Rev. 03-27-13

KBR Horse Training Information

Exercising Body AND Mind

Building Yourself a
Practical and Inexpensive
Wild Horse Pen

  ...or One Person's Garbage is
Another Person's Treasure

Success in gentling wild horses depends on both skill and proper equipment. Most wild horses have well developed survival and flight instincts and can be far more athletic than they may appear when quietly standing in a corral.

The difference between a quick and successful gentling and one which is fraught with complications, delays and stress for both horse and human, comes from understanding which approaches work with wild horses and through creating an environment which facilitates gentling and which is also safe for the horse and handler.

The BLM specifies a minimum 400 square foot pen with 6 foot high fencing and a shelter appropriate for local environmental conditions. The 6 foot height requirements are for adult, ungentled horses who will often successfully clear lower height fences if provoked.

A 20ft x 20ft dimension for the pen (a true square) facilitates safe and effective handling of the horse until he can be approached, haltered, handled and led without resistance. Long, narrow pens tend to create a situation where the horse may run back and forth to each end when approached and may pass way too close to the human in doing so.

Front View:
Gentling Chute (left),
Shelter & Trailer Loading Area
A Safe Environment equals
Safe Handling


The pen must be strong. An ungentled wild horse may strike a fence or gate with significant force. A common occurrence is the horse suddenly backing up and, not being used to close quarters, applying tremendous force to fence panels and gates.

We constructed our pen mostly out of scrap materials, but what we used was very heavy duty. The posts are all made from salvaged utility poles which we got from the local telephone company. The fences are made from used 2x6 lumber and the gates are framed with 4x4 and 4x6 scraps and faced with 2x6 or 2x12 lumber.

Our fence rails are placed on the outside of the poles so that all hardware is on the outside. A new horse will likely have to wear a halter for the first few days and we don't want anything present within the pen that he could get hung up on.

All the lumber is lag bolted into the utility poles for strength. This attachment ensures that the boards won't work loose when hit. Nailing plates are used to tie the ends of fence boards together and the nailing plates are similarly lag bolted into the poles.

To minimize wood chewing, we chose to line the inside of the pen with heavy gauge woven wire no-climb fencing, tacking the wire on the outside of the poles and then attaching the fence rails to the poles (sandwiching the wire between the poles and the fence rails.) Most telephone poles are pressure treated and horses usually won't bother them.

2x6 rails
Lag Bolted to
the Poles
Nailing plates where
Rails Join Together

Continue to Part Two

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KBR Horse Training Information, 1997 Lamm's Kickin' Back Ranch and Willis & Sharon Lamm. All rights reserved. Duplication of any of this material for commercial use is prohibited without express written permission. This prohibition is not intended to extend to personal non-commercial use, including sharing with others for safety and learning purposes, provided this copyright notice is attached.
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