My college has heaters in our indoor arena. They are a life saver in the new England winters. They don't heat the air, just the people / horses underneath it. We get by with thin turtle necks or long sleeved tee shirts when it is 0 F. degrees out and snowing!
So this is the question. How much extra would you pay to board or come and use an arena like this in the winter?
Would it decrease the amount of cancellations that instructors have during the winter months?
What if you could tack up and bathe under these as well?
The only downside is that horses need to be body clipped. The amount clipped depends on the horse. Thin Arabian type coats usually don't need anything clipped, but on the flip side some of the big warmbloods need full clips, face and all just because they sweat so much.
How much would we pay to trailer into the indoor is a very different question from how much would we pay to board at a facility with such an indoor.
For the former question. I wouldn't trailer in because in the winter, it's hard to get the trailer out of the snow/mud/etc. The body clipping may be a problem for some people depending on how they keep their horses at their home barn.
For the latter question. I would have to know what board is elsewhere and how your place compares. What are your stalls like? Is there a resident trainer? Can my trainer come? Are there restrictions on riding times because it is a college barn?
Personally, I wouldn't pay any more than a barn with a regular indoor, but I would pay more than a barn that had no indoor.
I wouldn't pay premium to board there, and I wouldn't trailer in. I'd definitely audit clinics, or take lessons on a quality schoolmaster there, however.
Our horses get as much turnout as possible, all winter long. And we're not messing with blanketing, so we're not clipping. Clipping to be able for me to ride in just a t-neck all winter? Not worth it to me.
So I'll come visit, and I'll ride your horses, but you'll have to have other regular paying customers subsidizing your energy bills!
I wouldn't pay anything extra and, in fact, would probably try to avoid such places. Sure it's nice for me but having to go to shows where it would be much colder inside just isn't any fun. I also like to turn out all year long and though he does wear a blanket he overheats easily and takes off his blanket So he does grow a coat and I'm not clipping him.
Also, depending on the temperature I don't notice a difference. I know a trainer that keeps her barn set at about 50 in the winter (average temperature outside hovers between 20-30) but with doors opening and closing all the time and other things the barn doesn't feel any warmer to me so I DEFINITELY wouldn't pay more to board there.
Although I used to lesson somewhere with a heated barn/indoor, and it was rather pleasant for me, I wouldn't have boarded there, for some of the reasons previous posters have mentioned. For whatever reason, although I've owned horses for years and I do ride frequently in the winter, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to blanketing. Other than my "emergency" blanket (which got used once in the past 15 years), and a couple of good coolers, I don't own them, don't use them, and the temperature changes would just be too hard on my horses. Besides, I'm a little chubby and out of shape myself, so It's good for me to walk my horse around with a cooler for a good long while
The biggest draw would be for people who would be blanketing and clipping either way, or possibly people who have horses that habitually refuse to drink in cold weather.
Anyhow, I think there is a market for it, just not my cup of tea.
I dream a great dream that someday my children will be teenagers and I will be able to devote my days when they are in school to developing a real seat and getting myself a super nice dressage horse.
If I were ever to get to that place, a heated indoor would be fabulous. I'd love to be able to not worry about the weather interfering my never ending lunge lessons, schooling sessions with the BNT and all the assorted stuff that goes with riding seriously.
Realistically, that is never going to happen. I kind of like taking it easy during the winter. I think my horses have always liked that too.
I took lessons in one during the winter. It worked for them because they were a BNT. Their horses were always clipped since they showed. So the heated barn worked because the horses were thin coated anyway. And the extra blanketing would have happened anyway. The heating was very nice for the trainers who would have frozen standing there. As riders we didn't need it as much as we were working and generating our own heat. It was (I think) huge space heaters so I did find it harder to hear the instructor over the noise & was relieved when they turned it off. They also had music piped in. Really lovely.
There are lots of benefits to a (properly) heated indoor. For one thing, it helps keep the footing from freezing
I have ridden in several in CT and MA and have really enjoyed them. It is lovely not to have to bundle up like the Michelin man to ride. For the record, they weren't saunas... the heaters just took the edge off the chill. You could comfortably ride in a t-neck or a light sweater.
My favorite place is the one in MA; the indoor is attached to the barn and the entire place can be heated, although I believe they typically only run heat in the indoor when they are riding, while the rest of the facility stays pretty comfortable on its own. I would have gladly paid a couple hundred bucks extra to board there compared to a comparable-but-not-heated facility, but alas I live too far away.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
I'd love a heater in our arena to cut the chill a bit (we have at least two weeks in winter when it's too cold to ride). Apparently, however, quite a few up here run on propane and I don't like the idea of propane near the barn.