An indoor or outdoor riding arena is one of the most valuable assets any equestrian or horse owner can own. They gain the convenience to ride their horses whenever they wish at the location of their choice without relying on expensive training facilities and stingy farmers. Specifying the space to their animal’s needs as well as their own, riding arenas can be built to last the lifetime, including those of several horse generations.
Along with the careful planning and preparation that are put into the facility construction is the riding arena size, which is crucial to the success of the space and horses. It is one of the first decisions equestrians should make.
There are general specifications that should be taken advantage of for all horse owners as they consider basic measurements. However, specific riding area sizes are determined depending upon the horse’s discipline and health as well as the facility purposes of the horse owner.
Indoor General Specifications
For outdoor riding arenas, height does not cause much issue since the area is exposed to wide open space for the rider and horse to move. However, indoor height measurements are the same across the board for indoor riding arenas with some variation involved.
We recommend an indoor facility have an interior height from 16 feet to 18 feet to ensure mounted riders do not touch the ceiling. For jumpers, it is a good idea to stay in the higher end of the height range and add an additional foot or two if they believe it is needed. Similarly, entrance/exit doors should be around 13 to 15 feet tall for the same reasons as the arena height, protecting both equestrians and horses.
Discipline: Dressage or Jumping?
Horse owners will determine the riding arena sizes for width and length depending on the discipline of their horses.
The official footage for a competition standard dressage arena is 20 meters by 60 meters, totaling 12,915 square feet. Equestrians have the freedom to increase or decrease these measurements, but the original ratio must stay intact, otherwise they will spend long hours practicing in the wrong riding arena size. To fit a full course, we suggest that jumpers build an arena that is 20,000 square feet (100 feet by 200 feet).
Horse Health and Age Evaluation
Even after you have identified your horse’s discipline to select the standard arena size, the animal’s health and age may change those specifications.
Did you know that if a horse is forced to run small circles in their arena due to its size, it will wear on their legs and can lead to unsoundness? Any competition-ambitious equestrians and horse owners need to be aware that the overall success of their horse does not lie only in consistent training sessions and premier horse arena footing, but also whether the riding arena size is right for the animal.
Truss Installation and Manufacturers
The placement of trusses in indoor riding arenas is not often thought of when considering the overall size, but to truss manufacturers it is key.
Trusses will be installed by professionals on your indoor arena’s ceiling every 12 feet in a majority of cases, which means your dimensions need to be divisible by twelve. For example, the standard dressage arena measurements of 20 meters by 60 meters is effective because you can fit exactly five sets of trusses longways in your arena. Decide who is going to install trusses in your future arena and ask them their policy for truss installation so you can pick your indoor riding arena size with confidence.
Riding Lessons/Multiple Disciplines
Other considerations for indoor and outdoor riding arena sizes are made when thinking about whether the horse owner desires to give riding lessons or implement more than one discipline.
When equestrians are helping several horse riders mount and trot across an arena at the same time, changes must be made to accommodate. There needs to be enough room for all parties to move freely without feeling cramped by other riders. In addition, you may own several horses with different disciplines, which recommend constructing a massive space to house all of them. A larger arena will increase property value, so even if dressage or jumping is stopped, your efforts would not be wasted.
Test Your Riding Arena Size
Once horse owners have carefully thought through their riding arena size, they are not ready at the moment to start building. Our recommendations are standard riding arena sizes and guidelines, but are not binding rules for all horse riders.
You can take materials such as cones, bales, PVC pipe, rope and poles to layout on the ground in straight lines. Then, practice riding in that specified area with your horse for at least a week, performing any normal routines or training sessions to get used to the space.
Although the standard dressage arena is 20 meters by 60 meters, you may conclude after testing the measurements that your horse needs additional room to make circles. These judgments and tweaks should be made to ensure you have the riding arena size that meets your horse’s needs.
Review of Riding Arena Size
All riding arena construction projects require careful thought and planning behind them, which is why selecting the right riding arena size is important. To meet your horse’s needs and help it succeed during its lifespan, you must identify its discipline and evaluate its physical condition, including health and age.
It is recommended to abide by certain arena specifications for both indoor and outdoor arenas and keep in touch with your truss manufacturer. Finally, you have to give your horse an opportunity to test your new riding arena size to see whether it is the correct fit or not.
You and your horse will be able to benefit from the conveniences afforded by owning your own riding arena. No longer will you have to be dependent upon stingy farmers and expensive riding facilities to train your competitor to become the best it can be.
At Performance Footing, we are available to help you create an indoor or outdoor arena that is built to last a lifetime. With easy installation footing by expert equestrians, you will be on your way to constructing your dream riding arena.
Send us a note online or call us at 877.835-0878 with any questions you have about riding arena size or our reliable footing products.