View Full Version : Inexpensive/DIY Dressage Arena

Oct. 9, 2011, 11:55 PM
I would like to build a dressage arena...nothing fancy, and it will be on grass. Any ideas on how to build a nonexpensive one????

Oct. 10, 2011, 12:04 AM
laser and spray paint?

Oct. 10, 2011, 12:15 AM
Set of cones with the letters, set at measured distance. Who needs a 1 foot high fence,you should know when you are off course

Oct. 10, 2011, 12:53 AM
Set of cones with the letters, set at measured distance. Who needs a 1 foot high fence,you should know when you are off course


We currently have two sides of our arena fenced because we had the property fenced, so I'm going to lay out ground poles and make markers on cones for the letters plus white letters on the fence in the right places. The fence isn't needed, really, unless you are holding shows.

The home repair stores carry poles in their lumber, too - I actually timed my visit properly so they had just gotten a new shipment... and I purchased the remaining old/slightly warped poles for $25. Handy to have around!

Oct. 10, 2011, 03:19 AM
There are a lot of different things you can do that are very inexpensive.

Do you plan to do a small arena or a standard one?

Letters are easy. Gallon or even half gallon plastic milk/juice/whatever jugs can be partially filled with water (so they won't blow over) and used for letters. These have the advantage of being free, safe if stepped on or knocked over, easy to move, easy to get more, won't be carried off by dogs, etc. You can freehand your letters, or buy inexpensive six inch tall stencils and spray paint the letters. I have seen people use other things, such as 5 gallon buckets that held supplements, or laundry detergent, or house paint, etc. Just about anything you can weight a bit, either with water or some dirt, will work. They don't all have to match.

If you have your own place, there may be trees that you can cut down, trim, and use to make corners. You can also place them every so often down the long side, and at A and C on the short sides. As you have the time you can cut and position more of them. This is free, but costs time and effort, and the tree trunks will rot fairly fast if they are just plunked down on the ground. If you've got the time to do it, cutting a larger tree trunk - say 8" in diameter - into slices about 8" thick, will give you holder for the ends of your poles, which keeps them off the ground.

If you can afford to spend a little, check with your local home supply place or lumber yard. Tell them what you want to use the lumber for, and ask for warped poles.

You may also be able to contact your local utility company and get used telephone poles. I had an entire arena made out of these. You don't have to do anything once you get them in place, and if they are in the pasture the horses won't tear them up. Plus unless you use something really big when you mow, bumping them slightly won't move them at all.

Good luck!

Oct. 10, 2011, 04:53 AM
I bought an inexpensive set of cones (a set of 8 and the additional 4, for $50, Roma cones). My idea for outdoor use is to fill a gallon baggie with sand, stuff it in the cone and then screw the cones onto blocks of wood. all you need then is 8 poles to mark the corners. It also helps to have an extra four to marke the sides of E and B. (I have seen people save empty 25 pound supplement buckets to fill with sand and put letters on the sides also).

The hardest part is the measuring. You need to have the proper measuring tape. You can get the metric one from Dressage Extensions for about $40. I recommend having a helper when you are measuring.

Oct. 10, 2011, 09:26 AM
A metric measuring wheel
A hiking compass (to make corners square and sides straight)
A turf paint marking kit (for edge lines)
Letter markers (purchased or made)

Oct. 10, 2011, 09:50 AM
I have seen them made with gutters tied onto milk jugs filled with water; PVC poles put through cinderblocks, or the white plastic chain you can find at Lowes, hung onto posts. All three looked really nice, and can be done for a couple hundred bucks or less.

Oct. 10, 2011, 10:06 AM
I can make either, large or small, and I think I will make the large.

Carol O
Oct. 10, 2011, 02:46 PM
Some years ago I made letters from bleach bottles. I was working for a veterinarian, so I was able to collect the bottles quickly. I drilled holes in the caps and fastened 2 together, back to back, with nuts and bolts. Fill the bottom bottle with sand, and put the letters in the upside down bottle on top. I think I saw it in Practical Horseman. They worked well and lasted for years.

Oct. 10, 2011, 03:23 PM
My first one, on grass, was white rope on PVC (short) pipes. BUT horse needs to be solid citizen as a spoke could result in rope burns.

Current one was grass torn up using tractor, painted white boards around perimeter of arena. You could paint on letters or mark with a line on white boards - I just purchases push in letters. Also added some sand and some clay (depending on need).