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Budget: generally, arena cost is based on price per square metre, so clever design can shave the cost or allow you to use your budget more effectively. “Rounding off corners, which you can’t ride into anyway, can save 50sq m in a big arena. That’s a decent monetary saving, or space you could put into the long side length, for example,” says David Andrews.

Location: putting an arena into a challenging location will add cost to the ground preparations, so choosing a flat, well-drained area is always best where practical. Other considerations include proximity to the yard and/or house, making use of natural shelter, access for lorries and planning restrictions.

Use: a long and narrow 20x60m arena might be ideal for a dressage rider, but the same 1,200sq m laid out as 30x40m might be better suited for a general-purpose yard using it for jumping practice or multiple pupil lessons.

Flexibility: if all you can afford now is 20x40m, could you leave space to extend when finances allow?

For the full article on arena options, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (16 June, 2011)

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