Riding Arena Size for Western Disciplines?

Hello, Given space or cost is not an issue, what is the optimal size for an outdoor riding arena primarily used for western riding activities?

Story originally posted by: Maggie Flowers

I’m asking because I have not found any uniform numbers (size) for western riding whereas dressage has a standard ring size (if I recall correctly it is 190 x 60).

Thank you,
Ken Behrendt

Hello Ken,

Since you have designated that your arena will primarily be used for western riding, other than the dimensions, one thing to consider is the shape. Rectangular shapes allow you to ride you horse deep into the corners and teach him to bend. Oval arenas or rectangles with rounded edges are more appropriate for driving and jumping and are easier to disc and harrow. Gates should be flush on the inside of the arena and the latch should be operable from horseback. All arenas should be either crowned at the corners or sloped gradually from one side to the other. Remember that footing is of the utmost importance, since various horse activities require specific base to top soil specs to achieve safe and injury free performances.

Armed with this information, the preferred arena dimensions for the following specific activities are:

CALF ROPING – 100 feet x 300 feet
TEAM ROPING – 150 feet x 300 feet
STEER WRESTLING – 100 feet x 300 feet
BARREL RACING – 150 feet x 200 feet
WESTERN PLEASURE – 100 feet x 200 feet

In closing, consideration of the fence is needed. A fence that is at least 6 feet tall, will discourage horses from putting their heads over the top rail as they are turning near the fence, such as in doing roll backs.

Hope this information has helped you. If I can be of further service, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you and good luck.

Maggie Flowers