East-West Arena Construction Blog

The 5 biggest mistakes made when building a horse arena

Posted by East-West Arena Construction

Feb 7, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Arena construction is an exciting time for any type of barn. It offers the promise of a new ring complete with new footing and a revitalized look for the entire barn. If horses could talk, they would surely be neighing in support of any arena construction project. But before you get the excavator or backhoe out, be sure to avoid making any of the following costly mistakes.


  • Choosing the Wrong Location: All too often the wrong location is chosen due to aesthetic reasons. Arenas should never be constructed at the base of hills, on a slope, or in the path of runoff water.

    Tips to Choosing the Right Location: When it comes to choosing the right location it is always a good idea to work with nature. Pick a spot that is at the top of a hill or above a natural grade. These two options will help your outdoor arena drain more easily after a rain fall. An area that has a nice mixture of sun and shade is also ideal for all season riding. 
  • Poor Drainage Installation: Drainage systems need to be installed based on location. If you have chosen a poor location then you will find it much harder to properly drain your arena. 

    Tips to Correct Drainage Installation: Depending on the location and anticipated amount of precipitation you should consider constructing a modest crown down the center line of the arena. This will encourage water to drain from the arena. Anticipate where the drained water will end up. Nobody likes a well-drained arena but a boggy swamp surrounding the exterior. 
  • Choosing the Incorrect Materials: Arena materials are not all created equally. Raw materials change from region to region. In fact, shipping the materials to your barn is typically more expensive than the actual cost of the raw materials. Choosing the incorrect materials most often occurs when the local weather, soil, and use conditions are not properly weighed. 

    Tips to Choosing the Right Materials: Know your soil, weather patterns, and the intended arena use. Ask for a sample of the raw materials and test them out. Knowing that the lime performs according to its description will save a lot of money and heartache down the road.
  • Poor Maintenance: A beautifully constructed arena is only as good as the post arena construction maintenance plan. Poor maintenance results in poor riding conditions.

    Tips to Great Ring Maintenance: As mentioned in our post, Proper Technique for Dragging an Arena, ring maintenance should be conducted on a daily basis. Properly dragging and watering the arena will help to create the ideal riding surface. Don't forget to remove manure from all GGT footing blends.
  • Getting the Fall Wrong: The wrong fall results in pooled water, slippery riding conditions, and a poorly constructed arena.

    Tips to Achieving the Right Fall: Working with a trusted arena construction specialist will help you to get the fall right. Ultimately achieving the correct fall will depend on choosing the best location.

When it comes to arena construction remember that one mistake can lead to others down the road. Working with a ring specialist will help you to avoid these costly mistakes. Before you build, remember to check the location, drainage, fall, materials, and always conduct proper maintenance.


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Topics: Arena Construction

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