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Converting indoor in-ground pool to indoor riding arena

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  • #21
    IMO...you will get wayyyy more use out of a small indoor in NY than a pool!!! Even heated and indoors!! Been there and speak from experience!! We had a huge race horse barn when we lived in Upstate NY - 50x250 with a 13' wide gallop track around the stalls and a 50x60 indoor at one end. I lunged a LOT of horses in that arena, rode my horses and even gave lower level lessons in that arena. Not perfect, but NY in the winter...anything indoors is a plus/salvation!! I'd look into filling the pool with a good rock/gravel, layer with red clay and top with good sand/footing. And enjoy it!! If a future owner wants to empty the pool and restore it to use the option is theirs!
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


    • #22
      I have ridden in an arena that sized in the winters in Western New York... that also had round bales stacked at one end! That cut off another 10ft of length, so it got even smaller.

      Definitely small, definitely doable, definitely better than being outdoors!


      • #23
        I'll give my 2 cents! Speaking from experience here on filling in a pool, I think you're in one of those rock and hard place situations. To have my 20 x 40 pool filled in by pros quote was 6k and I have easy access for the equipment. We opted to do it ourselves by just draining it and filling it with clean dirt. Left the patio and all that. You don't have that option since you want to ride on it. You will need it to be done correctly. Your best bet would be to have someone come out and give you a quote. You may even need to have 2 quotes, one for the pool removal and one with someone who does arenas if you aren't able to find it in the same person. Assuming the filter is in building and the fact it's heated means you have electrical stuff too that needs to be properly removed. If 10k is your budget, you may be better off putting in a new building for your indoor even if that means you have to struggle through riding outside for a couple winters. I know it sucks, and you will be much more limited, but it may in the long run be your best bet. The pool building really is kinda small to ride in anyway. I'm no fan of pools, mine was a PITA and they get expensive, if it was me, the pool house would turn into a super nice storage barn and I'd still build another one for my indoor!!
        Check us out on Facebook at EVER AFTER FARM


        • #24
          My indoor is 60X120 w/o kickboards.
          I have ridden 2 17h+ horses in there as well as jumped.
          Yes, the short wall does come up fast cantering and I limit the jumps to a couple along the long walls and one in the center, but it's just me so no traffic problem.

          I'm in the Midwest, so Winter can be pretty dang cold.
          My arena is not heated and is usable until temps get into the teens.
          I've ridden in heated arenas and hated them. IMHO 40F is not comfortable for me or the horses.

          I can't imagine removing the pool would be $10K or less.
          Filling it in might be in that range, but remember:
          you're going to have to add 2-3' of footing over the base,so you'll lose that much headroom.
          How high is the peak now? Rafters?

          For resale filling in may be the better option.

          Of course, you'll keep that Orca decal
          *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


          • #25
            I didn't read all the threads, but to those of you saying "that is way too small to ride in anyways": when you are in an area where there is SNOW all winter long, ANY size indoor is appreciated! She may not be able to do everything she would in a larger indoor, but its better than nothing!

            I'd give anything for an indoor that size!
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • #26
              Our covered arena is 20m x 60m. That is more than sufficient for most work with light horses (obstacle courses, dressage, jumping, etc.). Bigger would have been better, but the size of my bank account dictated the size of the arena.

              We filled in an old outdoor pool several years ago. We punched some holes in the bottom for drainage and then filled it with clay. We raised the ground around it by 12" or so with a clay cap. We put on some top soil and the job was was done as soon as we seeded it. In 10 years or so we've not had an issue. I mow the grass just like the rest of the lawn.

              I think the cost will be significant, here, because the OP is dealing with concrete and we were dealing with a sand pit lined with a heavy duty plastic liner. Poking holes in plastic, even heavy duty plastic, is not all that hard. Concrete is another story entirely.

              I'm one of those who consider a pool a negative on value. They are expensive and labor intensive to maintain. But if you like to swim and are willing to do the work then God Bless You. Enjoy it. And build a new building to house an indoor.

              I don't see an easy, cheap "out," here.

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


              • #27
                Originally posted by costco_muffins View Post
                I have ridden in an arena that sized in the winters in Western New York... that also had round bales stacked at one end! That cut off another 10ft of length, so it got even smaller.

                Definitely small, definitely doable, definitely better than being outdoors!
                Having boarded at more than one place with indoors that size and done just fine with multiple people hacking together I have to agree with above. Is it optimal? No of course not. But in no way is it not big enough to be used like so many are saying.

                I think you are going to find the cost of removing the pool and turning it back into reasonable footing is going to be pretty darn close to building a new barn. Get yourself a price before you make any hard decisions.

                I am not a pool person but the idea of having an umbrella drink and dip in a heated private pool in January is kind of appealing.


                • #28
                  Yes, when you have to work your horses, you make do.
                  We have trained in our barn aisle at times, or in the hay barn, when those were the only places we had to use.
                  Some nice indoor, any size, would also have been used.

                  For occasional use.

                  For regular use, that is where too small a space for riding is questionable.

                  Just more to consider.


                  • #29
                    What are the dimensions of the pool? If you give me length, width, and depth I can use my work doodad to at least tell you how much fill you'd need to purchase...
                    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


                    • #30
                      I think that will be a nightmare to fill and compact without any future sinkholes or uneven spots showing up.

                      Put the $$$ into a new building, convert that one into a stall barn or storage shed with a concrete floor.


                      • #31
                        While 100x50 might not be much, it's enough to let a horse who hasn't had much turnout due to the weather to buck and fart the crazies out. Not optimal, but it is handy to have the space, and you can ride in it in a pinch!

                        Getting the equipment in there to knock out the concrete is probably going to be the big issue. The sidewalls might be aluminum frames anchored to a concrete bottom -- the aluminum can be sold to help offset things (depending on the make up, at about 65 to 75 cents a pound). If it's concrete on the sidewalls too...your life got a little more complicated. You might be able to stave those into the pit and only have to dispose of the patio.

                        Filling and footing will probably be the two large expenditures.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by airhorse View Post
                          I think that will be a nightmare to fill and compact without any future sinkholes or uneven spots showing up.

                          Put the $$$ into a new building, convert that one into a stall barn or storage shed with a concrete floor.

                          I think you can't decide anything until you get a few quotes. I think you will be rather shocked at the expense, unfortunately. My friend was just putting up a much smaller office building and she had to remove a basement and bring in fill, which was compacted every six or 12 inches (I forget) and I think it was like 14k...
                          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                          • #33
                            I don't have an indoor, but I had a similar situation when building my suburban farmette on Long Island. Space was/ is at a premium, and the place where an outdoor arena would go had an old dilapidated 40' X 60' concrete in ground pool (with trees growing in it) right in the middle of it. The pool was so overgrown that on my first visit to inspect the property i didn't even know there was a pool there. When it was brought to my attention I could just make out the green water through the brush!

                            Demolition required a permit, and the town required that I remove every bit of concrete not only from the hole but from the property, before they would sign off. They inspected every step of the way.

                            A local excavator charged me $6000 (in 2000) to cut down all trees, chip them and remove chips, remove brush, demolish pool, haul the concrete away, and fill in the hole with clean fill from another worksite.

                            That was in October, and I let it sit and settle until the next spring when I built my barn, paddocks and arena. I ended up with a 60' X 100' arena with decent footing (made better when I got my TR3 rake). We do A LOT in that ring. I can easily set up two jumps on the long side and two on diagonals if you get creative. I use 10' as opposed to 12' rails. I was training for low level eventing, and a good amount of my training was done right here (except XC of course, but for that there are trails in a county park a 15 minute trailer ride away). I never had an injury in 12 years and trained a green OTTB here as well.

                            Now I just do jumpers. Normally once a week I trailer out to trainers 100 X 200 jumping ring, about a 25 minute drive. But during the week I do a lot at home here still, sometimes just flatwork, sometimes ground poles, and sometimes up to 4 jumps. My biggest problem was with my big Paint horse who I used for eventing. He would get pretty strong to the jumps in a normal size arena, but at home here... not so much. So I found that I had to trailer out to a larger arena just so I could practice rating his speed and rhythm to the fences.

                            Everything is a compromise. I bought what I could afford, where I could afford it and still be within reasonable distance to my, and my wife's, work.
                            Is my ring optimal? No. But it is serviceable. I can do what I need to do in order to show progress in my, and my horses' training. I would love to have 5 acres and a Grand Prix ring. In my area, with my budget, that's not going to happen. But I will still be happily riding... and so will you!
                            HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


                            • #34
                              Quick google search:

                              It averages around $3,000 -$6,000 for partial removal/demolition of a small- to medium-sized pool with easy access for heavy equipment, which includes a minimal (8-10 inches) layer of top soil, but total costs can jump to $6,000 -$15,000 or more for larger pools or those with difficult access, lots of decking materials, plumbing or other structures.
                              Full removal costs vary considerably; it can be $6,000 -$25,000 but averages $10,000 -$15,000 for removing a small, basic pool with good access.

                              And that is before considering the cost of footing for the arena. Yikes.

                              Must say the indoor pool looks pretty neat!


                              • #35
                                I agree with the others that you've got to do a lot of pricing. Converting that pool into an arena may cost more than it's worth.

                                Have you priced fabric covered steel structures? There are such a multitude of uses that you may be able to find a used one and only pay to ship it, have it set-up, and footing.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks everyone for the input! I would love to build a big indoor ASAP but it's not in the budget at this time. We had to do a lot of work to the horse already and put up all new pasture fencing so we can't do anything with the pool / building an indoor until the spring anyways but I appreciate all the feedback. I am still so torn about what to do, but the first step is to get some quotes. Keep the comments coming and Ill keep everyone updated. Thanks again!


                                  • #37
                                    Get prices, by all means. I have a 60x108 indoor. Yes it is small, but it has footing that is not frozen or icy in the winter. I do alot of groundwork in it, and if you have 4 good riders, we can all stay out of each others way. So many people told me to build a bigger indoor....yet NO ONE offered to pay the difference. I am making the payments and I built what I was comfortable with. Sometimes just having a covered space, out of the wind and snow, is a blessing. I would imagine that filling in a pool is going to cost, and also removing the concrete, but you won't know untill you get bids.

                                    The one thing I do in my indoor, is I store very little in it. I have a few jumps in two corners, but no bedding....or extras. I try to keep the whole thing useable, and open. Good Luck on bids, you never know!


                                    • #38
                                      My favorite trainer used to tell me that the man who taught him as a teenager, trained horses to Grand Prix on a 20 meter circle - because that's how big the arena was - with brace posts in the middle. This was while standing in an 80' x 220' that was 'such as waste of pasture.' Ha ha!

                                      I can fully appreciate those comments now when I have a 50' x 100' where I board during the winter. I keep telling myself how lucky I am.....

                                      If I was in your shoes, I think I would hold off (board for this winter) until you could start a new arena. Start wide, and go something like 80 WIDE x ## LONG and then you can stay "short" to stay within budget. Then, as more funds accumulate, you can keep the 80 wide and extend the length later.

                                      Even though you are anxious to have your own place to ride at home, make sure you think it all through and do it right the first time. 50 x 100 is dreadfully small when it comes time to teach half pass and changes.


                                      • #39
                                        I'm curious to know if the cost of putting up a new indoor vs, filling in the pool and making it usable as an indoor would vary much. If not, I'd say keep the pool and build a new indoor. I'm from Upstate NY and think of the fun you can have there come to deep of winter!
                                        "If you've got a horse, you've got a problem"


                                        • #40
                                          Having owned a pool – I would rip it out in a heart beat!! Man, that thing was a PIA! EXPENSIVE to heat, parts always breaking, always having to mess with the chemicals, it was the worst. If you can afford a pool man, and any and all repair expenses a pool will throw at you (fixing underground pipes, replacing pool pumps and heaters), keep it. The pool was like a horse – costs money even when you aren’t using it, and it will try to kill itself on nothing given the chance.
                                          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman