How to Build a Horse Menage

A horse arena or menage is a schooling area where horses and riders can practice, lunge or compete. They are often used in schools, private yards and even the arenas of major competition centres. They are filled with washed and processed silica sand on top of a geotextile membrane and can be either indoor or outdoor.

The sand surface is very important as it provides the footing that is under your horse’s feet and has an effect on how they use their legs and back. Having the right surface can help to prevent injuries and promote a healthier horse. It is important to know the surface you are going to use before you start to build. Jumping surfaces tend to be a little bigger and more springy, while dressage surfaces are usually lighter and softer as this helps reduce the wear on the horses ligaments.

Regardless of what you are going to use the arena Horse Menage Construction for it is essential to get the sub-base correct, especially as this will be the single biggest influence on your final surface. This needs to be a good quality washed silica sand and should be thoroughly mixed with a high percentage of stabilising fibre. This helps to prevent the sand sinking and overworking the horses ligaments and allows for optimal drainage.

Once this has been installed the fences can be erected. A 3 bar post and rail system is ideal for this as it helps to prevent injury to the horse or rider if they hit the fence. It is also important to have a gravel board attached to the bottom of each post to help contain the upper surface. It is also a good idea to use a post knocker to mechanically hammer the posts into the sub-base so they are secure.

Another very important aspect of the design is the drainage – getting this wrong can make your arena unbearable to use and can cause all sorts of damage to the surfacing. It is essential to plan out the drainage from the very beginning and make sure you have enough fall on the drains, so they can carry the water away into a nearby ditch, stream or stormwater drain.

The last thing you want is a pond or swamp in your arena or round pen – not only does this look awful, but it will attract mosquitoes, which are the main carrier of Ross River virus, Murray Valley Encephalitis and other diseases. Mosquitoes are a real danger to your horses, so make sure you have a mosquito control programme in place around the arena. It is also a good idea to put in a slurry line as this will help to keep the water on the ground and prevent the spread of disease. The slurry can be made from recycled manure or even better – compost! It can also be topped with fertiliser to enhance the surfacing and encourage grass growth. This is a very inexpensive and effective way of keeping the surface healthy.