PDA

View Full Version : Help!- Install Outdoor or Board Horse with Full Facilities?



ohioeventer
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:58 AM
I am hoping for some good insight from my fellow eventers.

I am lucky enough to have my horses at home, but now it's time to make some tough decisions. I don't currently have a riding arena- can ride in the pasture, but now that the 4-year-old needs more "serious" training, I am at a crossroads.

We are thinking of putting in an outdoor, and I wanted to know realistically how "all-weather" an outdoor actually can be. I am in the midwest- southern OH/NKY best describes my locale, so give me your thoughts, advice, and experience.

I am worried that I would only be able to use it a few months out of the year and would boarding at a farm that has both an indoor and outdoor be my best option? I just hate to do that seeing as I have a place right here to house them happily and so far as I can tell, none of my trees are growing any money at this point. At any rate, please help me think through this process!

Zephyr
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:05 AM
I live in Lexington, where very few boarding facilities have indoor arenas. Worst case scenario, you usually have 10 good months in the outdoor ring.

I have no experience with pricing/building arenas though, I'm sure they are a lot more costly than the upgrade to paying board!

ohioeventer
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:21 AM
Thanks for the reply Zephyr :) I do have some cash stowed away for this project and the balance I will basically be paying off monthly.

I already have a flat, stripped area that has been sitting for about 6 months in preparation if I decide to move forward with this project.

I suppose it is a little like renting vs. paying a mortgage- give my money to someone else every month or invest in my own property with it being paid off over the next couple of years or less and having it forever.

My other concern is time: if the arena is here, I can ride on it anytime (I have a baby). If I have to drive- the closest suitable location to board is 20 minutes away, and with gas prices...

GotSpots
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:47 AM
One thing I would think seriously about is whether you truly "need" an outdoor arena. I've gotten a lot ton in a field that is kept mowed and reasonably watered - you can set jumps, do flat work, etc. - I had a prelim horse going in those conditions and shipped out for a proper jump school maybe once or twice a month and it worked great. A halfway (and overall less expensive) solution is to invest in a good watering solution to keep your "arena" from getting rock hard in the summer and figure that in the winter you'll give your youngster time off or mostly hack/play or ship to soemwhere you can ride.

Zephyr
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the reply Zephyr :) I do have some cash stowed away for this project and the balance I will basically be paying off monthly.

I already have a flat, stripped area that has been sitting for about 6 months in preparation if I decide to move forward with this project.

I suppose it is a little like renting vs. paying a mortgage- give my money to someone else every month or invest in my own property with it being paid off over the next couple of years or less and having it forever.

My other concern is time: if the arena is here, I can ride on it anytime (I have a baby). If I have to drive- the closest suitable location to board is 20 minutes away, and with gas prices...
Sounds to me like you've very much already made up your mind ;) I think it would be a dream come true to have horses at home and an arena to ride in! And with the lifestyle constraints of watching your baby, etc., I think you would really like having a nice ring.

I'm a "field rider" as much as possible, but a well-drained ring is glorious to have when the rains come or the grass dries up.

RiverBendPol
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:27 AM
I would DIE to have an arena at home. I'm in Maine. For 90% of my life here, my footing is mud, cement or ice. The other 10% is right now and it is perfection. I use my hay fields for riding, once the hay is down. I have a few jumps in the field and also in the woods. It builds strength, balance and character to do dressage on rolling terrain. Your baby can nap while you ride (I used to do that, too-I'd take the baby into the barn, get all tacked up, leave horse in stall, go put child down for nap, return to barn, grab horse and ride under baby's window!)
In other words, I guess I would do just about anything to avoid going into a boarding situation! :) Good luck.

ohioeventer
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:43 AM
Thanks all for the input. I really think that putting in the ring here will be my best bet to get the most out of my time with my horses. At this point, I suppose my conern that I won't be able to use the ring almost year round (I generally give my horses a month off at least around the holidays) should be the least of my worries. I suppose this all comes from the fact that I have never had my horses anywhere without an indoor- it was always one of my #1 priorties before.

Of course any and all words of wisdom are greatly appreciated- both pro and con. You guys are the best!

Hilary
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:50 AM
I'd definitely put in a ring over boarding. I used to ride in my field and putting in a ring meant an extra month in the spring of riding because I wasn't waiting for the mud to dry up. And I can ride any time from April-November because if it rains, it drains promptly.

I can't really use it Dec-March because of the snow/cold, but since I use it nearly every day from April-November that's worth it to me.

How many months do you have snow/frozen ground?

NMK
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:55 AM
I think you have some choices here...you can finish mow a section of field and use that or you can put a ring in. I finally had an excavator put in a 100 x 150 area, with 10% drainage (angle). We have mostly clay soil. If you have time to let that sit for a year, you can just add a mixture of washed concrete/masonry sand once it sets. That works great in most of the weather we have. If you don't want wait, you can put bluestone down, ride on it until it gets too hard and then put masonry/washed concrete on top of that. Your ring use in this part of the country depends on your base and drainage. We have french drains around the "high" side and it really helps. I board for about 3 months mostly due to working/winter light and cold. For the remaining 9 months board you can probably put in a nice ring to use for yourself. Its not as $$ as you would think if your excavator knows what he/she is doing, and you get the sand mixture right.

Nancy

fordtraktor
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:57 AM
I have a sand ring at home in a much colder climate. Love it -- it really works to ride at home when you have a small child.

If you need the indoor for a few months, board the one horse out at a place with an indoor for the 2-3 months a year you need it. I plan to do this in the future when i have a horse going as my ring is basically unworkable for 3 months out of the year due to ice/snow pack/etc.

Jleegriffith
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:59 AM
I put in a ring with lights and honestly it makes me happy each and every day. I had NEVER been at a facility with a ring so it wasn't like I was spoiled but I had started to get heavily involved in riding horses for other people including my own horses and not having a ring was making me have to jump thru hopes to get the riding done. I ride 3+ horses a day so I figured it would pay for itself in time.

The issue with my area (mid atlantic) is that you normally are super wet in the spring, then rock hard in summer, loving the fall and then frozen in the winter. Good footing in a grass ring is hard to come by especially when you have multiple horses riding on it.

It was around $30k to do my 100x200 ring including the lights but it really makes me happy so perhaps that money is worthwhile. I can almost always ride unless it is frozen rock solid and then I do just trailer a few to an indoor.

Izzman
Jun. 17, 2011, 12:12 PM
I have an outdoor arena 10 miles north of Georgetown KY. I had it done five years ago and have been very happy. I can ride on it all year with some exceptions that rarely occur. Ice is the only thing that causes me not to be able to use it. I believe the key to success is the method used. We had all the top soil taken off and then put a layer of large rock with drainage tubes and then fabric (ancored with long pins) and then crushed limestone. After about 12 months I added 2 inches of river sand. It drains really well and at the same time does maintain moisture well. When it is dry I do have to water it. Two other really important things; you have to have a way to keep it dragged and you need to have your water source close. I have a Gator with a chain drag and I had a water line installed next to the ring. I didn't know how critical that was until the first time I watered it and realized how much pressure I had. I have a sprinkler on a cast iron base that I bought at Tractor Supply. I have to move it 2 or 3 times but I can get the entire ring done without having to do it by hand. PM me if you want some more info or would like to come see my ring.

DiablosHalo
Jun. 17, 2011, 01:00 PM
I've been saying I'm going to put in a ring for almost 10yrs now. I would love to - just haven't gotten around to it yet. If you can afford it - put in a ring. It is so nice to walk out the door and ride! I've been just riding in paddocks and it stinks! I have about 6 indoors w/in 15m and figured if I need to ride in the 3 bad winter months - I can board there (IF I ever get serious about riding!) for the winter and ride in my outdoor the other months.

RunForIt
Jun. 17, 2011, 04:07 PM
I would DIE to have an arena at home. I'm in Maine. For 90% of my life here, my footing is mud, cement or ice. The other 10% is right now and it is perfection. I use my hay fields for riding, once the hay is down. I have a few jumps in the field and also in the woods. It builds strength, balance and character to do dressage on rolling terrain. Your baby can nap while you ride (I used to do that, too-I'd take the baby into the barn, get all tacked up, leave horse in stall, go put child down for nap, return to barn, grab horse and ride under baby's window!)
In other words, I guess I would do just about anything to avoid going into a boarding situation! :) Good luck.

No wonder we get along so well...Pol, you are simply the best! xoxo :cool:

besum1
Jun. 17, 2011, 05:48 PM
you can always calculate the cost of board vs. the arena- but if you have the land to put in a decent arena- might as well. Though i would make sure i did it right! Because a crappy ring is a worthless ring!!!!

I know a couple of people that put in "cheap" arenas and they are paying for it when the weather is bad! But if you spend the time and money to build a quality arena you will forever be happy and be glad you forked over the extra expense to get a quality ring (especially if drainage is a problem in your area!).

It is really nice at my barn -the drainage is fabulous and even after a monsoon of rain you can ride in the ring either a couple hours later- or at the very least the next day or 2 while people at other barns in the area have to wait a week before their arena dries out

Good luck!

Auburn
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:17 AM
I second Izzman's arena. I have boarded in Northern KY and have seen arenas that were put in without the proper base and drainage systems. They were always a hassle, because the footing was never right.

Izzman interviewed and took the time to find the right person to install her arena. I rode on it this past winter. Tess was bundled up in her polartec half sheet and I was in multi-layers. There were only a few weeks, when the temps were below 20 degrees, when I did not ride at least three days/week.

The key, as Izzman said, is to make sure that you take the time to drag/grade as needed. Working it keeps it rideable.

If it is done right, you will never regret having it done and keeping your horses at home.

kcmel
Jun. 18, 2011, 05:10 PM
If you have the space do it! We did a lot of soul searching before we put ours in, because we don't have a lot of ground. But I am glad we did. It lets us ride a lot of days when it is too muddy or frozen to hack out. Ours is rather small (about 60 x 85) but big enough for 20 meter circles and a few jumps (plus the horses learn to be agile lol!). It also allows me to have my trainer come to my place for lessons so I don't always have to trailer out, which is nice.