You may use your round pen only for short, supervised training sessions, but regular wear and tear can still take a toll on it. To make sure your round pen is safe and secure for your horse, inspect its footing and fencing periodically.
Working a horse in a regular track around the perimeter of the pen is going to create ruts over time. Dragging the surface regularly, as you would in a?riding ring, will help maintain safe, level footing that protects your horse's legs from strains and injury. If your horse slips frequently despite dragging, you might need to consider either installing or replenishing a footing material, such as sand or wood chips, to give him better traction.
Even if you intend to keep your horse under your control while working in the pen, the fence needs to be sturdy enough to withstand spooks?and crashes. Regularly check for and repair loose posts or panels, and close off gaps that could entrap the leg of a rolling or bucking horse. Also look for and fix splinters or other protrusions that could cause lacerations.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #429.