Project Spotlight

New Dressage Arena

Project Spotlight

We’ve built a number of dressage arenas over the years.  Some small, and some large.  The standard arena is usually  60’x120′,  but they cam be adjusted in size depending on the use.

Wikipedia defines dressage as a form of riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an art sometimes pursued solely for the sake of mastery.

In the past, crushed stone over fabric and perforated pvc pipe incorporated for proper drainage was the norm. These days, most properly constructed dressage arenas are built using a synthetic material which is comprised of a combination silica sand, specialized wax coating, blend of synthetic fibers & rubber granules.  These materials reduce dust particles, are more durable than traditional surfaces, provide good drainage and due to a more cushioned structure, are better for the health of horse and rider. These synthetic surfaces are also easier to maintain than crushed stone.

Because of the large footprint of a normal size dressage arena, most often the existing topography will need to be re-contoured to accommodate such a large, relatively flat area.  Although, most arenas can be pitched up to 1.5% gradient, we feel having a perfectly flat surface is ideal.  Keep in mind if a flat surface is to be achieved, adequate drainage must be provided below the synthetic surface to avoid water retention and puddling.

Because our new arena will be built into a gentle slope, a retaining wall is needed to support the footprint on the downhill side, and another wall will need to be located at the opposite end to  retain the grade above at the higher elevation.

Some interesting facts about dressage:

  1. Dressage has global reach.
    It is an international sport, and one of the horse sports included in the Olympic games. Its purposes and requirements are the same throughout the world.
  2. Dressage is not breed-specific.
    Although currently, most international-level competition dressage horses are warmbloods.   (Dutch, Danish, Hessen, Swedish, as well as Hanoverians, Trakehners and Holsteiners) but also Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Arabians, and Friesian and draft horse crosses.
  3. Dressage is not gender-specific.
    Men and women compete against each other at all levels — local, national or international — with women regularly taking the awards podium at the Olympic games. In fact, since 1998, every Olympic Individual Gold Medalist has been a woman.
  4. The discipline of dressage has a very long history.
    Dressage as we know it has origins in the 1600s, as a gentleman’s sport based on the training of cavalry horses. But the Greek military commander Xenophon wrote in detail about the careful, systematic training of horses — including movements that resemble today’s dressage events.
  5. Its greatest goal is technique and development.
    While competition is a major focus in the dressage industry, the goal of dressage is not to win ribbons, but rather to develop — through a systematic progression of gymnastic exercises — a horse who is a comfortable, confident athletic partner with his rider.