Wasn't sure whether to put this here or on the Farm forum, but figured there's more dressage riders here.
We are looking at buying a regulation size arena, but could use some advise. There are some price differences between them, but mostly they look the same to me? (White supports and white boards) Are the more expensive ones sturdier?
Also, as far as maintenance... We want to set it up and leave it for several weeks in a row, then move it to be able to drag the whole area and put it back up. Will it hurt it to be out in the outdoor all the time?
Don't know really - except I can say that the place where I board, leaves their dressage arenas out all the time - summer and winter. They seem to fair well. They've been out there for at least 6 years, probably more.
It is what happens beneath the surface that costs the price. There is a lot of foundation work to ensure the arena drains, is level and stable. That seems to be the main difference in cost. Anyone can tip out a pile of surfacing material and make it smooth but it won't last beyond the first winter rain. A construction job best done by people who have the skills.
I think OP is talking about the white blocks and rails that form the perimeter of the arena, not the arena itself.
Libera, my understanding is the more expensive one tends to be heavier, and sturdier, so if you are in a windy area, that will be something you need to take into consideration; and of course three rails will be more expensive than the one rail, just because of the material. You should be fine leaving them outdoor. Also, those that are called "trainer" arena have only half of the material. You basically have blanks in between rails. They are a lot cheaper, but course, you get half the arena only.
If you are periodically going to take it down, for whatever reason, make sure you have the corners marked somehow so it is easier to put back up again! Otherwise hard to get proper rectangle...
At our barn arena is covered and fenced (Florida) and while it is regulation length, it is much wider then required. Barn Manager
put screws with the closed circle top in the bottom boards of the arena fence to mark our corners.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
Wind isn't a huge factor here, the arena is located in the middle of an orchard (so pretty).
Snow... Doesn't happen here
We were wanting to go with the square blocks with boards, love the look of those and they seem more sturdy than the pole ones...
Glad to hear we will be able to leave it out, it is such a chore to put it up right!
I think we will just get the more expensive one, I want it to hold up
If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative, you can purchase cheap, round plastic buckets for a few cents. Then partially fill them with easy to use cement (so they don't blow away). You can then paint the letters on the buckets. if you want rails, you can attach some PVC pipes or just run logs along the ground. I've seen people use 1/2 old car tyres and have painted them white. If done properly, it can look quite lovely. The store bought ones do look nice though.