Horse Fencing: The Ultimate Glossary of Common Terms – Centaur Fencing
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Horse Fencing: The Ultimate Glossary of Common Terms

When it comes to buying and installing horse fencing of any type, you may find that you seem to be speaking a different language. Whether you are new to horse fence or simply need a quick place to check a definition, this is the place for you.

Below you will find some of the most common terms associated with fencing so that you can familiarize yourself with any that are new to you.

Aluminized – A chain link fence that has been dipped in hot aluminum, making the fence corrosion resistant and strong.

Amperage – The measurement of the intensity of an electrical current. Higher amperage results in a more intense shock when the current is touched.

Amp – Abbreviation of Ampere; a measurement of an electric current.

Barbed tape – A mesh that is made of strips of metal that have sharp edges and points, designed to prevent people from moving through the fence. Also referred to as razor wire.

Barbed wire – Steel wire fencing that has sharp edges and barbs spaced along the wire. Typically used as a cheap fencing to contain livestock, primarily cattle. Not a safe fencing for horses, sheep, or goats.

Bottom rail – The lowest rail of a fence that runs horizontally along the ground. The bottom rail extends along the fence and can be used to stabilize the above fencing.

Brace band – A strip of metal that is used to attach the end of a fencing rail to a post. The metal is shaped to fit around the post in use and is secured closed with a carriage bolt.

Cantilever slide gate – A horizontal sliding gate that spans an opening without needing support on the top or bottom. The gate slides freely without needing tracking along the opening. Horizontal posts suspend the gate.

Capacitive discharge – The pulsing of electricity through an electric fence at regular intervals. Capacitive discharge chargers typically send electrical charges through the fence once per second. This is the way most chargers & energizers work.

Center stop – A decide that stops and holds the drop bar on a double gate, keeping the gate securely in the closed position. The center stop is located on the ground at the point where both edges of the double gate meet.

Chain link – A type of woven fence that consists of steel posts and chain link fabric. The wires are woven together in a diamond pattern. Typically made from galvanized or steel wire. Also referred to as wire netting, wire-mesh fence, or hurricane fence.

Coated-wire fencing – A fence that is made of a steel wire encased in a high-tensile polymer or vinyl. The fencing typically has a diameter of about ¼ inch. (See PolyPlus or White Lightning)

Conductor – A material used in an electric fence that allows electricity to freely flow through it. Metals are conductors.

Continuous current – The issuing of a constant electric current through an electric fence, as opposed to a pulsing electric current.  

Corner post – The post at the corner of a fenced area where two fencing lines meet. The corner post typically forms a 90-degree angle, and must have a strong foundation to support the stress of the joined fence lines.

Cross fencing – Fence lines that divide up a fenced-in pasture, running between the perimeter fence lines. 

Current – The flow of an electric charge through the electric fence.

Deer fence – A fence that is created to prevent deer from accessing an area. It may consist of a variety of materials, but is typically between 7 and 8 feet high, and is occasionally angled outward.

Diamond – A term referring to the shape of the holes created by the woven wires in chain link fence.

Diamond count – The number of diamond holes from one edge of a chain link fence to the other. The diamond count is useful when cutting or measuring multiple lengths of fence that should be the same size. The diamond count begins with the first complete diamond hole on one end, and ends with either the unfinished or full diamond hole at the other end.

Distance rating – A measurement of how far a fence charger can be effective when powering a 17-gauge steel wire strung 36 inches above the ground. The distance rating allows you to compare the power of different fence chargers.

Double swing gate – A hinged gate that has two sides that open from the center and swing outward. Hinged gates are useful for large areas that need a wide gate with significant clearance.

Drop bar – The bar that drops down from the center of a double gate, keeping the gate secured open or closed. Also called a drop rod.

Electric board fencing – A post and rail fence that has conductive aluminum strands built into the rails so that the fence can be electrified.

Electric braid – Strands of polyester that are braided into a stretchable but strong rope.(Example: Electrobraid Fencing) The rope’s exterior has strands of copper wire braided into it, making the rope electrifiable.

Electric polytape – A flat tape made of nylon strips that are interwoven with thin conductive wires to make the tape electrifiable. The tape ranges in width from ½” to 2”.

End post – The finals post in a fence line, typically attached to a gate post. The end post has fencing only attached to one side.

Fabric – A woven fence that consists of a continuous weave without using knots or ties. A popular fencing type for snow fencing.

Fence line – The actual path of an installed fence. Can be straight, curved, or rounded.

Fence tie – Thin metal ties that attach chain link fence to the metal line posts.

Frame hinge – A coupling that encircles the gate frame and attaches it to the post hinge, allowing the gate to swing.

Framework – The supporting structure for a fence fabric or gates. Fencing framework typically consists of fence posts, top rails, braces, and sometimes a bottom rail.

Galvanized – Steel or iron that has been covered with a zinc coating. Fencing material can be galvanized, as can fencing materials like nails or screws.

Galvanized after weaving (GAW) – Referring to chain link fabric that has been zinc coated after being woven together. The zinc coating may not be as thorough as fencing that has been galvanized before weaving.

Galvanized before weaving (GBW) – Referring to chain link fabric that has been zinc coated before being woven together. The zinc coating is typically more thorough than fencing that has been galvanized after weaving.

Gate – A moveable panel that allows access into the fenced area.

Gate frame – The support structure of the gate.

Gate latch – The fitting or hardware that secures the gate closed. When fencing in animals, the type of gate latch used must be designed to prevent the animals from accessing or opening the latch.

Gate opening – The distance between gate posts through which people, animals, or machinery may move. The size of the gate opening is particularly important if machinery must access the fenced area.

Gate post – The post that supports the gate, on which the gate swings by its hinges.

Gauge – The diameter of a wire. This can refer to the diameter of a strand of electric rope or wire, or the diameter of a wire that is used to make a fabric. Gauge size increases as the diameter of the wire or material decreases.

Grounding rod – A conductive rod that is inserted into the ground and is connected to the electric fence charger’s ground terminal. The grounding rod completes the circuit when an animal touches the fence and interrupts the circuit.  

Height – Usually used to refer to the distance between the ground and the top line of the fence.

High-tensile-polymer fencing – Tightly strung synthetic strands that form a line or a rail fence. (Like Centaur 5-Inch Rail)

High-tensile wire – A wire fencing that consists of strong wires run horizontally. The wires run through insulators which are attached to strong fence posts.

Insulator – A hook or fastener made of plastic or ceramic through which an electric fence wire or tape can be attached without interrupting the circuit. Insulators connect the fence to posts without allowing the electricity to access the post. (View Our Insulators Here

Intermediate rail – A fence rail that runs horizontally between the top and bottom fence rails. Also referred to as the middle rail.

Knotted – A mesh fence that is created when steel wire is knotted together both horizontally and vertically.

Line post – A post that provides support to the fence. A line post is located between terminal or end posts.

Line post cap – A cap that fits onto the line posts and serves to secure the top rail or wire onto the line post.

Mesh – Fencing that is created by connected wires running vertically and horizontally. Generally mesh fencing with a tighter weave is stronger than fencing with a larger, looser weave.

Offset hinge – A hinge that lets a gate swing a full 180 degrees from the open to closed position, rather than the standard 90 degrees.

Panel clamp – A carriage bolt clamp that secures two panels of prefabricated fencing together.

Perimeter fence – The fence that traces the exterior boundary of a property.

Pipe fencing – Fencing made from welded pipes in a post and rail figuration.

Poly-coated wood fencing – A wood fencing that has been coated with polyethylene. The polyethylene coating reduces the maintenance of wood fencing and helps to keep it from splintering. 

Polymer-grid fencing – A mesh fencing made from plastic or vinyl material. The fence forms a continuous mesh.

Post cap – A cover for the top of a fence post. Post caps are typically used to cover hollow posts, but can also be used for decorative purposes.

Post hinge – A coupling that attaches to the gate post and, working with the frame hinge receptor, allows the gate to swing.

Post & rail – A fence that consists of horizontal rails attached to vertical posts.

Post & Wire – A fence that consists of horizontal wire that is attached to vertical posts. If used for horses, a sight board should be run along the top to increase the fence’s visibility.

Privacy fence – A fence that is nearly solid so as to block views into and out of an area.

PVC – Poly-vinyl chloride. A PVC fence is made of this synthetic plastic, and is known for its lightweight and low-maintenance characteristics. Fences can also be coated with PVC.

Rail – A horizontal element that supports the fence. Fence boards can be attached to fence rails. Fence boards themselves are sometimes referred to as rails, in the case of wooden fence.

Rail end – A fitting that is in the shape of a cup or a U. It is used with a brace band and connects the top rail to a post.

Rail spacing – The vertical distance between two rails on a fence.

Section – The length of fence that runs between two fence posts.

Sight board – A highly visible board that runs along the top of a fence that is made up of materials like wire that are not easily seen. The sight board is especially important for horses to help them see and avoid the fence when running.

Single swing gate – a hinged gate that consists of only one leaf or gate section.

Split rail – A post and rail fence that is made from wood. The fence usually features three horizontal rough wood boards that fit into wooden posts, though many different orientations are possible.

Stair stepping – A method used when installing fence on a steep grade. Different fence sections are installed at different heights to accommodate the change in grade, resulting in a fence with a top line that looks like a flight of stairs.

Stretching – Tightening the end of fence fabric or a line of wire or tape fence to give all of the fencing an even tension.

T-posts – Metal posts that have a flat plate to keep them securely in the ground. T-posts can be used to support a variety of fencing. When used with horses, it is important to make sure that the posts have plastic caps on them; their edges are sharp and a horse can impale itself on an uncovered post.

Terminal post – The post that sustains the weight and tension of a fence line. This post is a corner post, an end post, or a gate post.

Top rail – A horizontal post or line that runs from one terminal post to the next terminal post.

Truss rod – A rod, which may be threaded, used for bracing in gates.

Turnbuckle – A device used to tighten fencing lines.

Vinyl fence – A fence that is made of PVC. It can be made in a variety of styles and designs, but post & rail is the most popular kind for enclosing horses.

Wire fence – A fence that features lines of wire tightened between stable fence posts. Wire fencing has poor visibility and, if used for horses, should be accompanied by a sight board.

Wood fence – A fence made from any type of wood. Wood fencing requires regular maintenance, such as painting and re-nailing loosened nails.

Woven wire – Fencing that features smooth horizontal wires that are joined together with vertical wires, also called “stays.” Spacing between the wires is closer toward the bottom of the fence. The fence is secured with T-posts.