Building a horse arena is a pretty big investment that you’ll likely put a lot of time and effort into.
You should be in complete control of the project so your arena ends up looking world-class.
This is all about the details, and there are a few simple things to remember that will make a huge difference:
Make use of existing trees & foliage
Dressage riding has always been about sophistication, skill and ceremony. Part of that is about beauty. A really world class horse arena makes use of the land around it.
If you have some existing gardens or trees with enough spare space to accommodate a horse arena, make use of it. We installed a horse arena behind a row of trees and it looked incredible (above).
Install wooden kickboards
This simple detail will make your horse arena look like a prestige show room. Wooden panels look absolutely stunning.
They cost a lot more than a rubber alternative but they look impressive and classy.
Get the base right
A high-quality arena will have a perfectly level base.
Make sure that your landscaper and surfacer uses angular stones for the base. They will lock together and stay even.
Make sure your fence posts are strong
An even fence is important to the look of the arena. Make sure your builder installs the fence when they put up the arena.
If you put up your own fence, cement your posts deep into the ground to ensure it always looks straight.
Make use of natural light.
The biggest effect on first impressions is lighting. The best arenas in the world are designed to draw in natural light.
Talk to your builder about this when you’re designing the arena. Open panels or raised centres aisles will capture natural light and make your arena look great.
A good company will take care of the handiwork and leave you to think about design. The little details are what turn a good horse arena into a great one.
Download our brochure for more ideas and photos of great horse arenas we’ve built in the past, or get a quote by clicking the button below.
6 Things to Keep in Mind When Riding a Horse
1. Look forwards.
It’s easy to get distracted by what’s immediately ahead of you, and by your horse itself. Make sure you’re focusing on the path ahead and that you know where you’re going.
2. Sit upright in the saddle.
New riders have a tendency to keep their bodies low and close to the horse. Try to be confident and ride with an erect back.
3. Heels down.
You might have heard this shouted by an instructor before. It doesn’t mean you should just pull your toes up; you need to adjust your weight so that your heels are lower than your toes.
4. Don’t put your feet too far into the stirrup.
This is a reasonable response for first time riders – they want to feel their feet safely lodged in. This can get your feet stuck if you fall off, and makes it harder for your to balance.
5. Your horse is not a machine.
Most riders start out because they love horses. Always remember that riding is about working with your horse, not forcing it to do what you want. If you work with this idea of mutual respect, you’ll learn faster and better.
6. Have your elbows at your side.
Another tendency for new riders it to lift their arms. You’ll have much more control and will be able to communicate with your horse better if you keep your arms at your side. This allows you to handle the reins better.
READ MORE: How much it costs to build an indoor arena.
Activities for You and Your Horse Besides Riding
Go For a Walk
Take your horse for a walk with you to lazily explore surroundings outside your property. Let your horse enjoy the exploration and different atmosphere.
Hang out with your horse like two old friends. Go to your horse’s pasture and sit down and relax. Your horse could enjoy this and come over and join you for some bonding time.
Treat Your Horse
Find a treat that your horse particularly enjoys. By doing this you can show your horse just how much you love him/her. The treat can be used for a variety of purposes: for training, a reward, or just a special treat.
Find your horse’s favorite scratching spot. Everyone knows that most horses love to be scratched in a certain spot. It is usually somewhere they can’t reach, such as the top of their neck or their withers. There is scientific research that proves scratching a horse on it’s withers has a calming effect.
Enjoy a picnic with your horse. Take a picnic to your horse’s pasture and bring along with you some of your horse’s favorite treats so he/she can enjoy the occasion as much as you.
Play in the Water
Let your horse play in water. Find a pond or river that is safe for your horse to splash around in. Bring your horse into the water on a long lead line and let them get wet. Most horses will enjoy this, especially in warm weather.
Training Without Restraints
Try training your horse without any restraints, at liberty. To achieve this your training must be fun to make your horse want to stay with you.
Braid The Mane
Braid your horse’s mane. If you are gentle and careful your horse will most likely enjoy this, as most horses enjoy their mane being stroked or brushed.