How Many Strands of Electric Fence for Horses? 9 Rules for Install Electric Fence

Electric fencing, a common sight in Europe and America, has long been a trusted method of safeguarding horses. However, in other parts of the world, this effective form of fencing remains relatively unknown.

The joy of owning a horse is undeniable, but it’s also a fact that it can be a costly endeavor.

We’re here to provide a simple solution to this challenge. Imagine being able to construct a secure and aesthetically pleasing fence around your home or pasture without the need for digging holes or arranging wires! We’re excited to share our practical advice on how to select and build the perfect fence for your equine companions. Dive into our guide and discover how you can create a safe haven for your horses.

Why use electric fences for horses?

Electric fencing is one of the most popular and practical ways for horse owners to keep their animals fenced in. You can easily buy inexpensive electric fence kits in most farm supplies stores. Electric fencing is relatively safe and simple to install, and it’s unlikely your horse will try to test the fence.

Some horses, however, love to challenge fences and see if they can destroy them. The traditional fence is a kind of barrier, but it can’t prevent the horse from escaping. Horses are excellent jumpers and they can easily clear every obstacle. If you have a horse like that, you might need to use barbed wire or other types of fence in addition to electric fencing.

How many strands of electric fence for horses?

This is a question that many horse owners ask themselves when they are considering installing an electric fence for horses. The answer to this question varies from one person to another

There are a number of factors to consider before deciding on how many strands of wire you need, including the size and age of your horse, the amount of land you have available for fencing, and what type of terrain it is (flat or hilly)

Some horse owners prefer to use 2 strands of the electric fence while others prefer 4 or more fibers.

When making this decision it’s important to remember that there should be no more than four wires in any section because too many can cause problems with grounding

1 strand

1 strand is often used to contain breeding cows. One strand is insufficient to encircle young horses or ponies. A single strand may be used to keep horses away from a specific area in order to protect the horse or the area.

 If you use the single-strand electric fence for horses, you can use it as a high-tensile barrier if you set it up with heavy-duty steel T-posts or with wooden fence posts set deep in the ground. Then it will be strong enough to contain horses. A single-strand electric fence is more economical than the other types of electric fence, but it is not as effective.

2 strands

2 strands for horses are used for ponies, miniature horses, and donkeys. 2 strands are approximately 2,000 volts. If you use two strands, then you can go down to three or four inches apart.

The top strand of tape acts as a visual barrier to prevent a horse from bolting. It should be positioned 52″ above the ground.

The lower tape strand is actually the more important of the two. This strand should be set at 28″ for ponies or 24″ for horses.  Any lower tape should not be too low, not to ground on long grass and weeds. When a horse lowers his head to crawl under the tape or graze beyond the perimeter, he will receive a shock across the top of his nose, ears, or neck.

3 strands

3 strands for horses is the most common and the cheapest. Three strands are extremely popular and have a more traditional appearance, adding an extra layer of security than 2 strands

In this case, fencing with three strands is preferable for young horses would be “52”, “36”, and “28” in order to be safe.

The more contact the horse has with any fence, the smaller the enclosure. Many ponies are tenacious and will flee if the shock from your fence charger is insufficient. Foals can easily roll under a fence, but three strands reduce that risk.

If you use three or four strands, then you have to set the T-posts about five feet apart to keep horses out.

4 strands and more

Some people prefer four strands of tape for fencing because it gives them the impression that the enclosed horses or cattle are safe.

4 strands are the safest. 4 or 5 strands are used for Quarter Horses, draft horses, and also to contain wild horses. For delicate situations such as an agitated stallion, a busy road, deer, alpacas, and so on, four strands may be required.

5 or 6 strands are primarily for security to keep people and animals away from your property.

However, 4 strands for a beginner is a good starting point, no need for more than 4 strands for horses.

The number of strands needed for electric fencing isn’t nearly as important as the placement and spacing of the electrified wires. In some cases, it is preferable to add two or more strands to an existing fence.

Rules for Electric Fencing for Horses

If you choose or already have electric fencing for your horse fences, this article will provide tips for installing it to make it more reliable, making it more difficult for your escape artist to get past it.

Fence Height

Fences should be a minimum of four feet tall if horses are kept in the pasture. The fence height needs to be increased when electric fencing, to a minimum of five feet for horses if kept in the pasture. This is because the average horse eats standing up and does not run or jump like a cow.

Number of Rails

Number of Rails is the number of conductors placed across the width of a fence. Three-Rail Fences are the most common. Four-Rail Fences are becoming more common. There are a number of reasons that an owner might choose to install 4-rail instead of 3-rail, including the use of solar-powered energizers, an increase in training options, and increased height. This allows keeping all your horses from young, ponies, to adults safer.


Insulators play a critical role in horse fencing.   Without them, horses can get severe or even deadly shocks when touching the fence, and when they lean on the wire.  Insulators are not an option with electric fencing, they are mandatory.  Do NOT assume the previous owner put them on. Insulators must be installed every 2.5-3.0 meters (8′-10′). Some places put them on 1.5m (5′) centers if the fence is very visible or has a hot wire through it.

The color of insulators can vary depending on their age. Older generation insulators are clear or white, and the newer blue ones are more visible. If you see a string of old-style insulators, they are most likely working.  If it’s blue, be extra careful. Always check the insulators for wear and replace any that are cracked or have a cut in them.


Chargers vary as to how long they can maintain a charge. Some hold a charge for as little as 30 days, though typically they are good for about 3-6 months. A low-quality charger should be avoided as it will have a shorter lifespan and may not provide enough power to shock your horses.

There is a newer type of electric fence for horses that is safer and with more power. It is a steel fence with an electric wire attached and an energizer that is turned on by a transmitter, including solar-powered energizers.


Fencing must be clearly visible to both humans and horses at all times, including during hours of darkness. A minimum standard of 200mm in height aids visibility and creates a psychological barrier for horses.

Electric fencing must be supported by a post or posts made of wood or other suitable material. The height of the post must not be less than 200 mm above ground level, nor more than 1.5 m high, and it must be of a suitable design and construction to ensure that the electricity does not escape from the fencing.

Ground rods

The most common mistake people make when installing an electric fence is not using enough ground rods. Grounding rods help ensure that electricity flows through all parts of the system by connecting one end to the earth while the other connects to each strand of wire at regular intervals

The electric fence for horses is effective in keeping them out of the garden, but you have to maintain it so that the power unit remains grounded and the battery doesn’t run down.


Electric fencing for horses is safe if done correctly. To ensure that your electric fence is in good working order, use an electric fence voltmeter to test it.

The same basic rules apply for testing an electric fence, whether an estate fence or a paddock.

Check your fence frequently to solve troubleshoot if have. To ensure correct or complete wire connections. Clean plants growing up or any objects touching the fence such as hoses and ropes, broken insulators, sagging or touching the ground fencing.

Bringing Horses into Fencing

To be safe, the horse must only touch one wire at a time with all parts of their body, not catch their head or tail on the wires, go through the fence slowly and not move up and down while touching it.

A horse may be seen to disobey these rules and still be safe depending on the circumstances.

If a horse has any metal stuck to its body or attached to it, this should be removed before it is allowed to go near an electric fence. This includes tack with metal parts, such as stirrup irons, bits and nosebands, and metal shoes.

Horses have been known to test the fence by lifting a foot and touching it to the wire. If this causes a shock, they will pull their foot back. If not, they will place the foot closer to the wire until it receives a shock. The horse then learns that lifting a foot will cause a shock.

Properly trained horses will respect the shock, and won’t try to out-athlete the fence.

Maintenance and Use

The primary concerns in maintaining a proper electric fence are the proper function of all equipment, including chargers, insulators, and line posts; properly trained horses; and good human habits around the fence such as driving vehicles and working around live wires.

An electric shock is safe to contain horses as long as there are no damaged or faulty parts of the electric fence system.

Check systems frequently to identify the troubles. As soon as possible, repair any broken strands.  Clean any things that touch the electric fence or not hang feed buckets on the fence.

Tighten fence strands on a regular basis while the fence is turned off, following the manufacturer’s instructions.


What is an electric fence for horses?

An electric fence is a method for containing horses through the use of an electric shock.

Typically, livestock fencing is used for this sort of containment, but if a non-porous boundary is required, electric fencing can be a solution.

An electric fence is an inexpensive and easy way to contain your horses. They are not, however, meant for free-roaming. While they can be efficient they also have many limitations and should be implemented with care.

Horses are prey animals, which means they will test boundaries to see if they can go beyond them. Most horses respect the shock of an electric fence and will not try to run through it. However, some horses have successfully jumped over or crawled under the wire in attempts to get out.

How does an electric fence work for horses?

Horses will test the fence by walking up to it and touching it with their nose or body. They will get a small shock for this but it is not meant to harm them. The shock they feel will be about the same as if they had touched a doorknob. They will not feel this shock if you are using high-quality insulated wire. The fence wire is meant to create a psychological barrier that will teach the horses to stay away from it. If they do not feel this shock they will continue to test the fence. Horses that are capable of jumping over fences learn to place their front feet on the lower wire and then jump.

What voltage should my electric fence for a horse be?

A voltage that is too low will not be enough to stop a determined animal from crossing the fence. A voltage that is too high will cause unnecessary stress and damage to the animal.

Horses (and other animals) have a good sense of touch and even the slightest touch will feel like an unpleasant shock.

To prevent injuries to the horse, the fencing voltage should be about 4000V on the fence line itself and 3600V about 30 cm from the fence line.


A horse’s sense of smell is acute, so it may be worth considering how close to the fenceline or pasture you want your electric fencing. You might also consider installing a ground wire on the perimeter of an area where horses are being kept since they have difficulty seeing anything below their noses. However, if there are other animals in that field who can see over fences and into another property, then this will not work as well for keeping them out because they could still jump onto whatever side has no ground wires. It all boils down to what kind of animal you’re trying to keep out–and what type of fence set-up works best for those particular species!