14th July 2022

Upgrade your indoor riding arena to improve both horse and rider experience

Indoor riding arena buildings are designed to provide year-round protection from the elements for both horse and rider. They are often steel framed and the sides, roof and interior of indoor arenas are customisable to provide the ideal environment.

If you’re thinking about upgrading the structure of your arena, to improve the interior conditions, it’s important to consider the following.

1. Arena sides

Some arenas simply have a roof covering and are open at the sides to allow riders to make the most of views, natural ventilation or to allow spectators to watch. Although they make for a pleasant environment during warmer months, poor weather can spoil any competition, schooling session or after daylight hour rides. 

Adding removable screens can be the perfect solution to this problem. These can be added temporarily to all open sides or to simply stop weather blowing in from the prevailing direction. 

Galebreaker offer a number of mesh sidewall options which provide weather protection and can easily be opened to provide extra airflow when needed. 

  • Bayscreens can be easily installed as a removable building side 
  • The Rollerscreen can be added as a rollable option
  • The Multibay electric rolling screen system can be fitted as a very easy to open alternative to manually operated weather protection 

2. Light transmission

Upgrade your indoor riding arena to improve both horse and rider experience Plenty of natural light is important as it makes the indoor arena inviting for both horse and rider, helps vets when performing inspections and enables savings to be made on electricity used for artificial lighting. 

The steel or wooden sides which are traditionally used to enclose indoor arenas often reduce the amount of natural light let in, creating a dark interior environment.

As a solution to this, it’s worth considering fitting Galebreaker’s mesh Rollerscreens and Bayscreens, instead of solid walls, to improve natural light infiltration. They can be used to form the top half of side walls in conjunction with a solid kickboard on the lower half for safety. Galebreaker’s Light Ridge is made from toughened waterproof PVC roof panels and can also be fitted to the roof of indoor riding arenas to improve light transmission. 

3. Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial for regulating airflow. It impacts the temperature, air quality and moisture levels throughout a building, and can havea significant impact on the riding and spectating experience in an indoor arena. 

Steel building interiors such as indoor arenas easily heat up during warmer weather and can cause humid conditions in cooler weather. However, adequate ventilation will keep the air moving and help to reduce the interior temperature. 

Airflow also helps with the removal of dust, pollen, stale air and excess moisture which can affect both horse and rider health. It’s worth noting these can impact image quality from any cameras installed in the arena. 

Natural ventilation can be created through careful positioning of vents or by choosing sidewall panels made of mesh that allow air to flow through them. 

Not only does Galebreaker’s Light ridge system improve light transmission, but it’s also beendesigned to improve ventilation in buildings as it is fitted with wind baffles to provide an exit path for warm stale air. The ridges can be fitted to new or existing buildings.

4. Door design

Any doors into the arena must open and close easily to provide clear access. Consider how manageable it will be to:

  • Bring a horse in along with kit 
  • Bring jumps and dressage boards in and out 
  • Bring a machine in to harrow the surface

Half doors are an option if you want to be able to see outside while you ride, or if you would like spectators to be able to watch. However, if you have a horse that is prone to spooking or is easily distracted, having the option to close the door off completely would be useful so they can’t see outside. 

Galebreaker’s Multibay electric rolling screen system is easily operable using a push switch and can be fitted in conjunction with a solid lower door for safety. They can be left open for airflow or closed to help reduce distractions and provide protection during poor weather conditions.  

A builder’s perspective 

Alistair Nobles, from Creative Timberwork, fitted Galebreaker’s electronically controlled Multibay screens to the side of a dressage arena in Oxfordshire.

“The screens have improved the riding experience within the arena. They have enabled my client to be able to look out and keep the air flowing through it when it’s warm, but can be closed during bad weather. 

“In addition, Galebreaker fitted a lockdown tensioning system to the Multibay. This is important as it prevents the horses being spooked by the screens moving in the wind.

“We were also pleased that we could choose from a range of colours for the screens, so they’re in keeping with the rest of the building.”