How to Build A Round Horse Pen With Pallets

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Allison Price

These days, most garden fencing to furniture and round pens are being built out of pallets. Here, we will describe how to build an ideal round pen of pallets and discuss some of its concerns.

A round pen is usually intended to give you a secure and safe space. This is where you can walk or train with your horse. It should be sturdy and not built out of hazardous materials. Let’s then begin to explore how to build a round pen.

Step by Step Process

STEP 1: Gather all the Materials Needed.

  • 2×8 or 2×10 wooden pallets (You may need to go to a lumberyard)
  • Pressure-treated wooden boards (approximately 150 3/4-inch by 6-inch by 16-foot)
  • Concrete mix (one bag for each post)
  • A 660’ spool of electric braid
  • A gasoline-driven post hole digger. This can be then rented or you can dig the holes manually.
  • Measuring Steel Tape
  • Nail
  • A hammer

STEP 2: Prepare the Ground.

That is the first thing you need to do if you want an area that has a solid, secure footing. The ground needs to be free of rocks and other dangerous objects. A 50-foot (15.24 m) enclosure works well for lunging a horse. If you plan to train your horse in the pen, you may want to build a round pen with a 60 foot (18.28 m) to 80 foot (24.38 m) diameter.

Next, bulldoze an area of at least 51 feet in diameter. You should go down about afoot. Once the area is completely cleared, you’ll want to fill it in with layers of graduated stone and stone dust. After each layer is then added, soak, and compact the materials.

STEP 3: Install your Post

Once you’ve prepared the ground, set up sturdy posts 4 feet apart. This is except for an 8-foot space for the gate. The posts are usually estimated to be 10 feet tall. You can position them 3 feet into the ground using a full concrete sack for each.

Prepare more posts as you will need more of it while using pallets for your round pen fence than you would if you use standard lumber. You will need a post at each joining between pallets. To make up for the lack of height in pallets, you’ll need to secure them about a foot off the ground. You’ll also need to use lumber to top off the posts to meet a full 6 feet. Attach them on the inside, not the outside. Be sure to stagger the rows as this will help to distribute the pressure on the posts more evenly.

Tips: A nice smooth new pallets would be way better than the old and weathered ones.

STEP 4: Add soft footing to the area.

You can go for an affordable option of tilling the dirt. You can use other materials like sand, wood shavings, or shredded rubber.

To use dirt

Till the field with a garden tiller loosening the soil at least four inches deep. As dirt compacts, you now have to till the footing which can build a hard top layer that can damage your horse’s legs. Please be aware that the soil will turn to mud in rainy weather and you will not be able to use the pen if it’s muddy.

To use sand

First, you need to add a layer of gravel. Next, spread the gravel using shovel or rake. There should be uniform distribution and use the rake to spread a layer of sand on top of the gravel. The sand provides proper drainage and soft footing. For wetter climates, it’s a good option.

To use wood shavings or mulch

First, you need to add a layer of gravel. Next, spread uniform layer of wood shavings or mulch on the gravel. Wood shavings make a good footing because it create a cushion over the ground. If the mare get too wet, it can become slick. These also break down easily and turn into dirt.

To use shredded rubber

As usual, you first add a layer of gravel. Next, spread a uniform layer of shredded rubber over the gravel. Shredded rubber provides good footing as well as good drainage. Bear in mind, that strong wind can blow the rubber pieces away in the pen.

STEP 5: Leave a space for your gate.

To build your pen’s gate, you will need to leave an 8 foot opening for it. Don’t try to use two pallets to make a gate. Instead, build or buy a proper gate.


Pallets can have different spacing for the slats. Make sure you use ones with thicker boards. Many are then treated with pesticides since they go back and forth across the pond. Don’t let your horse crib on them. An ideal round pen should be at least about 51 feet in diameter or at least 6 feet high. It has to be free of gaps where a hoof could get caught and sharp protrusions that could cause injury to horses.

Check for proud nails. Use a longer post and keep it high or off the ground. Don’t make it too small or too low where a horse may try jumping. You can add plywood over them down the road. We all started somewhere.

If you live in an area with manufacturing/farming surplus supplies, see if you can get a strip of a conveyor belt. You can use that to put around the bottom, 18 inches or so of your pen. It will keep the footing in, and prevent horses from putting a leg through. Even a gentle horse can slip and hit the walls of the pen, so you want to be sure the bottom is sturdy. Plywood around the bottom 2′ will also work, but be expensive.

Can We Build a Cheap Round Pen out of Pallets?

Yes, it’s possible to cobble anything using found materials and making out of what you have. The problem is when you’re building something, it needs to be strong, sturdy, and reliable. Pallets round pen won’t make it in the long run.

If you use cheap materials, someone is going to get hurt when the corners are cut. You’ll end up wasting out a whole lot more money than if you did it right, to begin with.

What Type of Horses is more suited with a Round Pen Made of Pallets?

Gentle or broke horses are more advisable to be then kept in your pallet round pen. These horses usually won’t try to test its durability by always bumping into it. Never put a youngster or horses with retraining issues in there. They might try to go over it or through it. They will try to go over the panels once or twice the first few times you work them. If they have not gotten ‘their way’ before, they may throw a little temper tantrum. It’s best to have those gentle types of horses inside.

Pros and Cons of a Pallet Round Pen

A round pen can provide your horses with a comfortable environment. This is to prevent them from running away. It also helps you become an effective horse trainer. Round penning can be a great way to develop the connection and skills between you and your horse. You may stand in the center of the circular pen and then direct your horse to work around you. But, there are alarming feedbacks you need to consider before building one.


Making a round pen with pallets is a lot easier. You can build a round pen from anything. Usually, it will be about 50′ to 60′ in diameter and about 6′ tall. Some people made from little to more than posts with smooth wire and lined with boards. It is that easy. It is also cheap compared to when using steel.


Making one can be tedious. Pallets in general have little spaces. Its gaps look like the perfect size for a horse to get a foot hung up in there and get hurt. They tend to be splintery and the boards break easily. It will leave ragged or sharp ends. Pallets cannot withstand frequent changes in the weather. It may deteriorate after a while.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!