Friday, January 28, 2011

Round Pen Fundamentals -- Base & Footing

Sometimes you get so excited about working on a project that you forget about the fundamentals and inevitably find out halfway straight through the project that you forgot to do something basic.

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Building a horse round pen is no distinct - there are basic steps to succeed to make sure you build a safe, procure and long-lasting roundpen for your equine friends. Let's look at one of the fundamentals necessary for a quality-built round pen: your round pen base and footing.


One of the first steps in building a round pen is to make sure that you have a layered base and level ground. Why is this so important? Well, for starters any structure (round pen, barn, you name it) will last longer when it is properly leveled and constructed. Secondly, a well designed base provides the necessary drainage for your round pen. You don't want to go surface after a heavy rainstorm and find that you have a nice, new round pen pond!

If you are extremely lucky, you will have a level piece of ground to work with and a sand base. Unfortunately, for the other 99% of us out there, we'll have to work with what we have and make it suitable! There are several methods to leveling the ground and providing the proper drainage with suitable footing. These vary depending on budget and number of work you want to put into it.

A properly constructed round pen base and footing resembles a layered cake. By sloping your base layer, adding mixtures of base gravel, stone dust and landscaping cloth (if desired), you will build up a layered sub-base and base that will supply perfect drainage. While this is a lot of work up front, the benefits will pay off over time.

The icing on this layered cake is the footing. Remember, the footing is what provides the sustain for your horse and also adds to the protection factor. This final layer will vary depending on your atmosphere and conditions. Some of your footing options are: sand, wood mulch, or shredded rubber. You can also use a compound of sand and shredded rubber, for example.

Depending on the material you use, you may need to replace it every so often as well. When you contact your first rain or storm, some of your footing will inevitably seep into your base layer. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing your footing - you'll likely need to order approximately 10 - 25% extra depending on the footing type and your atmosphere conditions.

So remember, when you start your round pen project, build from the lowest - up and you'll be on your way to a safe and long-lasting horse round pen."

© 2006 E. Landers

Round Pen Fundamentals -- Base & Footing