Building a Riding Arena? 5 Things to Know Before You Get Started

Are you thinking about building an outdoor riding arena? Planning and building an horse riding arena can be a complicated process, and making mistakes can not only set back your timeline but also be costly. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider your horse arena plans and budget before you begin construction.


Here are 5 things you need to know before you get started building your riding arena:

1. Understand your building restrictions.

Just because you own the land does not necessarily mean that you can build whatever you want, wherever you want. Building considerations like the horse arena size and where you decide to build it may be restricted by local requirements and by-laws. Research any local restrictions regarding zoning, building, and conservation before you make your horse arena plans.

2. Consider the location of the arena before you start planning.

The location of the horse arena is important, as it will inform most of the planning and logistics, including the arena size. Consider where you want the arena to be located on your property. When finding a place to build the riding arena, think about the following:

  • Which direction does the sun shine?

  • Which direction does the wind usually blow?

  • Where will the water runoff go?

  • Are there any low-lying areas that will retain water?

  • Will you need to move dirt around?

3. Drainage is important.

When developing your horse arena plans, you’ll also need to think carefully about drainage. You don’t want water pooling on your arena, because this will create soft spots that impact ride quality and safety as well as maintenance needs. To encourage water off the arena, you can create a modest crown down the center line and include drains running along each side to carry water away. Depending on the amount of rainfall and the type of soil in your arena, you may need to install drains across the arena to direct water to the outsides.

4. Base and top layer materials can make or break your arena.

Though it may be easy to want to skimp on materials given the overall costs of building an arena, you don’t want to buy the cheapest base or top layer materials — these will impact the quality and safety of riding in the arena. The ideal base is hard, compact, and durable, typically made from layers of clay, gravel, sand, and lime. For the top layer, choose a material that provides good traction while keeping cost and availability in mind.

5. DIY isn’t right for everyone.

While you do have the option to do it yourself, building a riding arena can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Though the DIY route will save you some money on contracting costs, it could also open you up to making some costly mistakes. Before you decide to DIY, consider all of your options by speaking with contractors in your area and getting detailed cost quotes. Then you can make a more informed decision about whether hiring a contractor is right for you.

Overall, just the thought of designing and building a riding arena can be daunting. At Farm Ranch Store, we offer a riding arena kit from Priefert Ranch Equipment, the official equipment provider for the PRCA, NFR, and PBR. This quality kit is made of durable materials that provide a safe and attractive area for practicing and riding. The best part is, you don’t have to develop plans or hire contractors. Learn more about the Priefert Ranch Equipment riding arena.