View Full Version : Arena Ideas

Noahs Girl
22-01-08, 05:26 AM

I am just about to begin dressage lessons with a new lady, and she asked me to arrange an area to use for an arena, 20 by 60. The ground off to one side of the paddock is reasonably flat, just dry grass and dirt (summer paddocks!) and she suggested to use that area.

Could you please give me some ides for something I can wack up for riding/flatwork/lessons, and take away again as i don't want to take that space away permanantly, as it is the horses paddock space too.

We are renting, which is why I can't really change the ground much, plus I can't afford to.

I would love ideas for letters, cones, perimiter etc.

I didn't realise how bloody huge 20 by 60 is until I measured it out! Why would she not ask for just 20 by 40 for just starting out?

22-01-08, 05:31 AM

The flat bit of ground with dry grass/dirt sounds good to me. I usually put up cones for my arena :-) This is on the flatest bit of ground I can find, and my partner slashes it if need be!

Don't know why she would want a full size arena,(why not ask her if it needs to be this big.) I must confess my arena is usually about as big as I think I need when I am putting the cones out! lol! 20x40 is what I aim for though

However I am not doing serious dressage, just some training for me to be a better rider and to train my horse!

22-01-08, 05:39 AM
I am not sure why she is asking 20x60 at this point - any old area with a safe surface will do....

I use old chemical drums as markers... the 20 litre plastic ones... I get them after they have been rinsed, use permanent texta to put letter on them, stick a bit of water in them so they dont blow away, and done...

They are pretty hardy and can be left in the paddock - they are horse safe (and sometimes end up as toys!) or if you want to put them away, they stack really neatly as well..

Just ensure they are of a less volatile chemical - I normally use glyphosphate containers, not insecticides or fungicides, and that they have been rinsed well so they have no residue on them. Most farmers are pretty good about this, and wouldnt mind letting you take a dozen of them off their hands..

Good luck


PS - this isnt the same instructor that thought you needed to get a new saddle is it?

22-01-08, 05:55 AM
I'll second the old Roundup drum idea. They also double as a good mounting block. I guess a 20 x 60 arena would be the best as that is what you wil have to fit into if you ever go to a competition, so you may as well get used to the size of it now and where the markes are. 4 drums for the corners, one either side of the gate at A (if you want one and then each marker M, R, B, P, F, A (one or 2 drums), K, V, E, S, H and C makes 16 or 17 drums (or 18 if you have a gate marked and A as well). You could buy a set of marker cones (like small witches hats) but the used chemical drums would be much cheaper. We used to leave the drums out in the paddock. Only trouble is the horses will probably move them for you.

Noahs Girl
22-01-08, 05:56 AM
Hi Reg, ahh yes that is the same instructor.

Oh goodness I hope this is not a bad decision.

She came over to meet me and my horse and she really did sound like she knew her stuff, she gave me advice on catching him as we have been having problems, and general behavioural stuff she seemed really well knowledged.

Fingrs crossed eh.

22-01-08, 06:16 AM
I would buy some logs to put in the corners - you can get treated pine sleepers for relatively cheap at your local lumber yard. You will need 8 of them, two for each corner. Riding accurate corners is very important so having the whole corner marked out is vital. If you can afford it, try and buy a few extra to place down your long side, at least at E and B.

For the markers you want something that wont blow around when the next wind comes along. So don't go for cones. What I would do is go to your local saddlery and buy those letters than come on plastic sheets. Nail them onto some small wooden stakes and hammer the stakes into the ground - set them about 1/2m - 1m away from your track so there is no worry about running over them.

22-01-08, 07:17 AM
Hi Noahs Girl,

My old arena was marked out with buckets, at 99c per bucket you couldn't get any cheaper! Bought them from Coles, but you can also get them from supercheap. Turn them upside down, write the letters on the side and then stick a brick on the top so they don't blow away. Take the handles off as well.

To begin with the horses kept thinking there was food in them and kept pushing them around. Finally they realised there was nothing there and eventually left them alone.

Good suggestion on putting corners on your arena, very helpful. If you can't afford the logs, then buy spray paint and paint the ground. Landscapers use a particular type of spray to mark out their gardens before digging.

Best of luck

22-01-08, 07:34 AM
The more corners you ride the better. But it is hard to get your head around more than four. So a 40x20 is better for practise, maintenance and generally easier to find a flat bit.

60x20 is needed for higher level, >Medium my view, and to practise freestyle timing etc.

You can simple use old fallen timber as long as it is reasonbly straight - rejects or maybe wingsplits from a saw mill would do a reasonable, temporary job.

22-01-08, 07:46 AM
Hi Noahs Girl,
when setting out the arena, make sure that it is a rectangle, the sides are straight and the corners are 90 degrees. It might help to set it up along the side of a fence or something so you know the sides line up. If you had some logs, pipe, boards of wood (as long as it is all safe), jump poles, or something similar (even broom sticks?), that could help mark corners or along the sides (with gaps). As for the letters, tyres, crates, cones, pots, or you could make your own.

Also, it is much easier riding in the full 20x60 arena as when you compete, you know the size, the angles, how big to make your circles, you can learn to be more accurate. I normally ride in a 40X20 and my first dressage test in a full sized arena was all over the place (circling at V instead of e, diagonals reaching the opposite long side 20 metres too soon, etc...) but you do adjust. Hope you have fun with your new instructor!

22-01-08, 10:53 AM
Another suggestion would be the white plastic fence posts with a drive in footplate/spear to push into the earth.

I recently did this for a jumping arena and it cost about $500 all up with 3 strands of electric tape. And it looks great.

You can put it up and take it down in a jiffy and can hot wire it if you ever need a temporary paddock.

22-01-08, 11:02 AM
What Kartika, your horses feet actually leave the ground! OMG

I had you pinned for a DQ.

22-01-08, 11:22 AM
Up yours.

Yes, but MY feet never do...
Bwahahahahahahahaha xx

22-01-08, 11:48 AM
2L milk bottles, half-fill with sand, or sandy soil, put letters on with thick marker pen.

22-01-08, 11:59 AM
I just use my eight trot poles, coppers logs, as the corners for my arena. I made sure I bought eight initially because I thought they'd end up being the arena more than they are used as trot poles, and I was right.