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Join-Up/Roundpen Your Horse!!

posted in Various
  • Round pen or join up is a great way to build trust and a relationship with your horse! As well as a great warm up!

  • Begin in an arena, I do it without a lunge line, and depending on the horse, a whip. Stand in the middle of the arena as ask your horse to begin walking a direction.

  • Stay as much towards the center as possible, you should not have to move around too much. REMEBER this is all about body language! Walk (within a small circle) with the horse, pretend there is an invisible line between you too.

  • If you want your horse to pick up the pace, do so. If your horse needs some encouragement then hit the whip to the ground to make a little noise. If he still doesn't preceded to trot after clicks and the sound of the whip, then walk closer to him, as if your shortening the invisible line between you ( increasing the pressure at the same time), while walking in a forward direction.

  • Once your horse speeds up then let off the pressure that you gave him in order to speed up. (Ex: if you walks closer to him to speed him up, then back away, relieving the pressure.) Remember that release of pressure is a reward!

  • You can speed your horse up or slow them down however you like. If you want to change directions then use your body to do so. I will begin inching over toward a corner that he will soon approach. Once he feels your invisible line has been altered and eye contact is broken he should turn around almost instantly.

  • You can work him both ways however many times you like. When you know your horse is ready to be with you, signs to look for are
    1) lowering of his head (usually followed by a blow/snort)
    2) licking/chewing

  • When this happens, I've seen and heard of people who turn around and wait for the horse to come in. But I will usually drop my whip and relieve any pressure continue circling the arena in place while the horse continues to walk around for a little bit until he stops and looks at me. I walk over to him (only if he is looking at me) if he looks away I will tap my leg or make a little noise to get his attention and proceed to walk over to him.

  • Greet him with lots of pats and talk to him! Give a treat if handy! Then walk away. He will follow you:)

  • You have joined up! Congrats!

  • Side notes:
    • some horses when ready will just come right into the center of the arena to join up instead of just stopping
    • remember to relieve pressure once horse does what you asked
    • you don't need a whip, it's only for encouragement/ help for your horse to go (for those lazy ones ;) )
    • once your horse gives you the signs he is ready to join up but walks around the arena for what feels like forever, the you can inch back towards one side (this should get him to stop)
    • ** not every horse will follow you after join up. So don't think you did anything wrong if they didn't follow you!

  • More..
    • if you are working with a more difficult horse , a whip is helpful if the horse tries to change direction without you asking and runs through you if you block him off
    • one of our young mares will change direction often and I will outstretch my arm with the whip to prevent her from continuing to change direction
    • don't be afraid to use the whip especially if you know the horse isn't listening on purpose and just being a stink head ( the whip isn't used to hurt them so use it responsibly)
    • the whip is more for the purpose of sound and doesn't hurt them...unless you slam them w/ it

  • Another note
    • if your horse doesn't stay on the rail then you can move towards the horse causing him to move away from you to relieve that pressure
    • to bring your horse in closer then slightly moving back and relieving the pressure will bring h in closer
    • just think about the invisibility rope!
    • can be done in a rectangular arena as well!
    A round pen is better because there are no corners that your horse can turn into and use to break the eye contact and avoid you...but a rectangular arena works perfectly fine! That's the only type I have to use:)

  • Feel free to comment ideas or what you do differently! Or any stories:) Please give feedback in a nice manner! Hope this helped 😊


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