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A fenced-in area with a round shape used in training horses is simply called a round pen. The confined environment helps keep the horse focused on the trainer, and allows the trainer to have control over the horse's movement.
Build or Buy
Many manufacturers build ready-made 60-foot round pens; the buyer simply must put the pieces together. For horse owners on a budget, building your own round pen is a viable option, as well.
Some trainers prefer for the outer walls of the round pen to be solid, particularly for the 60-foot pens commonly used in training young horses; with solid walls, there is less distraction from the outside. Whether buying or building, perimeters can be made of pipe panels, solid wood or metal, or other panel fencing that can be made of wood or vinyl.
Expense can be a huge factor when purchasing or building a round pen, with costs ranging from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. Round pens built from wood are often cheaper than ones with steel walls or pipe corral panels. Obviously, there is also a huge variance within each material; treated wood is more expensive, as are heavier-gauge steel corral panels.
No matter the material, the circumference of the round pen must be determined before building or purchasing. Multiply the desired diameter of 60 feet by 3.14 to calculate the circumference. If using corral panels, divide the circumference by the length of the panels to be used to figure out how many panels will be needed. Panels commonly come in lengths ranging from 8 feet to 16 feet.
When building a 60-foot round pen, safety should be a major consideration. Horses should not be able to stick a leg through the perimeter fencing while it is being built, and there should not be sharp edges anywhere. Construction should be sturdy, as young horses being worked in the round pen often will bump or hit the perimeters.
Once decisions are made and materials purchased, construction should be a relatively simple process. If using corral panels or a pre-made round pen, the panels must be assembled into a round shape and connected with the appropriate fasteners.
If building, the perimeter should be staked in advance to ensure the desired 60-foot diameter. Posts should be set at regular intervals; more should be used for sturdier construction. Then, perimeter fences should be built to join the posts into a continuous fence; a gate should be built to provide an entrance to the pen.
- horses and people image by Photoeyes from Fotolia.com