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by Downunder Horsemanship

What to Look for in a Roundpen to Train Your Horse

I start every horse’s training in a roundpen following the Roundpenning exercises from the Fundamentals level of the Method. Do you have to? No, of course not. But, like every tool we use to train our horses, the roundpen helps get your partnership with a horse off to the best possible start when used correctly. I like to explain it to people like this: Can you build a house using an itty-bity farrier’s hammer? Sure you can, but it’ll take you a lot longer and be more difficult than if you used the correct tool for the job. You can most certainly train a horse without using a roundpen, but having a roundpen makes your job as a trainer easier and helps your horse better understand what you’re asking of him as well.

The perfect roundpen to train a horse in is 50 feet in diameter. In a pen larger than 50 feet, you’ll end up doing a lot more running. A pen smaller than 50 feet in diameter makes it harder for the horse to canter around. I like the roundpen to be 6 feet high so that most horses can’t get their head and neck way over the top of it, which will deter them from wanting to try to jump out of it. Whether you use a roundpen with a solid wall or pipe fence is your personal preference.

Based on my years of horse training experience, I worked with Behlen to design my ideal roundpen. It’s made to my specifications and built out of automotive grade high tensile steel. It’s finished in a premium powder coat to ensure years of safe use.

I like the footing of my roundpens to be a sandy-loam mixture, 3 to 4 inches deep. If the footing gets to be more than 4 inches deep, it’ll make it too hard for the horse to get around the pen and knock him out of air too quickly. It’ll do the same to you! Think of running in deep sand on the beach and how quickly it gets you sucking air.

If you need to set the roundpen up on grass, I’d recommend killing the grass and adding some sand to the footing. Grass can make a slick surface for your horse, especially if he’s wearing shoes, so be aware of that when doing the exercises.

With all that being said, you have to work with what you have. When I was a kid, we were training our horses out in the middle of a field littered with rocks and bushes. You don’t have to have the perfect location to train your horse; it just makes your job and your horse’s life much easier.

Note: The Walkabout Tour is coming to the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado, July 29th and 30th. The Behlen roundpen Clinton and his clinicians will use throughout the event to train the horses is available to purchase at a discount for a flat $6,000. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also save on shipping and freight.

If you’re interested in purchasing the roundpen, please call 888-287-7432 or email [email protected]. The roundpen is available on a first-come, first-served basis.