Cattle panel round pen - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-15-2016, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Cattle panel round pen

I have a question about making a round pen for my horse. I am very new to owning horses and just learned how important it is to have a round pen however, I do not have the funds to buy one and I would like to know if I could use cattle panel and "t" post for the short term until I can buy the real thing?
Also, I could use some help with getting my little TWH to hold his gaits longer. He is still very young maybe 3 and had teenage children riders before I bought him.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadEye View Post
I just learned how important it is to have a round pen
Just exactly how important is a round pen? Pretty important if you plan to train a wild mustang or work with very young or mostly untouched horses. They're very handy when your horses get out while you aren't home -- they give the sheriff some place to leave your horses while he puts the nasty note on your door. They are a good place to work on desensitizing (clippers, fly spray, vacuum cleaners) and they're a handy place to work on ground tying. And right now I have a couple of Scottish Highland heifers in mine, and I'm happy knowing the shaggy little trolls aren't going any place.

On the other hand, they are expensive, and really good ones are very expensive. Good panels are made of heavier gauge steel and therefore heavy to move. Lighter ones will bend when your horse reaches over the top. Unless you buy galvanized the paint will get knocked off and the panels will rust.

The main attraction of round pens for a lot of people seems to be the concept of directing a horse around the pen so that it starts, stops, speeds up, slows down, and turns at the direction of the trainer and then comes in for what Monte Roberts calls join up. The problem is this is the first thing a lot of people want to do and it is a difficult skill to master. Furthermore, for horses that are already accepting a rider it is usually a waste of time. You can improve your bond and your leadership with a horse immensely with a halter and lead and a few exercises from the same guys that use the round pen.

I like your idea of using cattle panels and T-posts. Be sure and top those posts with a some big fat plastic caps. And you might want to weave something near the top of the panels to create more of a visual barrier. But if I were you, instead of making a round pen, 45-60' in diameter, I would try and put together a little arena, maybe kind of an oval shape 75 wide by 150 long. Try Craigslist or local farm auctions for used T-posts. Expect to pay $2-3 each.

It's really nice to have a safe place to work on trot-canter transitions and cantering, and a round pen is really too small to do very much without both you and the horse getting bored out of your minds. And you really don't want to be trying to train a horse that is bored.

Good luck to you with your walker.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Reiter View Post
Just exactly how important is a round pen? Pretty important if you plan to train a wild mustang or work with very young or mostly untouched horses. They're very handy when your horses get out while you aren't home -- they give the sheriff some place to leave your horses while he puts the nasty note on your door. They are a good place to work on desensitizing (clippers, fly spray, vacuum cleaners) and they're a handy place to work on ground tying. And right now I have a couple of Scottish Highland heifers in mine, and I'm happy knowing the shaggy little trolls aren't going any place.

On the other hand, they are expensive, and really good ones are very expensive. Good panels are made of heavier gauge steel and therefore heavy to move. Lighter ones will bend when your horse reaches over the top. Unless you buy galvanized the paint will get knocked off and the panels will rust.

The main attraction of round pens for a lot of people seems to be the concept of directing a horse around the pen so that it starts, stops, speeds up, slows down, and turns at the direction of the trainer and then comes in for what Monte Roberts calls join up. The problem is this is the first thing a lot of people want to do and it is a difficult skill to master. Furthermore, for horses that are already accepting a rider it is usually a waste of time. You can improve your bond and your leadership with a horse immensely with a halter and lead and a few exercises from the same guys that use the round pen.

I like your idea of using cattle panels and T-posts. Be sure and top those posts with a some big fat plastic caps. And you might want to weave something near the top of the panels to create more of a visual barrier. But if I were you, instead of making a round pen, 45-60' in diameter, I would try and put together a little arena, maybe kind of an oval shape 75 wide by 150 long. Try Craigslist or local farm auctions for used T-posts. Expect to pay $2-3 each.

It's really nice to have a safe place to work on trot-canter transitions and cantering, and a round pen is really too small to do very much without both you and the horse getting bored out of your minds. And you really don't want to be trying to train a horse that is bored.

Good luck to you with your walker.

I hope I'm putting this in the right place. I'm very thankful for your reply and I never even thought about doing an oval shape and now I think I will do just that. I actually have post and panel around from putting up fence.

Again thank you so much.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 01:04 AM
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I do not think a round pen will help with the gates
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 01:21 AM
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I agree completely with Joel.

I actually take it farther. I think round pens are really for people and do not do much for horses. They are really handy for unhandled horses, but then I actually prefer square pens for that. They are nice for the first few minutes of each ride on a very green horse -- but them -- that is for the rider and not necessary for the horse.

We see so many problems come from too much round pen use and wrong round pen use that I am no longer much of a round pen fan. Many horses get their security from staying close to the outside perimeter that they ride terribly when people try to ride them outside. Much better training and riding experience comes from riding out in a pasture or on a trail.

I would also give a word of caution on a lot of round pen use with a gaited horse. Horses with lateral gaits like a TWH do not gait well on circles unless the circles are quite a bit larger than a round pen affords.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 01:38 AM
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I agree that a round pen is unnecessary. For anything.

When my kids were little, 9 - 14 years old, they even started BLM feral horses without a round pen. I've never had one.

As far as your horse "holding his gait" longer. I believe that will develop as he grows, becomes more fit, and you adjust your riding to encourage it. If you are unsure of how to do that, I recommend hanging around a Walker barn, or with people who own TWHs that you admire (the horses, not necessarily the owners).

Good luck and enjoy your new horse!
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 02:33 PM
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1. What everyone else said. You don't need a round pen.

2. And more important, you don't train a gaited horse to hold its gaits in aRound pen.

They need long rail work and a LOT of flat work. Specifically a LOT of uphill flatwork but not rigorous. Enough to make them step out but they don't need to be breaking a sweat.

2.1. Do not lunge your Walking Horse in tight circles. Their shoulders need room to make those big sweeping movements that was bred into them, and they are so famous for.

If you really want to learn the proper way to train a gaited horse to gait, go to Liz Graves website.

http://www.lizgraves.com
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 04:10 PM
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I agree with Joel. I have no use for a round pen and couldn't use one for anything that I couldn't do somewhere else.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 04:29 PM
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If I found myself the possessor of extra panels, I MIGHT, make a round pen. Then again, I'd probably just expand my arena. Round pens can be nice and can be handy, but I've been around horses for 50+ years and never even thought I might need one until about 16 years ago. Still haven't built one. And I've handled and started a LOT of horses in those years.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-16-2016, 05:50 PM
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I can free lunge my twh and the size of circle he choses is over 60'. My pen is 50 and he has trouble with balance. Most of what we do in there is at the walk and it's basically too keep the other horse out. He's broken half the boards in the paddock because he likes to be with me, not the other horse so much. He can bang away all he wants on the steel and he can't break it. As for the gaits, it takes repetition. When he breaks gait, just get him there again. After he's done it a few times, stop and dismount and put him away. That is a huge reward for a horse. Do this each time for a while and he'll make the connection and want to hold the gait. Some of the best training sessions are 10 min.



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