Back to Ask Debbie Questions »

Bonnie

Dear Debbie,

I keep seeing on round pen websites the caveat that round pens that they should not be for permanent use, only temporary. I would like to know why. If it is a safety issue, can I make it safer with different kinds of fasteners or any other means? What fasteners would you recommend? I have two metal round-pen type portable panel pens with sheep goat mesh that I have been using both for horses and for my sheep and goats - as permanent pens, as herding practice arenas for the dog and sheep, and as temporary containment for horses that have visited here over the past couple of summers. I don't really have much choice, as my land has so much ledge that it is impossible to put in ordinary fence posts almost anywhere. I plan to use one of my pens to keep my new horse and the goats and sheep apart until they are used to each other - by putting it up around the opening to the horse's stall so she can have a small exercise area to go in and out at will and visit with the goats and sheep through the fence. I don't know how long it will be necessary; I acquired my previous horse and my first two goats at the same time, so they had more room to get used to each other because there were a lot fewer of them then. What would you recommend?

Bonnie

Hi Bonnie, 

Thank you for your good question Bonnie. There is no 'one answer' but I will try to give you some reasons why round pens should be considered as a temporary containment. First, round pens were designed to contain a horse and the person that would work with them. As round pens became more popular, horse owners found more purposes for the round pen including hay storage, containment during camping, shows, and etc. Heavy-duty pens cost more, so to meet the demands of the industry, light duty pens that were very easy to set up and transport came into the market. Unfortunately, separate panels also have been used on the farm for other purposes than round penning. For example, as an expert witness I have been involved in large law suites have occurred from misuse of panels for fence repair, stall containment, etc. The repercussion of an accident from improper use can be devastating, as with any misuse of products with horses or animals. There is a place for many of these lightweight products. When it comes to horses, themselves or others, I don't believe owners should compromise safety. I have always said, “never say never” when it comes to horses. They have their own will and instinct that we cannot control at all times. Because of this, we say to be as safe as you possibly can with your horses. Use the products, as they are intended and don't use a lightweight round pen (to save on the cost), when a heavy-duty one is needed. This should be a very important consideration for any horse owner. From my experiences of seeing what can happen, any horse owner is wise to use the strongest product that you can, with horses. There is no amount of money that can reverse the damage from an accident. So that is why we always talk to horse owners about getting a solid, strong, long lasting product. I would like to talk to you about options such as electric to help to make the containment for your horses the best that you can. Your posts do not have to be in the ground as far as some fence systems. If you’re opposed to electric, there may be some other solutions that we can help you with. I would also like to find out where you live, if you live in a 'frost' area and what kind of round pen your have (light-duty or heavy-duty). Please know Bonnie that you have asked an excellent question. I'm so glad that you would question 'temporary round pen containment.’ If we help even one person to have safer containment, we are thrilled!

- Debbie

Back to Ask Debbie Questions »