The Wood Horse Fence Blueprint: A Comprehensive Guide

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 02/09/23 •  15 min read

Horses are pretty notorious. They don’t waste a chance to cause havoc if you leave them alone.   Running away or damaging the property is a common problem horse owners face. What’s the best way to tame them? It’s by adding a fence and limiting their territory.

So, what kind of fence is best for horses? Though there are many opinions, most horse owners prefer wooden horse fences. After all, it keeps the horse in control and adds aesthetic beauty to your property. 

But how to build a wood horse fence? Are you trying to make a wooden fence for the first time? Or are you trying to install a new one being tired of frequently repairing the previous one? Whichever it is, this will be a complete guide for you. So, start reading further without wasting any more time!

What is the wood fence?

If I say fence, what comes to your mind first? It is definitely something that surrounds a place and creates a boundary. Or, to put it more simply, the fence is a barrier that divides an area into two or more parts. Many items like wires, wood, bricks, stones, etc., can fulfill this job successfully. 

When you use wood or wooden boards for building a fence system, it is a wood fence. This type of fence is popular as it creates a barrier and is visually pleasing too. It will give your property an attractive decorative look while making sure your property is safe at the same time.

Wood fences can definitely be used for controlling livestock. If you are trying to tame your horses, a  3 or 4-rail wood horse fence should be enough. However, the wood has to be strong, sturdy, and durable.

wood fence checklist

Top 5 stats 

You already know a wood fence will be perfect for your horses. But how much will they cost wood fence? What are the material options you have? What should be its height? To answer your questions quickly, here are the top 5 stats that will help you know the critical information at a glance. 

#1. Materials- You have quite a few wood board horse fence options. For example- oak, cedar, pine, pressure-treated woods, etc. Each of them comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

#2. Fence Height- It should depend on how you train the horses. An ideal fence should be at least 1.5 m high. But you can increase it if your horse tends to jump high. 

#3. Fence Posts- Fence posts should have 12-24 inches under the ground to stand steadily. You have to decide the post height by adding your desired fence height with part of the post which goes inside the earth. 

#4. Rails And Space- For the horse, 3 or 4 rails fence should be enough. The rails should have the same size, and the space between them should also be equal. Wooden panels are usually 8-10 feet wide with 10-12 inches of space between each. 

#5. Cost- A decent wood fence will cost you approximately $15-$35 per linear foot, depending on the materials you use. (Let’s try the horse fence labor cost calculator)

wooden horse fence problems

Pros and cons

Wooden fences are widely used for both domestic and commercial purposes. Made with solid posts, rails, and wood boards, it aims to keep your property clearly defined. As it is a budget-friendly option, users often choose it without considering the disadvantage it can bring. 

As a consumer, it is wise to know about the pros and cons of any item before you decide to use it. Let’s glance at the advantages a wood fence can provide and the inconveniences you may need to face. 



Related: Don’t break the bank on horse fencing! Get creative and explore the top 6 low-cost fencing ideas that won’t sacrifice quality or safety.

What type of wood is perfect?

Horses can escape from the territory in a blink of an eye. A fence is like an agreement between the horse and its owner. The owner makes a large fence to let the pasture roam freely. In exchange, the horse learns to stay in place without trying to break free. 

Now, what kind of wood would be perfect for the fence? Many owners will vote for oak. However, giving a typical answer would be tough. It depends on numerous facts. Whether you should opt for oak or cedar can only be decided upon the area, climate, budget, etc.

How to choose the wood?

Though oak and cedar have popularity among horse owners, you should only choose the one that fits your requirement the best. Here are some factors that need your attention to select the best wood for fencing.

#1. Climate

How’s the weather condition of your place? Though woods are naturally long-lasting, they are not weatherproof. According to your area’s temperature and climate, ensure your woods get a weather-proofing coating. 

#2. Purpose

How do you plan to use the fence? Is it for defining property boundaries? Or is it for pasture-like horse control? Red oak or teak wood will work best if you plan to build a wooden rail horse fence. They are versatile and won’t decay anytime soon. 

#3. Appearance 

If your fence is only for decorative purposes, cedar will fit the best. They are soft and lightweight. It is easy to carve any design in cedar. With galvanizing coating and painting, it will last for a long time. 

#4. Budget

Budget plays a significant role in your decision. For example- pine or vinyl is undoubtedly an excellent option for fencing. They also aim to last for at least 40-50 years. However, they are pretty expensive. If they fit into your budget, it is wise to have them. Otherwise, there are cheaper options.

#5. Fence size

A  4×4 inch wood fence post is enough for a 3-rail wood horse fence. But you can increase the size by customization. You may use softwood for posts. However, for the panel, hardwood will be a better option.

Tools and materials 

Before installing a wood horse fence, you will need some tools and materials. For example – wooden boards, nails, and so on. Here’s a quick list of the wood horse fence materials if you still need to remember them. 

Do you need to hire a professional, or you can install it?

Are you thinking about how to put up a wood horse fence? It can be pretty tiring and needs experience. You can hire a professional if you want. But again, you can also try yourself first. It is not very difficult. Follow our instructions given below, and you can successfully build your fence. 

Step-1: Take the measurement

Measure the total fence area first. Then mark the place to install the fence post at a certain distance. How frequently you want to place the posts depends on you. We recommend at least 8-10 feet for ideal post spacing.

Step-2: Dig a hole

After measuring, dig holes where you have marked the posts. The holes should be at least 12 inches or 1 foot deep to keep the posts firmly attached to the land. The looser the soil texture, the more depth the opening should be. You should remember that shallow holes can cause the fence to fall, even when applying less pressure.

Step-3: Install posts

Put your wooden horse fence posts inside the hole and firmly close the gap. Make sure the bar is tight and secure. At this point, you can use cement to make sure the post won’t move. However, it will be difficult to remove the post if you ever need to repair or replace it in the future. 

While installing posts, you should also keep in mind the height of your fence. A horse fence shouldn’t be any less than 2 feet. 

Step-4: Install the panel

After you finish the posts, it’s time to install the panels. Wooden horse fence usually has 3 or 4 rails. If the horse practices jumping training, it’s better to go with r rails. 

The gap between each rail should be equal. Unevenly placed panels weaken the fence structure. 

Step-5: Hammer the nails

Attach each wood board panel with a fence post using several nails. Hammer down properly, so there is no gap between the nail and the board. You may also use screws if you prefer that. 

Step-6: Attach the gate

You need a gate installed in the fence so that the horses can come out and you can go in. You may build your own wooden gate or buy a steel gate. Attach the gate with a post using door hinges and screws. 

Step-7: Paint 

After your wooden horse fence construction is complete, paint the fence according to your preference. Painting over wood increases the lifespan of the fence.

How do I design that will keep my horses safe?

Your fence will only be functional when it is properly designed and installed. Unplanned and haphazardly built fences show your inability to maintain your property and pasture and carelessness. 

A well-designed fence is not only for decorations. They are necessary for a safe zone for the horses. You need to pay attention to a few things while installing a wood horse fence. 

1. Choosing the wood 

Choosing the correct wood is the first step in making a solid wood horse fence. Horses have a habit of chewing and biting down the wood fence. So, make sure to find wood that your horse can not chew or which won’t be damaged by grinding. It would be best if you also kept in mind the weather condition of your area while selecting wood for the fence.

2. Height of the fence 

Horses are pretty large and love to jump over heights. You need to keep this in mind during your wooden horse fence construction. After all, you wouldn’t want to risk the safety of your pastures, would you?

An ideal height should be at least 1.5m. If the fence is below this level, horses may try jumping out and getting hurt. 

3. Space between panels 

The space between each panel should be so that horses cannot slide any part of their body through it. Similarly, no intruder should be able to slide inside through the gap. If the gaps between the panel are too much, horses may get stuck and put their head or leg through it. It can cause severe harm to the animal. 

Ideally, leaving 8 inches of space from the ground is recommended to set the first panel.

4. Look out for edges and corners

Make sure the edges of the wooden posts and panels are even. There shouldn’t be any sharp areas. If there’s any, flatten it before installing the fence. Horses can get hurt when they try to break free from the fence. 

Just like edges, look out for the corners too. Sharp corners can hurt the animals. Curve it nicely or use protectors in the corner areas. 

5. Gate design 

The gate should be at the same level as the fence. If you plan to take a tractor or other vehicle inside the fenced area, the gate must be 12 feet wide. The largest you can go is up to 16 feet wide. But if the entrance is only for horses, you may keep it to 4 feet for easy movement. 

Also, please avoid using diagonal cross-bracing gates. Though they make gates strong, horses can slide their feet between the openings and get hurt. 

5. Fence color

The fence color shouldn’t be one that can make it hardly visible to the horses. It should pop out on the property so that horses can see it clearly. Painting the fence also prolongs the lifespan of the woods.

How to inspect the wood fence regularly?

How to inspect the wood fence regularly

Your job is still ongoing even after you are done with the installation. After your fence is fully ready, you have to inspect it frequently. Proper maintenance can make sure your wood fence lasts for decades. There are a few things you need to check while doing the inspection. 

1. Look out for cracks

Wood loses moisture when the temperature rises too high and the weather gets warmer. As a result, you may see slight cracks. This makes the fence weak and vulnerable.

2. Inspect the posts and boards

Over the years, mites, maggots, and other insects may attack the wooden horse fence posts and panels. They can damage the wood and weaken the strength of the fence. 

3. Moisture damage 

During the rainy season, with heavy snowfall, woods absorb moisture. When that happens, wood might start to rot. You need to dry the wood to prevent dampness immediately. 

4. Bulging or drooping woods

Heavy rain may cause water to enter the woods and make it bulge or droop at different parts. It can be highly damaging to the fence. Starting with lessening the fence strength will end up causing the whole system to fail.

How to keep the fence clean?

With time it is only natural to get the fence dirty and have stains. It destroys the outer look of your fence and can permanently damage it. But what is the right way to clean it?

Can you use your regular detergent for this? Absolutely not. 

Household detergents have components that can ruin the paint, galvanizing coating, etc. You may either use an oxygen cleaner to remove stains from the fence.

First, gently remove loose dirt and debris using a garden hose. Next, mix the cleaning agent with water and use it to scrub the wall. You can add a little bleach to the mix if the dirt remains. Rescrub the fence and finally wash it off with clean water.


1. How much does it cost to build?

The cost range for a wooden fence is between $15 to $35 per linear foot. But it can vary depending on what kind of wood and other materials you use.

2. How long does a wood horse fence typically last?

Different woods have varying lifespans. But any regular wood horse fence will last for around 15-20 years. The time can be more if you maintain it regularly.

3. How often does a wood horse fence need to be maintained?

You should regularly inspect the fence for any damage and problem. It is also better to have it painted every two to three years. It will lengthen its lifespan.


Building a strong and sturdy wood horse fence is a challenging task. It needs proper planning and correct execution of it. A mistake at any part can lead to vital harm to the paddocks. You don’t want that, do you? We have given you all the necessary directions to help you choose the right wood rail horse fence.

We have also discussed installing it, maintaining and keeping it clean. Hopefully, your new fence will serve you well.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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