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Building an indoor for dressage horses, recommendations

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  • Building an indoor for dressage horses, recommendations

    Basically I just want ideas? We are in the beginning stages of planning on building our indoor and I would like to know what everyone likes about their indoors and what they don’t like. What size would you recommend? What kind of footing do you have and do you like it? What kind of lighting do you have? How much lighting do you have or recommend? Are viewing rooms worth it? We would like to have clinics at the farm some day, what would you recommend special for hosting things like that? Anything else you can think of?

    We have a somewhat limited budget so anything that can get us the most bang for our buck would be great.

    Thanks for your ideas.

  • #2
    BO built 200x70, rubber (ground up tires) sand mix footing, mirrors on one short side. attached storage area that doubles as a viewing area (unheated).

    Heated viewing area would be nice, but they built it on limited funds more to train and ride .

    I think the lights are nickel halide, there are 4 on each side, roughly centered above the quarter line, and they seem adequate. I don't do much night riding. I think they gave themselves the option of adding 3 more on the center line, but never did.

    I'd say it is functional but not fancy.
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      We are in the beginning stages of planning on building our indoor and I would like to know what everyone likes about their indoors and what they don’t like.

      What size would you recommend?

      Minimum 80x200. Preferably longer so that you can put up a dressage court and still have room to ride around the outside edges and then could have a show there. Think about resale. Mine is 80x200, but I had some boundary restrictions that prevented me from going longer.

      What kind of footing do you have and do you like it?

      Sand and rubber. No, I'm not crazy about it. I probably would never get the rubber again. No benefit imo. Also, sand is a pain in the butt because it breaks down (to powder) and compacts. I don't think there is any perfect footing. I prefer a less deep footing.

      What kind of lighting do you have? How much lighting do you have or recommend?

      Actually, I have some make-shift lighting.....just enough to get by. I ran over budget, and because I ride mostly in the day and it's a private farm, lighting wasn't an issue.

      Are viewing rooms worth it? We would like to have clinics at the farm some day, what would you recommend special for hosting things like that?

      I can't see any point to a viewing room. Just have enough room outside the dressage riding area to set up chairs for auditors. A viewing room would have to be pretty large to accomodate a big group of auditors anyway.

      We have a somewhat limited budget so anything that can get us the most bang for our buck would be great.

      Anything else you can think of.

      Attach the indoor to the barn, or provide a covered breezeway from the barn to the indoor. I don't have that and it is miserable in bad weather. Think beforehand, about where you want your doors, windows, and mirrors. Think about whether you want steel or wood, shingles or steel roof. Make sure you have access to water close to the indoor for sprinkling. Put in lots of windows for light. Skylights, I don't have. Heard they can leak. Indoors can be hotter than heck in the Summer. If you can afford big ceiling fans...budget them in. I didn't and I swelter in the Summer with no outdoor ring.

      Comment


      • #4
        My indoor is 70 by 144 with a 12 foot ceiling. Slightly larger than a smaller dressage arena. I have copies of all of the FN tests which are written for small arenas so we can train through grand prix with no issues. Great size for loose jumping, which we also do lots of. We have side light panels, none on the roof. The roof is insulated with a bubble type material and is remarkably warm in winter and cool in the summer. Lights are indoor/ outdoor type (12) plus an single light at the door into the barn aisle. Big doors (12 foot) at each end plus a horse access door on the south side---I really wouldn't change anything. Footing is a mix of sand and loam which we work up every other day-- it has about 1 ton of salt added each winter to hold moisture and act as an antifreeze.
        By March however, we are ready to go outside and enjoy the 90 by 230 outdoor ring.
        Anne
        -------
        "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

        Comment


        • #5
          I think viewing rooms are a waste of money as they are seldom used except if easily accessed and you have lots of little kids taking lessons (then moms tend to hang and watch). They can also be problematic as some horses will spook from them. The nice ones I've seen were where the viewing room connected the arena to the barn - could be a tack room so multi purpose. They don't work well in clinics for keeping people warm in winter as people are forced to stand and then only the first row can actually see - leads to people standing around talking which is awful for those who are there to learn.

          Metal roofs need insulation or it'll rain inside the arena.

          Depending on what you like, Coveralls can be a great option as they have lots of height which means cooler in the summer and they let in lots of light - the white cover also reflects the interior lights well - you need fewer lights and don't have to use them as often. You do have to watch mold rot on the fabric as it eats the seams. Some of the models have side curtains which open in summer time to let in lots of air - no need for fans. Worth checking out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Git yerself a coupla BIG ASS FANS

            Very quiet, and they can move some serious amount of air. Ventilation is extremely important - both to let hot air out in the summer and to vent moist air in the winter - that way you might prevent the dreaded winter "indoor rain".
            "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton

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            • #7
              Panels at the top of the walls for natural light. During the day, even when it is overcast we rarely use the lights.

              If you routinely have snow, go with a shingled roof rather than metal. Nothing is spookier than snow sliding off the roof. Except perhaps snow sliding off a coverall roof, and then getting tons brighter.

              I would not want less than 200 ft long. We can easily lunge two horses with little fear of even a energetic horse causing trouble with the other horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
                Git yerself a coupla BIG ASS FANS

                Very quiet, and they can move some serious amount of air. Ventilation is extremely important - both to let hot air out in the summer and to vent moist air in the winter - that way you might prevent the dreaded winter "indoor rain".
                The Big Ass fans are awesome, I've seen them at the U of MN vet facility as well as the fairgrounds in OKC. However, the minimum clearance from the ceiling is 3', and even though I have a 17' ceiling height in my indoor, I wasn't comfortable putting in the BA fans, and having them only 14' high, since we train jumpers too. So, if you are interested in them, I would be very careful to plan on a ceiling that gives you plenty of clearance.

                Comment


                • #9
                  thanks

                  Thanks for all the ideas. I will definitely be putting in fans.

                  How do you keep the dust down? Does anyone have a sprinkler system that they use and like or is it better to put an additive into the footing?

                  What height are most of your ceilings? We talked to a builder that said 14 ft is the norm. I am thinking taller so we can put in the fans.

                  We are in central Ohio, does anyone have a builder that they recommend? I think we are going to go with a steel building unless we can get a good price on something else.

                  Thanks again, and keep coming with more ideas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am in Soutwest Ohio and I used Peoples building. They are near Akron, but travel all over the East Coast. Very easy to work with and know what they are doing. They had great suggestions. If I did again, I would put in longer clear wall panels.(they go at the top, down the long sides) Mine are 4 ft, but with the framing, I effectively have only about 3 feet of light. Mine is 70 x 150 to fit in the small arena with room on the end. It is 17 ft. high for jumping, but is for private use only..
                    I understood that the wider you go it becomes much more expensive due to the trusses. Before I built I had a friend tell me " If you look up and see nothing but wood, you're in good shape. If there's a lot of spaces, that roof won't hold up to snow or wind"
                    I also put on an asphalt roof. No leaks and much quieter. I have 2 rows of 7 lights, on the quarter lines, but wired alternately, so I can turn on one set only. So light 1,3,5,7 in row one comes on with 2,4,6 in row 2 and conversly.
                    Footing is an issue. Did have a water hydrant put in right outside the door.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you're on a budget, the BigAssFans are going to blow it. For my 200x80 ring, they gave me a figure of around 20k, and that doesn't include labor. I don't know how you even find someone to install them.

                      The other high ticket item a shingle roof. Those prices have skyrocketed. I have the steel roof, as do many indoors in my area. Yes, the ice slides and makes a noise. Not a big deal. It's not that often that it happens. I don't have any leaks, but then, my indoor isn't old.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Whispering Oaks Dressage View Post
                        Thanks for all the ideas. I will definitely be putting in fans.

                        How do you keep the dust down? Does anyone have a sprinkler system that they use and like or is it better to put an additive into the footing?

                        We use Mag and it works well, I have never watered in five years and we have no dust

                        What height are most of your ceilings? We talked to a builder that said 14 ft is the norm. I am thinking taller so we can put in the fans.

                        16 feet

                        We are in central Ohio, does anyone have a builder that they recommend? I think we are going to go with a steel building unless we can get a good price on something else.

                        Thanks again, and keep coming with more ideas
                        Some stuff not yet mentioned. I went overboard with lights and have never regretted it, no shadows, feels warm and feels like daylight, even at night.

                        Also, I positioned the longside to the south, and put in double height windows right round. The effect is that of passive solar, on a sunny day, the arena can be 10 to 15 degrees warmer than outside.

                        If you do not connect to your barn, make sure you have an easy to open horse door, up and over garage door, or other large, but easily opened and closed door.

                        Make sure your main doors are large enough to accommodate a dump truck, placing all that footing manually is not fun.

                        Also really handy, if you do your own hay, to make sure that the doors accommodate a full hay wagon, this has saved us many times, when the rain appears as we have several loads to load into the hay loft.


                        Have fun, you will be so pleased!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mine is 70 x 150. Skylights as well as a light panel down one long side (my arena is attached to my barn on the other long side). As someone else mentioned, unless it's really dark outside I seldom use the lights. Lights...can't have enough of them, IMO, esp. if you hold clinics and people want to video. I had my electrician wire them so I don't have to use ALL of them simultaneously -- saves electricity if you only need a little light.

                          Sprinkler system is well worth the expense (labor/time-wise). I have mirrors at both ends and two of them on the long side -- with plywood covers on hinges, so I can easily cover them when working horses freely. A BNT mentioned what I good idea that was as he knew of tragic accident when a fractious horse was being worked at liberty and it tried to "jump" through the mirror. Broke his neck.

                          My ceilings are 17' high (also for jumping, if need be). Also have one large and 2 small cupolas with exhaust fans, in lieu of fans - that keep the air moving on really hot days. But again I seldom use them as I have 16' sliding doors on 3 sides that keeps things cool. Kick walls are 7" high instead of the typical 4".

                          I chose not to use rubber footing as the indoor can double as a turnout area when we have icy weather and the horses are stuck inside. Mine is a 1/2" layer of bluestone dust over the base for grip, 2" of construction (angular) sand and about an 1" of hardrock maple shavings.
                          Stays very light and floofy.

                          Personally, I don't think a viewing room (especially if you have big doors) are worth the extra expense. I don't think I'd do anything differently unless I intended to hold shows -- in that case I'd have made it longer and wider.

                          Hope this helps.
                          www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                          "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                          Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            True, the windows provide warmth and sunlight in the Winter. In the Summer, they make it much hotter and also dry out the footing. In the Winter, I rarely have to water. In the Summer, I water daily. I do it by hand.....cheaper and quicker. But then, the footing only has to stay damp and dust free for two rides.

                            Susan, why do you not like rubber for turning out in the indoor. Is it fear of them eating it?

                            Doors....mine I hate. I have one one-way sliders. Hard to push and the bottom freezes in the Winter. Are the overhead doors nice?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, if I use the indoor for "turnout" I don't want them ingesting rubber with the hay.
                              www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                              "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                              Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Use of rubber can create dust which over time coats the horse's lungs. There are cases of horses dying as a result. We salt twice a year--very cheap--and helps hold water in the footing.
                                Anne
                                -------
                                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE=ToN Farm;3800699]If you're on a budget, the BigAssFans are going to blow it. For my 200x80 ring, they gave me a figure of around 20k, and that doesn't include labor. I don't know how you even find someone to install them.QUOTE]

                                  That’s why I like the exhaust fans I can’t even imagine spending 20k on fans It sounds like those of you with lots of doors don’t need the fans. I might look into putting one big door on each wall as well as an oversized “man door” on the side by the barn. I have seen a 4ft man door that I am sure the majority of horses can handle walking through in the winter. I wish we could attach the arena to the barn but it is just not possible, but they will only be 40ft apart. Our land slopes and building the arena up to meet the barn would cost us as much in fill dirt as building the arena.

                                  Bronte- you said you have double height windows. Are they normal glass pane windows? How high are they? Do they open?

                                  not again- you said you "salt" your footing. What exactly is salting? I have never heard of this exactly but I know there are additives that you can mix in footing.

                                  Anyone have issues with skylights leaking when it rains?

                                  Thanks again everyone.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We use mixing salt, such as is added to feed. It comes in 80 pound bags which can sit in the tractor bucket and be slit and dribbled out while the tractor stirs it in with the drag. No calcium chloride or strange oil based chemicals for me. The salt holds moisture and on humid days attracts moisture. Kills molds too.
                                    Anne
                                    -------
                                    "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've been in some indoors with sand and/or screenings which were horrendously dusty, and an indoor in Kentucky that had 100% rubber footing, and not a bit of dust.

                                      I honestly believe that it comes down to how you maintain your footing- regardless of what you select.
                                      When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
                                      www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
                                      http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If you have a latex allergy you have to be very careful around rubber.
                                        Anne
                                        -------
                                        "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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