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Building New Indoor Arena - more questions

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  • Building New Indoor Arena - more questions

    I posted earlier this summer asking for size recommendations for a new indoor arena. We have finalized the building contract (72' x 120' x 16' Morton building) and will start construction in a few weeks.

    So now I have a few more questions -

    Footing - Our site is prepared, it was originally pretty level and we had a building pad constructed to raise it above grade. The pad is made from local clay (we had a big pile left over from a larger pond we constructed a few years ago). I am planning to use washed sand footing, about 2 1/2" - 3" deep. Will that work OK on top of the clay base? (arena will be used for flat work and light jumping) Any recommendations?

    Lights - What are the best types of lights? I have seen the large round ones which hang down and it seems like the lighting is spotty or uneven with those. Is flourescent an option? I want them to come on & light up quickly in the colder months - do they now make flourescent that will perform OK? How many and where should they be placed? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can share their wisdom or experiences with me on these issues -

  • #2
    Flourescent is vastly improved and the lighting of choice according to the light guy for the arena my BO is building (just got our footing this week!--yay). More expensive to buy, but much cheaper to run.

    This thread goes into depth regarding arena footing, and sand/over clay in particular.

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    • #3
      2-3" of sand should be fine - just make sure you get construction-grade sand that has angular grains, not round like beach sand.

      I'm no expert, but I've been told washed sand may contain some larger particles or debris, so check that out with whoever is supplying the sand.

      I chose cold-ballast fluorescents because I hate the warmup time & buzzing from the halogen fixtures. My indoor is 60X120 and I have 3 banks of 5 8' fixtures which is more than sufficient.
      I generally only turn on the center bank if I'm riding after dark, otherwise I leave the sliding doors open (all 4 sides) and get enough daylight from that & 2' eavelights (go for 3' eavelights!).

      The only problem I've had with the fluorescents is warmup time if we've had abnormally wet weather.
      *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


      • #4
        Having just put in an indoor arena at our home, I have a few words of advice on the footing:

        1. Less is MORE. You can ALWAYS add more. We took 1/2 of our footing out because it was too deep, and we only put down 2 inches of angular sand and 1 inch of rubber. Still too deep (although I don't jump, I do dressage, so I prefer it on the firmer side).

        2. Go to the actual quarry where your footing is coming from, get a sample, and if you choose that, make SURE it is coming from that EXACT pile.

        Enjoy your arena!~ We are in the same boat as you on lights right now - still trying to decide which way to go on that.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for replies, especially the link to the previous thread. I should have found that myself!

          Unfortunately it seems like experiences are pretty evenly split on the sand over clay for an indoor, so I'm still not sure what to do! I don't really take into account the replies concerning outdoors, I understand the problem with slickness in that situation.

          I guess if money was no object I would just go for a base of some kind between the clay and the sand. Under my real circumstances (spent most all of my budget on as big a building as possible!) I'm leaning towards trying the sand directly on the clay, being careful to not overwater. This arena is for my use only which will not be heavy. I guess in the worst case I can strip the sand out and do a base, fortunately I have the equipment to do that if necessary.

          I am planning to talk to a few people locally about what they did about footing and lighting, but would still appreciate any additional suggestions!


          • #6
            Well I only see energy costs going up in the future (regardless of the administration). Do you ride more during the day or at night?

            The indoor I mentioned is 2 inches sand (some kind of washed/angular granite/quartzite sand--it's pink) over the clay. The clay had been settling for about 2 years (originally was one big outdoor) and prior to the sand going in was re-leveled and packed and packed some more. I read the thread too and wondered if everyone has the same type of clay as well. I could see ours getting slick if overwatered, I guess, but for cost reasons the BO went that way after we toured some area barns that did this combo. Wouldn't it be nice if cost wasn't a consideration!

            The outdoor did have additional aggregate base brought in for drainage/to protect the sub layers.

            My bigger concern is going to be dust control.

            I can't tell you what I think on the lights yet, as they aren't in at this point. I've been impressed with the new flourescents at other barns however.
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              I don't know what type of clay you have there, but unless it can compact with a roller, it will eventually mix with your sand. Most arena are constructed with a compacted stone dust, over the base, and then your riding footing goes on top of that. the advice to start with 2' is good, You can always add more.

              Most of the newer arenas I have seen in the NE where it gets cold have, if they can afford it,used nickel halide lights. They do take a moment in winter to heat up, but cost nothing to run once on, and give good shadow free, flicker free light, and they are quiet. And 8 will adequately light a 200x70 area. You could do with 6.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


              • #8
                Do it right the first time - I know several people that just put the sand on the clay and later had to remove it and start all over again.

                We have 6 inches crushed limestone - compacted - smartly we had the limestone put in and leveled right after the structural posts were put in. The rain and all the work to construct the arena happened on top of it and did a great job compacting it. Then 2 inches sand and 2 inches shavings - then we put mineral oil on it. I love our footing. We also remove the manure all the time.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by prodomus View Post
                  Do it right the first time - I know several people that just put the sand on the clay and later had to remove it and start all over again.

                  We have 6 inches crushed limestone - compacted - smartly we had the limestone put in and leveled right after the structural posts were put in. The rain and all the work to construct the arena happened on top of it and did a great job compacting it. Then 2 inches sand and 2 inches shavings - then we put mineral oil on it. I love our footing. We also remove the manure all the time.
                  Sounds ALOT like ours. Except we have a foot of compacted stonedust (waterered during compaction, 15 ton roller, compacted every 2 inches, I'm sure like yours), and it was done after the arena was done. Then for our footing we have angular sand mixed with rubber. It's been perfect!http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...ab&id=13002359