Fence design help

We are putting in new fencing on the property and ugh… I can’t decide if this layout is the most convenient long term. I have two horses and a pony that has to stay on dry lot. Total 11.75 acres.

Any advice or guidance? What would you do differently?

Fence layout .pdf (3.4 MB)

I would put the pony on a narrow track instead of in a rectangular dry lot.

you can double fence one of the pastures (it can be electric on the inside if everybody respects it. Then he can go around the edge of the field on a bare track, while his friends graze the pasture inside.

There is book, Paddock Paradise, with more details.

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…you mean for your arena to be catty whompus?

good point. I need it to fit in that area as it is the highest elevation and drains really well.

Doesn’t help I can’t draw but it’s going to be a 100’ x 200’ rectangle.

Assuming you will have 10-20 horses, I would have another small-ish paddock near the barn. Maybe split the one that has the two round pens?

It’s nice to have a few small paddocks nearby when:

  • it’s too early to stall them, but too late to walk them all the way out to the big field
  • layups
  • over the fence introductions
  • bad weather (you can turn a few out, clean stalls, throw the next group out, clean stalls)
  • You don’t lose access to both round pens if one horse is turned out

Just something to consider

ETA: These are from my experience as an assistant trainer on 25 horse, 50 acre farm YMMV


I’d aim to have the gate of every pasture as close to the barn as possible, rather than on the far side of another pasture. Like in the upper left, that field that’s past the arena, I’d fence that so it comes up along the arena, rather than tucked in behind it. Same with the field that’s on the bottom of this pic past the house.

Far away fields just take longer to turn out/bring in, and horses that are at all herd bound or barn sour get anxious in far away fields.


I am now walking around the property looking for something to name Catty Whompus :thinking::joy:


So much this. Also, if possible make it so the stalls turn out directly into the pasture. If you are hurt or on vacation it’s just much easier and safer for whomever is covering for you.


I’m confused. You say you have two horses and a pony, but the barn has twenty stalls? How many horses are you planning on housing on this place?

If you’re putting more than 5 horses on this place; I would say you need more, smaller paddocks to allow for small herds and paddock rotation.

The area to the left of the barn needs to be three long narrow paddocks, maybe with stalls opening from the left side of the barn directly onto the paddocks. I’d also want a long narrow paddock reaching from the bottom right of the barn, and a gate to another one that runs close by the house. The big paddock to the upper right needs to be split as well.

If you post the unedited photo, I’ll try to draw it for you.

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I read that as “I have two horses and a pony that are required to be on a dry lot.” No mention of total horses on the property.

The property has 26 stalls on the property. 20 in the main barn and 6 in the small barn on the right. I use the small barn for hay and shavings storage.

I currently have on the property:
A. one horse that does not need dry lot
B. One horse that needs dry lot
C. Pony that needs dry lot

There will be a max of 5 equines on the property as that’s what my budget allows. The rest of the stalls will be unoccupied.

The property isn’t big enough to handle the load of all stalls being filled and still providing turnout.

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Good for you for recognizing the limits the amount of turnout has on how many horses you could support. I’m in NE and people pack so many horses onto tiny properties. I know it’s a question of finances and limited amounts of land to a large degree, but it kinda breaks my heart.

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I’d probably do something about like this (the purple)


Me too, this looks great. Maybe split the big field on the right one more time for rotation?

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Thank you…Thank you!!!

Love this fence design. Would be much better for rotational grazing and separating horses as needed. I do want to have one large-ish field to gallop and fool around in. So might use electric vs permanent fencing in that big field on the right.

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I did originally, but the only reasonable way to do it would have the gate on the driveway, which I really don’t like, so I left it big. Plus, I like to have at least one big field option anyway in case I have several that can go out as a proper group. Or as OP replied with, to gallop and fool around in :slight_smile:

Thanks for figuring out how to copy the photo and draw new lines on it. That was pretty much exactly what I had envisioned.

I see what you’re saying about the gate on the driveway.

What about dividing the big paddock diagonally, and then putting both gates in that little inset area?


I lack the ability to draw a straight line, sorry.

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If you only have 3-5 horses, I would focus on an arrangement that allows you to easily rotate between pastures, and to give the horses direct access, so you only have to open and close gates, not lead horses individually. For instance a relatively central “sacrifice area” (where you have water troughs, and a place to feed hay) which is adjacent to all of the separate fields, and the dry lot (which would need it own water trough). Then, by opening and losing gates, you can give the horses access to the "sacrifice area, and any one specific field. The purple/blue drawing is closer to what I would do. Se my post on the “How wide for an alley?” post for a diagram of what I mean- the sacrifice area in my case is around the barn. They always have access to shelter under the barn overhang, as well as access to water.