What To Consider When Building A Horse Arena

by Grace Motley

If you have decided that you are going to build an indoor riding arena for you and your horse, it is important that you know what it takes to build a good arena. One of the most important parts of the arena is the footing, as this is what helps to optimize overall performance and minimize wear and tear on your horse. Keep reading to learn a few things that you need to take into consideration to begin the planning stages of your arena.

Arena Usage

Depending on the sport that you take part in, you will need a different type and size of arena. For instance, you may need a round pen if you focus on training younger horses. However, you may need a rectangle arena if you are a dressage rider. If you jump or partake in driving competitions, then you will need a considerably large arena. If you plan on holding any kind of horse shows at your arena, then you will want to build space for warm-ups and anything else that may be required. Determining how you will use the arena will not only determine its size but also the most ideal footing.


Prior to beginning construction, take a look at the proposed building site. You will need to ensure that it is level enough to ride but also has plenty of slope for water drainage. If you plan to water the arena, you will want to ensure there is a water source nearby. In addition, you need to determine the type of soil that is located in the area. A soil test is the best way to determine the soil type.

Solid Foundation

The foundation tends to be overlooked when it comes to building an arena, but the foundation is one of the most important components of building a good horse arena. The foundation needs to have a sub-base as well as a base so that you can have a good footing. The usage of the arena will ultimately determine the depth of your base. For instance, a jumping arena will likely have a deeper base than an arena that is used for dressing. You may want to consider using geotextiles between the sub-base and base, as it can enhance drainage, protect the sub-base, and prevent the movement of the sub-base.

Keep in mind that your footing will only be as good as the base that it is installed on. So, while you could choose not to install a sub-base and base, you may find yourself paying expensive vet bills down the road due to harm done to your horse as a result.


Again, when choosing footing, you will need to think about you will use your arena and whether it is indoor or outdoor. You should also need to consider whether you need firm support, traction, and/or cushioning. You need to also think about what type of material is accessible in your local area. There are many options available, but you need to ensure that there is no odor or dust to avoid respiratory issues for the riders and horses.

For more information, consider reaching out to an arena consulting firm or a contractor in your area with experience building indoor riding arenas.