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Discussion Starter #1
I was just wondering what kind of roundpen everyone used to start their young horses and why. I have seen some people who prefer the solid walled roundpens that are impossible for a horse to see out of, similar to this:


While other people prefer round pens made of pipe or tubing panels, like this:


While still other people prefer wooden plank pens that are either solid or spaced like this:




I was just wondering which type everyone preferred and why. Or why you don't like the other types. I'll save my opinion until later.
 

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I know the western trainer at my barn likes the solid panel types because, when breaking horses, it keeps their attention focused on you, and it also reduces the risk of a horse breaking out...if they don't see anywhere to flee to, they won't try to escape.

However, the fence/hollow piping round pens are cheaper, and often times easier to re-locate.
 

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My trainer/BO lady has one of the paneling ones and I am thoroughly not a fan. I do enjoy roundpenning Lacey every once in a while just to do something different than lunging or free lunging in the arena BUT Lacey gets completely distracted by whatever is going on outside of the pen. That could have something to do with the location of the roundpen (right next to the "jerk horse" paddock thingy) but I really think that if she couldn't see out, where it was located wouldn't matter, yknow?
I haven't roundpenned her in a while since the roundpen turned into an enclosure for Lacey's escape artist boyfriend so I don't know if she would be less distractable now that she knows that I'm supposed to have her attention at all times but with your training shindig the horses aren't going to be at that stage of their relationship with you right off, so maybe this was helpful! haha

My horsemanship teacher has kind of a combination of the first picture and third picture, it's tall panels of wood. I definitely prefer that one. The horses definitely know what they're doing when they go in there and their focus is completely on the people in the pen with them and not on anything else.
 

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I used 2nd one you posted with pipes, but with the stonedust instead of grass. And the only reason it was the only one the barn I boarded in had. In fact it was too small and stonedust is VERY dusty IMO, so I wasn't very happy, but... They didn't even have an arena. :-( Anyway, if I'd be the one building, I'd go with the wooden one. The piped one is too light and my youngster managed to stick her leg between the pipes, freaked out before I run into her, backed and moved the whole round pen. She was not hurt in any way, but it looked really scary.
 

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However, the fence/hollow piping round pens are cheaper, and often times easier to re-locate.
We paid $3000 for our round pen and I hate it. Have a horse rear or buck into the fence is scary. I worry about a new horse sticking his leg right through the pen and breaking a leg. My leg has also collided with the tubing a number of times and it hurts.
I have used the solid pens and prefer them. No chance of the horse rearing up and getting hung up. I also prefer then tapered to the outside to save my legs when the horse runs you into the wall
 

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This is our round pen with a fresh cut stallion in isolation until he learns some manners. He slammed me into the fence a few times and I worry about him hurting himself. I don't like this style.
 

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Agreed COMPLETELY with RiosDad. Those panel or pipe see-thru pens are fine if you're an English rider putting your horse around for some exercise, but they are downright dangerous and counter productive if you're working a snorty bronc or untouched youngster - or heck, even a flighty greenbroke one!

I absolutely hate them. I've been forced to use them my entire life, and it always puts a loop in the training because I don't push as hard as I'd like because I'm having nightmares of a horse trying to go over or through it. Those panels should be used for makeshift pens for broke horses and nothing more. Horses have a HORRIBLE habit of getting a "hero complex" about themselves and seeing all that wide open space makes them believe they can get away from you by attempting to jump or just flat out crashing the gates. It's also impossible to properly work a youngster in a pen like that if other horses are standing around screaming, calling and the activity is bustling.

When I have my own place, I swear, be damned the cost, I am having a PROPER roundpen built. If my horse was going well enough to go into the steel panel ones, I could just lunge him for gosh sakes!
 

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I have never used a round pen in my life. Are they absolutely neccessary? What can you do in a round pen that you can't do without one? I am not trying to be inflammatory this is a genuine query. Round pens are considered to be very American here in NZ, although they are slowly beginning to make an appearance. At some stage in the future I will be developing some horse facilities and I wonder whether it is worth including a round pen, just that thus far I haven't needed one.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not inflammatory at all KG. Roundpens give you just a little bit more control over a horse that is not broke, rather than trying to ride around in a large arena or in a pasture. It enables us to work through their training faster as we can perhaps push them a bit farther, like getting into the saddle before we are 100% sure they aren't going to buck. And if they do buck, the roundpen keeps them secured and doesn't really allow them to get to their full power because they keep having to turn, where in open space, they could just go as long as they wanted, getting stronger all the time. They aren't strickly necessary and there are many people such as yourself and Wild_Spot that don't use them and get along fine.

I personally really prefer the pipe panels because I can work right from the start on getting their focus regardless of what they see or hear going on around them. Yes, there is some risk but not really that much more than any other fencing. I design my roundpens so that if something catastrophic happens, they will fall and get out of our way. I would much rather end up on an uncontained horse that I can get back under control than one that has killed himself by bucking into a solid fence with no give. I really don't care for the wooden corrals of any kind because I have seen too many horses get impaled by a broken board and don't wish to see that happen to any of mine. The only thing that I don't like is that they stand straight up. I do wish that they would angle out because I, like RD, have had a kneecap bruised too **** many times. But that just gives me one more reason to work on the horse's turning LOL. :D
 

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A round pen is alot like a 4wd truck. You may not need it very often and you can get by without one but if you have it you will use it. I currently have no round pen that is fit to ride in so the horse that I am starting this week is getting a little extra ground work and then away we go. I have a round pen that is made of panels but in between every panel is a railroad tie that the panels are attached to. I also lifted the panels off the ground to get more height. I have never had a problem with horses getting hurt in them but I try not to get too wild with horses for other reasons. I have gotten my legs banged a few times. I have also had a brand new saddle injured on a round pen panel. A horse I had been riding for a while was trotting around the pen with my saddle that I had gotten a week before and the stirrup flipped out and caught on the panel and broke the stirrup leather and pulled the whole thing out of the tree. I almost threw up. It was an easy repair and a week later it was just like new.
 

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I'm almost scared to admit this, but I've only ever had a round pen strung with electric fencing...I came into horses greener than the grass with no guidance, it served it's purpose, and 2 years ago we put up one wooden rail up around 3 1/2 feet high (chest height for my ponies) and it's been fine. I've never put a wrangy/wild horse in it though, only the Welsh pony crosses we raised so VERY minimal bucking. I would never build another like it though - I'd like the solid, slanted walls if I had the money! Until then, I'll make do with the wooden rail one in the last picture.
 
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