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Creating an indoor arena over outdoor

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  • Creating an indoor arena over outdoor

    Has anyone ever built an indoor over an existing outdoor arena? Is it a do-able thing? Or totally unreasonable? I plan on building an indoor eventually but in the meantime, I have no arena at all. I’d like to create an outdoor arena with plans to cover it sometime in the future. Does anyone have experience with this? Any ideas?

  • #2
    I know of two barns that just put the indoor over the existing outdoor, mine and another. Both arenas flood when it rains heavily because nobody raised the ground inside/around the building. Mine only floods in the stall area which I don't use but during torrential rain there can be 4 inches of water in the stalls and aisleway. Luckily there's a wall between that and the arena itself. We had no idea when we bought the place. So, make sure that you plan for water even if you have a building with walls and a roof erected.
    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Yes I plan on raising the arena above the surrounding ground. One idea I had was to use a low concrete wall as my enclosure, and then when I’m ready I could just add a cloth cover.

      Comment


      • #4
        We covered an outdoor. It worked pretty well.

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
          We covered an outdoor. It worked pretty well.

          G.
          What type of structure did you build? Wood? Steel? Fabric?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lmurf View Post

            What type of structure did you build? Wood? Steel? Fabric?
            Traditional steel roof structure. After weighing all the options that was the most cost effective over time. That was just over 25 years ago and the structure is still sound.

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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            • #7
              I was at a barn that had a long time outdoor covered just before I moved there. Worked well. I can't imagine the outdoor was very usable much of the year until it was covered as they are in a pretty wet area, with lots of rain and high water table. IIRC it was a wood framed structure with metal roof/siding.

              I have an outdoor at my house and we are considering covering it. Would do either steel or wood framed traditional type structure. No cover all types here -- I don't want to look at one! This was supposed to happen before the winter came but life intervened and I'm stuck with another winter of dodging storms or boarding if I want to ride.

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              • #8
                A local barn just did this with their outdoor. They built a large, steel beam structure over it and added stalls down one side as well. It really is about building a quality outdoor first-- though it would be less if you didn't have to build for the proper drainage you'd need here for outdoor, year-round riding. In some ways it would be a cost savings to simply build an indoor I'd think. Always go as wide as you can possibly afford because adding length is easy...width is impossible!
                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for all the info. I am concerned that the arena itself would be damaged by construction equipment during the work. How did you all manage that? Was it an issue?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lmurf View Post
                    Thanks for all the info. I am concerned that the arena itself would be damaged by construction equipment during the work. How did you all manage that? Was it an issue?
                    No problem that, every arena built has equipment going over it until it is done.
                    In some situations, the equipment helps pack you arena base.

                    What you have to demand is that they be as clean as they can.
                    Ask them not to drop nails, welding rods, metal odds and ends, screws, or bring mud and gravel and rocks in their equipment tires, etc.
                    Repeat religiously, provide trash containers, magnets to clean after themselves, etc.

                    When we were building ours, any one that dropped anything was to call it out and everyone look for it, as many times as it took and we did.

                    The one preparing the footing may also decide to scrape a few inches to have only super clean dirt to pack for the base, before putting the sand down.

                    Best is to do all the base work before you have the building up and make that base a bit wider than the building, then work the outside drainage and landscaping last, after most everything inside is finished.
                    Then add your sand footing last.

                    If you have sand there now, drag it off to the side, make a pile with it out of the way and leave only the base there for the construction phase.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      That’s exactly the kind of input I need! Thanks so much

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lmurf View Post
                        Thanks for all the info. I am concerned that the arena itself would be damaged by construction equipment during the work. How did you all manage that? Was it an issue?
                        Since we had a really good base it was not an issue. The piers were poured and the backhoe and concrete truck had no problem moving in and out. They cured for about a week (IIRC) and steel arrived, along with a small crane. It took less than two days to put up the supports and add the roof. Another day for the gutters. I was surprised how fast it went. The electrician took about a day to install 8 yard lights I bought from the Co-Op. It took another day to get all the wires run to the barn panel and bury the line to sub-panel on the arena. I also had him put in a couple of normal outlets. Once it was all done we re-graded the ground to ensure it was level (that took less than an hour) and then added a sand base. We added a two rail fence (working area is 20m x 60m). We later built a small "reviewing stand" along one long side. Over the last 25 years we've added about the equivalent of another dump truck full of sand.

                        I'd guess we lose 30 days/year due to weather. Sometimes it really intense summer heat/humidity (we get 50" of rain here on average). Sometimes it's deep cold with lots of wind (the loss is probably slightly biased to winter). Our longest loss of use period was several days after the remnants of Hurricane Ivan came through. We had horizontal rain at about 45 mph for many hours. The WHOLE area under the cover was soaked. Once it dried out it was fine.

                        A cover, IMO, is a better program in our area than a indoor as we get a lot of summer heat and that would mean we'd have to spend significant money on ventilation. Our winters are reasonably mild and the TN Valley is a relatively low wind terrain. The farther north you go the more likely you'd want to think about an indoor. But even in NYS if you're willing to dress for the weather you can do OK. Heating an indoor would mean real money. It would be the same, or worse, to cool an indoor in South GA or anywhere in FL. If you're in one of those areas and have a lot of money...well...enjoy!!!

                        One note: A cover is actually more expensive to build (maybe by 10-15%) than an indoor. The steel used for the trusses and supports is significantly more stout. This is because with an indoor you can give the structure rigidity with the walls. An analog would be to take a shoe box line and set in on some sticks and wiggle it. It will move very easily. Put it back on the box and it doesn't.* Where the cover is much cheaper is in annual operating costs. You don't need any sort of ventilation system. Even just moving air (not heating or cooling it) will require a lot electricity over the course of a year.

                        If you can swing it the cover is the way to go for most folks in the temperate regions of the U.S.!!!

                        G.



                        *This is actually true for convertible autos as well.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I am in NYS so I think I would do a full indoor. I’m in the mountains and it can be quite windy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lmurf View Post
                            I am in NYS so I think I would do a full indoor. I’m in the mountains and it can be quite windy.
                            I can see why!!!

                            G.
                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                              . . .
                              One note: A cover is actually more expensive to build (maybe by 10-15%) than an indoor. The steel used for the trusses and supports is significantly more stout. This is because with an indoor you can give the structure rigidity with the walls. An analog would be to take a shoe box line and set in on some sticks and wiggle it. It will move very easily. Put it back on the box and it doesn't.* Where the cover is much cheaper is in annual operating costs. You don't need any sort of ventilation system. Even just moving air (not heating or cooling it) will require a lot electricity over the course of a year.

                              If you can swing it the cover is the way to go for most folks in the temperate regions of the U.S.!!!

                              G.

                              . . .
                              At one time, I looked into having our outdoor arena covered -- it's warm enough here that an completely enclosed arena is not desirable -- and I was told something similar. The builder said that a cover alone needs stouter structural support because, without walls, the wind can blow the roof off from inside. With walls, that wind doesn't enter the building, and the walls contribute to the structure.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jarpur View Post

                                At one time, I looked into having our outdoor arena covered -- it's warm enough here that an completely enclosed arena is not desirable -- and I was told something similar. The builder said that a cover alone needs stouter structural support because, without walls, the wind can blow the roof off from inside. With walls, that wind doesn't enter the building, and the walls contribute to the structure.
                                Very true.

                                Another reason, that few talk about, is that a cover is actually an airfoil. It will generate some lift, however inefficiently, requiring more robust construction.

                                But for a warm climate, particularly a wet, warm climate, they are a very smart way to go!

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                                  Very true.

                                  Another reason, that few talk about, is that a cover is actually an airfoil. It will generate some lift, however inefficiently, requiring more robust construction.

                                  But for a warm climate, particularly a wet, warm climate, they are a very smart way to go!

                                  G.
                                  You can always use windscreens on the sides, to keep rain/snow off and let wind thru.

                                  We have those on our North side and work well for that.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Bluey, what do you use for your windscreen? The indoor where I ride has openings under the eaves. The BO is considering closing up more because the rain and snow cones in (especially on one side) and can freeze in the footing if not dragged immediately. But we would hate to lose the ventilation!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                                      You can always use windscreens on the sides, to keep rain/snow off and let wind thru.

                                      We have those on our North side and work well for that.
                                      I concur. But when it's 20F with 20 knots of wind just keeping the rain and snow out is not quite sufficient!!!

                                      G.
                                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                                        I concur. But when it's 20F with 20 knots of wind just keeping the rain and snow out is not quite sufficient!!!

                                        G.
                                        There is a company that guarantees you won't get any rain or snow in there.
                                        Their screens are very tight, but still let air thru:

                                        https://www.windscreensupply.net

                                        We have not used them, but others have and said they were heavy but good?

                                        We have used those that are sold to greenhouses, but they tear after a few years.
                                        The ones made for arenas as stiffer and much better.

                                        Even if you get some rain and snow in there thru them, just think of all you are NOT getting in there also.
                                        We have used this company also and those were good:

                                        https://galeshield.com/stationary/

                                        My Mac just had a big update and is not reading my picture files, grrr.
                                        You can google covered arena wind screen and get all kinds of companies and pictures.

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