Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but do you really need a round pen?
There are a few times I'd like one, like first saddle and lunging, sacking out, first ride, but after that, isn't an outdoor arena better?
I have neither right now, so my method is lunge line and the wide open spaces. And really, it's working out pretty good.
Today was the first time I lunged Beautiful in the wide open. We were on the spot where the round pen used to sit, and she did every bit as good or better than when it was really there. I think she was calmer than she'd been in the past, which was good since it's still wet. She's more mature this year. She feels to me and acts every bit like a normal horse now. Last year she was super sweet, but there was something flighty--this year, I don't see that.
One thing that's impressed me is her respect of my space. Yesterday I was walking her and I saw a big pond/puddle, so I traipsed through it and she put on the brakes at the other side. You know, when they dig those front feet into the ground, hind-end back and you're still walking with the lead, so their head is all stretched out. That was her.
Screech! She came to a halt. I kept the pressure on and stayed face forward like I expected her to follow, but I knew, like many colts, she MIGHT jump it and land on top of me. I was prepared, I was braced, but.....
She walked across nicely.
Then today, when we were walking the pasture, some noise (I didn't hear it--but I assume she did unless she's a faker) scared her from the side (I assume it was Ezzy, the barn cat who was stalking us from under the trailer). Now some horses will jump into your space right on top of you--or at least try--but not Beautiful. She ran forward, got to a safe distance from me and turned and faced me, feet a bit splayed out in the fear formation--eyes looking over to see what that big, bad thing (she imagined) was.
So, she's still a bit of a Spring-Scaredy-Baby but at least she's not so panicked that she puts either of us in any danger. She'll get past it.
Jasmine has been getting the same treatment. I keep her on a lunge line when we take our walks which is a good thing since a couple years ago she got the lead under her belly and yanked it from my hands, then proceeded to run home taking shortcuts through all the neighbor's newly landscaped yards!! I don't need a repeat of that! Today she did a very similar thing, but I had 20' of rope to hold onto. Ha!
It's still like Spring around here, if you can believe it. The sun is shining, it's warm. Remember the Forsytha my husband toted around Seattle for me?
Now I'm getting to enjoy it as I sit here and write and wait for my own bushes to take bloom.
Happy Trails today, everyone. And, if you have time--let me know your thoughts about round pen vs. outdoor arena vs. the great wide open.