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The arena is your centrepiece, the jewel in your equestrian crown, and as you might expect, it can be as complicated as hell to construct.

So, to keep this brief (because we have a great long read on this very subject in our News section) be very clear about what kind of work or schooling you want to do with your horse, and design and construct your arena to suit those equestrian needs.

The standard arena sizes are:

  • 40m x 20m - novice dressage

  • 60m x 20m - advanced dressage

  • Minimum 25 metres wide – show jumping

When it comes to surface, the aim should be to provide a surface that offers good traction and shock absorption.

Surface choices include:

  • Wood chip and fibre chip. Good for indoor and outdoor arenas, gallops, lunge pens, turn-out paddocks and horse-walkers. However, the lifespan is relatively short (between four and 10 years). It can also become slippery when it dries out, so it needs regular watering.

  • Rubber chips. Good for outdoor arenas, particularly jumping, as horses are less likely to skid or get concussion injuries. A rubber-based surface has serious longevity and requires less maintenance than other toppings. Rubber doesn’t freeze and it’s dust-free, but it also needs a base, such as silica sand.

  • Sand and sand mixes. Good for galloping, many all-weather racetracks are sand-based. Sand was once very popular, but it gradually gets finer with use, becoming progressively deeper. If your surface is unwaxed, it will need to be watered during dry weather for optimum performance. It should last five years or more.

For a deep dive into arena construction, read our article, How to Construct an Arena.

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