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Need recommendations for small indoor arena for personal use

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    Need recommendations for small indoor arena for personal use

    We purchased a farm with a shed big enough for a indoor riding arena. The previous owners put large one inch stone on 1/3 of the barn floor. There is smaller pea gravel on the 2/3. We pulled down 10 stalls and left two at the end. The stalls have the rubber mats still down on the floor.... I am trying to figure out what to do. Option 1 is to push the big gravel out and put footing down. This is the cheap way. Option 2 is to leave the gravel on, cover with ag fabric, put in crushed limestone, and then cover with footing. this is the expensive way. Does anyone have any luck with just putting footing on dirt? Actually in new zealand, that is what i did, yet the barn was small and i could only walk and trot and was not clear span, in new zealand. ...... seemed ok... please chip in with your thoughts and experiences...

    My first thought is what are your building dimensions? Curious about that. Next question is how much money do you have for this project?

    My next thought would be is anyone nearby that KNOWS proper arena construction and can come look at the make-up of your sub base and then advise you?

    You also want a proper base,right? So my thought is wouldn't you want to get both the large stone and the pea gravel OUT and then compact and then put in
    6" minimum of limestone screenings or whatever is used in your area. And then footing.

    That's my understanding but curious to hear your answers on my questions too.


      Original Poster

      The barn is already existing, it is 40' wide and 140' long, where i plan to put two stalls already existing on the end. ..... there is a base already, and stones like 1'' big at 1/3 at the end of the barn, and pea gravel. We have the money. There are people who have had indoor riding arena made in the area, so i can go to them for references... .. I know the width is small but it is better than nothing. I had a small indoor in new zealand, and i could walk and trot in it, and that one had support poles... It is not clear from your sentence if I should remove the large stones or not. thanks for chipping in. PS i don't do any jumping...


        If you put your footing over the stone or gravel keep a shovel and a bucket handy. BO tried that when it was new. Even though it was packed, stuff in all sizes and shapes worked its way to the top. Occasionally we had to dig up a really big rock. If you take out what is there now and do a regular base and footing it will work better. It should add to the overall value of the property.
        "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


          Originally posted by walktrot View Post
          If you put your footing over the stone or gravel keep a shovel and a bucket handy. BO tried that when it was new. Even though it was packed, stuff in all sizes and shapes worked its way to the top. Occasionally we had to dig up a really big rock. If you take out what is there now and do a regular base and footing it will work better. It should add to the overall value of the property.
          She didn't say she was going to put it over gravel, she would use the gravel as the bottom of her base.

          I would do it the cheap way if the building was above grade and did not flood.


            I'd try it first just the way it is, as pea stone makes good footing for conditioning hooves, and the 1" might work as well. If the 1" is too coarse you might be able to add some pea stone, or maybe even dirt or sand to smooth it out a little?

            Now that I don't jump anymore, I scraped the loose footing out of my indoor and ride on the much firmer gravel base, which I think is better for their hooves and possibly for their joints, too. I never did put a base in my indoor, but just leveled the gravel that was already there, picked up the rocks, and added a couple inches of sand. The sand was what I scraped out, which cut way down on how often it needs to be watered, and how long it takes to do it.


              Original Poster

              I have decided to scrape out the big gravel. The RIGHT way to do it is to put a geo fabric over
              the gravel, then the middle layer, then the footing. I am also now investigating what type of ''base'' was used when they originally constructed the big barn, as it would be a wast of money to put a base over a base.... trying to get a hold of previous owner. the big gravel has got to go. Just wondering how to do it.... we have a tractor with a bucket, but maybe skid steer would be better.



                Explain why you feel the "big" gravel has to go.

                My 60X120 indoor arena has a 9" base of "big" gravel as you describe. no geotextile on top of that, just 3" angular sand.
                16yrs later it is in fine shape & very few of the big pieces have ever worked through.

                Admittedly, it is just me riding in there, but 1/3 is now filled with loaded haywagons (annual privilege I allow my hayguys neighbors - in exchange for dirt-cheap hay) - hauled in by tractor or truck & footing is not destroyed.
                My $.02

                Consult with your local builders, experienced putting in arenas, & go with their advice.
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015