You’ve decided that you are ready to make the jump and develop a new horse arena on your property. Now you have to decide how to go about developing and building your new arena.

Should you hire horse arena builders to actually construct your new facility? Are there contractors that can carry the horse arena planning, development, and construction process from start to finish?

What to consider when planning an equestrian arena

Once you’ve decided to build an arena, there are a lot of other factors you will need to consider. Some are environmental and outside of your control, while others relate to your specific project and goals.

End users and intended discipline

There are different types of arena footing and even bases that work best with different horse disciplines. Deciding whether you prefer a dressage arena or a multi-purpose arena that can work for a variety of different riders will influence your end product.


When developing a horse arena, regardless of discipline, one of the most critical components is the ability of the sub-base, base, and footing to effectively channel water. Without proper drainage, rainstorms and even just watering your arena will result in uneven ground, which can result in injuries to the horses that ride.


Of course, one of the greatest considerations for your new horse arena is your budget. While it may be tempting to cut some corners to reduce upfront costs, that will only lead to higher maintenance costs. With our arena footing, you can develop a quality arena without breaking the bank.

Steps to building a new arena

Regardless of whether you choose to work with a contractor (or multiple specialists), you will need to complete the following steps in any horse arena construction project. In many cases, including when the environmental conditions are not ideal, you will need to complete additional steps and work with specialists.

Determine arena uses and size

The first step to developing your horse arena is clarifying the intended disciplines that will use it, which should dictate the size you choose. For instance, most dressage arenas are approximately 20 x 60 meters. If you hope to have a variety of user types then 100 x 200 feet is an excellent size.

Select location

Once you know the size and intended use, you can begin making decisions about arena location. It’s at this phase that you need to decide whether you want an outdoor or indoor arena and what location will best support that arena. Some analysis of the site should be completed at this phase.

Prepare site

Now that you have a location selected, you can begin the process of preparing the site. Ensure that the sub-base is level and free of any rocks, roots, or other impediments. Other parts of this important phase include installing a containing wall and ensuring the arena has an appropriate slope.

Install base

Once the sub-base is complete and a geotextile fabric is installed, you can begin the process of developing the arena base. While there are different options, we recommend using a geocell product with compacted stone to ensure reduced arena maintenance costs down the road.

Install footing

Whether you hire a horse arena footing contractor or complete the installation yourself, the footing composition and installment is a critical step. While the stability of the base and drainage flows of the sub-base are what will allow your arena to last, the footing is what will ensure that your footing works for the horses and riders that use it.

Should I hire a contractor to build my horse arena?

Unless you are a proven expert in equestrian arena designs, builds, and maintenance, you will need to enroll the assistance of some contractors. Whether you choose to hire a firm that can lead you through the horse arena development process or a group of contractors that can complete different parts of the project depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Budget
  • Your Expertise
  • Arena Complexity
  • Intended Uses and Capacity
  • Environmental Conditions

What makes a good horse arena contractor?

Just because someone says they can build a horse arena, doesn’t mean that they have the experience, expertise, and understanding of the intricacies of equestrian disciplines.

As you consider whether to enroll the help of contractors for individual components or the entirety of your arena, these are some markers of a great horse arena contractor.

Portfolio of similar arenas

One of the best ways to know if a contractor is capable of completing your arena is if they have experience in similar projects. It’s not just enough for them to have a portfolio of previous arenas; those arenas need to be similar to your project in factors like cost, discipline, environment, and base material.

Attention to detail

One of the best marks of a great contractor is a proven ability to understand the details. Any contractor that you hire to help with your horse arena project must be meticulous, observant, and committed to getting every detail right. Failure to complete every smallest detail correctly can result in added maintenance costs or even injuries to riders and horses alike.

Experience with different parts of riding arena construction process

When building an arena, many owners will hire a series of specialists to assist with different parts of the project, such as site development, grading, drainage, footing, fencing, etc. In an ideal world, you will be able to hire one or two contractors that can walk you through the development and construction of your project.

Understands every arena is different

When working with arena designs and construction projects, it’s critical that any contractor you hire remember that every arena is different. If you are considering a contractor and they provide any indication that

Quality footing for your new arena

No matter your budget, the environmental conditions, the intended uses, or whether you end up hiring a contractor, one of the most important components of your arena is the footing. The arena specialists at Performance Footing have helped SOMETHING across the Country develop top-tier dressage arenas, facilities for show jumping, and multi-purpose equestrian arenas.

Our team understands the importance of investing in all layers of an arena.

Contact our Footing Specialists today by calling (877)-835-0878.