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Horse Round Pen: Why you need one and how to build your own.

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I never appreciated a round pen so much until we brought an unruly filly home from an auction. She was wild, mean-spirited, and determined to hurt anyone who tried to get close to her. Our trainer recommended using the round pen to help her calm down and learn some basic obedience commands.

A round pen can be a valuable tool for training and exercising horses. It allows the horse to move freely while also providing boundaries and structure. Building your own round pen can save money; however, it is vital to properly plan and construct the round pen to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your horse.

We took our aggressive filly to the round pen for training. I worked with her daily for roughly 15 mins three times a week. Within a month, she was easy to handle and felt safe; however, I still don’t trust her fully around other people.

Are you a horse owner looking for an efficient and safe way to train or exercise your horse? Look no further than a round pen. This article discusses the benefits of having a round pen and provides step-by-step instructions for building one.

Picture of a paint horse in a round pen.

What is a horse round pen?

A horse round pen is a fenced-in area, circular in shape, used for training and exercising horses. There are many benefits to having a round pen on your property. It provides a controlled environment for training and teaching horses basic groundwork skills, including leading, stopping, turning, and backing up.

It can also be used as a safe space to introduce young horses to saddle and rider. Additionally, it offers a secure area for exercise when turnout space is limited.

Here is a helpful YouTube video showing how to work a horse in a round pen.

Why do you need a round pen?

A round pen is a valuable tool for horse owners because it allows them to safely train their horses without the need for a traditional riding arena or open space. It also provides the horse with a designated area to exercise and stretch its muscles.

One of the main uses of a round pen is for ground training, where the horse learns basic commands and builds trust with its owner or trainer. This type of training can be done at any level, from inexperienced young horses to seasoned show horses.

The key to a round pen is that it has no corners for a horse to get stuck in; you can always move your animal. It allows you to have control over the horse’s movements and maintain clear communication without distractions from other animals or people.

In addition, a round pen can also be used as a safe space for lunging and longlining exercises, which help improve balance and coordination in the horse. It also helps build muscle tone and endurance and gives the horse an outlet for pent-up energy.

It is especially useful for rehab horses. Often, a horse returning from a leg injury avoids turning in one direction, so we use the round pen to guide our horses to strengthen weaknesses.

In addition, round pens are great training tools for inexperienced riders. My grandson and granddaughter began their riding careers in a round pen. Once they were comfortable and in control of their horses then, they were allowed to pasture and trail ride.

Warning: The first time I took my aggressive filly to the round pen for training, she was wild. She would rear up and try to strike out at me with her hooves. It was a real struggle to get her under control. Don’t get in a round pen with an aggressive horse unless you’re an experienced horseman.

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Tips for using your horse round pen.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times already, a round pen is a versatile and essential tool for any horse owner. It can be used for everything from training to exercise and is a great way to socialize your horse. But how do you get the most out of your round pen? Here are some tips:

1. Start by properly introducing your horse to the round pen, allowing them time to become familiar with their surroundings before beginning any exercises.

2. Allow your horse plenty of time to stretch and warm up before starting any intense exercises in the round pen.

3. Use the round pen as a training tool, not just for exercise, by incorporating groundwork and specific exercises such as lunging or obstacle courses.

4. Use the round pen for both physical and mental exercise for your horse, mixing up routine and keeping sessions short but consistent.

5. Use positive reinforcement with treats, praise, and pressure release techniques when your horse successfully completes an exercise or task in the round pen to encourage good behavior and build trust between you and your horse.

Below is a short YouTube video that shows how easy it is to build a round pen.

How to build your own round pen.

Building your own horse round pen can be a time-consuming and difficult task, but the payoff is worth it. A round pen is essential for training and exercising horses and providing them with a safe space to roam.

Before starting construction, it’s important to consider the size of your round pen. Generally, a diameter of at least 60 feet is recommended for horses, though larger is always better. Keep in mind that a larger round pen will also require more materials and labor.

Next, decide on the type of fencing you’ll use. Traditional wooden rails or corral panels are popular options for round pens. Whichever material you choose, make sure it’s sturdy enough to contain a horse and resistant to wear and tear over time.

Note: We found a round pen for sale on Facebook Marketplace at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Once you have your materials, mark out the desired diameter of your round pen using stakes and string or spray paint. Next, build your foundation. You want to put your round pen on level ground; this may require you to build up areas with clay.

Haul in your sand now because you won’t be able to get a truck inside once it’s completed. You can leave the sand piled in the middle of your pen so it is not in the way. However, if you are building a portable horse round pen, it’s not necessary at this stage.

If you are building a wooden pen, dig holes for your fence posts and secure them using a concrete mix or other anchoring methods. Then, begin installing your fence panels or rails while making sure they’re level and secured tightly against each post.

Premade corral panels hook together and come with a gate; for these models, you don’t need posts. Finally, add any necessary gates and check all fencing for stability before allowing horses into the round pen.

With proper planning and construction methods, your horse will have a safe and functional area to exercise in for years to come.

round.pen .boards


Overall, having a round pen on your property can greatly benefit both you and your horse by providing a secure environment for training and exercise.

When building an equine round pen, it is important to consider the size and surface material. Typically, pens range from 50 to 60 feet in diameter. The most common surface is sand which provides good footing and allows water to drain. It is also important to ensure that the fencing is sturdy enough for containment but not too tall, where it might pose a safety risk for horses or riders.


What kind of surface material is best for a round pen?

Sand or a sand mix is the best surface material for a round pen. It is soft and can absorb impact, which will help minimize injuries, especially in young horses prone to develop bucked shins.

How big should a horse round pen be?

A round pen should be around 50-60 feet in diameter. However, I recommend going larger. We often have multiple riders in our pen at the same time, and the extra room lets us work without feeling cramped.

How many panels do you need to build a 60 ft. round horse pen?

To build a round pen with a 60 ft. diameter, you will need 16 panels that are 12 feet long. To calculate any pen size you can use this formula: diameter x 3.14= circumference. Circumference divided by panel length = number of panels required. 60 x 3.14= 188. 188/12=15.7