Whether you want to use it for dressage, showjumping, campdrafting or as a professional lesson space, here are some of our insider tips for building an equine arena that both horse and rider will love!
1. Avoid the use of columns
Contemporary equine arenas make the most of all available floor space. By designing for an open, column-free space, you create more freedom of movement for animals, better utilise the space for activities such as jumping or dressage, help reduce the risk of accidents, and help ensure that the floor wears more evenly.
2. Be mindful of drainage
Depending on your site, drainage can be an issue. Standing water and damp environments can cause issues with horses’ hoofs, and make conditions too slippery for safety. Ensure that your arena has appropriate drainage and that it’s built to avoid run-off entering the yards.
3. Don’t skimp on the base materials
Horses are robust, but they can be easily injured attempting high-speed or high-impact manoeuvres on an inappropriate surface. And on the flip side, their hoofs can easily damage a poorly constructed floor.
For these reasons a properly compacted base with a top layer of gently cushioned support that provides appropriate traction is a must. Wood shavings, rubber, sand, and limestone and granite chips are all options for your top layer.
4. Consider use patterns
Before you start building, think about the type of traffic patterns that your arena will likely see, and how this will affect its durability. You can factor this into the overall design of the arena, and undertake preventative maintenance such as regularly raking your floor to keep the top layer consistently and evenly packed. Maintenance is a huge part of arena life.
5. Choose large openings
Because horses can get spooked in narrow spaces, it’s imperative to select appropriately-sized entrances that offer plenty of room to calmly move in and out.
6. Opt for durable, low-corrosion materials
A horse riding arena endures plenty of wear and tear and can be a highly corrosive environment. Choose options such as hot-dipped galvanised trusses and columns, as these will help protect your arena from the elements and the daily demands.
A lot goes into designing and building the perfect equestrian arena, but getting it right is worth every penny. A high quality and durable arena will provide a great environment for riders – and a safe and comfortable one for horses as well!