Safe pasture fencing for your horse pasture involve careful planning and good pasture fencing options. Unsafe pasture fencing, like a couple of strands of barbed wire, can kill or permanently crippled your horse. Pasture fencing involves careful planning and safe pasture fencing materials that prevent injury to your horse.
So when you buy a new property, or want to redo your fields and pastures to safely accommodate horses, you want to do it right.
But, what kind of pasture fencing should you use? And where do you start?
The Big Picture: Making a Plan
Before investing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fencing, invest a couple of dollars in some graph paper. Graph paper has a grid of blocks lightly marked on it and is used for planning the use of spaces. Each block could represent a foot, a yard-or a mile-depending on the size of your farm, ranch or suburban lot. Get a sheet and mark off the perimeter of your property. Carefully measure and outline all existing buildings. Include driveways and lanes around them. Try to be as accurate as you can. The truer your measurements, the better the end result will be.
Once you have the property outlined and the buildings drawn to scale, decide what you want-and need-to accommodate the horses you have now, or plan to have in the future. You might only have one or two quiet horses that can be turned out together. Or maybe you have both mares and geldings, and maybe even a stallion, that all should have separate lots.
The common question of how much land you need for each horse is not as simple as applying a mathematical formula. The generalization of 2-3 acres to sustain one horse on grass alone might work in lush regions of the country or on irrigated tracts, but it could take 10 acres or more in arid regions.
How much land you really need depends on where you live, the weather, and whether or not you are going to supplement grazing with hay and grain. A call to your county extension agent might provide some valuable insight about horse-to-acreage ratios in your area, but you'll still need to use your own best judgment. Even if you do feed hay, having too many horses for the pasture size will result in overgrazing and trampling of vegetation. It also means more work, as the heavier concentrations of manure require constant picking up.
Even if you have only one or two horses, you should have two separate grazing areas so one field can be given a "rest" to allow the grass to recoup. Also consider the sex, age and temperament of the horses. If you have the room, it's usually better to keep geldings and mares in separate pastures. If you're going to be raising babies, you need a safe place to separate them from their mothers at weaning. And don't plan your pastures for peacefully grazing horses. Plan them for playing, pushing or panicked horses.