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Got a quote for a covered arena

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    Got a quote for a covered arena

    Today I got a quote for a covered pole barn. The total size will be 50x100 but I am going to put stalls at one end that will take up about 20ft. I will use the 50x80 for an area to ride. The quote was around $25,000. Financially I’m not willing to pay to make it larger. But I am wondering if it’s worth it since it’s so small? It has rained almost every week since December and I’m not able to ride. Has anyone ridden in an arena this small for the winter months basically December-May. Thanks!

    It will be better than nothing - at least you could lunge, long line, or ride a bit. If you really want to be able do do a little bit and you currently can’t do anything, it’s an improvement.

    At a previous barn, our only riding facility during the typical winter (dec-mar) was a 60x130 indoor. About the size of a small dressage court. Not gonna lie, by spring I was always super sick of the tight corners. But it was not the end of the world - we could put out a couple of small single jumps and do some exercises for lessons. But what you’re talking about is basically an oversized lunging space.


      I used to ride in one that was 60 x 80. It was doable, but it depends on what you want to do.


        I'm not sure that would be a useful space for riding as it will be so narrow. But marking it out and giving it a try is probably a good idea. (There are other uses as well that may mean it's still worthwhile, such as having a place to turn a horse out even when persistent wet weather has made pastures too slick for safety, as an example.)

        We also get a lot of rainy weather and I am revisiting the idea of a covered arena. My ring is 100 x 150 so not enormous but the width means the covered will be somewhere between $150-200K. Sigh.
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


          Original Poster

          I’m thinking it might be worth adding $5,000 to make the arena area 50x100. I will mark it out on the ground and see but it sounds like 80ft is too small.


            Originally posted by Laurenpiper View Post
            I’m thinking it might be worth adding $5,000 to make the arena area 50x100. I will mark it out on the ground and see but it sounds like 80ft is too small.
            If you can add width rather than length that would make it more rideable. 50 feet makes for really tight turns.


              OP, I would confirm what you are getting for that price. That price seems low to me, even for a building that size.

              I think that yes, 80' is going to be too small but the bigger problem is that the 50' width is going to be an even bigger problem.
              Though I am in the camp that an indoor space that size is far better than anything I have so I would not say no to it.


                I took a few lessons at a barn with a 45 by 90 indoor. it was painfully tight to ride in, but better than nothing. I agree the price seems really low.


                  Set up a 50x80ft space outside in your field with poles this weekend with surveying flags and ride in that space at all gaits. I think you'll find the 50' dimension to be really tight. It would probably be better to save up another year to increase your budget for a wider building. One more winter without the arena wouldn't kill you.

                  I'll add to the chorus that this quote seems very low. I just got a quote from Amish builders in Iowa (i.e., a lower-budget building crew in an already-inexpensive construction market) and for a 40x60 pole building the quote was ~30k.

                  You may want to get a few more quotes, and if this current builder is way below all the others, find out why. Could be justified, such as someone who's hungry for jobs and willing to slash his profit margin to get one. But I'd also be concerned about substandard materials? Deliberate lowball and he'll make up the difference later with expensive change orders? Is he not insured? Using undocumented labor?


                    It would be way better if you could increase the width to 60.
                    As a kid I rode in a 50 x 100 indoor. It was so tight! But we managed to jump in there. I think we were crazy.


                      Walking and trotting might be ok in that size, but I would think cantering would be difficult and hard on the horse with the 50' width. It would be better to gain width if possible. It will be easier on the horse's joints and allow you to work a horse through all 3 gaits.

                      My old riding instructor once told me the smallest you would want for regular work would be 60'x120'. That allowed for a true long and short side allowing you to work on extension and collection.


                        Lay it out with cones or buckets for corners and markers on both sides. It's too small, IMO.


                          Our friend has a 55’ x 110’ foot indoor arena that we all use in the winter.. we’ve comfortably fit 4+ horses in it.. the corners come up quick but it’s better than nothing!

                          They’ve hosted clinics, etc in it multiple times.


                            Original Poster

                            Thank you for your advice! I contacted Summertown metals in TN they didn’t include delivery or taxes so will be closer to $30,000 for the roof only. I guess since it doesn’t have walls it is much cheaper. Definitely not turn key. We are planning to do a lot of work after they put it up. I have seen some of their work and it seems like good quality. Will try to see how much more $ to make it wider vs longer. Thanks!


                              For $25,000, I would invest in better-draining footing for an outdoor ring, and would ride in the rain, vs that small an indoor.


                                Roof-only helps explain the low price. You've gotten some great suggestions. I can add, as width goes up price rises exponentially, unlike increasing length due to the need to strengthen roof rafters to span increased width. One question is, how big are your horses? Will you always be riding QH or TB type/size, or warmbloods? Big horses will have a heck of a time doing more than trotting through those corners.


                                  I have a 60 X 144 and it measures 59' wall to wall, and one of the first things I teach my horses is that they can work close to the walls.

                                  We store the winter's hay in there so it's only about 60 X 80 for a good part of the winter, but that's plenty big enough for wtc. In fact, I come around the corner and turn down the centerline or do a teardrop or circle often enough so 40' wide would actually work.

                                  I think it's good to have to spend the winter on smaller figures, as I probably wouldn't do enough of that if I wasn't forced into it. And because I don't want to lame up my horses doing endless circles I do a lot of transitions and changes of direction in between.

                                  Interestingly, my 17 hand Trakehner has a much easier time with the corners than any of my smaller horses because he's just naturally so much better balanced.


                                    We built a 60 by 150 with 30 feet for stall area so riding section was 60 by 120. It works but can be tight, especially for jumping. I would suggest you consider doing site preparation for a longer building but build at least 60 wide and as long as your budget allows. Have them put an expansion truss on the end. When your finances allow, you can then extend the length to what seems best for your needs.
                                    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                                    Elmwood, Wisconsin


                                      Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                                      We built a 60 by 150 with 30 feet for stall area so riding section was 60 by 120. It works but can be tight, especially for jumping. I would suggest you consider doing site preparation for a longer building but build at least 60 wide and as long as your budget allows. Have them put an expansion truss on the end. When your finances allow, you can then extend the length to what seems best for your needs.
                                      Our last barn was done this way and it worked fine. With 8' poles and some creativity, you could set a course although we were limited to 3 stride lines down the rail. I don't think it would have worked nearly as well at 50' wide.

                                      Summertown built our new covered arena. They were great to work with even though the project took longer than expected. It would be hard to beat their prices for the quality.


                                        Originally posted by Goforward View Post
                                        It would be way better if you could increase the width to 60.
                                        As a kid I rode in a 50 x 100 indoor. It was so tight! But we managed to jump in there. I think we were crazy.
                                        Good idea....but the cost increase from 50 wide to 60 wide is a WHOLE lot!
                                        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma