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What size should my arena be?

Arena sizes vary widely between disciplines. Working cows and reining typically requires the most room, an arena of 100’ wide by 200’ (plus) long. Most people who jump want a space at least 80 feet wide and 120 feet long, and prefer more space if possible. A large dressage arena is 20 meters by 60 meters (66' x 198') and a small dressage arena is 20 meters by 40 meters (66’ x 132’). Round pens are as small as 50’ in diameter, although 60’ is usually preferred.

If the structure is to be covered, consider that many roof truss manufacturers use standard dimensions, usually in increments of 10 feet. A standard small covered arena truss is 60’ wide. They are usually spaced 12 feet apart, creating standard covered arena lengths in 12 foot increments.

Commercial riding arenas are best constructed bigger than you think you need. You may need to accommodate multiple disciplines or riding lessons simultaneously. A large arena also increases the number of potential buyers should you choose to sell sometime in the future. A large arena can always be partitioned off to create smaller spaces inside of it for lunging areas or dressage tests.

If space is limited try laying out cones, poles or straw bales to mark the outline of your proposed space. Then ride in it and see whether or not it works for you. We have seen some oddly shaped riding areas that actually worked very well for their intended uses. Always keep in mind the age and health of the horses that will be using the arena. Small circles are hard work on a horse’s legs and can lead to unsoundness.

Arena preparation...

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