December 2020

When selecting any fencing ensure it is safe and sufficiently strong. Fencing should be inspected daily; it is important to note that if your horse escapes from their pasture because of inadequate or unsafe field boundaries you may be liable for any damage caused. Be cautious where hedgerows are used as the sole boundary as they can become weak and require reinforcement. Be aware that any poorly erected, unused or discarded fencing can also present a risk to wildlife.

The BHS recommends in general that fences should be 1.25m (4ft) high with the lower rail set 0.5m (1ft 6in) above the ground; more specifically we suggest fencing heights of:

  • Horses: 1.08m-1.38m (3.6ft-4.6ft)
  • Ponies: 1m-1.3m (3.3ft-4.3ft)
  • Stallions: 1.25m-2m (4.1ft-6.5ft). Where the minimum height is used, a double fence line is also advisable with an electric fence line along the top of the field boundary.

Type of Fencing

Advantages Disadvantages

Wooden Post and Rail

Post and Rail
- Safe and secure

- Highly visible
- Expensive

- Requires treatment to preserve  wood

- Some horses may chew the wood

Stone Walls

Stone Wall Fencing
- Durable Provides some shelter - Expensive to build, requiring skilled labourer

- Time consuming to maintain

Electric Tape

Electric Fencing
- Low maintenance

- Versatile

- Can be used to divide fields

- Relatively low cost
- Can be insecure

- Some horses may not respect the fencing boundary

- Not suitable as the sole boundary fence

Stock Fencing

Stock Fencing
- Beneficial to ensure boundaries are secure for all animals on the land if cross grazing is undertaken. - Potential for injuries, with the risk of hooves becoming caught. If used to secure other livestock in the field, a secondary fence line e.g. electric fencing should be used to prevent the horses reaching the stock fencing
Unsuitable Fencing for Horses

Plain Wire

Plain Fencing
N/A - Wire has poor visibility and a potential to cause injury. If used it must be kept completely taut and with a top rial of timber.

Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire
N/A - Never to be used with horses as it has the potential to cause severe and permanent injury.


1) The British Deer Society. Fencing hazards to deer. Available here

 Grassland Management

 Pasture Management 

 Poisonous Plants

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