For most people, building a riding arena is one of the biggest and most expensive projects they are likely to undertake, it is therefore essential, that the end result is an arena of quality that you can use with confidence, whatever the weather.
Planning – It is always advisable to apply for planning permission.
In some area, e.g. the National Parks or in environmentally sensitive areas, planners may require a certain surface depending on the visual impact or they may insist on lanscaping to screen the arena. Usually a compromise can be reached. It is always useful to view arenas in your area that have already had planning approved.
If you are intending to install floodlighting at a later date ensure you will not be lighting your neighbour’s house! Planners can be particularly wary if they think floodlighting is on the agenda. Unless you are sure you require lighting it is probably advisable to restrict your planning application to the arena at first.
When deciding on the location of the arena it is important to consider the following;
Access – the size of vehicle that can deliver materials will determine the cost of those materials. An articulated lorry needs not only a wide gateway but also wide lane to turn in off. It also needs hard, level ground to tip safely. If it is possible to tip at the edge of the arena site this will save the cost of double handling materials. It can be cost effective to install a new track if necessary.
Services – check that your site is clear of pipes and cables. The water, electricity, gas and phone company will make a considerable charge if they have to come out and make repairs. Also consider over-head power and phone lines as these can cause problems for tipping lorries and excavators.
Call today to arrange a without obligation quotation 08700 615 977
The arena is dug out using laser guided excavators to ensure correct falls and levels. A tracking excavator is preferable as it’s tracks spread the weight of the vehicle and it is less likely to compress the soil structure and so inhibit the natural drainage of the soil.
Fencing is erected with pressure treated timber for longevity and erected using laser equipment to ensure perfect alignment. The posts are concreted in on the outside of the arena and sawn off flush with the top rail for safety reasons.
Drainage trenches are excavated with the appropriate falls, the length of the arena and a Geotextile membrane is laid over the whole base and down into the trenches, keeping the soil separate from the drainage system.
Drainage pipe is laid in the trenches and backfilled with clean stone. It is essential the correct stone is used to ensure the base is free-draining and stable. These pipes join into a larger pipe at the end of the arena which takes water away to a ditch, stream or soakaway.
Clean stone is laid over the whole base and rolled with a vibrating roller. Again, the correct material is essential. Materials such as building rubble, scalpings or crushed concrete could cause drainage problems. Once the arena is built it is very expensive to remove the surface and re-build the drainage system!
A Geotextile woven membrane is laid over the stone creating a barrier between the stone and the surface. It is imperative that a free-draining material is used allowing water to travel freely out through the drains whilst preventing sand migrating downwards thereby choking the drains.
The sand, Fibremix, fibre or Fibrewax surface is then laid, graded off, tracked in, then rolled. Again using the correct material is essential. Nearly all quarried sand in Britain is described as silica sand but not all is suitable for equestrian use. We only use a very high percent silica sand which is very fine and has angular or sub-angular grains, which will pack down to a firm base. Coarser sands such as sea sand or building sand are not suitable.
For sand a topping of rubber chip is added to a depth of approximately 2 inches. This material reduces problems of drying out and riding deep in the summer and also freezing in the winter. It reduces the amount of maintenance required, as there is less movement in the sand as the horse works mainly in the rubber layer.
With your new arena complete it is advisable to follow a routine maintenance plan. We will advise you on this and recommend the appropriate equipment for the size and surface of the arena. If you would like us to supply this we can do that or include it as part of the initial quote. When an arena is maintained correctly you will be able to enjoy a lifetime of use.
With all new arena builds we will leave you with a free set of arenas letters.