Building a Round Pen on Your Horse Property
If you are in the market for a round pen, look at a variety of round pens at different barns. Talking with trainers will help you discover what they like and don’t like about their round pens and how they use them. In this article we do just that: We talk with professionals in the horse industry to find out what makes a round pen useful. Should you buy or build one? What size and construction material are most important? What footing is best, and how should it be maintained?
Matt Livengood, of Nampa, Idaho, is a ranch riding and ranch trail instructor specializing in basic horsemanship skills who works with riders at a variety of ages and levels. He’s also a multi-carded judge with National Reining Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association, and American Quarter Horse Association specialties. Matt has competed in several mustang challenge events, which involve starting a wild horse and getting him ready for competition under saddle in 100 days. Further, Livengood is a show steward, a show manager, andworks part-time at a regional feed store selling livestock products. Full disclosure here: This credentialed guy is also my husband. (I talked to two “Matts” for this piece, so I’ll refer to both by their last names to avoid confusion).
“I use a round pen for establishing a relationship, understanding body language, and to facilitate groundwork and respect with the horse,” explained Livengood. The smaller confines of a round pen and lack of corners make it a safe space for longing, liberty work, establishing trust, and desensitizing to new and scary
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