Maintaining an arena with jumps/arena rules for an all discipline barn

Hey everyone! Thank you in advance for your advice!

Here is the situation: The barn I board at has riders of several disciplines. We have dressage riders, pleasure riders, and Hunter/Jumper riders. It is a fairly large arena and we have a large segment of the arena measured out for a dressage arena with letters set up. The other half of the arena has six jumps. The pleasure riders typically stay on the rail and for years we have all cohabitated and maintained the arena by sprinklers, dragging, and once in a while having it box bladed…we live in Florida so the biggest struggle is keeping it watered enough. It is a beach sand dirt mix that has a tendency to get deep. We will usually move the standards around and change the jump course once a month. We now have someone that is working at the barn (who is a dressage rider and does not like jumping) that insists in order for the arena to be maintained, anyone who wants to jump needs to set their jumps up before riding and pull the jumps down when they are done riding. We do not have a proper jump storage area and our wooden wing standards, jumpgate fillers, and 12 ft long wooden poles are pretty heavy to carry. Keeping in mind that in order to set up a small course safely, distances need to be measured out and he jumps should be spread out enough for appropriate space for turning–it can easily take 45 minutes to an hour to set up a jump course. After riding for an hour, it would then take another 30 to 45 minutes to pull all the jumps down and move them back out of the arena. Her husband claims that’s all barns insist that this is the way things are done… I have been riding since I was 8 and I’m now 30 and have never once seen a barn that requires this to be done by it’s boarders. At most barns that I have been to, management of the facility will clear the jump ring every once in awhile to level it out but typically just drags the arena several times a week or every day to maintain the arena. I have even suggested to her that we should compromise and leave the standards in place and when the arena is going to be drug, we can lean the poles up against the standards so we can drag in between the standards. I also said we can clear the jumps out of the arena once a month. She is insisting that none of this will be working and that the jumps must be put up and taken down in the same day and says that “horses don’t jump every day anyway” which yes, that is correct… We flatwork 4 or 5 days out of the week and jump 2 to 3 days a week. It is not good for any humans back to be carrying around 50 pound standardso onebyone and other heavy things every time they would like to jump. I have been boarding at this facility for 8 years now and this is the first time that this crazy suggestion has been brought up. This suggestion is from someone who has no experience running or managing a barn.

Please provide some insight on what you do to manage a multiple discipline arena and keep it well-maintained. Do any farms that you know of put jumps up and take them down every day? And if so, are paying boarders responsible for that or is the farm management responsible for that? I am at a standstill here. any suggestions for compromise would also be welcomed.

I board at a multi-discipline barn and we have 3 arenas. An outdoor jumping arena (jumps and courses are set up and they stay out there), a strictly outdoor dressage arena, and one large indoor arena. The indoor has jumps and you are allowed to jump in there, but the jumps must be put back after every use. The only time they stay out is if there are multiple lessons in a row using jumps, but they are put away after the last jump lesson of the day is done. Otherwise, the jumps must be put away before the rider using them leaves. As you can imagine, most people don’t set up more than 3-4 jumps when they’re jumping.

Every barn I have ridden at (and my own barn), sets up jumps weekly, and takes them down at the end of the week (example set up Tuesday, taken down Saturday - arena maintenance done on Monday). This has a few benefits: No jumps for arena maintenance, no footing issues due to jumps in the same spot for too long and no jumps set up on the days the coaches aren’t around.

But…why is staff feeling they get to change the management of the barn if what has been done is not a problem for the paying customers?

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Why is one person dictating to the whole barn? Sounds to me like Dissatisfied Newbie will be happier somewhere else, where things are maintained more to her liking.

Sometimes flat riders are not very happy about riding around jumps. But if your barn has already figured out a way to keep your group happy, then decide for what the majority want … sounds like that happened years ago. :slight_smile:


I have heard that because of insurance you should take down jumps you have finished using. Because if Suzy decides Dobbins can jump it and falls off it is your fault for leaving it there.

Other than that I agree with above. If its a dedicated place and has worked for years then there is no need to change.

That sounds nonsensical, since it was Suzy’s decision to perform the dangerous act, not negligence on the part of another. But that’s beside the point!

When I’ve been at larger, busy, multi-discipline barns, boarders absolutely were never required to move and set jumps before and after a ride. First of all, someone dragging standards around can damage/weaken them (no investment of theirs, so just drag them around instead of carrying, right?), secondly not everyone knows how to set jumps, even those who are jumping on their own. The two trainers moved jumps regularly enough for students or themselves and some working students knew enough they could move a few to make bounces, etc, that generally there was enough movement of the standards around the arena that there was no hard/soft spots from set courses. And about once or twice a month everything was piled in the corner when the arena was dragged, or half the arena dragged, jumps moved to the dragged portion and the other half dragged, and courses would be set up as needed from there, repeat two weeks later.

You say this new person works at the barn. What’s her position? If there is an active BO, a BM, or a trainer above her, then they need to deal with this. If I had to set jumps and break them down after every ride, I’d be pretty danged unhappy. Granted it would never take me an hour to set up six fences. NOW… if there is no one above her and this is the New Way Things Will Be Done, just make marks to line up with on the arena fences for pre-set distances. Do more with less. However I’d still point out that yes, no one jumps the same horse every day, but not everyone jumps on the same days so the chances that 1/4 (or whatever) of the riders coming out will be jumping each day are pretty solid.


One barn I boarded at also had various disciplines, and their solution for winter, when everyone had to use the indoor: jumps went up Thursday afternoon, and came down Sunday afternoon. Any jumping lessons therefore would be scheduled during the days the jumps were up. If anybody wanted to jump/use poles/etc during the other days, they would need to set up and tear down after their rides.

The arena would be watered/harrowed on the days when the jumps were down.

When the weather was better and the outdoor ring could be used, then jumps would be set outside only, with the indoor staying jump-free.

This system worked really well for everyone there.

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That probably falls under the equine liability laws in most states. They cover things that horses do, like spook, or run away, or kick. Horses don’t dress up in tack or put fences in an arena and jump over them. People do that so there is liability.

The new person does not have authority to change barn culture unless that is what she was hired to do.

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There could also be a case where the jump is up and Dobbins decides that he will jump and Suzy falls off.

But in this case there is a dedicated place for jumps and an arena for the dressage riders, so I really think they had a great routine that worked.

So wait, you already have a dressage arena set up that is clear and free of jumps, and this new person wants the jumps on the other side of the arena (i.e. that are currently not interfering with the dressage court) to be put up and removed for every rider that wants to jump?
Absolutely not.

I have certainly boarded at multi-discipline barns who required that jumps be put up and taken down any time you wanted to jump, i.e. not left in the arena except while jumping. Huge PIA, but the rules are the rules. These were also places in Ohio, where you have one indoor and one outdoor, and for at least half the year can only use the indoor, which were rarely large.
But these are NOT the rules at this barn, the current set up has been working well for at least eight years, AND there’s plenty of space to dressage to your heart’s content even when the jumps are up. New person can stuff it, as far as I’m concerned.

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This is basically what we have going on at my place. I have jump blocks and one set of stackers, and made some tracks to hang off barrels. We aren’t supposed to be “jumping” inside, but I’ve made the argument that anything less than 2’ is cavaletti. So I will set up and take down in the indoor, but during the nice weather my jump set that I built will stay up in the outdoor.

Every once in a blue moon I’ll go and get some standards to set up a jump chute in the indoor - but that also gets taken down after use.

We now have someone that is working at the barn (who is a dressage rider and does not like jumping) that insists in order for the arena to be maintained,

sounds like a job for an employee not a boarder and since She is an employee she can remove/replace the standards at the request of the paying boards.

If a boarder is injured moving the barns’s standards I hope the barn’s insurance company understands the claim

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I’ve been at one boarding barn that had boarders responsible for moving the jumps. Well, there were about two sets of standards, various ground poles of differing lengths, and some rain barrels (which also got used for barrel racing). These all lived outdoors, thrown over the side of the arena fence when not used. You could set these up however you wanted but you were supposed to take them down when you were done. There was only one (small) arena and most people were just there to trail ride, so there wasn’t a lot of ring traffic outside a few lesson kids. I’ve never seen a boarding barn that required individuals to set up and take down full courses each time they wanted to jump.

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She needs to go ride/work at a farm that is only dressage or only Western pleasure if she doesn’t want to work around jumps.

My closest experience has been 3 hunter barns that have a dressage trainer. and a few dressage riders They share an indoor some of the year. Generally the solution is to keep diagonals clear and the dressage riders work around the jumps. Depending on the facility the jumps are moved regularly to prevent divots in front of the jumps. Boarders do not move the jumps. Barn staff does.
At one farm there were fewer jumps on non-hunter lesson nights. The hunter trainer would add a few for the lessons and take them down at the end of the night. Some winters she would teach 2 nights in a row rather than Tues/Thursday so would keep them up for the 2 days. There were always jumps in the rings.

I jump some but even on days that I am working only on dressage I will sometimes ride in the jump ring. The jumps make nice things to circle around as a focal point.