The Pro-Line Building Blog

Tips for Designing Your Indoor Riding Arena

Posted by Brandon Smith on Apr 13, 2021 12:00:00 PM


With an indoor riding arena, you can train and ride your horses all year long. Before you start constructing your new facility, however, do as much research as possible to avoid potential problems. To ensure investing in a new equine building is worth the cost, follow these expert design tips when planning and building your riding arena.



Location is one of the most critical factors in your horse arena design. The amount of work required to excavate and prep the construction site can have a massive impact on the final cost. Here are some tips to help you keep costs lower:

  • Find a site that’s already level.
  • Look for space without trees. Removing trees can be pricey, and your arena could damage nearby trees if built too close to them.
  • Ensure the location you choose doesn’t accumulate water, or you may need to build extra drainage channels.
  • Your arena base should be higher than the ground surrounding it.
  • Choose an area near your horse barn if possible. Consider attaching it to your stable.
  • Consider the location of existing drainage systems, wells, electric lines, and septic tanks. If you already have these systems in place, you can avoid paying for new installations.


Permit Process

Before you can begin construction, you’ll need engineer-approved plans to ensure your indoor arena design meets local building codes and zoning regulations. The approval process could take a few months to complete.



The potential size and scope of your equestrian building will be limited by your budget. Ask your builder about costs associated with the size, materials, additional features, and parking lot options you have in mind. Make sure you understand what you’re paying for so you can decide what elements will be worth the cost.


Here are several standard horse arena design features to consider:

  • Doors
  • Gates and latches
  • Rain gutters
  • Lighting (natural, sidelights, skylights, etc.)
  • Roof insulation (to reduce moisture)
  • Cupola
  • Stirrup rails
  • Rider wall guards
  • Watering system
  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems
  • Siding insulation



In general, non-competitive indoor horse arenas are 60 – 80 feet wide by 100 – 200 feet long by 14-16 feet clear inside. If you plan to use your arena for competitive training, consider going bigger. Doorways should be around 16 feet wide and 12-14 feet tall. Choose a clear-span design (without beams or posts in riding areas).


Structure Type

You have a couple of options when choosing the type of structure you want for your riding arena. Your builder can insulate a steel-frame structure to keep your space warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you choose steel, you can typically build a larger facility with a longer span. Cathedral-style ceilings are popular in steel-frame buildings. Steel is strong, sturdy, sleek, and modern and offers a diverse range of design options. The other option is a wood post-frame structure. Wood-frame buildings are cost effective, rustic, and energy efficient. However, size is limited to about 80 feet wide.



Another critical aspect of an indoor riding arena is the footing. Footing should have consistent depth, which means it needs a well-graded base. Your arena floor should be stable, offer traction, and absorb shock. If your horses need to run fast and jump high, opt for tighter footing for better support. Work with an industry expert to find quality sand available in your area.


Pro-Line builds post-frame and steel-frame buildings, including equine buildings like riding arenas, storage facilities, and stables. Read our blog to learn more about equine building topics!

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Topics: Equine