Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society

Hazards of Three Common Fencing Types

By Centaur Fencing

Everyone knows that barbed wire fencing is a dangerous choice for horses. But did you know there are other types of fencing that are just as equally dangerous as barbed wire? This article will cover three types of fencing that you may not have known were dangerous. Some types of fencing have the potential to significantly injure your horse if and when they break or shatter so it is imperative that you know the inherent risks of using these types of common horse fencing options.

Wood Rail Fencing
Wood rail fencing is a common choice for permanent fencing because it is a strong and sturdy material. It is highly visible for horses and provides a solid physical barrier between the horse and the rest of your property. This high quality fencing has many advantages such as strength and durability HOWEVER, if a horse does run through the fence, the impact can cause rails to break and splinter. In the event that this happens, a horse can experience a multitude of injuries, some that may even be fatal:

  • Lacerations

  • Splinters

  • Puncture wounds (Chest, neck, eyes, etc)

  • Impalement

  • Head injuries

PVC/Vinyl Rail Fencing
Vinyl fencing is another favorite choice for permanent fencing. It is much more affordable than wood rail fencing and it is also fairly strong. It is one of the most aesthetically appealing options for fencing.  Just like wood rail fencing, it is also highly visible to the horse and provides a strong physical barrier that effectively encloses your horse. BUT, if a horse runs into or through the fence, they can experience the following injuries when the PVC/vinyl rails shatter.

  • Lacerations

  • Puncture wounds

  • Impalement

Bare Steel Wire Fencing
Bare steel wire fencing is an inexpensive choice for fencing and can hold horses in on a temporary or permanent basis. As far as safety concerns, it should not generally be used as primary fencing for horses. Bare steel is very hard to see even if there are numerous strands of bare steel wire. It is usually electrified so horses are less likely to lean on it but if it comes loose, they can become tangled up in the wire. The following lists known risks and injuries that have occurred when using bare steel wire fencing.

  • If a panicked horse runs into the steel wire and it is electrified, they can be repeatedly shocked by the wire and severely cut up by the wire.

  • Steel wires that are not covered in braided fabric or material have been known to cut horses down to the bone.

  • If they are lacerated down to the bone, then their tendons and ligaments have been cut as well and those types of injuries are very difficult and costly to recover from, if the horse recovers at all.

  • In some cases, a horse can also be strangled by the wire and their throat can be cut open if they get their head stuck or tangled within the wire. Strangulation by such wires can be fatal.

  • Blood loss is a high risk if and when a horse becomes entangled with bare wire fencing.

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