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Budgeting for Small Arena

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  • Budgeting for Small Arena

    So...I searched the threads and couldn't find a "cost" thread...thinking of putting in a small dressage arena...bluestone at first. Will add sand later I think...just wondering what kind of budget I should think of ballpark. Have a pretty flat area so not too much moving of dirt and drainage is pretty good there too. I have an idea what I may need but wanted to see what you all paid. For what its worth, I'm in Loudoun County...

    Also curious who you used...I have someone in mind to call, but would love recommendations.

    Thanks!
    For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

  • #2
    Depends on your size and local materials. For us to do a 100x200 "squoval" with 4 inches of bluestone base (topsoil scraped away first) with 3" sand on top (fill sand, not my ideal choice but it has worked great) was $25k for materials and labor. That was with a slight discount since the contractor was a church friend of my mom's (who owns the barn, I rent from her).
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

    http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Its just going to be a small dressage arena size...what is that 20x40meters? or 66 x 132? Probably not much bigger...and I'd probably start with just bluestone initially and then add sand at a later date when I had more money...
      For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
        Depends on your size and local materials. For us to do a 100x200 "squoval" with 4 inches of bluestone base (topsoil scraped away first) with 3" sand on top (fill sand, not my ideal choice but it has worked great) was $25k for materials and labor. That was with a slight discount since the contractor was a church friend of my mom's (who owns the barn, I rent from her).
        Definitely depends on location.

        Our arena location had no trees in it already and a hard packed dirt natural base on a location with a nice slope. I think arena clearing, watering and rolling to pack down, footing (we used 1/4" minus chat) and footing being spread cost us in the $5k range for our 200x170 arena.
        Originally posted by Silverbridge
        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm in the process of building a 100' x 200' arena right now. It really will depend on your location and land.

          My land is not exactly level and had quite a bit of topsoil to be removed. Had to haul in 3,690 yards of clay for the base!

          When all is said and done and sand footing is added and fence is up I'll have a little over $30K in it.
          Last edited by pds; Oct. 31, 2012, 05:57 PM. Reason: spelling

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          • #6
            There is a huge range of how you can do an arena. To do it correctly, pulling up topsoil, packing sub-base, putting an adequate base, packing that base, and footing could run you $25-50K and up. Of course, many people do just flatten an area with a bulldozer and put down some 1/4" minus and ride on that and maybe add some sand later. Really, in your situation what you need to do is go look at other people's arenas, if you like the arena ask what their specs were, and then give that to some contractors and get some estimates.

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            • #7
              Haven't built an arena, but be sure to qualify any estimates you get here by the frequency/intensity of use. An arena used by multiple riders every day of teh week may need more substantial prep methods/materials than an arena used once a day by one horse.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                Haven't built an arena, but be sure to qualify any estimates you get here by the frequency/intensity of use. An arena used by multiple riders every day of teh week may need more substantial prep methods/materials than an arena used once a day by one horse.
                My farm is very small and it will just be me riding or perhaps the occasional trainer or friend, but I can't imagine more than one horse at a time or on rare occasions 2. And I will still be hauling out for lessons and hacking.

                If I had a really good flat area to ride year round, I probably wouldn't even build one, but my flat area right now needs some "grooming" and is currently wet from the rain...the fields will be great once hunting season is over, but truthfully, I just want the ability to ride from home and be done a few days a week, ya know?
                For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Have you considered more of a "track"? My friend did one years ago, she has a small farmette (as do I now). She made a track and can ride in crummy weather, it has grass so she has the feel as well when it is dry. I think she doubles it as turn out in good weather. I have limited acres now as well so I am considering that. It will make me feel like I'm at Upperville......
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                  • #10
                    I tried to get an idea of what putting in an arena would cost - the range was amazing because there are so many factors to consider. Size, location (grading and draining requirements), footing, and whether or not it is constructed "by the book." The USDF has a publication called "Under foot" that you should buy and study. In my opinion, doing your research before you even talk to a contractor is critical. You may be able to get away with cutting some corners to decrease cost, but I would be very careful, because it could wind up costing you more if you have to go back and fix things later. You can ride on the bluestone base, but I'm not sure 4 inches would be enough if you are planning to ride on it for a while. You also have to consider the cost of grooming equipment because the bluestone will pack down so much that it will need to be groomed frequently.

                    I looked at arenas in my area and wound up going with a contractor recommended by a friend whose arena is in good condition 8 years after building. The contractor is a paver - since an arena is similar to a parking lot, you want someone who is an expert at leveling, packing, and ensuring proper drainage.

                    Mine is 180 X 90, the area did require a moderate amount of grading, and I have a 6" base of Class I sand (because I jump) which is the equivalent of bluestone. The arena alone cost $32,000. Washed mortar sand - 2" was around $3,000. 3 board fence was around $2600. The cost of a groomer varies, but plan to spend at least $1000. Hopefully you already have something to pull it with. Make sure you don't build over your water line - we had to move ours (it cost less than moving to another area that would require more grading). Also consider a water source - we put in a no freeze, or whatever they are called, close to the arena.

                    It all adds up to close to $40,000 - about $15,000 more than I thought it would be.

                    Just for the arena it worked out to be around $2.00/sq.foot. Size makes a big difference in cost - the size you are talking about would be considerably less.

                    The investment will add to the value of your property (an appraiser told us this when he appraised our farm just before we started the arena). We refinanced our farm which is how we were able to afford the arena.

                    I hope this helps!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks for all the responses...

                      I am actually considering a track too... waiting on a ring builder to call me back for estimates. I actually think that may be the better way to go for me on this property...

                      Curious the cost of that though? I might be able to make it slightly bigger and I'd like two circles if I could...also some leveling of the ground would be helpful...
                      For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't have any info about costs, but just seconding the caution to be careful about how you cut corners. I've known several people who have cheaped out on arenas the 1st time around, and ended up spending more on fixing the problem that it would've cost to do it right the first time. And I do feel that several months of working hard in an arena with crappy footing contributed to the joint problems my horse has. After that experience I'm a lot more aware of the arena footing I'm riding in.

                        I mean, a place for casual hacking out doesn't need to be perfect, but if you're going to be schooling dressage movements (especially with lots of turns in a small arena!) I'd think of the wear and tear on the horse from the footing. Even if it's only one horse using it, that one horse matter to you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have one a little bigger than that (just for me at home) and it cost about 8-9k with the excavation, stone dust, and fencing... which was contractor price since Mr. KPF and I are both in construction. I'm also in VA.

                          I still need to add sand as I've been riding on what is really the base for 2 years now. It took a while to pack down (we didn't roll it) but it is solid now and I can ride even when it's wet (barring torrential rain).

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            KPF - who did you use?

                            I could actually use some referrals...thansk!
                            For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is very difficult to give you a budget for an arena as it really depends upon the amount of excavation, fill and proximity of the nearest gravel pit to your arena. These aspects though are immutable: it takes 3 truckloads(14 yards each) to put one inch of fill over the entire 100'x200' arena. Each truckload's cost is anyone's guess in your neck of the woods; typically $100-200 per load.
                              Your excavator will give you a per yard delivered price for your fill. Also negotiate the cost of hauling away your old loam and topsoil. Many times you can take advantage of a nearby road repair whereby a local road contractor may be looking to get rid of many yards of old road fill which may not be any good for roads, but will work fabulously for arena fill.
                              For planning purposes the USDF has a nifty little handbook for about $15 that really helps with arena design called Underfoot. It's for sale online in their publications section of their website. They will tell you how to pitch the arena to help keep the drainage working properly, additional drainage options, etc. You will also learn about putty sand which is what you want on your arena's top layer, but is difficult to find/ easily incorrectly chosen material.
                              Lastly Keatssu's observation about water is a good one: you will want to water your arena several times a season.
                              Good luck!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Actually I think having a nearby water source is a debatable extra. It can take a lot of time and expensive equipment and a LOT of water to adequately water an arena. I would recommend footing additives to keep the dust down over daily watering for most normal arenas.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm in central VA between Richmond and Charlottesville, so my peeps are probably too far from you. Get recc's from people close to you that have had rings done. We used an excavator that had done a few rings but mostly did building sites. Ours had to be dug out, and the original base was red clay. DH insisted on french drains, the excavator didn't want to do it that way but it works great. We did our own fencing and a friend with a hauling business got our base (gravel dust) for us from the local quarry.

                                  Good luck, it's not a cheap process but the end result is SO nice. Now if I could just afford to add sand and lights!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    oh, forgot to add, we had a MOUNTAIN of dirt left when he finished excavating the spot for the arena, it was insane. We filled a lot of holes on our farm and added dirt to low spots, it was gone in no time. But if we'd had to pay someone to haul it away, it would have added $$$ for sure.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Rabtfarm View Post
                                      It is very difficult to give you a budget for an arena as it really depends upon the amount of excavation, fill and proximity of the nearest gravel pit to your arena. These aspects though are immutable: it takes 3 truckloads(14 yards each) to put one inch of fill over the entire 100'x200' arena. Each truckload's cost is anyone's guess in your neck of the woods; typically $100-200 per load.
                                      In my neck of the woods, it's more like $900 per truckload ... :-o
                                      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

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Around here I believe its about $3-400/truck load depending on what you are getting...

                                        Thanks for the replies...
                                        For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

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