Young Trail Horses
The Round Pen
Many of you may not be familiar with a training "round pen."  For me, it's one of those critical tools for developing great trail horses.
It might appear that mysterious things happen in the round pen:  the horse enters
as a wild thing, but
leaves as a partner.

Dancer learning to tolerate "the intolerable."
The benefit of the round pen is wonderfully simple: the horse can run, but he can't leave.  Beyond that, the round pen levels the playing field.  The horse can accept my leadership, and learn to face his fears, without endangering either of us.

As I develop horses, I strive to set up learning situations, where the correct behavior is easy, while any misbehavior is no fun.


Buddy is learning how to tolerate a rope on his behind.  When riders are out on our horses, anything can happen and generally does.  Ranch horses have to learn how to tolerate ropes getting wrapped around unexpected parts of their body without getting upset.

The untrained reaction of a horse to this situation: 
Kick and run off.
Photo's by Collin Kenner
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