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Can't afford indoor, what about just a roof over my outdoor?

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  • Can't afford indoor, what about just a roof over my outdoor?

    I'm in Ohio and have a small lesson program. There is usually about 3 months in the winter where we basically can't ride except here and there if we're lucky, and I always lose a few clients (as well as training time with my horses and money). I have a really great outdoor and no indoor. Building any type of indoor is basically not an option for me, but I was wondering if it would be possible to just put a roof over even part of my existing outdoor? Or, building another small arena with good footing and a roof? I need to figure something out, but like I said, an indoor is simply not an option right now. Any thoughts on this?

  • #2
    I don't know how you can afford NOT to have some sort of indoor. It's the only way to insure that your program can stay on track during the bad months. I would price out your options- A small separate covered or indoor would be ideal. Contact steel building builders, not just indoor ring builders. It may be cheaper.

    Would a loan be an option? Think of the income you could generate without missed days. You might also be able to hire a part time assistant to do lessons on days that you don't teach (I have a small lesson program. The biggest day is Saturday when I'm usually away showing. My farm is generating income while I'm not even there).

    It's a scary thought, but investing in your business is well, just good business.
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    • #3
      I hate to sound pessimistic, but as someone who lived in Michigan for the last 5 years and is now living in Ohio, I wouldn't consider a roofed outdoor arena sufficient for my winter riding. Unless you had some kind of brilliant tarping system, snow/ice/rain would still get into your footing and make the arena less rideable. And even worse, the wind would still blow.

      Are you SURE an indoor is not an option? If you raise your board to say $425 monthly and get the Amish to build you a simple pole structure, can you do it? Someone on one of the Michigan boards claimed that the Amish did her indoor for $15,000.
      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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      • #4
        I am interested in this info too.

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        • #5
          I do not understand how building a roof over your outdoor will be that much cheaper than building an indoor? The only portion of the building you are not putting up is the skin on the sides this way.

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          • #6
            unfortunately..

            the roof is the expensive part!! If you can find a way to pay for the roof, the rest of it won't be that much more. Covered arenas work well in the south. The DEEP south, and out west. Ohio, Kentucky?? Not so much. With this economy, no way would I borrow to build. If you have a successful, profitable program with what you have, go with it. While I love my two year old indoor, it did not lead to additional clients. As an aside, a very very well known eventing trainer came up for a session with my horse and I and said that she'd raised her board minimally for the first time in quite some time and lost several clients. She is in Lexington, does not have an indoor and since her ring footing is ideal, she just sucks it up and does without.

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            • #7
              Spinning off the above post, another option would be to find someone local with an indoor who's willing to rent it to you, then have your clients trailer over there. My current BO does this for a local trainer one day a week. It's good money for him, there are only 4 boarders at our barn who ride (and mostly not during the hours when this trainer comes on Saturdays) so the trainer doesn't get in our way, and the trainer saves the cost of building an indoor.
              Last edited by jn4jenny; Oct. 14, 2009, 12:25 PM.
              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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              • #8
                Around here some places have a covered arena with solid walls on the west and north end of the arena. It works out pretty darn nice and you don't get the same degree of the nasty dust effect from a completely closed indoor. I've been over at this place with my hunting horses for team sorting on Weds nights. There are arena photos at the bottom of the home page. http://www.lonewolfarena.com/index.html

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                • #9
                  We explored indoor vs. covered outdoor almost 10 years ago and went with the covered outdoor.

                  In our area we do not get long periods of deep cold and our winds are generally mild. We probably lose 30 days per year to weather (heat and cold). To get some idea of our weather go to weather.com and compare your averages to those of Knoxville, TN.

                  A cover is not cheaper to build. It requires a heavier structure as the cover functions as a "wing" in high winds. There will be engineering standards specific to your area with your local building permit authorities. Pay attention to them.

                  A cover is much cheaper to use as it requires no heating, A/C, or artificial air movment systems. Indoors can become "ovens" in the summer and "freezers" in the winter. If you insulate and climate control it will grossly increase the cost of the structure and its costs of operation.

                  Southern OH is probably the practical northern limit for effective use of covers vice indoor structures. A local "micro climate" might dictate one or the other a bit further north or south.

                  Good luck in your research.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                    A cover is much cheaper to use as it requires no heating, A/C, or artificial air movment systems. Indoors can become "ovens" in the summer and "freezers" in the winter. If you insulate and climate control it will grossly increase the cost of the structure and its costs of operation.


                    Wait one minute here. All the barns I know must have missed the memo that their indoor is supposed to be climate controlled.

                    Not stable in my area (cold snowy NY) has a climate controlled indoor.

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                    • #11
                      I rode in Michigan and there is no way I'd find a roof-only outdoor remotely warm enough. I don't know where in Ohio you are, but unless it's pretty far south in a fairly sheltered geographic area a roof-only is something I'd find more appropriate for Florida. A basic pole barn shouldn't cost that much more than a to-code arena roof that isnt' going to blow over.

                      ETA: and what turbandloki said. I have never ridden in a climate-controlled indoor! If anything we were always told that having a/c and heat on could mess with the horses when they went back out in the (very much not climate controlled) turnout and the rest of the barn!
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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I live in Cincinnati, so the very most southern part of Ohio, by Kentucky.

                        Trust me, an indoor is NOT an option. And I'm not surprised to hear it isn't really cheaper to build some sort of a roof rather than a real indoor. I guess I will just have to do without.

                        I only have 14 acres (only about 5 acres of pasture though), 10 stalls and they are filled up - 4 are boarders who do cheap partial care so raising board wouldn't provide me with much of anything. I only have on average 10 students and two lesson horses, so I'm very small time.

                        Maybe I should start a new thread about this, but what sort of footing works best in winter? Obviously if it's icy, etc, we can't ride no matter what. But my footing is fairly shallow - would deeper sand not freeze as soon? What we usually do is if it's frozen with snow, we ride in the arena and the snow provides cushion since the sand is like cement. When it's frozen with no snow we ride in the field and the grass provides cushion. We generally just w/t.

                        I have been talking to local barns about using their indoor, not sure if it's going to work out but I'm going to try.

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                        • #13
                          No climate controlled arenas in this part either! Can you imagine the cost??
                          At our first barn, the arena was just a "shell", built by mennonites, very strong, but open rafters and studs apparent on the walls.

                          At the second barn, the arena was insulated, roof and walls, and it made a BIG difference in the overall comfort. The first one could not be used some days as it was too cold inside. I don't recall the other one not being used because it was too cold!

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                          • #14
                            What you can do is build a cover-only arena first. It won't help you much in cold weather but at least you can continue to have lessons in rainy days. Remember what hurt you is not winters only. You are also hurt when it's too hot or when it rains. A covered arena still provides more shelter than open area. And if you do have a covered arena, your boarders including the self-care boarders should be expected to pay more for the use of it. In a few years, you can add skin to create indoor.

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                            • #15
                              When I was pricing arenas a few years ago in Oregon, covered was cheaper than half-walls, which was cheaper than indoor.

                              I wanted to go with the half-walls and use that great material that you can roll down (like curtains) when it's windy or wet, and roll up when you don't need it. I didn't get to it before I moved, though.

                              I'm in Kentucky, and I'd kill for just a covered arena as opposed to open. At least you can ride in the rain and the sun won't beat down on you. Doesn't save every day, but saves a lot of them.
                              "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

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                              • #16
                                I am in PA and I only have an outdoor. We only missed about 7-8 days of riding last year and same for the years in the past. We only have a problem when there is a lot of snow.

                                I have sand/screenings that are very dark and when the sun is out ( my ring is in full sun) the footing defrosts and is good to ride on from 10:30am-4:30pm.

                                If I know that the ring is going to be wet and the temps not over 34 degrees I put calcium/chloride down with a seed spreader and drag the ring really well. It's work but it can be done.

                                As long as you and your horse are dressed for cold weather you will be fine.

                                Let me know if you have any questions.

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                                • #17
                                  Check out this options www.rockymtnstructures.com They have a product called We-Cover that looks pretty cool. Could be an option for you. They are in Utah so they know how to build things that will hold up to the elements.
                                  Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!

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                                  • #18
                                    I don't think it wouldn't be adequate, sorry. I live in Indiana and I know there's not a snowball's chance in hell that a covered arena would be adequate in the winter. I also stopped riding with a trainer that I was very sad about when she had to move barns and they had no indoor. It just wasn't feasible. Like previously stated, the roof is the most expensive part. Once a covered arena was up it would take minimal cost to attach the horizontal boards to make the walls and slap some steel on them. So I really don't think that 1) you'll save money (and will most likely spend more in the long run and 2) that it would be adequate. All you'd really be gaining is a little extra shelter in light snow (and even then it would still be windy which is one of the worst parts about winter) and shelter in rain. With snow and wind in the winter, you will get drifts in the covered area and it will still be unusable.
                                    Last edited by dmalbone; Oct. 14, 2009, 02:33 PM.

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                                    • #19
                                      The KY State Fairgrounds in Louisville has a covered arena on the grounds, and it looks quite nice. However, I don't think they have shows in the winter, so I've never paid attention to how it works in the cold...but it has quite a large overhang and slope to it, so I wouldn't think it would be too bad as far as rain or snow getting in. Just cold.

                                      Caitlin
                                      Caitlin
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
                                        No climate controlled arenas in this part either! Can you imagine the cost??
                                        At our first barn, the arena was just a "shell", built by mennonites, very strong, but open rafters and studs apparent on the walls.

                                        At the second barn, the arena was insulated, roof and walls, and it made a BIG difference in the overall comfort. The first one could not be used some days as it was too cold inside. I don't recall the other one not being used because it was too cold!
                                        I've ridden in many heated indoors in Ontario! They are great and really keep the awful winter chill out of the air.
                                        www.simplicityweimaraners.ca

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