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Optimal Indoor Size

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  • Optimal Indoor Size

    How big is your indoor?

    And IYO what would the optimal indoor size be to set up a course of jumps that you're not jumping 1 stride off the ends?

  • #2
    Mine is 80 X 180. It's fine for jumping courses, can get 5 stride lines in no problem. Would not want to go smaller than this. "Optimal" size depends on how much money you have. "Minimum" size is 80 X 180, IMO. I've ridden in smaller ones (50 X 100), and the turns are too tight. In the old days of indoor arenas, the maximum width was 70, and length was usually 150. That was functional. But perhaps show horses were generally smaller in those days, and handier TB types.

    But rather than build one that is 150 X 400 by mortgaging your soul to the devil, remember that it is advantageous to school in a smaller arena than you are probably going to show in. To do so makes your horse "handy", and makes every show ring feel roomy and nice.
    www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

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    • #3
      The place I board has 2 indoor arenas both about 70'x140' with a dividing wall between them. It was a lovely idea and what the property owner needed when they built the barn 30 years ago but each arena is really too small for what it's mostly being used for now. The jumping side is a bit too small for a proper course and the turns off fences are quite tight. There is a maximum horse limit of 4-5 horses per arena if everyone is behaving. This can be a challenge during peak riding hours with the number of horses on the property.

      It does teach you and your horse to be handy. They are also the correct size for small court dressage. We can open up both sides of the wall and have a SUPER long arena if everyone is amenable to that.

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      • #4
        80 x 180 to me would be the best size for a "smaller" jumping arena if you plan on having multiple horses in a lesson or clinic. Allows for a full course and space to flat and stand safely during a lesson/ride. Go as wide as you can afford, then add length. As much natural light as possible, too!

        I've jumped in 60 x 150....it is like being a ball in a pinball machine--bing, bing! Turn, turn, turn! Ugh. When you move to a bigger ring (say the seasonal outdoor) the adjustment of your eye and your horse's stride is a sharp transition.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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        • #5
          I have a 78 by 144 arena. I think it is a very functional size....and I have been cantering my very very green OTTB in there with no problems. Go longer if you can afford to, but I think mine is plenty wide enough. Longer is less expensive than wide anyway.

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          • #6
            For today's framed as clear spans all metal barns, not trusses and no wood, you can go up to 100' wide for not much more per foot from 70' up to that 100'.

            Wider you start to have to pay way more per foot.
            They have to beef up foundation and pylons considerably more than below that width.
            Most here are that 100' width, then as long as you can afford.

            On a width of 100', you can do most anything you want to do there.
            Below that, you have to compromise, the narrower, the more you compromise.

            For one person occasional training, less can be ok.
            For serious training and more arena traffic, best try for as much width as you can at a sensible cost.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by iJump View Post
              How big is your indoor?

              And IYO what would the optimal indoor size be to set up a course of jumps that you're not jumping 1 stride off the ends?
              "Optimal" means the best size, not the smallest that will get the job done. To me, optimal would be 150' x 300'. When I did h/j, I never jumped a lot and mostly focused on flatwork. I'd like lots of space down the long side without being forced to go around jumps.

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              • #8
                When I met the BO 20 years ago she owned a 75-acre farm with plans to build an indoor with attached barn. I helped her with the research into available buildings. She insisted on 80' wide, and had an outdoor installed that is 80x180. She has the same view as noted above: under 80 feet you lose a straight line between 2 corners. It acts like a half-circle and many riders get into the habit of cutting corners.

                We quickly eliminated the clear-span type buildings with plastic sheeting on the roof. It wasn't just the lifespan of the roof, it was the width of the building. Over 70 feet required constructing a far more extensive foundation for the wider spans. The cost was similar to steel buildings, which she was looking at and ultimately chose.

                She was thinking big and that's what she built in 2001. The building is 120x200. The arena is 80x200; the long side is oriented to the south. The barn is 40x200 running along the north side of the arena. There is a huge entry from the barn to the arena. Concrete aisleway is about 14 feet wide. 18 stalls, barn and boarder's tack rooms, tack lockers for boarders, heated handicap accessible bathroom, heated office, heated classroom about 12x36, grain room, area for keeping pitchforks, etc, and furnace room. No ceilings over the stalls. Storage for square bales above the human spaces. Roof and walls are all insulated to eliminate condensation. Skylights in barn and arena. There are translucent panels at the top of the arena wall under the eaves which let in quite a bit of light so most days we don't need lights. The only problem was some leakage around the skylights but they were reinstalled and are fine. Sliding doors at both ends of arena and barn. Arena doors accommodate 18-wheeler type vehicles. One got pretty beat up and now has a regular overhead garage door. Grain and hay delivery trucks/trailers can drive into the aisleway.

                The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals operates the refuge barn. They recently completed an indoor arena. It isn't as long, but has very roomy office and meeting space on the front end, and a great observation space. They chose the same company we used after inspecting different options.

                The mortgage was paid off a couple of years ago, but property taxes and insurance are eating up the leftovers. The barn cats have a sneak entrance into the arena which they use as a 16,000 sf litter box.
                "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

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                • #9
                  My favorite from when I was boarding and jumping was 100x200. I've been in a few 75x150 and while I wouldn't call it ideal, it works, especially if you have a larger outdoor to use when weather allows and aren't stuck in the tiny ring all the time.

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                  • #10
                    Want to explain a clear span building is one with posts on the sides supporting a clear span of roof and so arena.
                    It is a builder's term.

                    "Clear Span" is also the name of a company that builds those fabric covered structures, that most are built as a clear span structure.

                    Both are not the same at all.

                    Then there is trusses supported from post to post, that are engineered criscross smaller pieces that support each other, like in bridges.
                    Those are built to clear a span also, but not considered clear span framing like with individual framing from post across to another post.

                    Trusses can be engineered to any specs, but most builders don't recommend standard trusses for wider than 80' spans for horse arenas.

                    Building with trusses is cheaper in labor and goes up faster, is as strong a structure as framing, that depends on engineering, not which kind it is, but when a structure is damaged, framed ones only fail where hit, trusses can let the whole go like dominoes.
                    Firemen call trusses built warehouses firemen's tombs because of that.

                    For a horse arena to ride in, I would prefer framing over trusses because it leaves the whole interior clear, no bird roosts every place and the middle much higher than the sides, unlike trusses.
                    Since building with trusses tends to be cheaper, many go with those and it is ok too.

                    Explaining that so anyone going to build may know what options they have.

                    There are those kinds of structures and even combinations of those.
                    Here three pictures off the internet:
                    First, framing, here with metal, could be wood framing also, but it would take very large structured wood glue-lam type beams for big spans.
                    Second standard trusses, those wood, could be metal too.
                    Third a fabric covered building:

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Bluey, that is a wonderful and very clear explanation.

                      Is is it possible to add insulation to standard wood truss arenas? I hate the condensation drip otherwise but suspect insulation must be very pricey. Most arenas I have seen are not insulated around here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mouse&Bay View Post
                        Thanks Bluey, that is a wonderful and very clear explanation.

                        Is is it possible to add insulation to standard wood truss arenas? I hate the condensation drip otherwise but suspect insulation must be very pricey. Most arenas I have seen are not insulated around here.
                        I have seen where very cold, in the North, trusses used and ceilings hung from the trusses, so it is insulated by the ceiling itself.
                        You would need to engineer the trusses and foundation for the extra weight the ceiling will add.
                        The ceiling can be wood products or metal sheets.
                        Here is a picture off the internet, can't tell which kind of framing, but would guess trusses, as if framed it would be too involved to add a ceiling.
                        It looks sharp:

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I’ve boarded with as small as 50x90 and made it work. Max of three fences set up in it.

                          I would consider 100x200 to be “optimal” while remaining “affordable.”

                          200x400 if money were no object.
                          Custom tack racks!
                          www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

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                          • #14
                            What Bluey pictured will not necessarily stop condensation. The only ring I ever rode in with a dropped ceiling was also the only one that it "rained" in.

                            My Lester building has a coating on the roof, called Dripstop I think, that keeps me from having rain indoors. My run in sheds have bubble wrap insulation for the same purpose.
                            That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks, Bluey! The other thing about "up north" is building codes. We had to dig into snow load and wind, and talked to the local code officer. Not all buildings are created equal and the additional costs to meet code put a few of them out of the running. The company we chose is in upstate New York and their regular local contractor put it up. I'm pretty sure it exceeds snow load and probably wind.

                              "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by OTTBs View Post
                                What Bluey pictured will not necessarily stop condensation. The only ring I ever rode in with a dropped ceiling was also the only one that it "rained" in.

                                My Lester building has a coating on the roof, called Dripstop I think, that keeps me from having rain indoors. My run in sheds have bubble wrap insulation for the same purpose.
                                Good to know, I had not heard that.


                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by walktrot View Post
                                  Thanks, Bluey! The other thing about "up north" is building codes. We had to dig into snow load and wind, and talked to the local code officer. Not all buildings are created equal and the additional costs to meet code put a few of them out of the running. The company we chose is in upstate New York and their regular local contractor put it up. I'm pretty sure it exceeds snow load and probably wind.
                                  Believe it or not, we also have to contend with snow loads and especially with wind.

                                  A friend's barn caved in a corner a few years ago when we had a blizzard and the wrap-around snow piled up there.

                                  A friend built an indoor here that is about large round pen sized.
                                  Is all the room she had against the barn and a deep drop-off.
                                  She loves it, still found a way to use well that small space.

                                  I bet you will be happy and make it work, whatever you build.
                                  Being able to work out of the weather at any time you want to ... priceless.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    All the input is appreciated.

                                    Originally I was thinking 90x150, or 90x190. Now I am thinking may as well go 100x200.

                                    I mostly want to make sure if I miss any winters in warm weather that I will still be able to jump proper courses.

                                    I find personally, that I ride well in smaller spaces and kind of 'get lost' when I actually get to the huge rings so to be able to jump a course indoors on a more open stride would be the best for me.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                                      I have seen where very cold, in the North, trusses used and ceilings hung from the trusses, so it is insulated by the ceiling itself.
                                      You would need to engineer the trusses and foundation for the extra weight the ceiling will add.
                                      The ceiling can be wood products or metal sheets.
                                      Here is a picture off the internet, can't tell which kind of framing, but would guess trusses, as if framed it would be too involved to add a ceiling.
                                      It looks sharp:
                                      My last arena was wood construction. It had some type of thin insulation between the trusses and the roof. Lessens the sound of rain. It never dripped or had any condensation.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        We recently built an indoor - for our private farm ( no boarders). We do have a lesson program so occasionally have several riders. Our indoor is 72 x 140 and is very, very comfortable. Small courses no problem. Something no one has mentioned is the height of the ceiling. If you are jumping, it needs to be at least 16 feet to the bottom truss/ceiling. Not that anyone will test it... it is a "feel" thing and it makes a difference. We actually went 17 1/2 feet and it makes a really big difference in the spacious feel.
                                        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cool-S...m/251196806403

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