fully tensionable so it reduces the risk of injury and gives a powerful shock that demands respect from horses.   

Electric tape and wire are inexpensive, yet they increase the effectiveness and longevity of other fencing materials by preventing a horse from leaning or chewing on them. However, if it is not a fully tensioned electric system the tape can sag over time and cause a risk of entanglement and injury.   

Polymer wire like Hotcote is safer than normal wire because it is specially coated with a polymer blend that will prevent cutting or hurting horses. If the wires are properly tensioned most horses can bounce off it without injury or fence damage.  

On the downside, electric wire fencing lacks visibility compared with post and rail fencing.   

If you want, you can learn more and compare all the electric fences available in Australia. 

 

Vmesh  

It is an excellent equestrian fence. The twisted horizontal cables and tight Vmesh weave provide the strongest and safest construction available. The fence will give in and then spring back into shape when pressured, preventing injury.  

Close spacing protects hooves and keeps predatory animals from getting in. Also, the continuous weave construction means no cut wires are present that could injure a horse’s hide.   

If aesthetics isn’t your priority, you can add a visible barrier at the top of this fence and you have a near-perfect fence. 

 

Buckley Steel Fencing System  

Buckley Steel Post and Rail is similar in looks to traditional timber fencing and is the only engineered steel fencing system. The steel fence is pre-cut and highly visible with rounded smooth edges and no nails screws or fasteners. The posts are 2.45m long means they are buried deeper than what others offer. This gives the fence added strength.  

The posts come with pre-cut openings, so you have the option of 1 to 5 rails depending on your choice of safety. The length of the rails allows them to flex for improved horse safety.  

In the case of a panicked horse, its energy is sufficient to cause the rails to bend, buckle and release from the posts with no breakage or splinters. This prevents serious injury to the horse, unlike with welded steel fence rails.  

If a rail does need replacing you simply remove the spacer, slide in another rail and your fence is as good as new. 

The downside is this is a premium product and may not work for your budget. It also doesn’t suit steep terrain. 

 

Horserail or Flexible Plastic Rail 

Flexible Plastic Rail, popularly called Horserail is gaining traction quickly because it’s aesthetically pleasing and requires minimal maintenance.  

It consists of high tensile wire molecularly bonded to polyethylene plastic. It is flexible enough to help cushion impact and is constructed to be smooth and free from exposed wires. There are different kinds of Horserail available out there so do your homework first and choose which one is best for you and your property. 

A flexible plastic fence like Legacy Rail is also considered safer than wood because it doesn’t create sharp splinters when broken. This fence is extremely strong, highly visible and can be non-electric or electrified as per your need.  

Also, an electric Horserail is safe because the wire is enclosed. If your horse runs into the fence it will flex without cutting him. Just remember if a rail does break, that entire section will sag. You will have to splice in a new rail and retighten the entire length. The only problem is the posts which might be of timber and steel tend to have nails and screws in them. Timber posts are also likely to be chewed on by the horses. 

All in all, Horserail is a very versatile, highly safe and low-maintenance horse fencing option that also looks nice. 

  

Which horse fence is the safest for my property? 

You wanted to know about keeping your horses safe by choosing an optimum equine fencing solution. Now you know the must-have features you should look for while researching a safe horse fence. You also know the performance of different horse fencing solutions on the scale of safety.  

 

Based on this knowledge you are now equipped to choose a horse fence that’s best and safest for your property. You can ensure the protection of your favourite beings, spend more time enjoying your property rather than worrying about the health of your horses and visit vets frequently. 

 

There are a lot more things you need to know before buying a horse fence. We would want you to be armed with the most relevant and correct information before you take a final decision. We believe you should never settle for less than what’s best for you, your property and your animals.  

 

If you have any more questions on how to ensure the safety of your horses while using a particular fencing solution or need to discuss anything related to horse fencing, go ahead and book a personalised consultation. There’s no obligation of purchase, just a chat with one of our fencing advisors on how you can build the most beautiful and safest equine property.  

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