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I just cut some pine timber for a friend and was given all the logs so I am hauling them to my other friends sawmill and having them cut into lumber and plan to build a horse arena. Going to use the arena for sorting and roping cattle, as well as training horses. I will be buying treated posts and using the pine and make either a 3 or 4 rail wood fence. I was thinking of putting the posts every 10 feet or so. Questions I have is- 1 3 or 4 rail? 2 how tall does it need to be to keep cattle from jumping? Other questions might come along as I build it. Lol I just like to toss my ideas out there and think about things as I do them. Any ideas or tips are much appreciated!
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Minimum of 4 planks, not further than 10' spacing between those posts.

Cattle will push through anything their head can fit through if it doesn't "bite" them like barb wire does.
By me there are thousands of acres of cattle ranches with everything from babies to market ready steers, milk cows....everything in between.
All have barb wire fence to keep them in their place, at least 5 strands that I can see.
There is also a roping/sorting practice and competition arena a few miles away. Their fences appear to be high...livestock wire and multiple planks combination. I have not been that close to it but would guess at least 5' high for the arena and the holding area is 6' high.

I would be more concerned with a horse jumping than a cow, but the cow pushing their way through...if the head fits so will the rest of the body..


When I did a quick look-see on the internet, all recommendations are at least 6' tall for any type of training arena...then it gets more specific for species of animal and use of the arena.
Posts on a cattle arena many used 6" - 8" diameter or more or telephone poles sunk at least 3' in the ground or more.
Everything I read mentioned having as little space between "boards" as possible so not seeing out was achieved...
There were many good sources with detailed information on arenas and sizing, layout of the arena and available for free...

Good luck.
 

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my roping arena is made out of the 4" square welded wire, it's 5' tall; that height has been good for riding colts in as well, however I start all of them and put 2 or 3 rides on them in my round pen, which is 6' tall; cows will jump over a barbed wire fence, if you push them too hard, once one jumps out(if one ever does) sell it asap, since it will jump out everytime you push them after that; to help prevent cows from trying to push through or jump over the fence, keep your alley 8' wide or less---they will be much easier to push and keep in line if you keep the alley smaller; my arena is a 140'X240' ; if you are going to rope, ensure you put the chute and boxes on the right side, about 1/3 or less from the right fence, and have your stripping chute straight in front of the chute to help the cows run straight;
 

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The only rail I have is a top rail, but I only have it on the alley-way. I am probably going to put up a top rail one of these days.....that was the original plan, just too busy to build it; and, since this one is working, I may not ever get to it.
 

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And, in the other 3 roping arenas I practice with friends at, none have a top rail, two are only field fence on the bottom with a smooth wire strand at about 5 foot.
 

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I saw a nice set up. Posts pounded in every 8' then stiff panel, similar to rock guard were put up then a two x 6 above that. The panels are 4' high and the plank brings it up to 5'. The cattle respect this. Rock guard has about 6" squares, no larger and is about 3/16" thick - very strong, and galvanized.
 
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