Thursday, April 19, 2012

Question on Round Pens

Randy L sent me an e-mail and said he has never had use of a round pen but was thinking about buying a round pen and wanted to know what size (diameter) and what manufacturer would I suggest?

Round pens are a great tool to have. No corners such as a square or rectangle pen for the horse to get himself in trouble with, the round pen also allows the horse forward momentum which of course is necessary.  I think the little bit of freedom a horse has in the round pen quiets the troubleness in him sometimes.

You can do so much in a round pen. Start to build the respect from the horse to you, and vice versa; first exposure to a pressure and release to a un-broke horse; the round pen is a safer place to saddle and ride him for the first time; you can use the panels of the round pen as a barrier or a reason to learn to side pass; exposure your horse to a lariat and to a rope around his feet so he can learn that he doesn’t have to panic.

My round pen is indispensable to me. As far as diameter of the round pen, I have used as small as 35 foot round pens and as large as a 75 foot round pen, but I prefer a 40 foot to 50 foot pen. My current round pen is 45 feet, although one time I put a wild as a bronc paint horse in the round pen overnight and the next morning I had a trapezoid shaped pen. The picture at right is a round pen manufactured by Red River.

The cost of round pens, that come in panels you lock together, has greatly increased in the last five years. I think you will hard pressed to find a quality one under $1,200 now. If you need to have a paneled or solid round pen you’ll probably pay 3 to 4 times as much. Solid round pens with walls the horse can’t see through help keep the horse from getting distracted by events outside the pen. Having solid panels that the horse can’t put this hoof through are safer as well. I was lunging a horse one day and all of sudden he got it into his mind to take off about as fast as he could go and after a couple rotations he stepped out too hard and put his foot through the round pen panel. It stopped his momentum causing him to somersault. Ever see a horse somersault? It ain’t a pretty site. I imaged had a broken leg at a minimum. We both were lucky as hell as he stood up, shook off the dust and was okay. He ended up breaking a stirrup strap on my saddle however. In fact this paint horse is the one in the picture at the top of this post. The picture, upper left, is a paneled or solid walled round pen from Centaur.

Here are some, not all, round pen manufacturers:


Powder River


Red River Arenas

Trition Barns


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