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Portable round pen panels

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  • Portable round pen panels

    Do you like yours? I was thinking of getting panels for a 60' round pen. It's 5 feet tall. I break one or two babies a year. I've had to break many without a round pen, but I do find it helpful when teaching lunging and doing the first couple of rides to have an enclosed space. I also like the idea of using the panels to make a rehad paddock in case I have an injured horse. How safe are the panels compared to a permanently fenced round pen or paddock?

  • #2
    I am going to say that the 5ft tall panels are not tall enough for a good round pen. That is only fenceline height for most field fences. If a horse feels "pushed" that height is not going to stop him well.

    Pay the extra and have better security in that taller fence, should you need to "crowd" him for some reason. Height is discouraging, so horse facing a 6ft fence, looks for other options in most instances.

    Check the locking devices that hold pens together, so horse can't get snagged on them, pins don't pull out easily. I know a couple pens that got horse snagged, then fell apart as horse fought the locking pins. Pretty messy as horses got legs thru panels while dragging stuff around.

    Spacing of bars could let some animals get heads thru while being used as stalling or turnout. Light weight metal of panels does NOT withstand horses pushing on the panels, often the WHOLE pen reshapes!!

    Do look at spaces between panels that could catch hoof of a rearing horse, or one who might try climbing out when pushed. Look at those U-shape legs that can catch a hoof or leg, should horse slip or fall near the fence. There are "corner covers" to go over where panels come together, some kinds of panels have L-shaped legs so hoof can't get caught in it.

    I would also go for a wider gate where you enter and leave the pen. Some gates on less expensive pens are waiting to snag a stirrup or don't let bigger horses have any extra room to get thru.

    For the above reasons, we have a wooden round pen we made. We used railroad ties for posts, with 10ft sections of 4 boards. There is a 10ft pipe gate for in and out, hung so the top is 6ft., level with the board tops. Fence is 6ft high, 60ft diameter pen. We have tall horses, so that 6ft is the minimum I would consider having for them. Even then one animal, REALLY tall 17+H, did climb the fence and pull down two boards. Husband learned a lesson in round penning that day, things NOT to do to new young horse. No injury, horse never tried to climb out again, has developed into a nice using animal.

    We like the boards as barrier, horse learns to work IN SPITE of things going on around him. With their height, they can all see over the fence without even lifting heads, so ignoring other things gets taught quickly. Pay attention to the PERSON SPEAKING!! The boards' spacing allows a good breeze to remove dust, easy to replace boards if needed and they were free from trees we cut on the farm. I want to say boards are real 2"x8"s, Oak, not planed smooth to smaller dimensions. All the board are higher on the posts, good 24" of space on the bottom for legs, easy weed whacking! No worries about railroad ties breaking or shifting out of alignment if hit by a horse. Gate hangs solidly, easy to open and shut. We don't keep anyone inside the pen, with the sandy ground it is not good grazing or feeding off of.

    We have found the round pen helpful at certain points in training steps. It doesn't get used a lot, but is just the ticket when you need it. We are not professional horse trainers, but do train our own animals as they grow and develop.


    • #3
      Love our Panels ~ many uses and PORTABLE !!!!!!

      We have a round pen attached to our indoor ~ high panels but also have many portable panels ```

      many many uses ~

      1. a small safe enclosure for an injured horse

      2. a limited grazing area for a 'founder' horse

      3. a safe place for isolating one from the herd for the vet

      4. to cover a hole in the fence until repair can be done

      5. section off a stall area inside a run-in-shed for a horse who eats slowly or needs some special attention.. medication..

      ** and of course to be used for some training sessions ~ ground and or under saddle .

      The best reasons have been = they are so easy to move and there are so many ways to use them plus they "go with" when one moves ~

      * I do recommend the heavier thype with the locking pins for safety ...well worth the $$ a good investment ~
      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


      • #4
        I have one horse and use exclusively panels to fence him in (and have many dealings with panels since they are used extensively out here in the SW).

        Panels are great for round pens assuming you didn't need solid sides or extra high walls. You will want the shorter sided panels, ~10', for the roundest circle possible.

        They do make great pens but remember that with the exception of the square configuration, they are not particularly strong or heavy on their own. They get their stability as a structure with corners and so if you are going to span a straight line over distance they will need reinforcement. Even if you turned a horse out in your panel round pen they could distort the round shape and push the panels around if they put a lot of pressure on it. (like goodhors mentioned above). This isn't really a factor when you are actually working them though, more for free time.

        That said I just love panels because you can pick them up and work the dirt underneath, you can sell them (and people want them), and you can reconfigure. I have a round pen that is currently configured into a rectanglular pen and reinforced with t-posts on the long sides. But if my horse was tougher on the fence I would have to look into better reinforcement and possibly a heavier grade of panel.

        Go for post and tab, drop pin, or welded chain before butterfly clamps. Unless you find a good deal.
        Last edited by LetsGoSteady; Sep. 8, 2012, 12:59 PM. Reason: comprehension, grammar


        • #5
          I don't like ours. The horses know where the weak areas are...where the panels connect. They can shove them around at their leisure and I wouldn't trust them to hold a fractious horse. We're going to build a more solid pen in the near future.


          • #6
            Everything ZuZu said!

            I have sooooo many uses for my panels I can't count them all. I had a round pen for years and never had it set up as an actual round pen. I used the panels for a billion other reasons.
            All the uses ZuZu listed and:

            I made an outside stall with 4 (complete with a tent cover for shade) and added misting hose to it for nasty hot days.

            Quarantine seperation when I bought an auction horse. Was able to slap up a double fence in no time by myself.

            I've stacked them in the bed of the truck and taken some over to my niece's house when she found a "stray horse" in her yard. Instant containment!

            I can easily drag one over to the big drainage ditch, lay a sheet of plywood on top and it makes a fantastic lawnmower bridge.

            Done the same to make a ramp into my truck bed when we gave an extra fridge to a friend.

            Insta-gate should one ever fail.

            I have 2 round pens now. The 6' tall, drop pin model with the 12' panels. (not the 10') All of one 60' pen's panels and most of the second pen's panels are my riding ring fencing. I built a 100' round pen as my ring. That's what fit best in my topography. At some point down the road I'll double that and won't have to tear down fencing. I''ll just take this one down and buy a 3rd set to refence after construction is done.

            I also love using them as my ring fencing because I can pull a pin and open any side I want in less than a minute. Handy as heck!

            And if you want to make it more solid...use the drop pin model but drive rebar into the ground and then slide the panels onto those.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              There are a number of different portable options. The Priefert type (cattle gate) are, IMO, dangerous. As mentioned above, this type will move on you. The horses can push them around and there is just too much open space when riding in them to feel comfortable on a young horse.

              Years ago I had a roundpen which was made in Oklahoma. It was a knee saver type, in that it had a bend in it that pushed the wall out away from your leg. It was solid metal up to about 5 or 6 feet (thick sheet steel) and then had a couple of rails yet at the top. It was tricky to move and set up, as it was HEAVY, but what a great pen. Only drawback was that in the summer it got really hot during the day with all the steel.

              Some of the top stall manufacturing companies also make excellent round pen systems. Classic Equine Equipment also has a knee saver panel. You would have to go to their website and watch the images scroll through on the round pen page to see it. Kraft makes horse walkers and probably would sell just the outer panel system which is basically just a round pen. But both of these systems would be $$$ - it's all about quality.

              Personally, I still love a solid, well constructed wooden round pen that is permanent.


              • Original Poster

                These are the two models I'm considering.
                I like that this one is galvanized

                I like that this one 6' tall, but I think it's powder coated, which isn't my favorite.
                Any opinions on whether the chain or drop pin attachment is safer?


                • #9
                  Whatever kind you get, none will be perfect and each may give you different advantages and disadvantages over other models.

                  The solid sided ones here are too hot in the summers and a snow bowl in the winters.
                  Most prefer the open panel type.

                  If your panels may move if a horse pushes on them when used for turnout, add a few pipe posts here and there to strengthen the sides.
                  We use regular 14' gates in ours, so we have very solid posts to hang them and tie the panels to.
                  Everything is portable and we can pull the posts out if we want to move it.

                  We have 9 bar heavy 14' panels, that is very close bars at the bottom, because we were starting border collies on goats in there and didn't want the goats to get out.

                  Ours is 59' and 6' tall, but we don't really work horses in there where they will be getting anxious or scared enough to go over the panels, 5' would have been fine also.


                  • #10
                    Of the 2 you're considering, I prefer the second option because it looks like it has chains that attach the panels to each other and not pins. I had a mare catch her grazing muzzle on a J-hook-type pin and she took down 2 panels to free herself. Luckily she didn't panic and get hurt. The chain connection also joins the sides of the panels right next to each other instead of leaving a gap.

                    I have Priefert panels and I love them, although another poster said they didn't. I've never had any problem with them being moved around even when I had "Mr. Butt Rub" confined in a 12x12 square while rehabbing. Ours are 5' tall which is fine for our <15h horses... and around here pasture fences are just 4' high anyway (3-rail wooden fences). Foxhunters, event horses, show jumpers, don't know of any that go on walkies...(other than through open gates!)

                    Whichever you choose you'll absolutely love the flexibility and usefulness of corral panels. Good luck!
                    It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


                    • #11
                      I love my Priefert panels with chains.
                      Pins are ok if you're on completely level ground, but I'm not.
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                      • #12
                        Oh good point Ghazzu...if you need to use panels on a hill or really lumpy ground, the drop pins probably won't work. When you angle a panel the pin/slots won't line up.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!


                        • #13
                          I have a 65 foot John Lyons brand round pen made out of galvanized panel sections. I bought it used for $1800 when someone had to move and needed to sell it. It is six foot high with seven or eight bars. Each section is almost twelve foot and connects with recessed pins between the sections. It is galvanized and while not lightweight, I can pick up a panel to move it across the arena. I have had this for 18 years without any rust or any significant damage. I assemble it in my arena when i need it for a round pen to start young ones or the first rides. And then I take it down. I have used it for temporary stalls and paddock divisions. I have had horses kick at it, but they only really ding the metal. Not one horse has gotten hurt or been able to take it down. Because the pins to assemble the round pen are loose and not attached, they do get misplaced. Only one horse had the smarts to try to pull the pins out. We watched him go to each connection and pull with his teeth to try to remove the pin!

                          My neighbor laughed when I bought it - saying I got snookered. That same neighbor has asked to borrow it many times ove the 18 years. I don't think so!


                          • #14
                            Out of the two that you posted are you able to see them in person set up anywhere before you order -- if not I would try to find one that you can go and see. Like if your feed store sells panels.

                            Reason being is that the powder coated one doesn't list the tubing diameter, weight per panel, or gate width. Typically out here gates are 4' wide and if that is the case, the tubing on that one looks like it might be thinner than I would want. You also will want to know how much each panel weighs, so you can assess if it will hold your particular horse well and in case you have to move it.

                            Edit: Oops, they do list gate width and it IS larger than I thought, 6' wide, so that does change the proportions of what's in the photo. Also price wise the two 60" tall kits are pretty similar so I would look to heft of panel, preferred finish, panel length, gate width, and fastener to choose.


                            • #15
                              I have Hi-Qual. It's six feet tall. The 12 foot panels are a little heavy when moving them. It a very nice quality.