Horsing Around: Things To Consider When Choosing Wire Fencing For Your Horse Paddock

Strong, sturdy wire fencing is a vital component of any horse paddock, stopping your prized mounts from wandering off while protecting them from wild predators, thieves and other outside dangers. Choosing wire fencing for your paddock is an excellent way to create a low maintenance, high strength barrier for your horses; however, some types of wire fencing are more suitable for your horses than others, so you should ask yourself the following questions before dropping your hard-earned cash on a fence.

Should I choose a square or diamond wire mesh?

When shopping around for wire fences you've probably noticed that the wires tend to be linked in one of two ways; horizontal and vertical wires woven together into a square or rectangular pattern, or diagonal wires woven into diamonds (often colloquially known as chicken wire).

Square wire fencing tends to be less expensive due to the decreased amount of wire it uses, and is entirely suitable for most fully-grown horses. However, the larger gaps between the wires mean that smaller horses, ponies and foals can get their hooves caught in the wire while attempting to climb or jump it. Square-woven wire can also encourage cribbing, a harmful compulsive behaviour in certain horses that can cause severe dental problems. If these problems put any of your horses at risk, consider going to the extra expense of installing tightly-woven diamond wire instead.

Should I have my wire coated?

Unless you have opted for stainless steel or aluminium wire (both expensive options, particularly for larger paddocks) your wire fencing will probably be made of mild or carbon steel; as such, it is vulnerable to rust and corrosion damaging the wire's integrity over time, so you might wish to consider choosing a coated wire. There are two common types of wire coating to choose from:

  • Galvanised coatings are made from zinc chemically bonded to the surface of the wire, and provide excellent protection against rust.
  • PVC coatings are more expensive but provide similar levels of protection, and can also make your wire more visible if chosen in light colours to provide a better visual deterrent.

Bear in mind that coated wire fencing costs significantly more than uncoated wire, and if you are only erecting temporary fencing you may prefer not to bother.

Should I electrify my fence?

Electrifying a wire fence is a relatively simple matter, and a single electrified wire running around the top edges of your fence can provide an excellent barrier to jumping or climbing horses. However, electric fencing can cost a significant amount to purchase (especially if you choose a model that runs on battery or solar power rather than mains electricity) and costs money to power and maintain). If your fences are too high for a horse to reasonably attempt to climb or jump it you may therefore consider electrification unnecessary, although in these cases it does still make an excellent thief and predator deterrent.