Back to Basics 3 Steps to Designing your Horse Fence By Di Stalter Deciding to build a horse fence is the easy part. The next step is putting it on paper, then buying and installing the best fence you can afford. Someone recently requested help in designing and choosing a horse fence. This is how we did it. PUT IT ON PAPER Sit down and draw the pasture you will be fencing on paper. It may or may not be square. One important thing to keep in mind when laying out your fencing is that any corner that is less than 90 degrees should be rounded or cross-fenced. You do not want a corner that your horse could get trapped in. Also mark your gates. Make sure you take into consideration your future needs when you plan gates. Have at least one gate big enough to get equipment through. Mark them on your drawing. If you think you may want additional gates later, mark them now so that you can add the extra posts needed. You don’t have to put the gates in now, you can simply fence over them - and add a gate later. Add the total of all four sides to get the total lineal feet. If your horse pasture is perfectly square, you will have 840 feet - but I don’t know anyone with perfectly square horse pastures. Our new one acre horse pasture came to 880 lineal feet. Now that you have the lineal feet, multiply that by the number of rails or strands you will be using. She didn’t have a lot of money for this project, so we decided to use 3 strands of electric rope at .09 cents per foot and one rail of 4.25 inch flex-fence at .70 cents per foot. We designed it so that the top strand was electric rope to discourage the horse from leaning on the top of the fence. Under that came the 4.25 flex rail to strengthen the fence and make it more visible to her horse. The bottom two strands were electric rope. The discourages pests from outside and keeps her horse from pushing on the bottom rail to get to “greener grass” under the fence (and ending up breaking the fence). WHAT’S IT GONNA COST? To get the total cost for the rails, we multiply 3 (strands) times 880 (feet/electric rope) times.09 (cost of the rope per foot) (3 X 880 X.09 = 237.60). She spent $237.60 for the three strands of electric rope. Add to that the length of one rail of flex fence. (.70 x 880 = 616). She spent $616 for the one rail of flex fence. Whew! Kind of expensive considering she got three strands of electric rope for less than half that! But, it was what she wanted. Many people get along just fine with electric rope or tape. You decide whether you need it or not. Had she gone with just four strands of electric rope, her total rail cost for the whole pasture would only be (4 X 880 X.09 =) $316.80. She would save over $500 by using four strands of electric horse fence and not buying the flex fence. Again, that extra $500 was a bargain if it made her feel safe. Since her fence was going to be 55” high, the space between the wires was about a foot (with the first one a foot off the ground). Experts will tell you that the spacing should be about 10 inches. Most of my horse fence uses between 10 and 12 inches of space.