Make a Horse Corral With This Simple Fence Design

Build this easy-to-construct, inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing horse corral following a zigzag pattern.

| March/April 1978

  • Completed Horse Corral
    The finished horse corral contains one ornery horse.
    PHOTO: L. SCHAFFER
  • Zig Corral Gate Chart
    This chart shows the view from inside the horse corral of the gate and the materials needed to build a gate of this kind.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Zig Corral Blueprint
    When the horse corral is finished, it should look similar to this blueprint.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Zig Corral in Process
    Putting up the zigzag fence design for the horse corral is easy to do.
    W. SCHAFFER
  • Finished Sides of the Zig Corral
    This is how the sides of your horse corral should look and overlap once you've finished the project.
    STAN FLAGG
  • Sawing on the Zig Corral
    Before attaching the rail binders, be sure to saw off the extra on the ends of your horse corral.
    W. SCHAFFER
  • Zig Corral Layout
    The horse corral works in a zigzag fence design.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Zig Corral Gate Picture
    The uneven sides of the horse corral follwing the zigzag pattern.
    STAN FLAGG

  • Completed Horse Corral
  • Zig Corral Gate Chart
  • Zig Corral Blueprint
  • Zig Corral in Process
  • Finished Sides of the Zig Corral
  • Sawing on the Zig Corral
  • Zig Corral Layout
  • Zig Corral Gate Picture

Until you've been foiled by a footloose and fetter-free animal who manages — time and again — to work his way through all your fancy fences to go feed his face in greener pastures, you can't appreciate the frustration our wandering gelding used to cause us. We tried using an electric fence, and it worked well during the summer. But winter's white blanket insulated the ground so well in the cold months that our usually equable equine quickly forgot the shocks of summer and made a shambles of our setup. Trailing strands of broken wire, he'd casually slog from his private shed to the hay barn where he'd then spend the night munching and befouling.

I tried various schemes to make the electric fence effective in snow ... but to no avail. Finally — with the score at something like "Horse, 30 . . . Man, 0" — apoplexy became the mother of invention. "There's got to be a better way," I told myself. "I'm going to corral that horse if it's the last thing I do!"

A Horse Corral for All Seasons

In my search for an answer to our "animal containment" problem, I read George A. Martin's classic Fences, Gates, and Bridges. After borrowing a few ideas here and there from Martin's book and adding a few twists of my own, I eventually came up with a horse holding design that I felt I and my gelding could both live with: the "zig" horse corral.

And what's a "zig" horse corral? Nothing but a zigzag fence minus the "zag." (Note: Click on the Image Gallery link above for more details, photographs and diagrams about the horse corral.) One advantage to this design is that the use of upright posts set into the ground is kept to a minimum: Our whole corral needed only eight of them. This — of course — all but eliminates any worry of rotting wood and/or frost heave and cut down on the amount of time we had to spend digging post holes.



Another reason we chose the "zig" design is that it allowed us to capitalize on the readily available aspen logs we'd already felled in the course of our recent pasture-clearing operation. Thus, our total out-of-pocket costs for the project were essentially nil.

What we like most about our horse corral, however, is its inherent sturdiness. The enclosure's sides are interlocked in such a way that they could probably safely hold a charging bull ... although, so far, the best we've been able to come up with is one ornery horse.






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