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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
    I built mine 23 years ago -- it is still standing and doing fine.

    I made it solid -- 7' high and 65' in diameter. Very helpful if you are dealing with a large horse. Mine has solid walls, from oak fence board, stained. I prefer solid in the event a buck or kick where a horse could get a leg through a space.

    We made a "saloon" style door for the entrance, so the bottom of that is the only area not solid to the ground.

    BTW, be sure to use pressure treated boards for the board so it doesn't rot. I didn't...so that's the only thing I'd change.

    I don't recall what it cost or would cost today, but it sure has held up to the test of time with little or no maintenance.
    www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
    "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
    Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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    • #3
      I would go bigger than 60' if you can. 66' is a 20 meter circle, which is a good size.

      Reinforce your bottom boards if you are lying them horizontally instead of vertically. Old barn didn't and eventually they all warped or broke because of the pressure of the sand when horses were going around.

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      • #4
        I agree with Sid, our round pen is solid to about 5'. Not only do you need to consider the horse's leg, but if you're riding a greenie and they push your leg into the rail you don't want your toe to get caught on a post and turn your leg around. Just thinking about that makes me wince! What lilypad says is true too, I think ours is probably 55-60' across and I wish it was just a little bigger so it's easier for the horses to canter around.

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        • #5
          On mine, the oak boards were put on horizontally, flush to each other, nailed to full round 4" posts, set at about 6' apart. Of course, nailed to the INSIDE of the pen.

          Eisel brought up a point I forgot to mention. It's one thing for a horse to get its leg through a space in the boards (after all it IS a pretty small space), but when getting u/s with a greenie it can really suck if your foot gets jammed and twists your knee on the exposed post if they bump they perimeter, not being educated to the leg aids yet.

          Ask me how I know when I used a round pen not set up like mine...lol. Ouch!
          www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
          "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
          Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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          • #6
            I wish I had a round pen that was large! I board at a place that has an itty bitty western style round pen. I have only ever used it to let my girl roll in the sand. I guess the rationale of the western folks is they want to make it so little that the horse has to canter slowly.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 222orchids View Post
              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.
              What are you planning on doing in the round pen?

              Oddly every professional trainer I know uses pipe rail (or equivalent) - good visibility so horse can't react to something unseen on the other side (& outside observers can monitor situation), lots of space vs solid so hopefully your foot/knee will find air rather than solid walls, easy climb walls for initial above horse work, horse will usually survive any hysterical encounters with the walls ... of course, maybe they are just cheap

              Don't forget to allow easy tractor access for footing maintenance
              Another vote for 65 - 70 foot diameter rather than the 60, though again depending on usage, balance cost increases.

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              • #8
                I also have a really good 60' pipe round pen. While I like it because I could put it in the indoor arena to work with youngsters right through the winter, I still like my solid pen best.

                I really like the fact that they can't see out (except above the entrance door) and really have to focus attention on me...especially for rehabbing a behaviorally difficult horse. For outsiders to "observe", we built a set of steps and small platform on the outside.

                IME, the solid creates an environment where they become more compliant much more quickly than the one they can see out. Franky, I don't WANT them to have to spend a ton of time in the round pen, so the faster they become focused and compliant, the easier and faster the subsequent training program becomes. That's my preference any way at least for youngsters and rehabbing problem horses.

                So funny though. Right now my pipe pen is set up inside the solid pen (just where I decided to store it). I kind of like it...best of both worlds, though I much prefer 65' instead of 60'.
                www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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