The safest & cheapest fencing, even cheaper than dreaded barbwire, is the thickest gauge high tensile wire. You can have longer runs between posts, however to install it, you do need a fence tightener and every so many feet, we went 400', you need on the fence tighteners. We live in a heavily forested area, trees, huge ones, have fell on this fence. I simply chainsaw off the fallen tree, take my little racquet tool to the tightener and she's all tight again. Oh yes, you do need the corner posts heavy duty braced. I love this fence, replaced post & rail in the pasture with this as the trees were constantly breaking my rails in the winter, too much work replacing. I do have post and rail paddocks with a hot wire on top but I couldn't keep up with that on 10 acres.
I have T-Posts With Non-Horse Climb Fencing - 5 feet (the fencing comes in a roll) and I love it!!! Practically worry-free, and works very well for my mare's pasture. * one must buy the 7 foot T-Posts to aquire a 5 foot fence, as a full 2 feet are secured in the ground. All of these supplies are found @ our local Tractor Supply Store, and I'm sure you have some in your area - good luck! :)
I have all fields divided with electric rope. It is powered by a mains fencer and they all have a healthy respect for it as it does give a heck of a zap.
Your best and cheapest would be to go with the electric rope and fencer unit.
This needs no straining posts only the adapters that screw into the posts and two lines is enough to keep them in - unless you have a horse that jumps out.
I converted to electric rope many years ago and will never turn back. Many folks don't believe it, but if your horse respects electric, you'll have no problem with the electric polyrope. For adult horses, we run only one strand, 3' high, with posts every 30'. In the areas with foals, 2 strands (they tend to sleep and roll under otherwise). We have never had a horse run through, get caught in, or jump over. They will graze right to the edge, but don't mess with the fence. You absolutely cannot beat the cost, install time, and maintenance of it.
We also use the polyrope wire and t-posts with wood posts at the corners. We only use two lines, one at knee height and one at waist height.
We have had a few times that the horses have taken the fence down. We were using a solar charger and not a very good grounding rod. The battery froze in the winter which made it not give a good charge. Once we got a good grounding rod and a 110 AC charger, the horses have left the fence alone.
We have one horse that almost lays her head on the ground to reach under the fence to get at grass outside the fence.
After a few good zaps, the horses usually stay away from the fence even when we leave it turned off.
We do set up temporary pastures along the driveway which we only run one wire. Usually we don't use a charger on that and the horses stay away from it anyway. However, some horses can sense when the fence is off and will test it. Posted via Mobile Device
Properly installed high tension cable, with properly installed suitable electric charger, IE at least 2 joules. Once set up you wont have to mess with it again for years. People buy cheap chargers, and that easy to break wire and think it is high tension, or a couple wet weeds lean on fence and grounds it out.
Affordability is often a huge issue. Full wood is what a lot of people would like but is one of the most expensive, which is why a lot of people use wire fencing. Using wood posts with wire would also be quite expensive (wood posts costs more and take more time/money/effort to put in). I guess it would be safer than star pickets but the wire is still an issue.
The places I've kept my horse at with the least issues is generally just wire fencing with an electric top line. Or many places add an extra line about 20cm in from the fence and electrify that - which can keep them further from the fence. If the fence is hot they tend to respect it, it's only when they don't that the wire really becomes a safety issue.
Other electric ropes etc probably work just as well - anything that keeps the horse away from the fence.
It's a little more effort and expense setting up an electric system - but in the long runs it's probably the safest option in your price range.
Another thing, a lot of injuries occur when horses get tangled up and panic. Do some work on the ground to get your horse used to having things like ropes and such wrapped around their legs. That way if they do get in a dodgy situation, hopefully they won't panic.
I know its an old thread but it got bumped today--
We cut our own cedar posts to use for posts-- we use high tensile wire on all our horse pastures- its not dangerous as barbed wire and it don't get all loose and saggy-- its easy to tighten and the cedar don't rot like other woods do.
Its a low maintenance fence and its affordable-- we tighten the fence about once every couple years- not because its saggy but just to keep tension on it.. our fencing system can seriously hold back an elephant! Lol.