How Much Does a Riding Arena Cost?

Typical Range:

$40,000 - $500,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated August 10, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost to build a riding arena averages $150,000, with a typical range of $40,000 to $500,000. Prefab kits made of steel or fabric start at $5 per square foot. Custom wood construction runs up to $50 per square foot.

A riding arena offers a place to exercise and train your horses. Indoor options allow you to keep up activities in any weather. There’s a big price range, so it’s important to consider your options before you make a choice.

Average Horse Arena Costs

Low Cost Average Cost High Cost
$40,000 $150,000 $500,000

Indoor Riding Arena Prices by Material

Indoor riding arena prices are $5 to $50 per square foot, or $40,000 to $500,000 for the most common sizes. Cost depends mostly on materials.

MaterialCost Per Square FootAverage Cost per Square Foot
Wood$20 – $50$35
Steel$5 – $30$17.50
Fabric$5 – $15$10


The cost of a wood riding arena is $20 to $50 per square foot. Since this material only works for smaller sizes, the typical range is $200,000 to $500,000.

Wood provides the most classic look for an arena, but it costs more. If your horses tend to chew on wood posts, you may need to choose a different option.


Steel riding arenas cost $5 to $30 per square foot, which translates into $40,000 to $600,000, and offer the best weather protection. It also allows you to build a structure up to 200 feet wide without installing additional support in the middle.


A fabric riding arena costs $5 to $15 per square foot, or $40,000 to $300,000. This material is easy to assemble, but it’s hard to insulate.

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Outdoor Riding Arena Cost

An outdoor riding arena costs $1 to $10 per square foot. It ranges from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the land’s size and condition. The total includes $0.50 to $7 per square foot for footing and the price to install a horse fence, which is $2 to $20 per linear foot.

Covered Arenas

Covered arena prices are $5 to $20 per square foot, assuming that you have a roof and beams for support but not much else. If you only use it during mild weather seasons, it may be an affordable alternative to an enclosed building.

Cost to Build Riding Arena by Size

The cost to build a riding arena ranges from $50,000 to $500,000 for smaller sizes appropriate for dressage, compared to $100,000 to $1,000,000 for larger spaces. Labor to build the arena can cost up to 50% of the total. You’ll pay the most for custom construction.

Square FeetPrice RangeAverage Price
10,000$50,000 – $500,000$275,000
15,000$75,000 – $750,000$410,000
20,000$100,000 – $1,000,000$550,000
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Prefab Riding Arena Kit Prices

Prefab riding arena kit prices are $5 to $20 per square foot for most options. The kits come in a variety of common sizes, which are usually twice as long as their width.

If you’re buying fabric or steel, you’ll probably get a prefab kit and hire a professional to install it.

Arena Footing Cost

Arena footing costs $0.50 to $7 per square foot. You may need more than one type to provide a durable, safe surface for horses to run and jump. Footing prices may not include everything. You can expect to pay an extra $0.50 to $2 per square foot for base materials, such as gravel or road base. If your existing land contains usable materials, you may spend less.

MaterialPrice Range per Square FootAverage Price per Square Foot
Sand$1 – $2$1.50
Synthetic Mats$0.50 – $2$1.25
Wood Mulch$0.50 – $0.75$0.62
Rubber Mats/Mulch$1.50 – $4$2.75

Horse Arena Cost Factors

When planning a riding arena, there's more than just the external structure and the footing to think about. You'll also have to account for the cost of permits, land clearance, excavation, grading, and more. Then there are the little added extras, like stable blocks, and finishing touches like lighting and guttering. 

Construction Factors

The construction factors you'll need to budget for include: 

Functional Elements

As well as the basic structure and footing, you may want to add extras. Some, like lighting, are essential. Others, like stables, skylights, and a viewing area, are nice-to-haves. Take a look at some of the most common additions.

  • Attached stables with direct access to the arena

  • Skylights to let in natural light

  • Extra ventilation at strategic locations to allow good airflow and temperature regulation

  • Viewing area to provide spectators with a safe place to watch the activities

  • LED lights to provide ample but safe illumination

  • Side lights let in natural lights and are easier to install than skylights

  • Doors at least 12 feet high and 16 feet wide to allow mounted riders to pass through safely.

  • Vapor barriers to prevent moisture damage

  • Gutters to collect and direct rainwater away from the foundation of the arena

  • Tack room to store all of your horse's tack, gear, and grooming essentials and accessories

Type of Activity

Depending on the type of riding you do, you may need to make adjustments or purchase different equipment. For example, if you're a dressage rider, you'll need properly placed arena letters, an otherwise empty arena, and a solid footing. You'll also need enough space for both you and your horse to get the right fitness training.

For a rodeo arena, what you'll need and how much space you'll need depends on what type of rodeo events you favor; reigning, pole bending, barrel racing, calf roping, and steer wrestling require different training aids. If, for example, you need an area to house livestock, you'll need to add an ample storage area with high, secure panels that the animals can't bust out of while they wait their turn in the arena.

If jumping is your favorite equestrian event, you'll need to build or buy standard jumps, fillers like gates for the jumps to make them look fuller to your horse, and adequate storage for the jumps for when you're working on floor work instead of jumping.

DIY Indoor Riding Arena vs. Hire a Professional

Since indoor riding arenas are so large, they’re best installed by a professional. When you call for quotes from barn builders near you, be sure to ask about experience and schedule an in-person consultation.


How much land do you need to build a riding arena?

The minimum size you need to build a riding arena is 60 x 120 feet, or 7,200 square feet. A dressage arena should be at least 70 x 130 feet, 70 x 200 feet, or 100 x 200 feet. Driving arenas start at 130 x 260 feet and larger examples are 130 to 330 feet. For a competition arena, you'll need to seriously size up, with a standard arena size of 660 x 660 feet.

How can you build a horse arena on a budget?

You can buy a prefabricated arena kit to build an arena on a budget, or you can forego an indoor arena and build an outdoor one instead. You can also save money by excavating, grading, and compacting the area yourself before construction on the arena begins. 

Is it worth building a riding arena?

Yes, if you love to ride or want to train at a particular equestrian activity, then building a riding arena is worth it. With an arena on your property, you don't have to load up your horse and travel every time you want to train on a decent surface. With an indoor arena, you can ride year-round in any weather, too. If your arena has lights, you can ride after dark. 

Another benefit to an arena is limiting horse-to-horse contact, which is important when trying to help a herd-bound horse become more independent. The superior footing of an arena provides better stability and less risk of injury to the horse or you. 

What type of footing is best for a riding arena?

Many consider angular sand the best arena footing for most people, as it provides good traction and is affordable. Fiber footing is also popular as it provides good stability and a soft landing in case of falls, but it's the most expensive option.

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