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Constructing an arena. HELP!!!!!

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  • Constructing an arena. HELP!!!!!

    I'm attempting to build an arena behind my barn, there's a good bit of room but I'm not sure of the exact amount of space. (Think more square than rectangle.) What size? (Pretty sure i could get a 80x95-100 ft). What type of footing? River sand or M-10. What should the fencing be? I'm on a very limited budget so borrowing a bobcat to grade myself.

    I really need help, what size is your arena? I've got one horse that's a hunter/jumper and then my boyfriends horse who is a sweet western pony. Any help is welcome.

    THANKS
    ~*~*There's something about the outside of a horse that does something for the inside of a man.*~*~
    Lucifier aka Luke 6yr Holsteiner x tb
    King of Thieves aka Bandit 1yr Quarter Horse

  • #2
    Go as big as you can afford. I've never heard anyone wish their ring were smaller, but sure have heard the opposite If you're on a budget, why fence at all (unless needed for youngsters) I've been in many unfenced rings. I've always done a more angular sand, not rounded like river sand.
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Yeah i need the fencing as both are greenie, mine is just started under saddle. Any and all input would be nice. I'm going to build it as big as the space allows.
      ~*~*There's something about the outside of a horse that does something for the inside of a man.*~*~
      Lucifier aka Luke 6yr Holsteiner x tb
      King of Thieves aka Bandit 1yr Quarter Horse

      Comment


      • #4
        To keep it as cheap as possible, go with electric for the fencing. Horseguard or some other company sells electric tape that's 2'' wide, in brown. Pair a few strands of that with some stained wood posts and you'll have some very nice looking ring fencing on the cheap. If you space the wood posts close enough, at some point in the future you can replace the electric with boards. (Or, space the posts at 20' apart for the electric, and then when you want to swap to wood, put an extra post in every other post, making them 10' apart.)

        Obviously, don't electrify it. Don't want to catch a boot toe on it and get a nasty shock!

        Comment


        • #5
          Not electrifying an electric tape fence does NOT sound safe to me. A greenie may not respect it, and get in trouble in it....
          I am sure there are safer options for the fence. Even posts with ONE board on top would act as a deterrant, but be safer, IMO
          L

          Comment


          • #6
            When building an outdoor arena, there is not one advice fits all.

            What kind of material do you have there, clay, sandy clay, turf, gravel/rocks?

            How much does it rain where you are?

            Are you crowning or all one slope, to keep the arena drained and how much slope?

            Sounds like you may have clay and are adding sand and mixing it?

            A loader is the wrong tool for the task, you need a grader for that, will take much less time, so less money to rent one and you can do the job right with one.
            I made one arena with a bulldozer, but had to end with a grader anyway and would have saved much work if I had started with one.

            Have you been riding in that spot, so you know how it rides and what dirt you want to move where?

            On fencing, the best would be cheap panels on posts every two panels, if you want to confine horses there for turnout and riding.

            If you only need a visual barrier, construction tape or electric wide horse tape may work, or electric tape, but don't electrify it and try to ride there.

            We made one arena fence long ago with yard fence tubing, two pipes and it worked riding colts.
            In reality, you don't need any fencing around any place you ride, try it without first and only add it if you really want one later,.
            Try putting a fence on just one side or two first.
            That is the way most western trainers use where they don't work with cattle and don't seen to have a problem starting colts or beginner students there.

            I bet others will have more ideas, your imagination is the limit there, with whatever you may have on hand.

            Comment


            • #7
              Reading with interest as I also want to put in a riding arena on the cheap. I have two that I am working (learning and working) dressage, and since both are a bit older, I am thinking that good footing would preserve everyone's joints and longevity ... so we can all keep going for as long as possible.

              Cooper seems to work better with a fence, as I think it gives him visual markers. But I'm wondering if there are some other things we could use as effectively to avoid more fence -- such as cones?

              I am not worried about anyone bolting out of the arena, but just trying to achieve 1.) better footing / cushioning 2.) more riding days (not as much mud and/or slippery grass) and 3.) maybe some visual cues to help us stay organized.

              Comment


              • #8
                Reining trainers have cones and other marks around the arenas, that many are not completely fenced in.
                When showing, there are cones set to mark where some movements are to be done, like on the cone or so many feet past the cone.

                With dressage, you have letters and you can get them with a spot to add a plastic white chain from letter to letter.

                If you have some kind of fence, a spray can will mark 1/2 and 1/3 and 1/4 distances on the fence.

                Comment


                • #9
                  BASE, BASE, BASE.
                  That IS the one thing all arenas have in common. You have to have a good base. Spend your money there and you won't be re-spending it over and over later.

                  And it will need to be crowned or graded in some fashion to be sure it drains. I know you are doing this yourself with a bobcat but can you do this? And that is ALOT of work with something as small as a bobcat.

                  Once get your base in, THEN you can start worrying about footing choices.

                  But ditto the no on riversand. Too round, too much in the way of fines. Angular sand is ideal but not available everywhere. C-33 (concrete) sand is the next best. If you do have to go with river sand for $ reasons, spend the little bit extra and get WASHED river sand so as to get rid of the fines.

                  Start at the BOTTOM and work up. Not the top and work down.

                  And even with greenies, I would skip the fence for right now. Put the money in your base.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    what for a Base?

                    I've ran bobcats for 6 years and have worked for companies that perfer to grade with a bobcat. So as far as that it won't be a problem. I was going to get washed river sand but we can't get c-33 here so any other options and what to use as a base?

                    Fencing is a must have, my greenie has just a couple rides undersaddle and i took him to a facility that had a large round. maybe just a personal preference but i have always like a fence.
                    ~*~*There's something about the outside of a horse that does something for the inside of a man.*~*~
                    Lucifier aka Luke 6yr Holsteiner x tb
                    King of Thieves aka Bandit 1yr Quarter Horse

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      100' square is not going to be large enough for jumping. I suggest you hack on the area for a week or two to get a feel of the size of it.

                      Your base wants to be something that will compact, like a road base, and then add an angular (NOT river sand) sand on top, and err on the side of less. Raise the area up above the surrounding terrain so the water will run off of it.
                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Old_Oaks_Farm View Post
                        I've ran bobcats for 6 years and have worked for companies that perfer to grade with a bobcat. So as far as that it won't be a problem. I was going to get washed river sand but we can't get c-33 here so any other options and what to use as a base?

                        Fencing is a must have, my greenie has just a couple rides undersaddle and i took him to a facility that had a large round. maybe just a personal preference but i have always like a fence.
                        Bobcats are fine for light grading, like landscaping and cleaning around worksites.
                        They are not good for a large area that also is being compacted.
                        I have run two A300 and can tell you they are too light for the job and it will take forever and I doubt you will get the grade even all over, but you can try.

                        Seriously, do you want to have a base that develops low spots here and there, especially in an outdoor arena, that will be getting rained on?
                        Fine for pastures, but not for a riding arena.
                        You want it smooth and even, not with wet spots and low spots in it.

                        If you are going to have an uneven spot to ride, why go thru the trouble of making an arena?
                        Just plow lightly, add some sand, spread it with the skid loader around, plow it under and just ride in there, careful of the low and/or wet spots.
                        That is the way many train anyway.
                        That is what our "arena" was, until we got serious and did it right.
                        Now it is an excellent arena that our local 4H and high school kids have been using for their playday and roping practice most evenings.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bluey -- are you kidding about the "just plow lightly, add some sand ..." remark - or would this approach possibly work for what I am wanting to do? (see my comment above)

                          I have a pretty flat area where we ride now, it also drains well. But, it's all grass and has some small holes. I was actually thinking of doing exactly what you said.

                          Doing it right -- as you say -- may not be in my budget. As you know, I am not a big competitor, and horses are definitely my hobby and not my business. I cannot justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on a home arena.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by King's Ransom View Post
                            Bluey -- are you kidding about the "just plow lightly, add some sand ..." remark - or would this approach possibly work for what I am wanting to do? (see my comment above)

                            I have a pretty flat area where we ride now, it also drains well. But, it's all grass and has some small holes. I was actually thinking of doing exactly what you said.

                            Doing it right -- as you say -- may not be in my budget. As you know, I am not a big competitor, and horses are definitely my hobby and not my business. I cannot justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on a home arena.
                            Yes, I am serious, that is the way many training arenas around here are.
                            The ones where they hold competitions, those are better done properly, so you don't have to lay off or not use part of the arena if you get a big rain and some spots won't dry for two weeks.

                            Most anyone I know around here just has some spot lightly plowed and if it keeps compacting, just adds a bit of sand, very little, you can add too much and then it is too heavy and hard on soft tissues.

                            Outdoor arenas to have much use and competitors need to have good footing, or they won't come, as they are paying customers.

                            My friend that trains roping horses did just that, plowed a patch and he and his neighbors come practice there in the evenings and then go compete in the good arenas on the weekends.
                            He doesn't even had to add sand, it is working fine as it is for him for now a good 40 years.

                            Just for your own riding, like him, you can wait the weather out, if you get some wet spots from rain or snows.
                            That is when he comes here to practice.

                            Not knowing your land and dirt, it is hard to say what you can do there.
                            What did your trainer say, any others around with their own little arenas at home, what do they tell you?

                            Now, a serious, top level performance competitor will need very good, carefully prepared and kept footing, right for it's discipline and that may be a different kind of ground preparation that most of us need for just riding around.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lorilu View Post
                              Not electrifying an electric tape fence does NOT sound safe to me. A greenie may not respect it, and get in trouble in it....
                              I am sure there are safer options for the fence. Even posts with ONE board on top would act as a deterrant, but be safer, IMO
                              L
                              I have 4 strands of 2" wide tape around my arena and I do not electrify it.........I have had lots of youngsters in there and it has never been an issue.............but they have the exact same fencing in their paddocks and it is on all the time and it may be the reason they don't test.

                              Here is a pic of the corner of my ring

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: the base.
                                As Bluey said, it has to be dead on level. With either a crown or a slope for drainage. ESPECIALLY with it being an outdoor.

                                I can't remember the correct amount of drop to allow water to run off but not affect the horse.

                                How are you with a transit and grade stakes? If you are good, you can do it yourself. If not, get somebody else to. That you can trust. (My DH does alot alot of transit work. When we did our arena though we hired someone to do the dirt work and trusted them to do it right. Long story short is that DH asked them if they were sure they were moving dirt right cuz his readings didn't match how they were digging. They assured him it was right. Discovered later it wasn't. He wound up renting a dozer and moving lots of dirt to make it level. For what the dozer rental cost and the time he spent, he could have just done it himself to start with!! So be sure you trust, and double check behind, them.)

                                For the base, you want something like bluestone, screenings, rock dust. Whatever they call it in your neck of the woods. Lay down about 3-4 inches, water it well, compact it with a vibratory compactor. The ones used for black top driveways are not big enough. Lay down another 3-4 inches, water, compact again. You should be able to drive a loaded dump truck on it and not damage it. You can measure the degree of compaction (I don't remember the number) but it the same as asphalt. Only 8-9" thick

                                And be sure to taper the edges to prevent breakage.

                                What do you mean you can't get C-33 sand? What do they use where you to make concrete? Having used both, there is a world of difference, and it is worth the money (IMHO).

                                Arenas are one of those things you want to right the first time. Not necessarily cheap but redoing one is even more expensive.

                                Oh, "behind the barn"..be sure the run off from the barn roof is not going to go onto the arena, or near enough to it to wash out the sides. And that the arena is not lower than the barn grade. Conversely, having the arena grade higher than the barn may result in run off from the arena into the barn.

                                Just sharing lessons learned, the hard way, over the years.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If you do it on the cheap, as Bluey describes, you will need to be vigilant about not always riding in the same spots and never riding after a rain

                                  The bigger problem is the dimensions mentioned are really small for jumping.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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