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Budget outdoor arena

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  • Budget outdoor arena

    I searched around, but didn't find mush mentioned about cost so i am making a new thread. I know it will vary by region, but I was interested to know what people spent on the outdoor arenas.

    I have a 9.2 acre farm and I currently have a 200ft x 350ft (approx) grass jump field I use solely for riding. Pics:
    http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g2...nt=Farm017.jpg
    http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g2...nt=Farm016.jpg

    I would like to put an 80x80 sand arena down in the bottom right part of the field so when it's wet I can still get him out and get flatwork done. I am fine with that size for 2 reasons - (1) it fits in a spot that I already do most of my dresage and flatting since it is relatively flat and (2) it will not break the bank. I won't be able to jump in it, but that is fine with me as I won't "need" it for that, the field is great for riding 300 out of 360 days. I am not going to fence it off, I want to be able to ride right on through it when I am using the whole field. Eventually I will get farm panels so I can close it off if need be, but remove them when I want to use the whole field.

    I am in KY, near Lexington. I do not want to hire out as that will totally not be cost effective since this is my private facility and I don't do anything commercial, it would be for my own use. I only ride one horse a day, sometimes 2 if I take my old guy for a spin.

    Does anyone have a smaller arena they built on a budget in a situation similar to mine? How much dd it run you, all told, and what did you use? Where in the country are you?

    I plan to rent something this spring and have Hubby/Daddy grade it, then have stone dust/crushed limestone or something similar laid at 6" and then compacted and eventually add sand. The sand is the easy part! Ths rest is where I get worried.

    I'd love to hear everyone's stories. Especially if you are in a similar part of the country as I am!

  • #2
    I would recommend ordering the USDF Booklet Underfoot. It's applicable to all disciplines (not just dressage) and is well worth the $15 or so for anyone planning to construct a riding arena.


    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Phaxxton View Post
      I would recommend ordering the USDF Booklet Underfoot. It's applicable to all disciplines (not just dressage) and is well worth the $15 or so for anyone planning to construct a riding arena.
      Yes, this is the one thing I gathered form the other threads about outdoors I read. Looking for more

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for recommending "underfoot"! We have had similar questions and since the USDF is located at the Horse Park will be planning a trip soon

        Comment


        • #5
          Here is what I learned in my 2 yrs of research and building. Let me start by saying I am in OK where the ground is so hard it literally gets large cracks in it in the summer. I grew up in Carrollton KY so not far from you. If your soil is red clay like what we had in C-ton, you are ahead of the game.

          Pack, pack, pack.
          Be sure the GROUND is packed. Before you put ANYTHING on it.
          If you can afford it, put down fabric over the ground if it can't be packed enough to make it rock hard.
          Screenings/bluestone/rock dust. Put about 1/2 of it in. Wet the heck out of it. Have it compacted with a BIG compactor. You need something bigger than what asphalt contractors use for driveways though.
          Repeat.
          Do NOT skimp on this part. It is the single most important part. Without a solid, water imprevious base your sand will mush into your ground and you will eventurally have sandy mud with no bottom to it.
          Sand: for budget, use washed sand. NOT FILL SAND. Too many fines is fill sand. If you can swing the extra $ use concrete sand. Not mortor sand.

          That is what I have learned.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you for the info, Meghan! My soil is not red clay - I'm not an expert, but it just looks like dirt to me Not sure how to find out. I know the base is pretty much the most important thing, and that sure makes sense!
            Oh, and I ordered Underfoot!

            Comment


            • #7
              I would only try to make a cheap arena on a high spot that naturally drains, never a low spot.

              We wanted to make an arena that was not slippery in the rain for our shows. We had a level spot, and just dumped about 80 tons of crushed bluestone on it. It rode well with just some dragging.

              Like the sand, make sure what you are using is not the fines, like dust, or is will turn to mud.

              The 4 truckloads (80 tons) needed to be repeated every other year, but it held up well without any other equipment because of the spot chosen.

              The problem comes in once you add footing. Not possible to add to your base once the sand/rubber goes down.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HappyHorselover View Post
                Yes, this is the one thing I gathered form the other threads about outdoors I read. Looking for more
                J, You can have my copy. I don't think you'll find anything in it you don't already know.
                Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                  J, You can have my copy. I don't think you'll find anything in it you don't already know.
                  Should have asked you! Ordered one last night. I don't think it will either, but everyone says how awesome it is so I ordered it

                  Fairview Horse Center - the spot I am thinking of putting it is my driest area - it is rarely too smooshy to ride on even now with the grass. I really just want it a bit flatter so we can work on flatwork without him going, "oh, a little slope, RUN up - or oh, a little slope, FALL down!" I think my location is a good one, I'm more worried at this point about doing the base correctly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A proper arena actually has a bit of slope as you will see when you get the booklet. There is a huge advantage to having undisturbed ground as it as compacted for decades.

                    If you are grading it, I would definitely go with the road fabric (geotextile) under the gravel, and then you need to add 4" of crushed stone to secure the fabric. If it is a pretty dry area, you probably don't have to go with larger gravel at first for the base, just put down the fabric. It is 12' wide, and the rolls are about 300 feet long. When I priced it the cost was about $250 a roll.

                    Once the gravel is down you can ride on it for a year to compact it before adding footing. It will actually be pretty good footing for a long time without adding a top footing. Once it compacts, and begins to get hard to ride on, then add your sand/rubber.

                    I prefer the rubber without sand. Both have their problems - sand blows away, and rubber floats in heavy downpours.

                    You can do a bit of "grading" with just the gravel if the slope is not too much. One reason to compact by riding for a while is that the track will become more compacted than the middle. Before adding a top footing, you can still add gravel to that area.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When we put our ring in about 7 years ago we hired our local paving company (we knew the owner)........he came in with a laser grader and cut and graded the ground with a 2% slope on both the long and short side so it slopes in two planes.....so we are now down to undistrubed soil......we then started hauling in 1" screenings.....which was watered and compacted with a large paving roller......we then brought in 4" of crusher fines to seal the base.....water and compacted that and then placed 3 to 4" of what we call hydro sand.....it is basically sand of varying sizes. The laser grader placed all the material so we knew it was even all the way through......it took about 12 hours......we did it all in one day. The cost of the equipment and operator was $1200.00 and the material was around $7500.00.

                      Ring is about 85' x 200'

                      Hope that helps

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Base, base, base.
                        I went way over budget on my arena because of the base work but it was so worth it.
                        Another tip regarding the base. Get it graded to drain. You can crown it or slope it. I can't remember off the top of my head what the drop is supposed to be but it is so miniscule you can't feel it when you ride but the water runs off. I just found a reference I had that says a 2% grade if you crown it. For this you need some one with a motor grader that KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
                        I also found my old math. While I cant' remember exactly how I generated the numbers, here are the "vitals".
                        For an arena the size of a small dressage arena a 6" base requires 250 cubic yards; for an 8" base you need 330 cubic yards. A cubic yard of bluestone/screenings should weigh about 1.5 tons but you can double check with your quarry. Also remember that WET material weighs more so more tons of wet material is fewer cubic yards. And you pay by the ton. ANyway, for 6" base you will therefore need 375 tons and for an 8" base you need 500 tons.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Dalemma, thank you for thowing some numbers at me I appreciate that! I was hoping I could do this for under $5K and I do think that is possible. And doing it all in one day would be SWEET! Doubt I can swing that, but that's cool! I live near Lexington, so I know there are contractors around here that know what they ar doing, I just hoped not to have to hire one to save money, but it sounds like that's not the place to cut a corner. I will have to start looking for someone to do the grading for me - can anyone recommend someone in the Lex area?

                          I actually think the spot is graded pretty well now, it slopes on two planes, just a bit too much. I wish I could figue out the slope it currently has

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When are you planning to do this? I have access to a transit so you and I could figure it out. I could bring it if you would give Aero a stall for the night. Say right around KY Spring at the horse park, in particular week 2. Even more in particular Wednesday and Thursday of week 2.
                            Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                              When are you planning to do this? I have access to a transit so you and I could figure it out. I could bring it if you would give Aero a stall for the night. Say right around KY Spring at the horse park, in particular week 2. Even more in particular Wednesday and Thursday of week 2.
                              You know Aero is always welcome...and you too, of course My boys would just think a (horsie) visitor was the coolest
                              No particular time frame, just would love to work on it this spring/summer so I can enjoy it next year at this time. What is a transit?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My arena start - finish, grading, stone dust,re-grade,fence, sand cost $10K and was a full 14 month project. As in I rode on the stone dust for a year until it was rock hard pan and had settled.
                                Then we re-graded and added Contractor sand.

                                My ring is crowned so water runs off both sides, there is a swale on one side to catch and direct water away, the other is a berm down slope, both berm and swale are in grass (we seeded for) and they catch and disperse water.

                                The important piece for grader is a transit, we were shocked at how much grading had to be done to bring it to level.

                                Riding on the base was worth it, the ring doesn't pool water and my footing doesn't wash away.

                                We are in MD/PA border country.

                                Hired locals w/ equipment but did not high powered/priced ring experts, all stone dust and sand from local quarry.
                                Last edited by judybigredpony; Jan. 9, 2011, 07:13 AM. Reason: sp

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                                  My arena start - finish, grading, stone dust,re-grade,fence, sand cost $10K and was a full 14 month project. As in I rode on the stone dust for a year until it was rock hard pan and had settled.
                                  Then we re-graded and added Contractor sand.

                                  My ring is crowned so water runs off both sides, there is a swale on one side to catch and direct water away, the other is a berm down slope, both berm and swale are in grass (we seeded for) and they catch and disperse water.

                                  The important piece for grader is a transit, we were shocked at how much grading had to be done to bring it to level.

                                  Riding on the base was worth it, the ring doesn't pool water and my footing doesn't wash away.

                                  We are in MD/PA border country.

                                  Hired locals w/ equipment but did not high powered/priced ring experts, all stone dust and sand from local quarry.
                                  THANK YOU for the specific info, much appreciated! What size is your ring?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We're not too far from you, in Georgetown.

                                    We've built two, one full blown construction/earth moving/ base etc. project that cost about $15,000. Done 100% by the book, and it's been a tremendous success for the past 5 years.

                                    We built a second one just the way you're suggesting, and all it cost us was effort (we did the grade work with our own tractor/loader) plus 2 loads of lime sand. It's also been a tremendous success.

                                    What's the difference? As Fairview advised, the location is a big factor. The first location was not flat, needed significant amount of dirt moved, and we were careful to segregate soil/subsoil and to provide both drainage around the ring and to put a 2% grade on the whole thing.

                                    The second was a fairly unused area near our second barn. It's at/near a high point, there is no water drainage to/over the site, and I've NEVER seen water stand on it (the soil at that location is tens of feet thick of perfect percolation soil, NOT clay which swells when wetted. IMO, you can't do this on clay). It's naturally almost perfectly flat except for a 1-2% (eyeball estimate) grade to the south. We were confident we could use it as-is 90% of the time - but that much usage would destroy the sod & make a muddy mess - so the decision was a no-brainer - removed sod with loader, eyeball leveled it (except for the drainage grade) and drug it as flat as possible with a 6' chain drag. We put the lime sand on with the loader, as we did not want to make denser areas where the truck tires would sink during tailgate spreading. Graded flat with the loader, drug flatter with the drag, and have been using it for 3 years. We planned to add more sand as it beat into the soil, and we're just at that point now. Cost? Probably less than $1000.

                                    Secrets - drainage, existing soil, site location. Not like a true road base ring, so don't use it if/when your horse makes a foot print other than the sand. You'll develop a ridge around the ring, make sure you cut that frequently so it doesn't pond water.

                                    On your post, I had a gut negative to your site when you described it as "lower field" or some such terminology. Put the ring at the high spot (or at least "a" high spot) for drainage. But it can work - it did for us, with usage nearly 365 days a year, frequently the day after flooding rains (we're at/near the high point in Scott County), and down to 10 degree winter weather (with a lot of work and salt).

                                    For your soil conditions, go to http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/ This is an EXTREMELY helpful site, even if you just want an aerial picture of your farm. If your site soil would be good for a pond, don't do a ring project without a base!

                                    This is the ring I'm describing, last winter during the deepest snow of the season.
                                    http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/o...h/scan0001.jpg

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by HappyHorselover View Post
                                      You know Aero is always welcome...and you too, of course My boys would just think a (horsie) visitor was the coolest
                                      No particular time frame, just would love to work on it this spring/summer so I can enjoy it next year at this time. What is a transit?
                                      A transit is what you use to determine the grade. It's the thing on the tripod with the site and then the other person holds the stick with the numbers on it...
                                      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by secretariat View Post
                                        We're not too far from you, in Georgetown.


                                        On your post, I had a gut negative to your site when you described it as "lower field" or some such terminology. Put the ring at the high spot (or at least "a" high spot) for drainage. But it can work - it did for us, with usage nearly 365 days a year, frequently the day after flooding rains (we're at/near the high point in Scott County), and down to 10 degree winter weather (with a lot of work and salt).
                                        My trainer is out of Georgetown I have met so many great people moving to this area, I LOVE it!

                                        The spot I'm looking to use is at the "bottom" of my current riding field BUT it is the driest area by far bcause the top part is where my septic is. The part I'm looking to use is fairly flat already and never gets mushy, just the top grass layer gets slick in wet conditions. The top part of the field does get mushy at times. Here's a pic - the part I'm planning to use is back behine where the horse and I are.
                                        http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g2...urrent=016.jpg
                                        The septic apparatus is in front of us

                                        eta: I tried the soil link and I clicked on the soil map button and it says there are soil maps and soil data but I don't kow how to get it?

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