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Ideas for Building Indoor Arena

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  • Ideas for Building Indoor Arena

    We are building an indoor arena this summer and I would love to hear about arenas that you think are well laid out or have special features. Definate do's and don'ts. Photos would be great. All input is appreciated. Size will be 80 x 230 and it will definately be insulated and heated with as much light as possible.

  • #2
    Sprinkler system, seriously.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Willow Mist Farm View Post
      We are building an indoor arena this summer and I would love to hear about arenas that you think are well laid out or have special features. Definate do's and don'ts. Photos would be great. All input is appreciated. Size will be 80 x 230 and it will definately be insulated and heated with as much light as possible.
      The size looks very good, but I would seriously consider going 100' wide if possible
      That is what most here consider a minimum size for width, as you can always add length and width is set once you build.

      Can you use translucent panels, high, along the sides?
      Where they have them, those seem to give much light, even more than on the roof and they don't leak like the roof ones can.

      If you can, make at least one entrance a big overhead door, so trucks with material can get in there.

      How fun, getting to build and have an indoor.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree about the translucent upper walls - it lets in lots of light, and skylights tend to leak, at least after a while. Big doors at both ends are nice for summer breezes and coming in and out with a truck. In winter I find it handy to have a "man door" at one end for going in and out without having to dig out the big doors or let all the cold air in going in and out the big doors. The one I use now has a man door that is bigger than a normal house door, so you can walk a horse in.

        The one I ride in now has a nice feature for bad weather, which is a couple of saddle racks and enough area at one end to have a little tie and tack up spot. So I can just bring a horse or two down, tie them to the posts, groom and tack up right there, and then untack there after working. The arena in this case is not attached to the barn, so it's nice not to have to carry all the tack down in rain or snow.

        The one I ride in also is large enough that the area at one end can be used for some storage - driving carts, chairs and a small table, the sound system built in to a cabinet on one wall, cones, etc. are all near the big door in one corner, and there's still plenty of room for several people to be working on their own circles.

        There are lots of hooks near the tack up area for things like lunge lines, spare bridles, surcingles, etc. and a place to drop off your quarter sheet or cooler that you might need later.

        Another thing that I think would be handy but I've never seen done is to put the light switches near the door - they always seem to be over in a corner somewhere, so you have to hike over to them in the dimness instead of being able to turn them on right as you come in.

        If you jump, it's super handy to make racks along the walls to store the poles - rather than leaning them in a corner or balancing them up on top of the kickboard.

        Comment


        • #5
          Where are you located and what type of riding do you do? Those answers change a lot of my suggestions.
          \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo

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          • #6
            When I was in Europe, I noticed some indoors with a mounting step built right into the wall.

            Fold it down to mount and then it slowly closed itself back flush into the wall.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pds View Post
              When I was in Europe, I noticed some indoors with a mounting step built right into the wall.

              Fold it down to mount and then it slowly closed itself back flush into the wall.
              Very cool. I have visited one barn that had a little platform built in one corner, with stairs up each side. It didn't get in the way of riding on the track, and the main platform surface was about 4x4 feet.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for all the replies. We are located in Alberta, Canada and do mostly dressage and some eventing. The arena will have an attached barn and we are planning to use windows rather thann light panels as we are concerned about heat loss. Great point regarding the light switches. It is the little details that make all the difference.
                Go Fish, is there a particular sprinkler system you recommend?
                Great reminder about the fold away mounting block. I thought that I had bookmarked a site that sold them but can no longer find it. Does anyone have a link?
                Open to any ideas for the barn as well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since you are in such a cold climate, you might consider a heated viewing area. I've seen cheapy ones that are basically a triangle made in a corner of the arena, perhaps 20 feet on the long side, with stairs going up to a sort of deck, and then that is enclosed with plexiglass or similar (like a three season patio would be) and has a few chairs inside and an electric baseboard heater. That was in an arena that wasn't attched to the barn.

                  A couple other places I've been built the barn so that the tack room, feed room and/or office are adjacent the arena, and each has windows of various sizes looking into the arena, so people can either keep an eye on what's going on or watch from there if there's a clinic of some kind.

                  I like the design I've seen once where the stalls are along the long sides of the arena, with an aisle and then a wall surrounding the actual arena area in the middle. Might have some drawbacks with dust? But if the horses tend to be stabled in more than out, it makes a nice atmosphere - cozy and social. Helps add warmth, too, I suppose.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another vote for the eavelights - get the largest ones you can afford.
                    I got 2' and wish I had gotten at least 3 - they let in an amazing amount of natural light. Mine are translucent, but my builder now has clear ones too.
                    I don't believe they cause a problem with heat retention. My arena is not insulated and is still rideable even with the -3 temps we had this weekend (not that I rode, but working in the indoor wasn't at all miserable).
                    But take your builder's advice on that, especially if they are experienced barn builders.

                    And absolutely install a switch by the entrance door.
                    I have 3 banks of cold-ballast fluorescent fixtures - no annoying buzz like the halogen - each bank has its own switch right by the door.
                    I can turn on any combo of lighting. With all 3 on it's bright enough to do surgery in there!
                    I generally just use the center bank and have plenty of light even when it's pitchblack outdoors.

                    I have sliding doors on all 4 sides and leaving these open in good weather makes for nice ventilation.
                    My builder also offers an option of sliders that start at halfway up the long walls. Opening these is almost like having a no-walls arena.

                    80X230 does sound a bit narrow, but my little place is 60X120 and I have plenty room for my 17h+ horse to turn in the corners at the trot. Cantering requires a bit of finesse for him - the 16h horse is fine.
                    I am also able to set fences on the long walls and one on centerline so some gymnastics are possible. Bigger horse doesn't jump but the other guy is very handy in this amount of space.

                    My only barn suggestions are:
                    -setup so horses have free access from stalls directly to runins or pasture. Makes your life a lot easier, lots less stall-cleaning and happier horses.
                    -have at least one GFI outlet for every two stalls
                    -frost-free pump inside the barn is NOT a luxury!

                    Have fun
                    *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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I used to work at a huge Arabian breeding farm that built a 200 acre facility including a huge indoor. They made the walls slanted (they were made of tongue-and-groove pine, but you don't have to) so that when you rode up against the wall your foot never hit the wall. In other words they started out wider on the bottom and got narrower on the top. The sprinkler heads came out from the space between them and the wall and there was storage underneath in secret door where they could store blankets, etc.

                      Here is a link to their site, I think there are some photos of horses being ridden in the indoor:

                      www.strawberrybanksfarm.com
                      http://summerwoodwelsh.com
                      Summerwood Farm Welsh Ponies~
                      http://www.facebook.com/Summerwoodfarmwelshponies

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A heated viewing area is a must in Alberta. In our indoor, I built the viewing area with mirrored glass, so the windows are mirrors for you to ride with from the arena side, and glass to watch the people riding from the viewing area side. It was the same price as regular glass. Plus, the horses can't see into the viewing area and spook at what is going on in there. (And you can spy on people riding, too )
                        ******
                        "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
                        -H.M.E.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Be careful of the slanted kick walls. They can create an optical illusion since the horses are not staring at the base boards but insead at the top of the wall. I've had more then one horse scramble against the wall coming off a diagonal jump thinking they had more room when the actually didn't.
                          Eight Fences Farm. Mansfield, MA

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by luvs2ridewbs View Post
                            Be careful of the slanted kick walls. They can create an optical illusion since the horses are not staring at the base boards but insead at the top of the wall. I've had more then one horse scramble against the wall coming off a diagonal jump thinking they had more room when the actually didn't.
                            Also be careful of the placement of viewing area windows, that they are well above the kick line of an athletic horse!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
                              Also be careful of the placement of viewing area windows, that they are well above the kick line of an athletic horse!
                              And be sure to have the arena a clutterless place, so if you have to use it for turn out some times, horses won't be chewing on stuff on the sides.

                              Most indoors I knew in Europe had slanted walls and at times horses would scramble up them coming out of the short side, if you were not careful.
                              I had a filly in her hirst few rides do that and fall on my leg, breaking it.
                              May have happened on a straight wall, but then maybe not.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree about making the arena just a bit wider if possible- but i'm spoiled with a 150x275 indoor hehe. Also, having a heated area is really nice especially if you have parents or other people coming to watch. Just a little corner area with a few seats and a small heater is nice.

                                I'm not sure if you've built the barn our not yet, but something to consider is those stalls that have the bars going further down the door than normal. It increases air circulation and in my experience they help to keep the barn from being too stuffy or stagnant. They look like this: http://www.peoplesbuilding.com/images/gallery/1.jpg Thats fancy but I've seen them for more regular stall doors.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Willow Mist Farm View Post
                                  Thanks for all the replies. We are located in Alberta, Canada and do mostly dressage and some eventing. The arena will have an attached barn and we are planning to use windows rather thann light panels as we are concerned about heat loss. Great point regarding the light switches. It is the little details that make all the difference.
                                  Go Fish, is there a particular sprinkler system you recommend?
                                  Great reminder about the fold away mounting block. I thought that I had bookmarked a site that sold them but can no longer find it. Does anyone have a link?
                                  Open to any ideas for the barn as well.
                                  I can't remember the company that installed the system in our barn, but I'll try and find out. It was installed during construction by a subcontractor, so was included in the total original bid. However, it is overhead...I'm not sure that would work in a cold climate...pipes might freeze, rendering the system inoperable. Although, I suppose you could bleed it and shut it down for the winter. However, arenas get dusty in the winter, too, particularly in dryer regions.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    One other indoor I just remembered had heat provided by pipes that ran around the walls at about head level, that circulated hot water. Of the heated indoor arenas I've been in that was my favorite method. Other places I've seen use heaters with blowers that kick on and off, for example, which is startling when you ride past it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      indoor ideas

                                      where we board has an old large indoor - doesn't seem fancy until you visit the news barns and realize that fancy isn't necessarily better. For example, the barn is all wood. One boarder left and went to a new facility - only to return. The new barns are often pole buildings - and she claimed it was extremely noisey. The stalls are on the outside facing the indoor - the wall of the indoor is also the storage (lockers) for each horse directly outside their stall. Most important is the footing. We have rubber footing - never needs replacing - we have to pick feet after we ride. Never needs watering. But most important is the dust free environment. I have seen similiar setups - but the poor horses are breathing dust 24/7 because of the flooring - the attempt to water, yada... so save your money - but get the footing done right. My only complaint is the birds - because it is all wood - lots of beams - and lots of places for birds to park & drop their presents!

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