Glossary of Fencing Terms

Use these definitions to help you sort through fencing types and terms.

(Note: Italicized words are defined elsewhere within the glossary.)

Fencing comes in a variety of materials and forms. Translating the options can help you decide what’s best for you.

Barbed wire: Metal strands with sharp metal barbs woven in along its length.

Broken rail fencing: See post-and-rail fencing.

Continuous-mesh fencing: Barrier made from a sheet of woven steel wire (or other material, see polymer-grid fencing) that covers and unbroken span from the ground up, and is attached to vertical supports called T-posts. Recommended types for horses are 2-by-4-inch “square” mesh (also called “non-climb” mesh) and 4-by-2-inch “V” or “diamond” mesh.

Cross fencing: Fence lines that divide pastures within a piece of property.

Coated-wire fencing: Barrier made from 12 1/2- to 14-gauge steel wire encased in high-tensile polymer or vinyl approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. (The lower the gauge number, the thicker, more heavy-duty the wire.)

Electric board fencing:Post-and-rail fencing with built in runners of conductive aluminum along 3-inch rails.

Electric braid: Polyester yarns braided into dimensionally stable rope that rebounds to its original length after stretching. Conductible copper wire is braided into the rope’s exterior surface.

Electric polytape: Conductive wires interwoven with strips of nylon; ranges in diameter from ? to 2 inches.

High-tensile-polymer fencing: Barrier made from tightly strung synthetic strands.

High-tensile-wire fencing: Barrier made from tightly strung wire.

Non-electric monofilament fencing: Barrier made from single, untwisted strands of high-density nylon or polyester.

Perimeter fence: Fence line around the outer boundary of a piece of property.

Pipe fencing: A type of post-and-rail fencing made from welded oil-stem pipe or reject material.

Polymer-grid fencing: Type of continuous-mesh fencing made from a plastic or vinyl-type material, rather than woven wire.

Poly-coated wood fencing: Barrier made from wood coated with polyethylene, a tough synthetic substance designed to prevent broken/splintered rails, discourage chewing, and reduce maintenance.

Post-and-rail fencing: Barrier made up of vertical support posts and a series of interrupted (staggered) horizontal rails. Rails can be made from wood (whole or split, see wood fencing) a synthetic material (see synthetic post-and-rail system), or metal piping.

Synthetic post-and-rail system: Vinyl or polyethylene post-and-rail fencing.

Synthetic rail system:High-tensile-polymer fencing or vinyl/PVC rails reinforced with heavy-gauge steel wire and attached to vertical support posts.

T-posts: Vertical metal supports designed with a flat plate at one end to hold them securely in the ground. Used to support continuous-mesh fencing.

Wood fencing: Barrier made from natural wood. Available in either post-and-board (horizontal barrier made from flat or “dimensional” lumber) or post and rail (horizontal barrier is made from whole, round lumber.)

This glossary is excerpted from the May 2002 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.

No matter what fencing materials you choose, safety should be your No. 1 priority. Find out what’s safe–and what’s not–in “Border Patrol” in the June 2006 issue of Horse & Rider.

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