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Optimal Arena Size

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  • Optimal Arena Size

    I just bought a new ranchette and am doing some layout planning. I am mainly a carriage driver but would also like a riding arena.

    The arena would mainly be used for:
    -flat work
    -light jumping (gymnastics, small courses)
    -breaking babies

    Amount of horses in the ring will be 1-3 at a time. This is just for my personal use, not a boarding facility.

    I'm thinking 75x150 ft. Too small?

  • #2
    For what you want, that will work fine.
    I would try to get a bit more width if possible, the length is good enough.

    The reining trainer I work with has an indoor 100' x 150' and it works very well for starting colts and doing most anything in there, with a few people working.

    I saw a clinic with 8 riders in a 100' x 100' arena and they made it work.

    A little more width will let you have more gymnastics set up in there.


    • #3
      I think you make it as large as you can manage to do, and if it's not as large as you want and you're fencing it, plan ahead for making it larger in one dimension where you can.

      We made our arena as large as we could in the front part of our property while not taking down trees (we're in the desert - trees are at a premium!) My requirement was that it be at least as large as a regulation dressage arena, which is about 69'x200'. We extended the width to 170 or 180 at its widest, and a corner of that is chopped off for driveway. This is far larger than needed for your needs, but you'd be surprised how convenient it is to have that extra space if you can work it out. I have some trot poles set up all the time, a sidepass "L" like used in a QH trail class to teach Mr. Impatient to only move when I ask, and the regulation dressage sized area marked off so I can practice movements if I want. The unbalanced Friesian cross canters in the larger area so she can balance better, and the high energy TB does trot sets working on adjustability around the entire arena.
      Originally posted by Silverbridge
      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


      • #4
        As big as you can afford, IMHO! Mine is about as big as you're talking about making and I wish it were bigger - longer, especially (I think mine is 80' wide). For me the ideal would be 100 x 200.
        "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


        • Original Poster

          I should also mention, that since I am a driver, a 80x40 meter driven dressage arena (~263x132ft) will be put in. However, that will be grass due to the carriages, but it's also easily ridden in.

          Edit: the riding arena will be in addition to the above.


          • #6
            I'm currently riding in an arena that is 80 x 150... it sucks. It's tiny and boring and hard to set more than a one stride gymnastic in. I've ridden in there with two horses, and it was do-able... but three would have been tight unless we where all in a lesson, doing the same thing.


            • Original Poster

              Here's the current layout I'm considering. Any thoughts?

              Possible Layout

              The letters in parentheses are the order in which things will be built. So, pastures first, then foaling stalls, driving arena, then (some non-horsey things), then riding arena, round pen, etc. You get the picture.

              This property is supposed to be a work in progress.


              • #8
                We built a 90' x 180'. It would have been nice to do 100' x 200". However, the budget was not limitless, we had to draw the line somewhere. I calculated about $2/sq.foot, so it would have been roughly $8000 more. The size works fine for us, 3 riders at a time max, no problem with 2. We have had a 7 jump course and room for ground poles as well. My neighbor's indoor is 75" X 120" which is fine for flatwork. I would consider making it an oval instead of a rectangle because there is wasted space with the rectangle. That is the one thing I would change if I could.


                • #9
                  My old barn had an arena that was a bit bigger than a "small" dressage arena. Around sixty-something by eighty-ish feet. It was nice that it was indoor and all, but there wasn't a ton that could be done with it.

                  My current barn has a grass riding arena of about 150x200 feet and when I first moved there I thought it was SO HUGE, lol. It's nice because I can set up different things in different sections. Like a gymnastic along one side, some trot poles along another, and still have room for dressage figures. Heck, for a while I had a small "dressage ring" set up using cones and poles on the ground to outline it and just enough room between it and the fence that it could be ridden entirely around and still had enough room on the other side of the ring for setting up a couple of jumps.

                  Basically, I love the flexibility, so I'd say if you could go wider, you'd probably be happier.
                  The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                  Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                  • #10
                    I'd make it a little bigger in both directions if you can. 100 x 200 is very useful.

                    A standard dressage arena is 60m long, which is 197ft. 200+ would be nice so you can have room for markers. 230 + so you have room to circle and enter would be luxury.

                    It will be much easier to build a small jump course if it is 100ft wide. At 75 you'll be able to build perfectly useful gymnastic exercises for training over, but it will be pretty limiting to try to set a course in with jumps on the diagonal and room to go around jumps rather than always be on a line to one.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DancingAppy View Post
                      Here's the current layout I'm considering. Any thoughts?

                      Possible Layout

                      The letters in parentheses are the order in which things will be built. So, pastures first, then foaling stalls, driving arena, then (some non-horsey things), then riding arena, round pen, etc. You get the picture.

                      This property is supposed to be a work in progress.
                      What if you moved it up against the mare motel and made it larger - making it so you could have more in/out dry lot potential when you want and not get in the way of your round pen either?

                      If I had the choice, I would also make a larger than 20m round pen, since 20m is a challenge for some young horses.

                      Overall, though, certainly not bad. I would agree with the others and just go larger if you can manage, though.
                      Originally posted by Silverbridge
                      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                      • #12
                        My opinion on indoor arenas is, the bigger, the better...and, always consider the resale value of your property in case you ever sell. A larger arena will be a big selling point. My personal dream size is a 100'x300'. I have the property to do it, just need the money for that size!

                        Indoor arenas are often sold in standard sizes, with custom sizes (say, in five foot increments from the standard) costing a LOT more, so better to go with the next size up rather than pay through the nose for something not very much larger. Sometimes there are smaller companies, depending on where you live, that will do it for less than the larger ones, but be careful to get references, you want the job done right.
                        America dialed 911. Donald Trump answered the phone.

                        Stop pumping money into colleges and start getting ready to earn money in the projected tradesman shortage of 2024. Make Trades Great Again!


                        • #13
                          For perspective, the 75 x 150 is about the size of a small court dressage arena (20 m x 40 m) which is enough to do plenty of useful flat work but IMHO quite tight for any jumping. You can set up small gymnastics but your options for courses will be pretty limited. You could make your space go a little further by making your jumps extra skinny - perhaps most of them at 8' rather than even 10' let alone 12'.

                          The 85' by 200' that you have drawn in there now will be loads nicer.

                          You might consider backing the driven dressage arena off the fence a few feet so that you have a riding (or maybe even a driving?) track around the whole outside of your property. It's quite nice to have that option when you've gotten a bit bored with the ring, even if it's mostly a walking path.

                          Last comment: it's really nice to have an easy place to park and turn your truck and trailer. I'm not sure if you have that in your layout or not.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                          • #14
                            We built our farmette from the ground up and put in a 110' x 220' arena. I'm very pleased with the size and would advise NOT building anything less than 100' wide if you intend to jump in it.