I am in the process of buying a rather large farmette; fingers crossed!
I'm a planner, so I'm trying to figure out a basic plan so I can estimate costs throughout the next couple years. The general layout is 7 acres with a large front yard (about 0.5-1 acre), house and barn rather even with the driveway between the two (barn a little further ahead of the house), and the rest of the property (all fenced in, 3 connected, but separate pasture/paddock areas) in a line out the back of the property. It's about 4X as long as it is wide.
I initially had plans (future plans, but would affect immediate fencing plans) to put an arena in the 2nd back field, which is the closest it could go with the topography of the property and existing fencing. There's a nice large flat area that would work really well, and the current owners have been using it as a non-fenced in, grass barrel racing area (in addition to grazing pasture). But I have concerns that it would be difficult to get to from the barn. It would require going through at least two gates. It also is wide open with no shade, and would cut down on pasture land for the horses by about a quarter.
I recently had a brainwave that it could go in the large front "yard". It's a great area; large trees that would provide plenty of shade, very easy access to the barn (direct access, no gates) and it's flat. I just have concerns having it in the front yard, especially for curb appeal and potential future sale. We do not plan on staying forever. However, it would clearly be a horse property, with a 4+ stall barn, arena, pastures, etc. I'm not sure I could market it as anything else, if we decide to move. And as a horse person, this location is better for an arena, and an arena would be fantastic curb appeal. Another benefit of having the arena in front would be that if I were to get thrown, it would be a lot more likely someone would see me, as it would be in direct sightline of the house and neighbors. But, on the same line, it's easy for nosy neighbors and passers-by to watch me ride and is not private.
People I know who have their arenas in their front yards have privacy screens (very tall hedges) between the arena and the road. Helps the riders concentrate because it cuts down on the traffic noise and exhaust and just the distraction of traffic, plus it keeps motorists from honking and yelling "Hey! Look! A horse!" as they drive by.
Do you mean trees inside the arena? I personally wouldn't want that (have never seen an arena with trees inside) but lots of big old shade trees around outside would give a cool effect, I guess.
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There are 2 properties on the main small country road across from my neighborhood with front yard rings, and I would definitely say that if you go that route, there are pros and cons of using a privacy screen between the ring and the road.
Noise and exhaust from the vehicle traffic is great for bombproofing your horses, but the downsides are noise and exhaust fumes! A privacy screen is great for privacy a tiny bit of noise/distraction/fume muffling, but then you will also have noise and activity happening in the road that your horse can't see, and may just make him more anxious.
Personally, I'd prefer the privacy screen to make the ring quieter, but my horses would probably be happier if they can see what all that noise on the other side of the hedge is about.
I've been to a couple places where the arena was towards the front although not necessarily "the front yard". One of them it was right up aganst the lightly traveled road on the other side of the barn from the house and the other it was even with the house in a two or three acre pasture area so it was set back at least 200 feet.
Wherever it works is where it should go. A 1 acre front yard would be 220 x 220 feet that's more than enough for most at home jumper arenas.
The arena would still be 50+ feet from the actual road, and it's a very quiet country road.
No, trees around the yard, not in the arena. They're very large (50+ feet tall, with high branches), so they shade a large area. It's in the south, so heat (and therefore shade) is a huge consideration.
My 'unofficial' ring is the front yard. (I say unofficial because there's no footing down or fencing, it is just the space I ride in). It is big enough for a small dressage arena (which I've marked out) and a little room around that dressage arena.
That was the only really flat area on our property, and the only space big enough to make a small dressage arena that wasn't already in pasture. We are the only house on our road, so we don't have much traffic so that's not an issue, but even if there was traffic, I wouldn't want a privacy screen really.
Definitely consider the dust issue, either based on prevailing winds, or your ability and desire to keep the footing watered.
If the ring will be built in the vicinity of large trees, consider how its construction might damage roots enough to possibly kill one or three. If the location works for you, then I'd for sure get someone out there to evaluate the grade before you think about actually doing it, and see how much has to be dug out (if any) and from where, with an eye on tree preservation
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I have 2 grass "outdoor arenas" on my 5ac farmette.
Quotes because one is the lawn behind the house & the other is my small hayfield I ride in after it's been cut & baled.
The one behind the house is bordered by tall trees on the road side and my meadow on the other. It's all flat grass.
I ride to this area from my barn - some 200' away - and it works just fine for flatwork.
There's one protruding tree root that I have used as a "jump" too - maybe all of 8", so really more of a cavaletti.
I haven't measured, but by eyeball it's larger than my 60X120 indoor.
The hayfield borders my large pasture and has enough greenery on the road side to act as a visual fence and my pasture fenceline on the other.
If I weren't so lazy I could set a single jump in either.
If you leave your arena with the existing grass footing it shouldn't hurt resale to a non-horsey buyer.
But it will limit your riding since when the ground is too soft I have to stay off mine.
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Check the zoning. In our town you aren't allowed to be within 100 feet of property lines, water, wetlands, or the road. So basically they don't want anyone to have an arena since that describes most people's land.
How close to the house? There's dust to consider...
Thanks, this I had not considered. I've only been to the property twice, and while the second time was for the inspection and I made extensive measurements, I had not planned on putting the arena by the house, so I did not make those measurements.
Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn
I know a gal who did this (because of topography) and ran into a zoning issue because it was too close to the road. She had to make the arena much smaller than initially planned.
And this I also was not aware of. I will have a perimeter fence that runs along the road, so when I confirm any potential issues with that, I will ask about an arena.
Originally Posted by LauraKY
Talk to a couple of realtors first and find out how it will affect resale. People without horses buy homes with barns. They don't usually buy a home with an arena in the front yard.
Thanks for that tip as well. I will ask my realtor that is helping me purchase the property, and identify some others to ask over the next few months.
My new 180'x90 arena is in our front pasture. We are 0.4 miles from the road, so that isn't an issue at all. I wanted it in the back of the house (we have 25 acres), but there was no good place for it. I worried about aesthetics, resale, etc. Now that it's in, I really like it there. It's very easy to see from the house, and that makes me feel safer. We are far enough away from it that dust isn't an issue, but you should definitely put a no-freeze hydrant nearby so you can keep it watered.
I actually picked colors for the jumps that matched the house, and we try to keep it tidy. As far as resale - as you said, it's a horse property so I don't think it would be an issue.
My arena is out in front of the house. It sits about 100' back from the (dirt) road and there are paddocks between the arena and road. It's then another ~100', maybe 150' to the house. We have a few maples planted between the house and arena and half of the length is blocked by the barn. There is a lot of dust in the [painfully short] dry season, but we seem to be far enough back that I don't notice much more than a bit of extra sandy dust when I leave the windows open on the front of the house (which is all summer since we don't have AC). So I would definitely be aware of the distance between the arena and the house, but if you've got 100' or so you'd probably be fine.
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Our outdoor is also in front of the house about 75 ft from the road. Although a country road, it gets its share of traffic; from loud cars, loud trucks, louder motorcycles, tractors, trailers, haywagons, amish buggies, 4-wheelers, etc. Its ok but if I had a do-over, it would go in the back where there would be far less noise and distractions.