8 Steps To Building Your Dream Horse Arena

Are you considering building an arena at home? Inspired by Instagram picture perfect arenas? Our expert equestrian surfaces team work with some of the best arena installation firms in the UK. In this blog, they share their tips on what to consider to ensure your dream manège doesn’t turn into a nightmare construction.

Choosing The Right Location

Planning to put your dream arena in the middle of a field away overlooking your yard? Typically, local authorities tend to favour builds near to existing buildings. An experienced arena construction company will be apt at helping you choose the perfect arena location.

For example, selecting a spot away from trees will not only remove the issue of falling leaves and root intrusion but, again, could prevent your planning office from objecting over concerns over the influence on any mature trees in the vicinity.

Best Laid Plans

The whole planning process for arena installation can take up to three months. Your arena construction company will usually handle the entire process for you. If you are planning on building your dream arena in an area of outstanding beauty, the aesthetics of your equestrian arena will be of grave importance. If you are planning to install lighting, then be aware that you may have to compromise depending on the location (neighbours or even public roads can be determining factors).

Down To Earth

The soil that you are working with also needs to be considered. If your soil is boggy or particularly rocky, this can add to the overall cost. Access to the site is also an important consideration. Running through more smaller lorries because the bigger trucks can’t gain access due to boggy ground or narrow entrances can also bump up the price.

Size Matters

During those first discussions with your arena construction company, the actual size and use of the dream arena should be spoken about in depth. Most dressage riders will opt for a 60 x 20 arena, but for show-jumping, most developers will recommend extra width to allow more scope for jump placement.

If you are planning on doing a lot of lunging, then you might want to consider installing a separate lunging pen. Building a lunging pen is better in the long term rather than compromising your arena with this type of localised intense activity. 

It’s All About The Base

Would you still expect your house to be standing if it was built on weak foundations?! Get the base of your school right, and you and your horses will enjoy years of a well-drained, sure-footed arena, needing only to replace your top layer, fencing and kickboards when they reach the end of their life expectancy. Invest in your arena at the base level, paying particular attention to drainage.

Invest In The Best

It’s important to remember that whatever premium surface you put on your arena, it will only ever be able to perform as intended if the underlying base is correctly deposited and fit for long term performance. Don’t sacrifice on membranes and stone and ensure that your drainage network is appropriately laid and prepared.

Choose Your Top Layer Carefully

Choosing your top surface layer needs to be done with consideration and is the ‘icing on the cake’ for building a new dream arena.

With so many equestrian surfaces to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which is best for your newly constructed arena.

Factors to consider include the life span of the surface, the type and amount of use and even water retention can all sway your final decision. Once you have decided on the arena surface you want, then do further investigation.

Cheap doesn’t equate to quality. Our Eco-Surfaces are very competitively priced and also come in 5 different variations. Whether you’re looking for a surface to withstand heavy traffic use, a binding fibre to mix with sand or a quality arena surface at a lower price point without compromising on quality.

Our collection of durable, cushioned fibre arena surfaces are manufactured in the UK with exceptional care and processing. All our eco-surfaces are all-weather. Our surfaces cope well with wet and dry and are frost resistant and retain good moisture content for those prolonged dry weather patterns.

Reputation Is Everything

Reputation and customer service are crucial to your horse manège build. Choosing a company which prides itself on delivering outstanding customer care is as important as the finished result.

Whether you are selecting a premium arena surface or full arena construction, do your research before parting with your money.

Talk To Our Friendly Team Today For Your Arena Surface Requirements.

Enjoyed Reading This Blog? You Might Like 8 Tips For Looking After Your Arena Surface.

8 Tips For Looking After Equestrian Surfaces

Looking after your equestrian surfaces will prolong the life of the arena and ensure you have a reliable and consistent surface to ride on. In this blog, the Green Birch Equestrian Surfaces Team share their top tips for maintaining an arena surface.

The Right Arena Equipment

With so many equestrian surfaces to choose from, it’s important to note that different arena surfaces require variations in arena maintenance and arena equipment. For example, a silica sand and rubber mix will, over time, compact the sand down to a solid base to leave a top layer of rubber alone. 

This combination requires harrowing with specialist equipment to penetrate beyond the surface. It will also require more watering during the dry summer months than, for example, our eco-fibre surfaces

Pick Your Horse’s Feet Out 

Picking out your horse’s feet each time you leave the horse ménage, might not seem like much. However, over the years and depending on how many horses are using the arena, each hoof full can add up.

Picking out your horse’s feet before you leave the school, will help keep your equestrian surfaces in the school and not across the yard!

Pick Up Droppings

Always pick up your horse’s droppings before it gets mixed in with your arena surface. The FEI gives a compelling reason to poo-pick your arena where their guide states: 

“If every horse produces manure once during each session in the arena, the manure will have a volume of about 2 litres. With 50 horses a day using the arena and no mucking out, this means 100 litres of manure daily being mixed into the surface. After three years, 50% of the top layer will represent manure.” 

In real terms, regardless if you have less than 50 horses a day using the horse ménage, it still means you could end up replacing your ménage surface more quickly than anticipated.

Harrow Regularly & Use The Whole Arena

Your choice of surface will dictate the type of equipment required and also the harrowing required. Pay particular attention to high traffic areas such as the entrance and outside tracks. While harrowing your arena regularly is important, looking after your equestrian surfaces by using the entire horse ménage is also essential. 

For example, if you always use one end of the school for jumping (because that is where your jumps are stored) then consider swapping ends at intervals. This will ensure that your arena surface is evenly distributed.

Watering Requirements

Some arenas have inbuilt irrigation water systems. For the majority of equestrian surfaces, physical watering is an essential part of maintaining a good working surface during the dry summer months. 

Our eco-fibre arena surfaces are contamination free and have excellent moisture-retaining properties, which can help reduce watering time.

Keep An Eye On Your Surface Levels 

Your arena surface should be a ‘compacted’ depth of 4 inches. When you lay new equestrian surfaces, they will naturally compact down over time. 

Bear this in mind when budgeting for your new surface or equestrian arena build. The beauty of our eco-fibre mixes is that they sit on top of your surface, and act as a cushioned layer. The very nature of the product means they have minimal compacting characteristics. Looking after your equestrian surfaces shouldn’t be difficult.

Maintain & Install Kickboards

Ensure that your outdoor arena has a physical surround between your surface and the outside of the fence line to stop your arena surface being kicked up and ending up on the verges.

Rotting wood kick board panels, broken fencing, protruding nails and screws can be dangerous to horse and rider. If your kick boards have seen better days, then replace them. This avoids losing your arena surface over time. Broken arena fencing is dangerous for both horse and rider. Avoid the risk of getting clothing and equipment caught on it. It will also ruin the aesthetics of your arena and setting.

Whatever The Weather 

Few UK riders are ‘fair-weather’ riders, after all, we’d probably never ride our horses if this were the case! You are going to be using your arena all year round, come rain or shine. Our weather patterns mean that our horse ménage can suffer long prolonged spells of dry and wet weather, so choosing a reliable equestrian surface that will cope with these extremes is essential. 

Regular watering might be required more with a sand surface during the dry months, while a rubber and sand mix is most likely to be affected by frost. Our eco-fibre equestrian surfaces are frost resistant and fine grade so our customers can happily ride in all weather.

It’s important to note that ménage surfaces vary hugely in quality and performance. A substandard arena surface or poor arena construction can cause multiple problems from drainage issues, through to poor footing and deep-going. One example is our eco-fibre surfaces, which are 100% synthetic fibres which don’t break down naturally. Choosing a cheaper product could include a high percentage of wool fibres, which, as a natural fibre, will break down quickly and won’t stand the test of time. 

Also, be aware of metal filings, chips and staples, which can also find their way into equestrian surfaces and cause injury to your horse. All our products go through a magnetic sweeping system to remove detectable fragments as part of our standard manufacturing process.

If you’re thinking about topping up your existing horse ménage or looking to install a new arena, our friendly, knowledgeable team are at hand to help with your enquiry or general questions. Call or email us on sales@gbeltd.org.uk .

Enjoyed Reading This Blog? Read Our Expert Advice In 8 Steps To Building Your Dream Arena.

30mm screen

We are thrilled to offer an even finer fibre here at Green Birch Equestrian Surfaces. Thanks to our friends at Weimar we have now installed our state of the art 30mm equestrian screen. We are now able to offer you a synthetic fibre even finer than ever before, yet one which is durable to withstand all weather conditions.

We are reducing the size of the synthetic fibres in order for a better bind blend, creating a superior and more consistent equestrian surface. Get in touch to find out more about our 30mm equestrian screen fibres.

We have an extensive range of eco-fibres for all your equestrian surfaces needs. Please do get in touch with our Experienced Team for advice on topping up your arena or new surfaces installation.

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