View Full Version : PVC fencing for horses

Jul. 10, 2010, 04:33 PM
Does anyone have PVC fences for their pastures? What are you likes? Any dislikes aside from the initial expense of installing it?

Thanks. :)

Jul. 10, 2010, 04:46 PM
There are different types of PVC fencing. Do you mean the PVC rail that looks like the standard wood rail type fencing, or the flexible stuff like Ramm/Centaur? I have the Centaur HTP and love it, but not sure that is what you are referring to.

Jul. 10, 2010, 07:43 PM
I love our Centaur. I do not like the PVC that looks like standard rail fencing, for the same reason I don't like PVC jumps -- it can shatter if kicked, particularly in cold weather. Very dangerous, not to mention then the horses are free.

Jul. 10, 2010, 11:34 PM
I was talking about the PVC that looks like rail fencing. My concerns are similar to fordtraktor's, but I have seen many people using it... so I was interested to see if people liked it or found it dangerous. It certainly looks very nice -- but it obviously needs to be safe and functional, too. :yes:

Jul. 11, 2010, 12:08 AM
The barn I board at has the PVC that looks like rail fencing. I know the owners like it because it doesn't require as much maintenance as wood fencing. I myself do not care for it. The rails pop out pretty easily when horses lean on them. You can add hotwire to keep them off it, but I've seen them lean on the gates which moves the post, which pops out the rails. I've also seen some pretty jagged edges on broken pieces.

She did have a horse just get itself caught under the fence in it's paddock(didn't see it happen, but assumed she was stretching under to get to grass) and it actually pulled one of the posts up part way out of the ground and some of the rails came out. Horse was scratched up a bit, but ok. In this case it may have been a good thing that it had some give.

Anyway... pros and cons, but after living with it, it would not be my first choice.

Jul. 11, 2010, 12:10 AM
There are different grades of the pvc rail fencing. I do not have it at my place, but have been at barns that used it. One place I have visited used the cheaper, Home Depot stuff that is more decorative than useful and every single paddock had a broken rail duct-taped together. Tells you how well that stuff lasts! A friend has the expensive, meant for horses stuff and it has lasted very well. Even in ice and snow, it might bend down some, but not break. Of course, we don't get major snow/ice here often, nor extreme temperatures, so that might affect it as well.

What I really like the looks of is that stuff that is wood on the inside, coated with pvc -- looks like that would last really well and is very attractive, but I'm sure it is $$$.

One thing that seems common among the places that use it and have it continue to look pretty good is they all had electric along the top/inside to keep the horses off it.

Jul. 11, 2010, 12:16 AM
I dreamed for years of PVC fencing. (the kind that looks like white board fencing.) I was totally sold on the "never rots, never have to paint it, lasts forever" sales pitch I was told as a teenager. 20 years later I finally had the money (and a substantial amount at that) and put in 4 board PVC fencing as cross fencing and arena fencing. I bought the highest quality I could find, the thickest, etc, It was - the "good stuff".

It has proven to be the most useless horse fencing I've ever used. The horses lean on it, pop out the boards, and break it all the time. It was no time before they figured out they could pop out the top board and hop over the lower ones to get out. They also pull the caps off the posts for fun and destroy posts & boards all the time. Even the minis figured out they could push really hard and bend the boards up to crawl underneath. We had to run hotwire along every fence to keep the horses in. I could have saved a lot of money by just running a hot wire to begin with.

I am currently boarding a horse who was terribly injured when she escaped from a nearby farm with the same kind of fence but no hot wire. She just pushed the boards down and then tangled with a neighbor's barbed wire fence.

It's lovely fencing, but I will never use this kind of fence again. I think it works well to line golf courses and look "pretty" in areas where there are no actual livestock!


Jul. 11, 2010, 12:29 AM
The only PVC I've seen that really impressed me was sold by company called
Plantation Suppy in Denver. Crooked Willow Farm has tons of it, including
pens with round rails. Very thick, sturdy stuff. Talked to them about selling it in Texas but they weren't much interested. All I could find out was it was made in Utah. They are no longer in business.

A building contractor near us who does a lot of large horse properties has
several miles of it on his own place. He said he had to electrify but doing
that voided the warranty--guess due to screwing in insulators.

But got an email from this company, www.esfencing.com, who has designed
a snap on insulator (no screws) for PVC plank or wood rails and holds
tape, wire or rope.

If you go the PVC plank route, make sure you get an installer that understands the extra demands horses put on the fencing. Have seen directions that call for ribar and concrete inside the corner and gate posts.
Have seen way too many installations with corners falling in, planks held in
place with baling twine, etc.

Jul. 11, 2010, 12:46 AM
I have white vinyl fencing, this is the second farm I have built with it. We have 25 separate turnouts ranging in size from 24'x60' to over an acre in size. Half of the turnouts are 3 board white vinyl and the other half are top rail white vinyl with no climb. Half the horses are in their paddocks every day from dusk to dawn and half are in them 24/7. All of them have hot wire running on the inside top rail. I have never actually had a horse injure themselves on this fencing. (Knock on wood) I quite like it. I have never had a horse "push" out a rail, either. I have had them kick a rail, and it gives and breaks. It looks like it has sharp edges when it breaks, but it is pretty flexible so the edges give and break again if a horse rubs up against it so it is hard to get a cut from it. I watched a pony of ours freak out once and jump the fence (over the post) and she cleared it with her front feet but not her back and the post and fence gave way for her. Which is good because if it were wood or metal she would have flipped and really been hurt. Then we just caught her and later replaced the rails and post. She was totally fine.

We replace maybe one rail every couple of months. We have forty acres worth of fencing, and we also have our outdoor arena and area around our house fenced, so that equals a heck of a lot of fencing! I don't think that is too big of a deal. Besides, I would much rather have a rail break when a horse kicks it then have their leg break!

We live in a high desert, so it is pretty dry. It is cold in the winter and I don't think it shatters more when it is cold. The only thing I can say is that in a wetter climate, the rails will get mossy or greenish and need to be washed, which is too much maintenance for me. But here we don't need to do anything!

Jul. 11, 2010, 03:03 AM
My husband's family had this at their ranch for over 20 years without any problems. It was one of the first and is still one of the best fencing products available on the market and is made in Nebraska (USA). Since I know several families that have this fencing and have had it for years I definitely have seen for myself how well it holds up with horses. It may be a little more expensive but in this case you get what you pay for. We also had it put in for our arena at our stables in Hawaii. It was beautiful.


Jul. 11, 2010, 07:56 AM
I am on year 7. My only minor complaints is that in Maryland, it should be pressure washed to keep it white every few years. I have not been entirely happy with the gates, but will probably upgrad to Lucas Equine gates in the fall.

As the above posters have mentioned, installation is paramount. It appears to vary by your soil type. I have concrete in each post, not just corners and gates. Also, my boards are notched at the ends, which prevents the boards from popping.

Jul. 11, 2010, 12:21 PM
My barn has some PVC that looks like wooden rail fencing left, and some of it borders part of my horse's paddock and the riding ring is done in it. It's not bad for the riding ring, but for the turnouts, it does pop out very easily. Also, it shatters. My horse got a nasty cut to his throat/jugular area last summer and there are some "boards" of the PVC fencing that are broken with jagged edges and I'm pretty sure that's what he did it on when he was reaching between to eat grass. I'm not a huge fan.

Jul. 12, 2010, 12:36 AM
Find several suppliers and ask them to send you a sample. There are some
suppliers that make it in colors--black, sandstone, wood-grain looks, etc.

Jul. 12, 2010, 11:26 AM
I've got Heritage 3 rail vinyl. It came with a lifetime guarantee. We put all the posts in with Quikrete, and the rails have held up very well over the last 10 or so years. It does benefit from a pressure washing every now and again to keep the sparkling white appearance, it gets mossy on the north sides of the rails.
I do have a couple of horses that will take a notion to flip the post tops off but that isn't a big issue, you just take a walk and slap 'em back on. Good exercise, walking and bending.;)

I do have a few rails out by the road that need to be replaced due to an idiot hunter that thought taking a shot at a deer as it jumped the fence would be a good idea. 00 Buckshot makes sizeable holes in vinyl rails.

Jul. 12, 2010, 01:31 PM
Please don't :no:

I have nothing nice to say about PVC fencing, and have the awful experiences to back it up. As other posters have said, the boards pop out all the time when the horses lean on it or run into it, and it shatters into a million sharp nasty pieces.

Now flex fence? Love it. It's what we have now

Jul. 12, 2010, 04:37 PM
It looks lovely, but is really difficult to deal with if you have a horse that will test the limits...the rails will pop out. On the plus side, it's easy to install and if there's a break it's pretty easy to replace. I wouldn't install it if I had a choice. But it's what was already here when I bought my place, and my horses are too mellow to destroy it...so far. The whole community looks really nice, though, because the city mandates the white vinyl fencing. Many people have installed other types just inside the split rail fence, for security's sake. I have a hot wire running along the inside.

Jul. 12, 2010, 06:04 PM
If you are going to get the vinyl... and it is beautiful, definitely run the hot wire around the top of it to keep your horses off of it. It doesn't stand up well to scratching butts.

With that said, always keep several spare pieces around because you can't just run to the hardware store and get another board easily.

Also, if you have hungry hippo ponies, run a strand around the middle too! I have seen more than one little pony stick its head between the rails to get that delicious grass just on the other side of the fence. When they do, they buckle the vinyl board and can pop it out easily and if the fencing has weathered in the sun, it doesn't really go back quite right.

I second the Quikrete in the posts... I just hope you never want to move your pastures around and restructure the layout of the farm. I helped a friend dig up wooden fence posts that were Quikreted in - NOT fun! I felt like someone had Quikereted my joints when we were done :lol:

It definitely requires work, but good old wood fencing does too. It just depends on what works for your horses.

Jul. 13, 2010, 01:41 PM
Previously owned a farm that already had PVC fencing. So many rails popped out that I had to screw a nail in each end of EVERY rail! And we added a strand of hot wire to keep the horses off it.

Also, depends on where you are. Some brands can get brittle in cold and it gets really green and moldy in humid areas.

Jul. 13, 2010, 03:05 PM
You folks with the rails popping out...did you not crimp the ends of your rails?

Our fencing came with the crimping tool. You crimp, slide the rail through, and the "Teeth" makes the rails really tough to pop back out of place.

Aside from messing with the post tops, my horses leave the fence alone. The mini will stick her head through and nibble grass on the other "greener" side of the fence, but she's never bent or popped out a rail.

Or maybe my Heritage vinyl is just a tougher kind of fence. I am glad of that.

Jul. 13, 2010, 05:24 PM
Yep, all the ends were crimped, still popped out if the horses leaned against the middle of the rail.

We left the crimping tool with the buyers, we knew we'd never use that type of fence again.

PITA - beautiful looking but after installing screws in every rail end, resetting posts in Quikcrete, glueing down all the post tops...rather build a wooden fence and be done with it!

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:38 PM
Yep, all the ends were crimped, still popped out if the horses leaned against the middle of the rail.

PITA - beautiful looking but after installing screws in every rail end, resetting posts in Quikcrete, glueing down all the post tops...rather build a wooden fence and be done with it!

Ditto - we crimped ends & placed screws & concreted posts & glued on tops (and put screws in the tops too) & ran hotwire. My horses still destroy it regularly, and we order a constant supply of replacement posts, boards, and caps.

I wanted it for the "lack" of maintenance, and so far it's required more maintenance than any other kind of fence I've ever had.

And with having to bleach the green mildew off......it's just not worth it.

Jul. 20, 2010, 10:26 AM
Ours has been up for about 15 years. Posts were cemented in. It's pretty to look at, we've had a few boards pop out but nothing terribly annoying. We do have hot wire on the top and middle rails. Cons: the caps on the top of the posts always find their way into a horse's mouth, and then into 10 pieces in the pasture. To date haven't had any of the rails break, but several posts have gotten a kick, and had to be replaced, which is highly frustrating and $$$. Pros: it's been up, like I said, 15 years, and in the grand scheme of things has required next to no maintenance. Everyone always comments on how beautiful it is, but I'm a believer that without that electric it would have been in pieces long ago.

Jul. 20, 2010, 10:43 AM
I built two large paddocks with the stuff and it was the bane of my existence.

When the weather is cold, rails will just pop out and sometimes even shatter. The shards of PVC are like glass.

The caps simply DO NOT stay on. Even if they are glued down.

Rails pop out easily if the horse leans on it. If you do decide to go with it hot wire around the inside is a MUST. Also make sure every single post is filled with cement or you will have serious trouble with shifting.

Last weekend we had 70 MPH winds in our area. A friend of mine lost four big sections of her PVC fence to the wind and two of the PVC gates BLEW OPEN. The standard latches that come with that type of fence are pieces of crap.

She is extremely lucky her horse decided to hang out and not wander off during the storm...

I on the other hand dealt with the same 70MPH winds on my hilltop farm and my electrobraid was still as good as new in the morning.

If you have a mild climate where you're at, cement in all the posts, upgrade to better gate latches and run several strands of electric around the inside you might be okay. The fence DOES look nice but I personally would never go with it again.

Jul. 20, 2010, 08:06 PM
I am on year 6 with PVC fence and love it. We have a line of electric along the top and have had zero problems. We had every post cemented into the ground and only occasionally does one pop out, but they're so easy to put back in.

Jul. 21, 2010, 09:56 AM
Great info. I am looking at new fencing and will probably use PVC for pretty purposes and not to hold a horse in. I always use hot wire at the top and bottom to keep my Draft Xs and Draft from LEANING :-)