It’s time to build your first backyard horse arena, which means no more boarding every time you want to ride on a great footing surface. You can keep all your equipment and horses at the barn rather than trailer it 30 minutes away or more. However, it can be difficult to construct the arena when money limits your options.

Our team wants you to enjoy a brand new backyard arena at an affordable cost. But we wouldn’t be honest if we told you everything was cost-friendly. Not only should you think about saving pennies, but also building an arena that will last.

You’d have to pay thousands later on if you cheap out on costs that can’t be done in your current price range.
We have some tips for building a horse arena on a budget, whether it’s a casual, dressage, or jumping arena. They will tell you more about how to construct a riding arena with limited funds and prepare an arena you can enjoy for years to come.

Arena Components on a Budget

You can find ways to decrease costs on your arena base, sand/footing, and fencing. These methods will get you a riding arena up and running that allows for further construction as funds allow.

Your horse will thank you later for considering these crucial components that affect his health, performance, and horse training


Every horse owner swears by different types of sands. It’s likely your horse-owning neighbors bought their tons of sand from a local dealer. We recommend speaking with them about places nearby where you can purchase the product at a low price. The alternative is dealing with high shipping costs through online vendors.

As for footing, the primary ingredient for yoga mat footing, fiber-textile footing, and other mixtures is sand. We believe additives are transformational to your backyard horse arena, but you may not be able to afford them at this moment.

However, it’s wise to start by adding sand and purchasing an additive you can mix into that. It will save you thousands upfront on the expensive footing and give you more time to research and save for the best additive.

If you already have sand in your indoor or outdoor arena, you’ll need to calculate how many inches of sand you have. Use this number to evaluate your arena footing need and how much money you could spend on it.

Riding Arena Base

Arena sand is a great way to start cheap while holding off on footing and building a horse arena on a budget. But what you may not know is you can’t approach bases the same way. Compacted bases are foundational to your backyard horse arena’s functionality, and your entire project will fall flat without a durable material.

Incorrect bases are the primary cause of poor ground stabilization, which produces deep spots, high spots, and uneven arena surfaces. You can keep adding sand and dragging what you have, but you’ll have to tear the arena apart to get to the root cause. And that requires undoing all the money you’ve done to replace the base.

Our suggestion for saving you money down the road is to install an excellent base from the start. Limestone, metal, and other durable bases are great options to consider.
However, products like geocell grid bases also provide drainage while stabilizing your riding surface.


You and your partner may care a lot about the arena’s exterior while building the rest of the project on a budget. In that case, feel free to spend what you want to make the fencing look beautiful.

Our suggestion is to improve the sand/footing later if you’re doing arena construction with low funds. Or you’ll want to extend the backyard arena when you have enough money. That means you’d have to rip out your fencing to make it happen, but it is necessary if you want a bigger riding surface.

Purchasing kickboards and fence pickets from a local supplier are two low-cost horse arena fencing options. They will prevent the fencing from rotting while giving you something to start with, keeping your horses from getting out. You want fencing at least 4 ft 6 inches higher than the riding surface.

Concreting the fencing is ideal, so your fence pickets don’t bow out or look bad over the years. But if you’re just getting an arena up and running, this isn’t as much of a concern.

Construction Methods to Save Money

It is still possible to spend thousands putting your arena together while approaching your arena components with a budget-conscious mind. Shipping online building materials and hiring working crews will skyrocket past your budget.

Haul Your Own Materials

As we suggested, you should look for sand and fencing from local dealers where you can haul them yourself. The alternative is buying them online and paying the price for a company to ship them.

Purchase heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles to move loads of arena sand yourself rather than pay somebody else. However, the time and labor it takes you to accomplish this may cost more than the money it takes you.

Install Your Own Arena

Similarly, you can pay tons of money having workers construct your arena. We advise doing the work on your own, especially when putting in arena bases and footing with easy self-installation.

It can be challenging to put an entire arena together with you and your partner only. So it would be unrealistic to expect a quick arena assembly without a dedicated team.

Your timeline for the riding arena depends on what money you can put down and what installation you are willing to do. And you might also want to have someone else do it for you if you are physically unable to do the manual labor.

Need Advice for Your Arena Budget?

We’re a company of equestrians just like you who understand what it’s like to not have your own backyard arena. Our team has helped hundreds of horse owners build their riding arenas by answering their questions.

If you jump horses, have specific arena size requirements, or don’t know how you should add sand, we can help.

Recommending the right bases, footing, and drags, we can advise you more on building a horse arena on a budget. Also, our representatives can give you a long-term vision of your arena, so you upgrade accordingly and make it something your horse loves to ride on.

Give us a call with any questions at (877).835.0878 or send us a note online. We’d be happy to speak with like-minded horse people.