here we grow again

We begin another construction project, tomorrow. Brad is bringing equipment home to strip our sandy dirt. Much to my surprise we are starting our 144' x 66' indoor arena. It will be up by early Spring!! For real. Our son will be digging out the site next weekend. I am still trying to get used to the idea that we are growing, once again.


It is common for scheduled work to ebb and flow in any type of construction, add a pandemic to the mix and projects shift and become more unpredictable. In this case, it worked in our favor. Who knew our indoor would be going up so soon. Not me. 


An indoor has been a far fetched dream of ours for many many years. We've talked about it off/on since we got Koda and Nemo in 2008. Since then we have ridden in and/or seen countless arenas, noting likes and dislikes and asking questions of those that own and maintain them (thanks Arline!). We squirreled away details of what we liked and was practical, to possibly implement on our very own. We do not need anything fancy, but want to avoid the common pitfalls. This build is happening late in our lives, but at least it is happening. Better late than never. Most people our age are scaling down, and turning into snowbirds. Not us. We plan to stay put and thoroughly enjoy our little slice of paradise as long as we can.

arena fans waiting to spin

We had hoped an indoor arena would be part of our original homestead build, but they are expensive and it got put on hold. We recently bumped it up on our endless wish list based on usage. We think we will use it a lot, especially in Winter. Obviously it will allow us to ride year-round, eliminating weather related stop-n-start riding. Koda (and I) will definitely benefit from it. It will also provide a place for our horses to stretch their legs on those dangerously bitter cold or ice covered treacherous days, where turn out is less than ideal. Cierra and her future foal will have a safe place to stretch their legs during earlier days. Ditto should one of our horses require separation or rehab due to injury. I am also holding onto hope that with an indoor arena, Brad will bring his show horse home at certain intervals and continue training/riding at home. He is perfectly capable of it. We've talked about potentially having a trainer come to us for lessons at some point, or even the occasional mini-clinic. 

It would be nice to get to know the new blonde girl that is about to be in his life, and see her more than a few times a year at shows. Speaking of the blonde girl, we got our vets blessing yesterday to go ahead with the purchase of Padame. For a while, it looked like it could turn out the other way. I will elaborate in a future post, once the purchase is a done deal. If you missed it, you can read earlier posts about the worlds longest horse purchase that started on December 1, 2020 here, here and the latest sale pending post is here.

Below are initial drafts of the outside of the arena building. Not too exciting, in WI most indoors are pretty much a shell. The north end is the side that will be attached to our existing barn. The placement/addition of a few things have since changed. We upsized the smaller service door, added a human door and some windows on the south end. Most things have been decided, but not all interior details are finalized. 

Hoping our three barn cats do okay while building onto their safe haven. One in particular dislikes any loud noises (Tinkerbell) and instantly high tails it. She eventually comes backs. If it is really cold, we may lock them up on the storage side. The two girls choose to stay inside on colder days. My hiking buddy Leo still hunts in the snow.

January 5, 2021

climbing his favorite tree on the trail yesterday

I will be documenting the build throughout, just like I did with Build-a-Barn. It will be fun to have something to photograph, and watch as the building goes up! I will however miss the serenity and wildlife viewing of the pasture behind the barn. There will still be some open pasture left, but it will no doubt look and feel different.

January 5, 2021


Shirley said...

Oh that is exciting news! Indoor arenas do get a lot of use around here, and hosting clinics is a big part of it as well as hosting events for local riders such as play days. fun shows and cattle sorting and roping. So much one can do for the 6 months or so of nasty weather! also a good place to ride on those days that are just too hot.
I'm curious as to why 66 ft. instead of the standard 80? I assume it's an economic decision.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Good for you! That's exciting news! Love the name of your fans too. I like to ride even in the summer with the windows open. It's just cooler without the sun beating down on you. You're going to love it. Can't wait to see it coming together.

Leo is a riot by the way. A real tiger. Hope you get your new little blonde soon. Good luck.

aurora said...

Good question Shirley. Standard indoors around us are 60’x120’ We went 66’ to get a full 60’ riding width, suitable for our use. The expense of a larger truss (roof) jumps dramatically. We also considered the impact of the building width on our existing space. No tree removal is important to us, our bordering trail will remain tree lined.

We were inspired by your beautiful arena Arline, and added some additional windows on our south wall :) Leo is definitely charismatic.

Linda said...

Oh wow!! That is so exciting!! I have no doubt it will help you get out more with the horses. And since you've decided not to be snowbirds, it makes sense to further expand your heaven on earth and enjoy it to its fullest. My husband and I were out on a hike yesterday, and he asked why we ever leave such a beautiful place. So, we feel exactly the same as you, and instead of buying a winter place, should ALSO consider building an indoor arena. I will be watching your journey closely!! And I approve the size. You don't want less than 60'.

Congratulations on Padme! I'm curious to know what almost sank the deal. Health related? When will you meet her?!?

aurora said...

I find building daunting. I've tried hard my whole life to think through decisions on pretty much everything valued, especially where/how to spend precious time on earth. Not easy when a person likes just about everything. I see photos of fancy houses on wheels packed a few feet from others, people tied to second homes, and travelers taking endless spendy trips for the coolest XYZ. Altho all has merit, I beat to a different drum. Being caretakers of land creates something beautiful you can't find other ways. All that said, to say I think the arena we are building is sensible and adds more than it takes away.

As far as Padame, purchase/travel arrangements are being made. Much is still unknown, other than we confirmed buying her. Any red flag from our vet, would have stopped the purchase. He feels a sincere responsibility, and was being extra cautious. Sight unseen makes everything more uncertain for all involved. Our vet has worked with our trainer over 30 years, and us since we got Koda & Nemo. He really understands the whole picture. Beside he is not far from us, we know where he lives ;)

Linda said...

The horse and wolfhound life doesn’t lend itself to lots of travel either. We have to hire a small army for our little getaways, and then it seems something always goes wrong. I have friends who go south with their 1 horse, and have great adventures, but that would never work for us and our herd of 8. I spoke to my husband about an indoor yesterday. We’ve talked about it a lot through the years, but I shared this logic about how we won’t be able to maintain a second house, and this is our place, so we might as well invest enough to make it perfect for our needs. Etc. etc. He got it. So....we will see. 👏

aurora said...

Sounds promising Linda! I think most horse owners at some point wish for having an indoor option, or at least access to one. There are so many alternative ways besides ownership to enjoy other loved locations. We looked at getting a nice live in trailer at Midwest Horse Fair for years, but for now all our pennies go towards our land and animals. Glamping is still on our wish list, but so far down it may never happen. And that is okay. Back to if that "second home" doesn't make sense...

Val Ewing said...

Dang I missed posts and need to catch up! How exciting!
We built a shed in 2001 that was supposed to be...and indoor.
Having a trainer come to you will be exciting too and nice.