We live in a development that has "open space" that was originally set aside to pasture horses for the property owners. However, out of 30 properties, we are the only ones who have horses (right now, anyway). Since we are the only ones interested in using the pasture area, the Homeowners Association is not interested in paying to fence any of the land for our use. I have, however, obtained permission (in writing) that allows me to fence off three acres for my two horses, at my expense. This is still a good deal and I am close to doing it.
I have been talking to several fence companies, and one that I worked with before to fence my property at home is a family that has horses. they have been helpful to me and my wife, since we are newbies at this.
This company has recommended that we use a 4-wire barb wire fence with wooden posts. They say that the horses will respect the barb wire even if there are other horses on the other side of the fence someday.
I have zero experience with barb wire, so any advice is welcome before i get too far down this road. One advantage that I can see is that I could electrify a barb wire fence fairly easily if I had to.
Honestly, using barbed wire is about the worst idea I've ever heard. It is a fence designed for cattle with thick hides, not horses. Stay away at all costs.
T-posts (with caps) along with an electric rope such as electrobraid would be my first choice. I'd use 3 or 4 strands, or maybe 3 strands and 1 strand of tape. It's inexpensive, safe, and technically portable. Since you are paying for the fence, it would make sense to use something you could take with you if you move. You can get a solar powered charger as well. Horses respect hot wire, one good shock is plenty.
If you wanted something more permanent you could do wood posts with a lot of different things. Centaur fencing, 3 board wood, top rail with no climb, coated wire, tape, electric rope, there are many options. What is on your list for "must haves" for a fence? How likely are your horse to test it?
No, No to barb wire. You will eventually have serious injuries using this for horses. Type of fencing depends on what you're trying to keep in and out.
Young horses need different fencing than older, quieter horses. Areas with coyotes, bear, roaming dogs need a woven wire fence to keep those animals out. although in my area bears climb those too.
My favorite fence is no climb woven wire w/ small squares w/ electric wire on top of a sight board. But fencing is a regional thing depending on what's available and cost.
On 300 acres where horses are much less likely to be testing fence lines and pretty much staying away from them, MAYBE.
On 3 acres...HELL NO!
ESPECIALLY when there are horses on the other side...like, you know, when horses meet over the fence, and happen to strike out at the other horse, catch their leg through the barbed wire, freak out, and cut themselves all to hell...
Don't do it.
Either solid fence like some described above, or multiple strands of smooth hot wire.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
Given ANY rational option, I'd rather not find out if my horse "respects" barbed wire by the process of trial and error.
I have had Electrobraid fence on my 3 paddocks (total of about 7 acres) for the past 6 years, including 6 harsh Michigan winters, and am still EXTREMELY HAPPY with it. I spend on average about 2 hours per year doing a little tightening and maintenance, and it still looks (and works) GREAT. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
My horses respected two thin strips of white electric tape with no electricity. As others have stated, barbed wire is a no-no for horses.
Just about anything else will work -- it all depends on how much money you want to spend. I put in T-posts with caps and electric fence (solar charger) on an acre+ by myself -- with a sledge hammer. (Yes, I'm a woman.)
I really love my current setup that is coated high tensil. I didn't have any choice when I was renting but when I bought land, I didn't go cheap. Three acres probably wouldn't be too expensive if you did coated wire. It's been four years and I haven't had to touch it. I love my fence.
"Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com
No to barb wire ... now that's out of the question ...It all depends on how permanent you're willing to pay for. Quick to install, easy to take with you --Electrobraid or such. More permanent and less maintenance then smooth wire or woven wire. Any case it needs to be electrified. The hotter the better for horse health. The more it hurts, the more horses will respect it and avoid contact with it.
I would actually be just as opposed to smooth wire as I am with barbed wire. I guess I've never been around barbed wire enough (being here in the east) but I've seen too many de-gloveings (sp?) where the horse has had their cannons exposed and no, not all of them have recoved and become sound afterward. Each one was at least a year long recovery and EWWW to the bandaging and all that. Also yuck to the horse I saw that ran through it and sliced his chest and shoulder all up.
If you go with smooth wire, at least put one strand of electric braid or tape for the visual so the horses see it and respect it.