Equestrian Direct offer their best tips for anyone considering building a sand school for the first time. From location to surface options, here’s everything you need to think about before getting started...
The perfect spot
Firstly, you will have to contact your local council and obtain planning permission.
The location for your new arena would ideally be on a level and well-draining area in a beautiful location. However, we don’t all have that option, so work with an experienced arena contractor to guide you through the process and avoid any pit-falls — they will advise you on the most suitable location.
Talk to the experts
There are many surface options these days suited to different requirements, disciplines and budgets. Reputable arena surface companies will be able to recommend their surfaces local to you and arrange a site visit. They will also be able to recommend the best surface options for you, provide samples, information and quotes.
Is there enough room?
Access to the building site is very important before work commences. The majority of loads are delivered by large Artic lorries, which are most cost effective. Beforehand, check and measure all access and turning points to be sure you can accommodate the size of delivery vehicle and avoid unnecessary charges. Your materials provider and contractor will be able to assist you with this.
Do your research
We all like to save money but, in a project like building a sand school, we must be realistic from the start and budget accordingly. It is essential to get it right from the construction to laying your chosen surface – trying to fix a bad job can be very costly and uneconomical in the long run, not to mention the possibility of causing injury to your horse. It is worth doing your research, all good companies will be happy to advise and give you a number of options to suit.
Try before you buy
Any well-established arena company will have access to a number of arenas across the country and can offer you the opportunity to visit these sites to check out the arenas beforehand. It is always beneficial to include a site visit in your research prior to buying. Some companies have their own research facilities, which you and your horse can visit, try a number of surfaces and meet with your advisor face to face to discuss your options.
Build it right
The construction of your arena is vital to its longevity. Getting advice from experienced arena manufacturers and suppliers at this stage could save you time and money in the future.
The best grade
The quality of sand varies considerably and the different grades and grain particle size do affect the performance of any arena. Equestrian grade Silica sand is essential for new builds, aiding drainage and firmness.
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All surfaces require ongoing maintenance to keep them in top condition and levelled. Different surfaces have varying maintenance needs and you should consider this when deciding which surface is best for you. Your surface provider will be able to advise you on what equipment you will need and the level of maintenance your chosen surface requires.
A reliable company
Ensure you use a company with a proven track record. It is so important to get the basics right to ensure the success of your arena for many years to come. Check out previous customer testimonials and obtain written quotations. You want to use a company that will see you throughout the process and be available in the future to assist with any further requirements.
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