Horse Pen Calculator

October 20, 2014

Introduction to Horse Pens

A horse pen is a round or square enclosure used to train and exercise your horse. Round pens are more popular than square for a few reasons, but primarily because of the fact that the round shape prevents the horse from getting stuck in a corner. The round shape also helps your horse focus and keep its eyes on you rather than looking around and getting distracted, making it very effective for training. Horse pens are great for exercising and riding your horse, but keep in mind that if your horse is young, don’t overdo it! Too much exercise can hurt their joints, so start out slow and talk with your veterinarian to make sure you aren’t working them too hard.

If you want to train and bond with your horse, building your own horse pen is a great idea. Use the information in this post as well as the infographic for all the information you need to get started. Believe us, your horse(s) will be eternally grateful!

Supplies

When it comes to building a horse pen, you have a lot of options. From varying brands and materials, to portability and stability, you can control the outcome of your horse pen depending on your specific wants and needs, as well as your budget.

Unless the area you plan to build your horse pen in is covered in dirt, you’ll need to add sand and/or gravel footing. Choosing a material for your horse pen’s footing can vary from person to person, horse to horse, and even climate to climate. If your horses eat in their pen, using sand can be potentially dangerous as there is the chance that they may ingest some of the sand as they eat their feed. Footing helps to keep your horse elevated a few inches off of the ground, keeping them cleaner and out of mud when it rains.

Other supplies you might need include a shovel and rake to distribute the gravel/sand, a posthole digger, a post slammer (for metal posts), wire to tighten metal posts, etc. All of these supplies, including fencing and gates, can be found at your local Shoppers Supply store.

Determine Pen Size

Your horse pen can be anywhere from 30 to 120 feet in diameter, with 50 to 60 feet being the most common. The size of your horse pen will depend on a few key factors:

  • How much space do you have? If you have lots of land and your budget permits, giving your horses more space is certainly not a bad thing. However, the larger the horse pen, the more work it will require to maintain.
  • How many horses will go into the horse pen? Number of horses plays a large role in determining how large to make your horse pen. You don’t want them to be crammed into a pen that is too small, so take that into consideration.
  • What will your horses do in the pen? Some owners like to ride and exercise their horses inside the pen, while others do that outside of the pen. If you are planning on your horses being more active inside the pen, a larger space will be needed.

When measuring the circular enclosure, don’t forget to add room for the gate! This is a common mistake that will leave you frustrated and wishing you had remembered our tip. So, when you are measuring, don’t forget to include the gate in your measurements. That is one mistake you do not want to make!

Fencing

Determining how much fencing you need for your horse pen will depend on the length of your panels and diameter of the holding area. Use our diagram as a guideline. The fence should be 5 to 6 feet high at a minimum. Higher is better to prevent your horse from jumping out of the pen or getting distracted while you are trying to train. Stop by your local Shoppers Supply store to pick up your supplies.

Location

The pen should be in a dry area that isn’t prone to flooding. If you don’t have a level area, you’ll want to work to make the area you plan to build your horse pen on level prior to building anything. If you don’t, you’ll risk flooding the horse pen, and you certainly don’t want that to happen.

Leveling Your Land

Leveling your land is definitely a large task, but like we said earlier, it is a necessity when building a horse pen. To start, mark off the area you want to level by surrounding the space with wooden posts. Four total, one in each corner. Next you’ll want to attach strings connecting the four wooden posts together. Attach the strings a few inches above the ground so that you can easily measure the difference and determine which areas need to be raised or lowered. From here, you’ll be able to use a rake and shovel to start raising and lowering the land. If you have grass, we recommend removing the grass before you start — it will make it much easier to do the actual leveling. Once your land is leveled, give it a few days to rest. If it doesn’t rain during that time, lightly hose the area so that the land can settle properly.

Horse Pen Calculator

Steps to Build Your Horse Pen

  1. Measure the area using a measuring tape and start at the center to create a perfect circle—add enough room for the gate
  2. Add a layer of gravel and sand to the area (optional)
  3. Insert the posts at an appropriate distance for the panels
  4. Install the gate
  5. Move the panels and line up in position
  6. Connect the panels together
  7. Make sure the pen is secure
  8. Start training!

Now you have the basics to get started building and using your own horse pen. Stop by Shoppers Supply in Apache Junction or Chandler for Equine supplies and get helpful advice on building a pen from our knowledgeable team!