Get Around to It With a Round Pen!
Round pens are by far one of the most widely used training tools in the horse industry today. Their versatility allows them to be used for a multitude of tasks from lunging to temporary turn out. There are many factors to consider when choosing a round pen, but the most important feature to consider is safety.
There are many panels on the market with designs intended for livestock, not horses. Many of these panels are built too short in height for horses, or have sharp edges on vertical support bars. Bar spacing that is too close can also be a hazard for horses that 'step through' and get legs caught. The cost of an injury can be great - to the horse as well as your wallet. Shorter panels, in height, can be inviting for horses that try to clear them and get caught going over. Small corners or bottom panel supports are another hazard as horses can get legs caught in them. One injury can cost as much as an improper equine round pen.
Heavy Duty Round Pens
Yes, size and weight matters! There are many round pens on the market today and the choices may have your head swimming. However, by understanding the gauge of metal, bar spacing, as well as design you will clearly be able to decide which round pen works for your needs! If you are intending to do a lot of training with a young horse, round penning working with aggressive horses, using your panels for hay storage or temporary stalling or temporary rotational grazing, you will want a strong and long lasting round pen. Many trainers and clinicians recommend a Heavy Duty system rather than lighter weight panels. The weight of most Heavy Duty panels are about the same as a bale of hay - 90 pounds. Although they can be a bit awkward to carry, a 60' heavy duty round pen can be assembled in 20 minutes or less with 4 people (two people per panel).
However, one panel can be handled by one person as well. Heavy duty pens made of 14 gauge steel, hot-dipped galvanized, with a 1-7/8 inch pipe will provide long lasting use and will not dent compared to aluminum, or lighter weight steel. Welds are important; they should be free of burrs and any rough edges. Look for panels that are easy to "pin" together. A much safer alternative is to purchase panels that have a 90 degree corners at the top of the panels. Rounded top corners are a hazard, particularly to horses. Two panels pinned together form a "funnel" that can allow a rearing or bucking horse's legs to slide right between the two panels resulting in an injury that could be devastating. A Heavy Duty round pen will last for years and handle the abuse of being moved and used many times over. Panels won't "pull in or fall inward" compared to lighter panels. The investment is worth the strength, versatility and durability of the Heavy Duty round pen.
Light Duty Round Pens
There is a product made for every need in the equine industry! Light weight round pens can serve the needs of many horse owners. These round pens are made of 19 gauge steel and generally the pipe diameter is 1-11/16 inches. These round pens can be loaded easily and taken to shows, camping trips as well as for use at your farm. Be sure to find panels with 90 degree top corners, instead of rounded top corners. Pinned panels are a safer choice over chains or a looser closure of the panels due to tighter spacing. Wider spaces can allow horse's legs, hoofs, or even heads to go through resulting in injury that can even be fatal.
Round Pen Uses:
- Training -round penning
- Riding aid for adults as well as small children
- Temporary containment
- Hay storage with a cover over the top
- Put 2 together for use as an outdoor arena, can easily be moved and costs are less than permanent fence!
- Use for separation of large indoor spaces.
- Rotational grazing
- Containment for horses getting over stall rest
- Camping corals
- Horse show exercise pen as well as schooling before or after a show
- Indoor and outdoor schooling
If you're looking for a versatile tool and big time saver for many uses, find a round pen that is made with horses in mind! I personally use 2 round pens every day at the RAMM Equine Research and Development Farm! If you are interested in finding out more about round pens made specifically for horses, just send an email to me! We fabricate round pens and stalls made with you and your horses in mind right at our main office location! Our family owned and operated company is located in Swanton, Ohio. Laugh much, ride often!
IMPORTANT NOTE: RAMM Horse Fencing and Stalls highly recommends that round pen panels are only used for round pen use. Round pens are for temporary use, and not intended for permanent containment!
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.