Fencing is one of the larger expenditures on a horse farm and probably one of the most labor intensive. Horses love to test their boundaries, and fencing is no exeption!
The type of fencing you choose will depend on availability to your area as well as pricing. If you can install it yourself, you can save a significant amount of money. It can also cost you in terms of backaches and frustration. I do believe the mark of a true friendship is how many of your friends will help put up fencing once they know what the job entails! Luckily, if you do it correctly, it is something that doesn't need to be done very often.
I originally started with wooden split rail fencing. We put it in ourselves with the help of friends. Split rail is forgiving if you don't get your lines exactly straight because it has a rustic look to it. The drawback is that the rails are a pain to replace and it seems that I was always putting rails back up. Wood also does eventually rot, so it doesn't look that good when it starts getting old. Bored horses also like to chew on wooden fencing.
When the time came to replace the front pasture, I went with PVC vinyl fencing. While it looks beautiful and doesn't need painting, it does get damaged if horses kick it. Some horses also learn that they can easily pop out the rails by leaning on them. I was lucky the fencing in the front pasture hasn't been challenged by that yet. I decided that when the time came to replace the back pastures, I would need to use something else.
I have Centaur Cenflex fence in the back. I love this fence! I chose brown so it would match the posts without the need to paint. The fence rails are flexible, so it a horse hits them, the horse is less likely to be injured and the fence bounces back into place. I put an electric wire in between the first and second rails to discourage horses from leaning on or through the fence to graze. So far, this fence has been maintenance free. I do have one horse here that likes to bite the top rail of the fence and shake it but it hasn't seemed to have damaged the fence. This could be easily remedied by replacing the top rail with the electrified version of the Centaur fence, but I haven't felt the need to do this so far.
Original split rail fencing with white PVC vinyl fencing in background
Centaur (Cenflex) fencing with electric between first and second rails