Horse leaning toward a fence

Do Horses Jump Over Fences? 6 Great Ways To Keep Them Inside

In Horsesby Morten Storgaard

We all know that horses are really great jumpers, so how do you keep them inside the fence? Let’s take a look at what you need to do here.

Do Horses Jump Over Fences?
Generally, a horse will not jump over the fence when it’s inside fencing. It will respect the fence and only try to escape if it runs out of water or food. You need a fence that is at least 55” in order to keep the horse inside.

Here are some great tips for how to make sure your horse stays inside the fence.

How Common Is It For Horses To Jump Over Fences?

Horse leaning toward a fence

It’s typically not as common as people think. Horses are typically good at staying inside a fence and they will respect the boundaries you set up.

That being said, most animals like to roam free and if the horse gets any funny ideas inside try to jump the fence. So it’s important to put some procedures in place in order to make sure they stay inside. Even though you can never be 100% sure.

Whether it will jump over a fence depends on several factors:

  1. Have you taught the horse to jump?
  2. Are they entertained inside the fence?
  3. Do you have an electric fence?
  4. How tall should the fence be?
  5. What is the fence made off?
  6. What’s outside the fence?

Let’s take a look at each of the points from above.

1) Have you taught the horse to jump?

If you haven’t taught the horse how to jump over obstacles they will be less likely to jump over fences.

But as soon as you start training them to jump over obstacles they might find more interest in doing so.┬áHorses like to work and they like to train. So it’s important to let them know that the fence is not for play.

You can do so by ensuring that the fences tall enough (we’ll come back to that) but there are also other things you can do.

2) Keep them entertained inside the fence?

You need to make sure that the area isn’t too small. The horses need enough space to be able to run around.

Other than that, they love a good dirt path and they need enough grass inside the fencing. It’s important for them to have green grass on the inside and not only hay.

Horses prefer to eat grass and hay in the field (and not only hay).

You can also experiment with some toys and companionship inside the fence. Make sure the horse is taken out of the fence regularly to be ridden. They need to use their muscles once in a while. This is especially important to think about during times of business where you might not feel like you have the time to ride it.

3) Do you need an electrical fence?

We don’t recommend an electric fence around your horses. They would do perfectly fine with a wooden fence as long as it is tall enough.

The horses will quickly learn to respect the fence even though was not electric. And if it does (accidentally) touch the fence it will be very unpleasant for the horse.

More than that, it takes a lot of work to put up an electric fence around your horses. You will also have to pay for the electricity which can add up over the years. It’s easier to build a normal fence with 3 or 4 lines of wood and if you ask me, it also looks a lot better!

So all in all, we recommend you build a wooden fence instead of an electric fence. It’s easier, cheaper, and more pleasant for you and the horses.

But…

If you continually find that your horses want to escape the fencing you might consider adding some voltage to the fence. Some horses take more prompting to stay inside the fence but this is definitely not normally the case.

You can probably get away with adding an electric wire to the fence for a few weeks or months. After this, the horse will have learned not to touch the fence or try to jump over it.

After all, an electric fence does cost some money but it typically cost a lot less than the vet bills if your horse gets in trouble. Not to mention the cost of lawsuits if the horse gets someone ELSE into trouble!

Remember
If you do plan on having an electric fence around your horses you will need to pay close attention to the voltage. You want to make sure the horses won’t get hurt if it accidentally touches the fence. There’s no need to go any higher than 3,000 volts. That will be more than enough to keep the horses inside.

4) How tall should the fence be?

The fence should be at least 55 inches. If we are talking about really tall horses or horses that are great jumpers you should aim for a fence no lower than 65”.

This is to ensure that the horse doesn’t get any funny ideas.

If you have trained your horse to jump it might be tempted to try to jump the fence. So it’s very important that the fence isn’t too low because it might not recognize it as a fence.

That being said, horses are naturally very good with fences. They will typically want to stay inside as long as they have what they need (hay, grass, and water).

You also need to make sure that the horse cannot crawl under the fence. It’s important that the lowest part of the fence is a lot lower than the horse. Otherwise your genius hose might figure out a way to crawl under it! They are very smart and intelligent, as you know.

5) What is the fence made off?

We sometimes see wired fences that are really poorly made. You shouldn’t use a fence around horses where the wires are too far apart.

The horse shouldn’t be able to stick its neck out between the wires. It can easily end up hurting the animal and it will just make the horse too interested in what is going on on the other side.

Instead, you should always go for a wooden fence if you can. Wooden fences are much better because they won’t hurt the horse. Here are some good examples of how are you should construct your wooden fence:

Horse fence construction

Notice how the horse isn’t able to stick its head out through the fence.

It can’t be alright to use the wire fencing as long as the horse can only look over the fence. But you do need to pay closer attention to a wired fence because it’s not always easy to see when there’s an open area.

6) What’s outside the fence?

You need to keep the inside of the fence more attractive than the outside.

Most importantly you need to keep everything inside the fence that could have an interest to the horse. Don’t place anything that looks delicious are fun just outside the fence. Make sure it has plenty of water and hay so it won’t get too hungry or thirsty.

Horses are intelligent and curious animals so they might feel like jumping over the fence if they think it’s more fun on the outside.

How To Teach Your Horse Not To Jump Over Fences

It takes a lot of practice to jump over a fence while riding your horse. You need the practice and the horse needs to practice. But if you have the experience you can definitely jump over fences while riding your horse.

But since you ask, I assume you haven’t yet taught the horse how to do jump.

This is important because otherwise the horse will not only get hurt but it might also get really scared and never want to try again.

When you practice jumping with your horse you are always practicing with an obstacle that’s not dangerous to the horse. If the horse hit the obstacle it will simply just fall to the ground without harming the horse.

Always work with a bounce rail in the beginning so the horse won’t get hurt. Cavaletti poles are made for this and you should get these for the training.

So, you need to find a jumping track in order to work with your horse if you want to teach it how to jump over fences and other obstacles. And it’s a great thing to do with your horse because it teaches the horse a lot of technique. Even though you might never consider riding competitions it’s great to train to jump with your horse.

Once in a while, you might meet an obstacle that you haven’t foreseen. And then it’s very nice to know that the horse (and you as a rider) are able to overcome that obstacle by jumping over it. Did might avoid a bad situation in the future if you are confident about jumping over an obstacle.

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