Selecting a Round Pen

Do you have a round pen on your horse property? Here are some things to consider when selecting a round pen.

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Selecting a Round Pen
Most recently we used our round pen to house and train Bud, the Mustang that Matt started as part of the Extreme Mustang Makeover. The six foot tall height and five-rail design discourages horses from jumping out and adult horse can’t reach their head through it. Tops of the panels meet squarely (instead of being curved) so that a horse can’t rear up and get a foot stuck between the panels. Panels attach with long steel pins making it simple to set up and no tools required. | Photo: Alayne Blickle, Horses for Clean Water

I am a huge fan of round pens. People often ask me what I think is the most important tool or piece of equipment on our property. They are probably expecting a response like a certain bit, bridle, or maybe tractor, but I am quick to reply that our favorite piece of equipment is our round pen.

A good round pen can have many uses. We use our round pen for starting and working young horses and free longeing older horses. We use it as a place to have inexperienced or young riders start out on horseback and we also use it as a small arena for controlled riding or turnout. Because we have a horse motel, we often have guests and their horses here and they often use the round pen for turnout; guests traveling with horses turn their horses out in the round pen so they can move around and have a nice roll in the sand after a long day of trailering. Most recently we used it to house Bud, the mustang that Matt started as part of the Extreme Mustang Makeover; the Bureau of Land Management requires all potential Mustang adoptees to have a strong round pen with six foot fencing.

Ours is a 66-foot diameter round that which we purchased in the mid 1990s from internationally known trainer John Lyons, and it is still going strong.  We like the six foot tall, welded galvanized pipe (like muffler pipe) panels because they are strong and rust-free. Each panel is 12-foot long, sturdy but lightweight enough that I can move them around by myself; each panel weighs about 60 pounds. The panels attach with long steel pins making it simple to set up (no tools required) or to take panels apart to adjust the size, which Matt also did with Bud the Mustang as the 66-foot diameter initially gave Bud a little too much freedom

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

8 Responses

  1. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    Where is the best place to find economical round pen panels that are 6′ high? All the local places only have 5′ panels, and I’m going to need a 6′ high one if I get a mustang.

    Thank you in advance for your help! My Google search has not been fru

  2. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    To Christi: where did you get your  $45.00 panels??? Help please.

  3. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    For the math-challenged among us, how many 12-foot panels make up your round pen?

  4. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    Early in my H/J career about 35 yrs ago, I saw little use for the round pen and never used one myself. Now that I am primarily raising sport horses and doing so much ground training with the young ones, I agree wholeheartedly with the author. It is wit

  5. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    I purchased a new round pen off the internet and it was delivered to my farm within 2 weeks. We are currently keeping my new little colt in it until he adjusts to the area. I purchased enough panels to make a ridding arena of 60′ x 120′ or any size rou

  6. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    Melody, You can utilize carriage bolts very effectively for replacement pins. They have the added benefit of being able to have a wing nut added to them so if you have really smart thoroughbreds as we do, they can`t pull out the pins and thereby escape

  7. re: Selecting a Round Pen

    Where can I get replacement pins? I have searched & surfed. My pen is a 50′ & 15 yrs old..serves a multitude of uses!

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