Glossary of Fencing Terms

Use these definitions to help you sort through fencing types and terms. From the editors of Horse&Rider magazine.

Fencing comes in a variety of materials and forms. Translating the options can help you decide what's best for you.

Photo by Darrell Dodds

Barbed wire: Metal strands with sharp metal barbs woven in along its length.

Broken rail fencing: See post-and-rail fencing.

Continuous-mesh fencing: Barrier made from a sheet of woven steel wire (or other material, see polymer-grid fencing) that covers and unbroken span from the ground up, and is attached to vertical supports called T-posts. Recommended types for horses are 2-by-4-inch "square" mesh (also called "non-climb" mesh) and 4-by-2-inch "V" or "diamond" mesh.

Cross fencing: Fence lines that divide pastures within a piece of property.

Coated-wire fencing: Barrier made from 12 1/2- to 14-gauge steel wire encased in high-tensile polymer or vinyl approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. (The lower the gauge number, the thicker, more heavy-duty the wire.)

Electric board fencing: Post-and-rail fencing with built in runners of conductive aluminum along 3-inch rails.

Electric braid: Polyester yarns braided into dimensionally stable rope that rebounds to its original length after stretching. Conductible copper wire is braided into the rope's exterior surface.

Electric polytape: Conductive wires interwoven with strips of nylon; ranges in diameter from ? to 2 inches.

High-tensile-polymer fencing: Barrier made from tightly strung synthetic strands.

High-tensile-wire fencing: Barrier made from tightly strung wire.

Non-electric monofilament fencing: Barrier made from single, untwisted strands of high-density nylon or polyester.

Perimeter fence: Fence line around the outer boundary of a piece of property.

Pipe fencing: A type of post-and-rail fencing made from welded oil-stem pipe or reject material.

Polymer-grid fencing: Type of continuous-mesh fencing made from a plastic or vinyl-type material, rather than woven wire.

Poly-coated wood fencing: Barrier made from wood coated with polyethylene, a tough synthetic substance designed to prevent broken/splintered rails, discourage chewing, and reduce maintenance.

Post-and-rail fencing: Barrier made up of vertical support posts and a series of interrupted (staggered) horizontal rails. Rails can be made from wood (whole or split, see wood fencing) a synthetic material (see synthetic post-and-rail system), or metal piping.

Synthetic post-and-rail system: Vinyl or polyethylene post-and-rail fencing.

Synthetic rail system: High-tensile-polymer fencing or vinyl/PVC rails reinforced with heavy-gauge steel wire and attached to vertical support posts.

T-posts: Vertical metal supports designed with a flat plate at one end to hold them securely in the ground. Used to support continuous-mesh fencing.

Wood fencing: Barrier made from natural wood. Available in either post-and-board (horizontal barrier made from flat or "dimensional" lumber) or post and rail (horizontal barrier is made from whole, round lumber.)

From Horse & Rider magazine