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Indoor arena Debate with DH HELP

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  • Indoor arena Debate with DH HELP

    DH and I have started the process of finding a new/bigger property and one thing that we want to keep in the budget is to build an arena (ok more for DD and myself but DH is all for doing it).

    DH seems to think that we can get away with small and I mean like 40x80 lol he thinks this is more than enough space for personal use. I told him that I am willing to go with the smallest I can get away with but not that small.

    So the question is what is the smallest you could/do deal with. DD rides saddleseat (she is only 7 and has shown interest in wanting to jump). I take lessons with DD but am mainly a trail rider. I want to keep my horses in work during the harsh winter months when riding the trails isn't the best choice (snowmobiles take over the majority of trails this time of the year too).

    TIA for any info that can stop the debate.

  • #2
    I'm really bad with sizing unless I can compare it to something else.

    I think I'd be ok with the size of a small dressage ring so 66x132 feet (or 65x130 or 70x140 to make it more even) .

    The way I think of it is there are some horses that when i first start riding them I'm like "man.. it's going to be a while before I get this guy balanced enough to stay in a dressage ring!"

    If you have (or will ever have) a young or green horse it's nice to have some space to get that canter lead or enough strides between jumps.

    Also wider is always better.. I hate the feeling of loooooong narrow indoors but wider is more expensive.
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


    • #3
      My indoor is the size that Meredith Clark is talking about, and I really wouldn't want it any smaller, especially if your daughter wants to jump. That said, we get a lot accomplished in our small indoor - small jumping courses, two separate lessons being taught at the same time, etc. You also probably already know that it's VERY expensive to "expand" an existing indoor - better to go as large as you can afford from the start.
      Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


      • #4
        DH and I are having almost the same "discussion" only he thinks 40x40 should be adequate - just to go in circles in the wintertime. I think he is basing this on the common saddleseat practice of riding down the barn aisle, stop, turn around, do it again. He thinks that is good enough, I don't. We are never going to have a 100' long barn anyway.

        I say that a 20' radius circle is a very tight circle for a horse to make, then add balancing a rider at speed. He counters with circus horses canter in circles all the time (at which point I have to find out what the diameter of a vaulting circle is, haven't done that yet).
        ETA according to wikipedia 13 meters or 42 feet(sic) (I get 42 feet 7 inches) for the diameter of a circle in the three ring circus.
        So I figure that if there is a wall there you need to add another two feet or you'll be scraping your stirrups on it in order to track in that circle. Makes 45 feet, for a balanced horse.

        Personally, IMHO 66 x 132 is the smallest useable size for any meaningful work.
        Last edited by ReSomething; Jan. 17, 2010, 01:20 AM. Reason: looking stuff up and commenting on that
        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
        Incredible Invisible


        • #5
          60'x 120' is the absolute smallest I would go.

          Also, remember you can possibly add length but not width later so don't scrimp much on width.

          Build it as big as possible.

          Tell your husband to think of resale value as well. Tiny arena is going to be worse than nothing to a potential buyer who wanted a standard size arena.


          • #6
            What the others said. I wouldn't go smaller then 70x140, but that's just me. You can always make the area you actually ride in smaller, but you can't move the walls one they are there


            • #7
              We just built a small personal indoor arena finished July - Love it - sent you details in pm - as I do not want to be flamed about the size here. It works beautifully for our personal use of riding and driving horses and ponies.
              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


              • #8
                Ours is 60 x 120 with about 60 x 100 useable this year due to hay/tractor storage this year. That is fine for my 15.2 TB with 1 or 2 jumps. It would be very difficult to do anything other than circles with any smaller. I wouldn't want to canter my 16.3 or 17.1 mare in anything less than my full arena
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                • #9
                  60 X 120 is a good size, you can jump in it if you want to and you have enough room to canter straight down the long side. For saddleseat you want a long straightaway.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by egontoast View Post
                    Tell your husband to think of resale value as well. Tiny arena is going to be worse than nothing to a potential buyer who wanted a standard size arena.
                    Great point, and probably one the OP's DH can relate to. I know that a few people passed on the farm I own while it was on the market for just this reason - and mine is 60x130! I definitely would have passed if it had been much smaller.
                    Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


                    • #11
                      Saddleseat rider here-absolute minimum would be 60x120, and I feel cramped in a 72X120.-but they're doable.
                      Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
                      Sam: A job? Does it pay?
                      Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
                      Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


                      • #12
                        I ride Saddle Seat. 75 wide would be my minimum, due to driving (and also gaiting young horses, turns are pretty hard for them to learn), and 150 would be my minimum length.

                        I would also have a bullpen in the center, 40' round, for working young horses, supervised turnout, lunging/long lining, etc.


                        • #13
                          Width is more expensive then length. The smallest I've ridden in was 50'x50'. We did set up some cross rails but you were truly always jumping into the corner. It was fine for flat work to keep the horses moving in the winter.

                          When I was thinking about building on my own farm, I was going to do a 50'x75'. Reasonably priced, and considering we'll still ride outside in the 100'x200' outdoor course in decent weather (including the winter) the indoor was suitable for what we would be doing.

                          I did teach lessons in a 50'x100' arena. I would have group lessons of 5 riders in there. I was a bit crazy at times, but worked for that barn for 30+ years. We could set up some rather creative 5-7 jump courses in there. It always taught the girls to look ahead, that's for sure.

                          I talked with a realtor about the arena and she said that to put a riding arena in on a non commercial piece of property does not increase it's value. Do not expect to recoup the money for the arena at it's sale, unless the property is designed and in an area that makes it proper for a lesson/training set up. That means higher end finishes everywhere - fences, stalls, driveway surfaces, etc.

                          So, with that in mind, build what you can afford to build and what you can afford to lose when you sell the property.


                          • #14
                            We have a 60x120 and I would not want it any smaller.
                            Two other size thoughts: you need good height to safely
                            jump, at least 15' from floor to bottom of rafter/trusses.

                            One possibility to sell to DH would be to initially build
                            a square building, say 60x60 or 75x75 but build it on
                            a prepared site meant for a building twice that long.
                            Have the builder put an expansion truss on the end
                            of the building and plan to extend the length when
                            you have a bit more money for the project. That way
                            it won't be quite as expensive in the beginning and
                            you and DD griping about the lack of space will get
                            through to DH that the building needs to expand.
                            As others mentioned, you can not build wider but
                            you can go longer without much trouble if you plan
                            for that.
                            Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                            Elmwood, Wisconsin


                            • #15
                              Ours is 20m x 60m (65' x 200', more or less).

                              The money in a clear span building is in the width. For me to go from 65' to 70' in width was almost 25% more. To go to 75' was almost 75% more. This was accross multiple bids from multiple contractors.

                              So spend your money on width and as much length as you can affford. You can also have the end "finished" so that you can extend the length at a later date. This will add a small amount to the total cost (about $750 IIRC for me).

                              IMO I'd not do less than 20m x 40m. That would be completely adequate for saddle seat, and give a basic start at work over fences. It's really not adequate for driving other than the most basic work.

                              When it comes to contractors, shop around. I had bids that ranged from $55,000 (more or less) to well over $120,000 on the exact same specifications. Also, do a good check on the bona fides of your contractor. Go and see some of their work and talk to the people who put it up. I did and ended up selecting the third lowest bidder who did an outstanding job for me.

                              Good luck in your project.

                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Snowflake View Post
                                I talked with a realtor about the arena and she said that to put a riding arena in on a non commercial piece of property does not increase it's value.
                                Don't listen to that realtor. I had a realtor tell me she wouldn't list my small private horse property higher than $XXX,XXX or it would NEVER sell. I disagreed, spent about $10 printing flyers emphasizing the horse amentities, posted the flyers in the local tack/feed stores, and sold it in a week for $20,000 more than that realtor claimed was too much, in addition to saving $$$$ on commission. In hindsight, I wish I'd priced it higher.

                                Horse people are a unique demographic. The property I just mentioned? The buyer told me she bought it just because the fencing was perfect...and the fencing was only worth about $10K and wasn't even taken into consideration when the realtor put a price tag on the place. I didn't even get to look at the house when I made the offer on my current place (realtor had forgotten the key) - bought it because of the barn and the indoor arena.

                                Don't forget, only ONE PERSON needs to appreciate the indoor arena and you have your place sold. Looking at big statistics and sweeping generalizations in this scenario is irrelevant IME.
                                Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


                                • #17
                                  Saddleseat rider/trainer here- we work horses in an indoor that is 50 feet wide (this includes driving them). Our lesson barn indoor is 50'x120' and is the smallest I would go. 2-3 riders can ride together comfortably in there, or 1 rider and 1 driving horse. Our training barn is 50'x250' and we had 8 riders in a group lesson the other night and are routinely working 3-4 horses (riding and driving) at a time.


                                  • #18
                                    Another lifetime saddle seat rider here as well . We have a 48 x 48 square enclosed lunge arena that I have ridden in more times than I can count on all sizes of horses and various ages, work levels. That said, if I built it again - it would be a little larger. For a serious indoor work arena for under saddle work only (no driving), I would want nothing smaller than 80 by 120 feet which is the size of the indoor arena at a barn I boarded at before my husband and I purchased a farm. I've been in smaller ones for a few schooling shows in the past and it was very cramped.
                                    Susan N.

                                    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                                    • #19
                                      My arena is 65 feet by 125 feet- it's the absolute SMALLEST arena I would bother building. I have gaited horses and trying to teach one to canter and not get tangled up and fall down or panic over it, when you have such a short long side, and then a really short short side, then OMG ok for three strides, then OMG I have to turn again?? on the short sides- it's a mental bind for them. But it's all the flat space I had so there you go. Any smaller than that, your turns up the center line, you'd have to start to prepare for one stride out of the corner- that's just too tight and too much for the horse. at least I have two strides before I have to look and start to get ready to come up the center line.

                                      The longer you can afford, the better. We can't gallop out a stride or two to free them up, no room


                                      • #20
                                        The smallest I would go is the 60 by 120. I grew up riding saddle seat and switched to hunters. My QH doesn't go saddleseat..it is work enough to get him to do dressage.

                                        The one farm that we had sent a couple of horses to for training had an indoor that was a constant circle. My dad had thought about building one like that for me but it would have been for private use and there wouldn't be jumping. My morgan was completely trained. Also money was an object.
                                        OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
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