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How to Build an Outdoor Horse Arena

Because of the many benefits of horseback riding and horse ownership, it’s no wonder that there are over 2 million horse owners in America. Apart from being good exercise, working with them can also be therapeutic. 

Taking care of horses takes time and money. They need to be fed, exercised, and cleaned up after. In addition to their main location of a stall or paddock, having access to an outdoor horse arena can bring added benefits to your training sessions. 

Building a horse arena gives you a controlled environment as you work with your horse. If you have an interest in building your own arena, keep reading for some recommended things you need to know before you get started. 

Budget

The first step to creating the best horse arena for your animal is to know your budget. Having a low and a high spending point will allow you to find a good starting point.

Make a list of everything you envision in your arena and then begin your budget. For example, if you know you will need fencing, figure out how much and then choose two or three different types of fencing on a low, high, and middle-end. That way if you need to cut costs or you find you can spend more, you already have your lists ready to work from. 

Determine the Size of Your Outdoor Horse Arena

The size of your arena will affect both your budget, as a larger arena will cost more, and how you can train your horse. If you intend to use the area for barrel racing or training a horse to jump, you will need a much larger area. If the intended use is to break a horse or teach riding lessons to kids, you could have a smaller one. 

Because the footing or top layer of your arena will need constant maintenance, make sure you don’t bite off more work than you can chew with too large a space, as maintaining it is important for the safety of horses and riders. 

Building the Arena

After creating a perimeter, whether by fencing or short rail, you will need to build the three layers common to an outdoor arena.

Start with your base. While this is commonly made of clay,  Equibase mats are becoming more commonplace. Place your base over hard, flattened ground to start your foundation. 

The subsurface is made up of sand or a sand mixture and pressed down over the base. 

Finish your arena off with the top layer. It should be merged with the subsurface to provide a stable riding platform. Getting a good mix of sand particle sizes and shapes can lead to better footing for your horses.

Determining how deep your top layer goes might be a case of guesswork. It’s recommended you start with 2 inches of sand and then add in half-inch increments. Don’t go above six inches, as this can cause injury to your horses. 

Make It Your Own

Creating a custom-made outdoor horse arena means that it will serve your needs as far as location and materials. You can work with your horse knowing that the space is safe and just as you envisioned. 

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