Our experience, we looked into those, also into metal framed, metal sheeted buildings and both were costing the same.
Decided if we had built, for our money, may as well go with something permanent, that has a chance of being there for decades, without needing much upkeep and replacement and has a considerable improvement value, unlike fabric covered buildings, that are generally considered temporary.
We have had our 80' x 160' Megadome "fabric" covered arena for 6 years now and it still looks brand new. It has withstood very high winds (though we haven't had a hurricane), heavy snow loads--most of the snow just slides right off as soon as the sun comes out, even in the coldest temperatures. It is somewhat warmer than outdoors in winter and a bit cooler than outside in summer. I've ridden in a lot of wood/steel roof arenas in the past: in the winter you have to go outside to get warmed up and in summer it is unbearably hot. Ours is wonderfully bright even on a gloomy day. We don't ride at night, so haven't needed to install lights. During heavy rains there is very little noise in the arena. The ceiling height is 35' at the peak and 14' at the walls, which makes for a very inviting space.
We love our arena!
I just moved to a new barn with a clear span. It is bright inside, and the ring has been there for 5 years without issues. BUT, my horse does not like it in there, at all. It is becoming such an issue I may have to move again, as they do not have an outside arena and my daughter is afraid to ride, I am a little nervous myself. (I am just getting back to riding) The trainer there said she has a few horses with issues with the barn.
Does anyone have any experiences, good or bad, with the fabric covered indoor riding arenas? I am thinking of purchasing one and any insights would be much appreciated. I live in Maryland.
You don't say where you are and that can be important.
In the South these things are fine in the winter (1-3 months) and problematical the rest of the year as they really retain heat. A major use for this type of structure is greenhouses and nurturing houses for plants. Not so good for horses.
The heat problem can be addressed with fans or other ventillation systems but these cost money to put in and money to run.
Durability is another question. If you're in a low wind area then you'll likely not have too many problems. In a high wind area I'd not be optomistic. While many companies tout long term warranties they are only as good as the company. One big supplier, Cover-All, has gone bankrupt. They are still in business, I'm told, but bankruptcy can void existing warranties.
As noted, the cost of these things are about the same as a good quality steel building. For my money steel trumps plastic in this use hands down.
If you are in the South you can also look at a cover, vice a full enclosure. The price to buy and erect will be similar, but covers keep the rain and sun off riders, while allowing cooling breezes (and obviating the need for ventillation systems).
Before you make a decision shop around. You might save yourself a costly error.
We looked pretty closely at these. Never thought about horses having an issues with them. Very interesting. As pointed out above they are not considered a “permanent” structure so there are no tax benefits, i.e. depreciation, they will not add much value to the property as far as a bank or appraiser is concerned for the same reason. I thought they would be “value for money” but they actually cost the same if not more then a “framed” structure. Pass
I moved to a barn 2 or 3 months ago with a clearspan indoor. The indoor ripped last winter during the very heavy winter snows New England experienced. The indoor still has a hole in it and the owners seem to be at a loss for how to repair it, they are thinking of trying to sew it by hand in a bucket truck, but I think the material is too frayed now. The hole is probably 12-15 ft in length now the center of the arena. Very disappointing. I will be moving my horses next week since the owners promised it would have been fixed by now. I would be hesitatant to move to another barn like that and my horses hated it in there they never would relax completely. And they've never had a problem in traditional arenas elsewhere.