We're going to talk a lot about arenas in the coming months. We love to use them, we love to design them, and there's more to use and design than meets the eye.
Riding Arena Utility
A covered riding arena immediately opens up your equestrian activities, whether they be dressage, jumping, or just exercise and fun, as something to be enjoyed throughout the year, rather than only in the summer months when the sun is shining.
It's also much harder to come up with excuses to not spend time with your horse if you can't blame it on the weather. Two hours in a riding arena is much easier on you and your horse than two hours slogging through mud, wind, and rain.
If you're in a hot climate, the riding arena becomes protection from the sun for you and your equine friend.
Riding Arena Walls
Depending on your climate, you may want an entirely enclosed arena or something with a partial to full sidewall. A solid kickwall on the inside of the structure is much safer than a rail system where a rider's foot might get caught by a post.
With an exterior half wall, you may still need some rain protection and we sometimes do that with windscreens. If the climate is mild enough and the arena is sited in an area protected from strong winds, it can be very nice to have the sides of your arena open to the elements.
Riding Arena Lighting
An even distribution of light is important in an arena, since a horse's eyes don't adjust to light changes rapidly. It's better if you're not riding in and out of bright spots.
For this same reason, in a completely enclosed riding arena, we want to incorporate as much natural light as possible by incorporating polycarbonate shutters on the sidewalls and end gables, installing skylights, or a using a clerestory roof form.
Finally, the arena allows you to extend your riding after dark with the flick of a light switch. There are a number of good lighting options for small to large riding arenas. You can even use solar in some climates to power the arena. Stable and arena electrical lighting is something we'll discuss in a future post, as this is more important than many horse owners realize.
We have experience designing and overseeing construction of very small 60' round, open pens all the way up to huge, enclosed community and competitive riding arenas. We know first-hand how they can change the world of riding into a year-round, even daily sport. Come back here again for more information about riding arenas to see if one makes sense for your favorite sport.