Round Pen... what's that all about then?
Now, I do know what a Round Pen is, having recently returned from a house-hunting trip in Alberta and seen them all over the place!
However, my only knowledge of their use up to now has been in what in the UK is the field of Parelli-style-natural-horsemanship-join-up stuff. I've read about the join up exercise, and how this is best done in a Round Pen - but as they don't proliferate in the UK most people do their join-up-stuff in an arena.
The only circular stuff I do is 20 metre circles when schooling, but obviously these are part of other schooling exercises that don't stay on a circle so I wouldn't school in a Round Pen; and lungeing which I do in the arena, and I frequently utilise more of the school than one 20 metre circle.
BUT on this forum every other sentence (only a little exaggeration :lol:) appears to include a reference to 'working in the Round Pen'. What do you all do in there so much??
Please enlighten me :-) partly so I understand what the lure of the Round Pen is, and partly because our house-hunting expedition finished with us buying a house with an arena, and yes! a Round Pen.
But unless I understand what on earth it is I'm meant to be doing in there, I think it might be converted to a Round Field Shelter. Or a Round Orchard. Or a Round pig pen. Or a Round cage fighting arena for my darling son and his mates.
Well I don't do any of that join up stuff everyone talks about but the only reason I use a round pen is that we do not have an arena at our barn. For a while when starting to train my mare the round pen was a safe place for her and she was much more calm there. We have arenas to use just off the property but they were new and scared the crap out of her.
Our barn mostly uses it for introducing new horses to the herd or for new horses/riders to get comfortable in a small secure area.
Goodness Rosie, you are so very lucky to have a round pen all to yourself!
Now, haven't you realised that if your horse looks a little bit awake when you go to ride him you can put him in the round pen to chase the energy out of him?
Don't you realise that having ROUND PEN means you have no need to teach any horse you have to lunge (or lounge) it will naturally gallop around in there?
Gosh, you do have so much to learn!
Oh, the latter use you came up with sounds the most sensible providing it is a distance from the house so you don't hear the screams!
We use our round pen for free working horses, as a controlled area to start or work green horses, a smaller contained area for lessons where horse or rider may be do distracted or not coordinated enough to be in indoor or outdoor arena.
The round pen is great with a young horse that has no forward. The rider can focus on forward instead of a specific direction. It's also a great area to collect a horse. The smaller diameter can enable a ride to keep the horse together instead of letting them get strung out in a larger area.
Also nice to start teaching a horse to move over objects as they have less room to avoid them.
We also have used it as a quarantine pen for new arrivals. Ours is situated between the barn and indoor arena with the outdoor running down one side. Sheltered and yet the new horse doesn't feel so lonely.
mls just about summed up what we use it for. Its nice for the young ones and for lesson kids who aren't very confident or skilled yet, and when teaching to lunge I generally start a horse in the round pen. Ofcourse, ours is 60x60, as big as they can possibly get- so we can comfortably fit three horses in it, no problem.
So - I can see how they could be useful. But.... how did they start? Why are they so ubiquitous? Was there a Round Pen manufacturer in the early 19th Century that had the most fantastic team of salesmen?
Honestly I don't think they actually became 'famouse' or so commonly used with everyone until the whole NH kick by parelli, CA, and the rest of them- but they've been used for horsemen for years before then. Its just that no one noticed until some fancy-smancy guy with nice horses pretty much endorsed using them ;)
I have a round pen, I've long ago taken it apart and used the panels elsewhere. I just don't find them necessary. I can do anything needed as far as training goes without one.
Personally, I like an arena, but I guess roundpens are easier to build since lots of people have them in this area as well, but they don't have an arena. I like my arena and really have no use for a roundpen.
I love my roundpen. But I have found out with my colt that I don't need one since I don't have one available anymore. When I buy a house I will have a round pen though. And an arena, but I'm a chicken to ride anywhere but an arena...
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