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How Big is a Horse-Riding Arena?

Horse riding arenas can come in a variety of sizes in order to accommodate various uses and disciplines. The standard arena size is sufficient for flat work, jumping, and riding...

Horse riding arenas can come in a variety of sizes in order to accommodate various uses and disciplines. The standard arena size is sufficient for flat work, jumping, and riding on the diagonal, but horse and rider can benefit from the space of a larger arena to learn how to judge distances, engage in drills, and work on perfecting a routine. The optimal size of an arena is one with a length that's double the size of the width, but a minimum size sets the standard for a horse-riding arena.

The minimum size of a horse-riding arena is 60' wide by 120' long in order to provide enough space for a horse and rider to comfortably walk, trot, and canter. Arenas that are smaller than the minimum make it harder for the pair to take advantage of the straightaways and they wind up spending more time negotiating corners. A standard dressage arena, which is one of the smaller arena sizes measures out to 66' x 132, or 20 meters by 60 meters. The ideal size of a riding arena is 80' wide by 200' long as it allows for the most flexibility in terms of usage and plenty of space for different riding activities. 

The use of the arena dictates the overall size. Horseback riding barns that welcome English riders from all disciplines will have an arena that's at least 60'x120' in size. However, most riding barns have larger arenas so multiple riders can use the space at the same time without risk of collision. This also allows a dressage rider to perform the extended trot along the wall while another rider has a lesson on the lunge line in the center of the ring. Larger arenas make horse shows possible because there's enough space to set up hunter and jumper courses or create a temporary dressage ring. 

Do Different Disciplines Need Different Sizes?

Yes, different disciplines need different sizes in order to ride safely and effectively. A dressage arena is smaller because all riding is done on the flat, and the major consideration for the horse is providing enough distance for executing a movement such as an extended trot or collected canter. A hunter/jumper ring is larger to give horse and rider the room they need to ride in and out of corners at speed, enough distance to approach, clear, and land a jump without coming up against a barrier, and the space to arrange different types of jump courses with varying distances to and in between the fences.

The best arena size is one that can accommodate dressage, hunters, and jumpers. Making a large arena small is simple with the strategic use of poles, cones, and tape. It's easy to mark out the size of a dressage arena with cones or chains to provide the visual barriers that are needed to practice and execute a dressage route in the center of a large arena. This leaves the outside track open so other riders can work their horses without interference. 

Equoware wants you to enjoy the art of horseback riding no matter what size arena you have access to. We offer the latest equipment that represents the latest in riding safety technology to help protect you during a fall.  
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