Have you ever worked your horses in a round pen?
I can go further; have you ever worked your ponies, yearlings, foals, green horses, problem horses, students, children or even an adult that needs to build confidence in a round pen? 🙂 The endless help of a round pen can be a Godsend.
The first time I really started to use a round pen was after I started to purchase Thoroughbreds off the track and work them towards the hunter jumper realm. The round pen gave both the horse and myself the ability to work together without having much trust between the pair of us. But within in one schooling lesson, we began to learn each other’s personalities and joined up to have a wonderful working relationship.
My personal choice for a round pen is one that is permanent and built from RAMM Flex fence. In my situation, I do not need to move my round pen and prefer the strength and integrity of a solid fence to work with horses or horses and people. Every post is set 8’ apart giving me the best stability whether a horse is easy to work with or one that is up in the air more than down. My posts are concreted, that way the pen does not shift, or move if the horses hit it. Also, since the rails flex (6-8”) and come back to the original shape, both horse and rider are not hitting an unforgiving wall. The rails are in the inside of my pen. Four rails are best because any size horse, pony or mini can go into the pen without worry of them putting a head through. My rails do not need painting, and I choose to leave my posts natural so there are no paint or labor costs – that is a big savings over time. Friends have trailered over to use my round pen – they know how sturdy it is and safer than others.
Footing is a choice for most horse owners. Very fine gravel can work well and drain areas when rain is heavy at times. One tip I have found useful is that I contact local tree companies and ask if they will be in my area. I ask for the tree shreds making very sure, there is never any nut bearing or fruit bearing trees in the mix. Pine is primo for the footing. When they are in my area, I get a load and rake it into my round pen or in areas where my horses track often. It’s a natural footing and over time, the base is soft but not too soft for working horses in regards to their tendons.
I have found that metal round pens serve a purpose, but so does a solid Flex round pen. When a metal round pen will not be strong enough for some horses, for example, Mustangs, older green horses, large horses or stallions, etc., the Flex round pen stands alone.
Most often now, my grandchildren are on our mini or pony in the round pen. They are learning how to steer and most importantly, to stop. I still use our round pen before I ride for times when I feel like the wind is in the air and it makes my horses feel good. Also for friends with untrained horses that want to have a strong and durable training aid.
I have often heard it is good to get information, wisdom or advice from a seasoned person. And my one of my best tips for anyone is to have a solid round pen, (preferably Flex), one that works for you, not against you. Lightweight round pens are easy to set up, but if your 1,200 lb horse is untrained, unruly, or unreliable – use a product that will stand up to the challenge. It is not worth any vet bills to try to save on less expensive products that fail.