Tag Archives: horse arena

The “Best Price,” Increase Height? and the Hansen Buildings Way

Today’s Pole barn Guru answers questions about price and value, increasing ceiling height of a building, and if Hansen “builds” these structures.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the best price I can get for a riding arena 60 by 130 ft? MICHELLE in FREDERICK
DEAR MICHELLE: Free. Just place four immovable items at each corner and ride within their perimeter.
Now I will drop my snark and get serious. Shopping by “best price” becomes an absolute recipe for disappointment and disaster. In my humble opinion, you should be in search of best value for your investment.
Interior Clearspan ArenaAnyone can leave enough benefits (and features) out of a building to get to a best price. With your limited amount of supplied information, someone could easily quote you a galvanized roof only building with eight foot high walls! Certainly far too short to ride in and totally impractical. It would not surprise me to see you get responses for 12 and 14 foot eave buildings, when in reality it takes a 16 foot eave to truly make for a great arena.
You can find out a whole lot more about what makes a great riding arena here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/riding-arenas/.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to increase the ceiling height from 9 ft to 13 ft. Is there a way to do this without tearing down and installing new poles? RICHARD in ROCA

DEAR RICHARD: You might be searching for a green handled board stretcher: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/08/snipe-hunting/.

In reality, there exists no easy solution for your challenge. In most instances, you will find a column size and grade working nicely with a nine foot ceiling, fails miserably with a 13 foot ceiling height. This will be due to beam forces (your poles act as beams to span from ground to roof) being distance of span squared. Your proposed taller building columns would need to withstand forces nearly double those of your shorter counterpart. This alone negates probability of splicing into posts to make them taller.

Best solution – saving most time, effort, angst and money, will be to construct a new, taller engineered post frame building meeting with your needs.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, do you build as well or you only provide the kits?
If you do build, can you build in Weschester, NY? Thank you. VERONIKA in YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualDEAR VERONIKA: I personally would like to believe I build very well, however I am not for hire.

Hansen Pole Buildings provides only complete post frame building kit packages, including fully engineered plans and complete step-by-step assembly instructions. We provide delivery to any continental United States accessible location.

We are not contractors. 



Horse Riding Arena

Once Upon a Time

My nearly four year old grandson Colton overnighted with Grandma and Poppa last night. Colton is Jake’s son (you might remember Jake from various pole building adventures such as https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/07/construction-time-2/).

Colton likes Papa Mike just a little, so we got into some serious pre-bedtime reading and like every good story, they all begin with “Once upon a time…….”

In this case it was …..with a lady who wanted a clearspan horse riding arena which was to be 104 feet wide by 168 feet long. I’ve spent headed towards 40 years doing nearly everything imaginable with prefabricated metal connector plated wood roof trusses (not to mention a few things which are unimaginable and should not be mentioned even in fairy tales). A 104 foot clearspan truss would not only be a very big truss, but would also come with a very large price tag!

When I was the owner of a truss plant, we did 100 foot trusses – once, 92 foot once, and nothing else larger than 80’. For the most part, they are not only very expensive, they are very challenging to transport and most people frankly just do not need clearspans this wide.

Indoor Riding ArenaWe got a layout of the building from the client, and it turns out she also did not need a 104 foot clearspan, as the horse riding arena portion of the building was to be 80 x 120. This would not be my personal choice for arena dimensions – you can read my opinions here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/07/the-perfect-indoor-riding-arena/.

Both ends and one long side of the arena are to have a 12 foot wide aisleway (read more on aisleways here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/10/horse-barn-aisles/) with another 12 feet devoted to stalls, washrooms, office, lounge, etc.

The Hansen Building Designer’s proposed solution is to hip the 24’ aisleway/stall combination around three sides of the building, which should be a nice look.

The client has also suggested leaving the one sidewall of the horse riding arena open, however this makes the structural design of the building into a three sided building (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/03/three-sided-building/) where the fourth side could be enclosed with polycarbonate eave lights at the top of the wall, for less money than leaving the wall open.

And as Colton knows – all fairy tales end with…”and they all lived happily ever after”…in their new horse riding arena!

Polo Arenas

Hansen Pole Buildings Designer Rick and I were having a discussion about the amount of headroom needed for a horse riding arena which would be for hunter/jumpers. I referred him to a previous article I had written on the subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/02/riding-arenas/

Rick used to play some serious polo, against folks like the Busch brothers (yes, the beer Busch brothers https://www.anheuser-busch.com/). He commented upon the 16 foot eave height probably not being tall enough for indoor polo.

I (being the polo ignorant person I am) became slightly more educated due to Rick’s enthusiasm and my being a willing student. I always had the idea polo was to be played outdoors, where it is typically played upon a large grass field up to 300 yards long by 160 yards wide (for the non-farmers amongst us, this is nearly a 10 acre field)!

Now and then I enjoy visiting Chicago, and try to take in one of the walking architectural tours: (for more information on tours: https://tickets.architecture.org/public/show_list.asp?cgCode=1&cgName=Walking ).

On one of these tours, one might have visited the Museum of Contemporary Art. Just a block east of the Water Tower is where the massive Chicago Avenue Armory stood from 1907 until 1993. The imposing design by the famous architects Holabird and Roche featured multiple turrets, and several additions over the years. And it was indeed the home of indoor polo matches in Chicago for decades.

It was one of several National Guard armories built in Chicago partly in response to labor uprisings. In addition to housing weapons, the armory had large indoor parade grounds for foot soldiers and cavalry.

All the space and arena seating made it a perfect location for an indoor version of polo, a sport often used to train cavalry regiments. It’s sort of like hockey on horseback. Players use mallets to knock a ball into the opposing team’s goal.

The sport was actually a pretty big draw in Chicago sports for a time. The Chicago Polo Club started in the 1890s, but matches weren’t played at the Chicago Avenue Armory until 1925.

In 1949, the Illinois National Guard created a polo league, and the Chicago Avenue Armory became the center of Chicago’s polo action. The Guard’s elite ceremonial Black Horse Troop was made up of the crack polo players who took on other Guard teams and civilian teams alike. Teams from the Chicago area as well as Milwaukee and Detroit played matches every Saturday night from November to April, attracting as many as 4,000 spectators a game.

Despite polo’s lofty reputation as “the sport of kings,” in Chicago it attracted all kinds. One Chicago Tribune account from 1982 described the crowd as split between folks wearing blue jeans and munching potato chips, and well-heeled fans in furs dining on pâté and fondue.

The last season of polo turned out to be in 1982 at the Chicago Avenue Armory, when the National Guard reclaimed the space for guard units and equipment. The state sold it a few years later in 1987 to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In arena polo, only three players (with their mounts) are required per team (as opposed to the traditional four). The arena game usually involves more maneuvering and shorter plays at lower speeds due to space limitations of the arena. The minimum size for arena polo is 150 feet by 75 feet, which is easily doable within the confines of a modern pole (post frame) building.

Rick shared photos of the now defunct Joy Farm Polo Club (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4276611289726&set=o.158718637505333&type=3&permPage=1 ),4r where he and hundreds of other people learned to play polo.

Need a polo arena or horse arena? Call Hansen Buildings for a quote. Even better – ask to speak with Rick, who has experience in polo arenas!n