Perimeter Fence Minimums

My back 15 acres will NOT have horses turned out on it but do plan to ride that area on a regular basis. Fast, busy road out front including semi’s every few minutes.

Turnout/grazing areas were done in electric, brown COATED wire - posts every 15’ and I could not be happier. I did 5 strands - with a height of 5 ft on the outer fence and all inner fencing 3 strands.

Don’t have jumpers or tall horses and no goals for that.

Trying to spend the LEAST amount of money on the back 15. So could I?

  1. Just do 2 strands? Or is the minimum 3?
  2. Could my posts go wider than 15’?

Planning for 5 foot height.

So, you want it fenced so that if you’re riding and there is an incident, your horse won’t get into the road?

If that’s the case, and you won’t be using it for turnout, I think 2 strands should be fine. I would hesitate to go too far between posts because you may end up with sagging wire, especially if you live anywhere that could have ice or snow on the wire…

How visible is the fence? I’d want it to be pretty visible if the thought is that it needs to contain a bolting horse. I’ve never seen brown coated wire but I would think it’s not very visible.


My arena is “temporarily”* fenced with step-in posts and two strands of thin white tape (not hot) and I’ve had horses get loose in there, pretty panicked even, and not challenge the fence. So I think two strands would be fine.

As for brown - I have all brown fencing, both wide Centaur and smaller Horseguard tape and never had an issue with visibility. Even when deer are being chased by the neighbor dogs, as I recently witnessed, they all avoid it.

*“Temporarily” has turned into a few years as we put off permanent fencing thinking we were going to cover the arena, but never got either done. Maybe this year. I hope!

In our somewhat similar area, we had enough trees that we could mostly use them for posts, with two strands of smooth wire.

2 stands of electric wire is fine. 5 foot sounds a little bit high. You want the bottom wire low enough so they can’t roll under it. You want the top wire so they can’t nick quickly in-between without feeling the zap.

This, and deer stretching/breaking things.

FWIW the fence company told me going beyond 15’ (ideally 12’) increases maintenance dramatically (sag, etc). I didn’t have any experience to doubt them and the (4 strand brown coated) has held up beautifully.

I would think about adding a run of tape for better visibility should you be thrown and the horse bolts towards the road.


I had a youngish horse who would crawl through the fence w/ 3 wires. Had to use electric fence between to keep him in. And like LCDR said, I use tape for a sight line for the perimeter barbless twisted wire that borders on the woods.

Horseguard electric tape, on 3" line posts and 6" corner posts, 2 strands, could be perfect for what you want. You can set the top and 2nd strand high enough that you leave room for a 3rd strand if you feel you need it. Max post spacing is 16’, so you can do that, or go 12-14’ if the area is windier.

There’s a reason each of these fence materials have a max post spacing - sag due to the weight of the tape/wire

I don’t know how your wire cost compares to HG, but I’m not sure I’d do just 2 strands of wire, from a visibility perspective


Some of it depends- do you care if everything is matchy matchy? Nothing wrong with that, but it does impact budget. Since I personally don’t care about that, since you said horses weren’t getting turned out here, I would just use cheap wide-diameter tape. You don’t even have to run electricity in it bc shocks don’t stop a panicked animal (& often make things worse), so it would just be a visual barrier. Then you don’t have to waste power to run it & time to maintain the flow of current, more riding time for you. I’ve done this in several spots - I use HorseGuard in my main fields, but just threw up some super-cheap tape in a couple areas that are used less often & where the horses have low escape incentive.

Chances are since your horses live there & you ride there, they aren’t going far if you fall off anyway, but I certainly understand wanting a little insurance if you have that road right there.

You really give me food for thought on this idea. Just using step in posts and tape is an idea. Wasn’t planning to do electric on the perimeter fence. Just using step in posts and tape is awfully tempting given my quote to do a much more durable post and coated wire looks to be $10k minimum.

Step in posts and tape will work fine as a temporary fence that you can install easily. Then see how you like it. If it is working out perfectly then keep it. If you end up not liking it you can swing for a real fence. Then you have the step in posts for any temporary cross fencing you might want to do.

After all the great advice and thoughts here, I’m close to a final decision. Because I’ve got a nasty, deadly road out front, it seems a fence pretty sure to contain is …important.

My back 15 is also heavily wooded (with nice trails throughout for cross training) so trees coming down on the fence are likely.

I’ve never ever heard of an injury with coated wire nor Horseguard. Would we say they are equally strong?

Second, what’s the cost difference between the two? Per foot does anyone know? I’ll have my posts at 15’ - no farther.

I’ve had two horses run thru/tangle in hg (one kicking at horseflies, one running in panic). Both times tape or insulators broke appropriately when it needed to, horses had only tiny minor scratches, that’s why I prefer the wider tape. I’ve also had tree branches & sheds land on fence, it did fine, either popped an insulator or two or the step in posts or t posts bent to provide slack. I use the grey & black fibreglass step ins from tsc, they are so much better & more durable than conventional ones.

I love my horseguard!


In our open windy country, tape just doesn’t last long, we have tried, different tapes and different ways to use it, very tight, with twists, higher, lower, the wind just ends up tearing it in a few months.

Wire is fine, but we only use it on top of fences, to induce respect, not where horses may run thru it.

Different regions and situations demand different fences.

Without electricity I wouldn’t go less than 3 strands, whether coated wire or tape. I heard (too long after the fact for my liking) that my horse went halfway through my 4 strands while grazing through the fence.(I knew the fence was loose, but not that loose!) I had an area of my backyard fenced with one wide strand on top, then one polywire, then a 1/2" strand that is not electrified and it has kept my horses contained as long as the wind doesn’t rip it down (like it did last week, resulting in most of the fence now being 1/2"-polywire-1/2".)

I don’t plan to have horses turned out/grazing against this fence. Just if someone gets loose don’t want them off the property.

Don’t plan to breed and have babies either.

So would two strands work with the bottom being a little higher than normal and then the top
strand at 53 inches - that’s my current height on front fence.

My horses are contained by 2 strands, with the top at whatever the top of the step in posts are (about top of chest height on my horses). They do know how to jump, but no reason to. Full sized horses. So I don’t see a problem with that for just-in-case containment for your riding area at all.

My property is super safe, no roads for 1/3 mile or more in any direction, so I even have some spots with just one strand, but in your case with traffic, I think a double visual deterrent is a good idea. Hopefully you will never have to find out! :slightly_smiling_face:

You said this:

My opinion: 2 strands: might contain, 3 strands: pretty sure to contain, assuming horse doesn’t have 20 minutes to decide the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Which could happen if you are injured in a fall and have 15 acres where the horse might roam.

With electric fence 2 strands could very well work, as horse is unlikely to attempt to limbo or graze through.