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outdoor arenas and slopes?

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  • outdoor arenas and slopes?

    I've been researching building outdoor arenas- I would want a place for an ammy dressage rider and 1-2 horses, maybe 5 times a week.

    Hubby found a house he likes on about an acre, current owners have horses, however the property is long and narrow (wide enough at 86 feet) but my issue is with the slope- I think it is generally about a 10 - 20% slope.

    Should we wak away since I want at least a 20 x 40 arena (66 ft x 132 ft) or is it possible to 1. get a permit for cut/fill/grading and 2. afford said cut/fill/grading ?

    This is in the Denver suburbs in Colorado, if that helps....

    Also, if anyone here has had an outdoor built (that they like) in CO, I'd love to know who did it and the cost...

  • #2
    Sounds like a bunch of cost for grading if you can get the permits. Likely you need to build engineered retaining walls too. 86 feet - 66 feet = 10 feet to each property line. Water and slope will be problems.
    Equus makus brokus but happy


    • #3
      Even just a 10% slope is a LOT. Are you sure it's that much? 20% is HUGE
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        20% is a steep hill......you need to take a zero off.

        2% slope is standard for outside rings.....crowning from the center or sloping both length and width.

        Our ring is 200' long and has a 2% slope.....so that would mean a 4' drop from the top corner to the bottom corner while you think that would be noticable when you look at our ring you would not be able to tell.



        • #5
          If it really is 20%, then there is a huge expense to grade for a "level" riding area. Huge. That's a lot of grading, moving dirt from the high end to the low end, then making a swale around it to keep water on the high side from running right into the ring every time it rains, and probably, if it's really that much, building a retaining wall.

          If it really is anywhere close to 20%, then pass.
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            Having just built an arena on sloped property, my initial reaction is to say, don't do it! We did not buy our place thinking of it as "horse property" - I figured I would always board the "working" horses and just have the retired or youngsters here. But I got fed up with boarding, we didn't want to move (well, SO didn't), so we went forward.

            I ended up with an 80'x160' arena and the short side originally dropped about 10'...so that's a little more than 10% slope to the original land (arena ended up sloped 2% across that same side). We had to put in two engineered retaining walls, 4' high, on top and bottom side of arena. Lots of dirt work to get this all done. I'm in WA State so your local and state regs will likely differ; here if you are moving more than x cu yds of dirt, you need a county permit, and more than y yds, you have to get state approval (I don't recall what x and y are, but we were moving way more than y!). We are in a wet area, so drainage was a big deal too.

            It is a beautiful arena, but I'm sure our being on a slope like we are was responsible for doubling the cost, if not more. Shopping for property, I'd be reluctant to consider any that required building an arena on a slope like ours or steeper.


            • #7
              Whether you require a permit for grading depends on your county regulations. The questions are: how much dirt will you move and is that enough to trigger a permit requirement; and, does moving the dirt for the purpose of a riding arena qualify for an agricultural exemption?

              My dirt guy told me that moving dirt was not expensive. He said the expense was in bringing dirt in. If you don't have to bring dirt in, it is likely that "leveling" the arena won't add significantly to the cost of the arena (assuming you are going to do some quality footing.)It would certainly be worth investigating before you reject the property.

              Now, I would question whether you will be satisfied with one acre, but the other attributes of the property may make it worthwhile.

              Good luck.