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: