discussion on portable round yard options
size of a
consider when choosing
a round yard or horse yard panels
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" The tighter the circle
the harder the horse has to work ..."
Discussion on Portable Round Yard OptionsFlexibility ...
Portable round yards are obviously more flexible than a permanent round
yard. Not only can the size be reduced if needed, but considering that
a round yard may not be used frequently, portable yard panels
can be used
for a multitude of other uses. Portable panels are also more forgiving
than a fixed round yard in that the horse panels will move and give slightly
with any force.
Our clients have used the portable round yard panels as barriers, for
example to assist in loading a mare and her foal into a float. A
temporary yard was made with a couple of panels flagging either side of
the horse float, the mare had no hesitation in
moving onto the float
and the foal followed on, calm and collected. There was no stress or
confusion as the panels were slowly closed around them.
Depending on the number of panels in the
roundyard more than one temporary yard can be built from them.
When a horse is sick or injured and needs to be contained or movement
restricted, it will usually remain calmer if left with its paddock
mates. A temporary yard can be set up as a stable sized yard, in or
near the paddock so it can be outdoors with it’s equine
friends. They can be used to turn a simple horse shelter into a stable
Size of a Round Yard
The recommended size of a round yard is ultimately dictated by its
purpose. The tighter the circle the harder a horse has to work and bend
– so for a larger or unfit horse a tight circle may cause or
exacerbate an injury.
round yard diameter:
Smaller round yards 12m to 15m are
fine for ponies, but larger horses are better worked in a round yard of
18m-20m. If you consider that a standard dressage arena is 20m wide an
18m round yard will give riders a reasonable sized area to work in and
not cause unnecessary physical stress on the horse.
This portable round yard with two rails, 1200mm high is adquate for lunging well handled horses and ponies.
round yard height:
If the round yard is only being used to
warm up or lunge a horse, or to provide an arena for children,
then there is really no reason for the height to be more than fence
height, or 1200mm
high with two or three bars. This enables children to feel that they can
‘escape’ quickly if they need to, but is high enough to keep in a horse that respects boundaries.
As a general comparison, standard paddock fences are about 1200mm high.
The shorter panels are a bit nicer to ride in as well. If you've got a
horse that likes to rub your leg on the rails, you have a bit of a
chance to lift your leg higher than the rail ... if you're quick enough.
mass produced portable round yard panels are made to 1800mm high. These
are cattle panels being sold as round yard panels and not what we
recommend using with horses. More often than not, a height of 1600
(5’) with no more than four bars, is more than adequate.
round yard rails:
number of bars should always be
considered. There is a likelihood that a horse could get a leg between
bars if there is no solid barrier such as timber, mesh, poly or rubber
lining. The further apart the bars, the easier it is for
the horse to release itself without injury if it does get a leg
through. Cattle panels have closely
spaced bars for a reason – cattle are heavy and rough on
equipment and are always looking for a way out. They figure if they can
get their head through then the rest of them should also fit - they're not the
brightest of animals!
Horses on the other hand
more likely to respect a visual or physical boundary. Yes, there are
always some exceptions, however generally speaking 4 bars on a panel
1600mm or 5' high is usually more than adequate.
Other considerations when choosing a round yard
longer steel panels make purchasing a
roundyard cheaper they might not be that good a value. Longer panels
need to have a centre brace inserted to support the bars and stop them
from drooping and warping the horse yard panel. Generally
flat steel is used as a brace, however if a horse gets a leg or head
between the bars and hits
against the steel which is only 5mm thick with enough force,
it’s likely that stitches will be needed.
Longer portable roundyard panels are more difficult to move
– even if they do have a skid at one end as ours do. How
easily can you support the weight of one panel on it’s own?
Can you move them about by yourself? The other factor to consider is
shipping. Freight companies work on pallet area of 1.2m square,
so panels longer than 2.35m can add at least an extra $200 to
Farmweld panels are made 2.25m long. This is a manageable length to
handle and ships well.
How strong is
the steel used?
A rail might look like it’s
strong because it’s wider than others you’ve seen,
however it’s the thickness of the pipe wall
that's important. Thin walled materials like steel tubing and some cheaper
bend and break if hit with reasonable force.
If using the panels for a sick or sedated horse, the last thing you
want is a rail to break if your horse falls against
it. EA regulations also stipulate that portable steel float yards
should have a minimum wall thickness of 2mm.
The old rule of “you get what you pay for” stands
At the other extreme thick walled pipe (water pipe) makes the
panels so heavy they are almost impossible to move around and they will
not bend or flex at all.
protrusions such as poor slaggy welds can cause cuts to you and
your horse, as can bracing and even some of the joining systems used on
panels where the pins stick out. Any bolts or other fasteners should sit flush or be
rounded. Even something as innocent as a horse rubbing
it’s head on a rail can be enough to cause some nasty
cuts requiring stitches.
Do the panels have squared or rounded corners?
Rounded top corners on panels form a ‘V’ shaped gap
– a potential trap for human and equine limbs.
Do you need a quick release gate? If you think you might need to get
out of a round yard quickly it might be worthwhile considering the
option of a slam
catch which will open quickly when pressure is applied to the handle.
The slam catch sits within the gate frame so it won’t open if
leans on or hits the gate. It might
be worthwhile considering two gates to provide an additional escape
route as well.