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Building a Round Pen; Advice???

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  • Building a Round Pen; Advice???

    I'm building a new round pen and want to do it correctly. It will be 60 feet in diameter, on a properly elevated sand base, and I want the bottom 2-3 feet of of the perimeter fence to be solid, to keep a foot from being placed outside the pen and inviting disaster (part of the story of how the old round pen got demolished last week, but we won't go into that). Of course, I'd rather not have to get another mortgage to pay for this. Who has experience with building a quality round pen without breaking the bank? Appreciate your tips and input.

  • #2
    One suggestion is to set your posts at an angle outwards so that there is no risk of hitting your knee on the side if your horse gets really close to the wall.

    Nail your rails on the inside of the posts so the horse can't push them out if he runs into them.

    Line the bottom with railroad ties to help keep your footing inside.
    Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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    • #3
      To get the outward lean, I dug 12" holes with the tractor auger,and used 4x6 posts letting them hit the holes top and bottom for the lean. I used a digital level to find the average, and set them all the same by the level. I don't remember what angle it is, but it works fine to keep feet off the wall.

      I made ours a 20 meter circle, which is about 66 feet, and it has never seemed too big. We figured ours would all see a 20 meter circle again anyway. I spaced the posts so I used 10' decking boards above the first 2' and 2x8s below. The top has a board that slants out more, so it looks a lot more rib friendly. The posts have to be close enough so that they are 10' centers at the top. I don't remember the spacing at the bottom. It's been there for 30 years.

      Between the set posts are 2 vertical 2x4s that the boards are screwed to to keep the panels flat.

      One panel hinges out so the tractor can get in, and the 10 foot spacing left one gap of about 5' which became the gate to get in. The tractor gate slides on a wooden skid set in the ground so it can't sag enough to stress the hinges and will find the right place when it closes.

      Walls are 5' high, and right beside the entry gate is a small observation deck.

      I know part of the question was about cost, but I have no idea what it cost to build 30 years ago, or what one would cost now. It has been well worth having for all sorts of purposes from starting new horses, to starting new riders,to nude sunbathing on the sand for guests(once snuck up on by the Goodyear blimp-our barn is a turning point for some blimp flyway).
      www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tom King View Post
        It has been well worth having for all sorts of purposes from starting new horses, to starting new riders,to nude sunbathing on the sand for guests(once snuck up on by the Goodyear blimp-our barn is a turning point for some blimp flyway).
        Awesome!
        Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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        • #5
          They were wearing headphones, and didn't hear anything. They had one of our farm dogs in with them who would bark if anyone came up, but she didn't bark at stuff up in the air evidently. Blimps are loud when the motors are running, but quiet without engines. Lighted sign on side said, "Free trip to Bahamas".
          www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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          • #6
            I don't like slanted walls.
            I had my leg broken when the colt I was starting didn't quite make down the short side cantering and climbed the slanted wall and fell into it.

            The instructor then told me that he grew up with all straight walls and when a horse stumbled into it, they bounced off it, but that he had observed over the years, in the slanted walls like ours, they tended to slide into it and fall on the rider, almost guaranteeing an injury.

            I don't know what the experience of others may be.

            I will ride in any kind of set up, but am extra careful with slanted walls.

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            • #7
              I would think that's a more severly slanted wall than ours. I can measure the degree of slope if anyone needs me to. It's just enough so your outside foot doesn't hit the wall if a horse is right next to the wall at the bottom.
              www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                I would think that's a more severly slanted wall than ours. I can measure the degree of slope if anyone needs me to. It's just enough so your outside foot doesn't hit the wall if a horse is right next to the wall at the bottom.
                The way it was explained to me, it is pure physics.
                A horse will hit a straight wall with his belly or rider's leg and, still being a bit off the wall with his feet, will stand up, the belly or rider helping hold it.
                While if a horse gets too close to a slanted wall, he may hit it with his hooves and going faster than a walk that may make it more apt to slip into the wall if slanted.

                I have seen it happen, had a broken leg from it too, but don't know if that would not have happened if the wall was straight, that is just what I was told and it makes sense.

                I know that roping arenas here are all regular pipe panels and you can see cattle at times hit the fence a glancing blow and they bounce with their bellies, not slip and fall.
                If the walls were slanted, I expect they would half climb them and slide down when hitting them feet first.

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