What is your indoor arena sidewall height?

What is the height of your sidewalk in your indoor? I’ve seen recommendations for everything from 14 to 20. I don’t want it to feel claustrophobic, but of course every foot adds $$

Around here standard is 16’ minimum and for roping 18’.

Some even go 20’, but that is not required for anything we may do with horses.

There is one local roping barn that has trusses at 15’ and ropers complain is just a bit too short.

Our covered arena is clear span framed, not trusses.
Sides are 18’, the middle is 26’, on a 2/12 pitch.

Different ways of building arenas, trusses are generally manufactured in a shop and hauled and with a crane put on posts.
Framing as clear span you have beams engineered to support the roof against the posts.
Both ways are as good as the engineering, fabricating and installing is.
Internet sourced pictures, first manufactured trusses, second clear span framing:



14 feet. There’s a set of 6’ jump standards in there, and I would say jumping 5’ would be okay. (The odds of me ever jumping 3’6" is pretty small!) When I was planning my arena I studied the one at the boarding barn and I’m pretty sure it was 14 foot and it had a dropped ceiling. That didn’t feel claustrophobic, nor does mine that is open to the roof. And as Bluey is showing, if you have clear span, only the edges are the minimum height.

Clear span vs trusses is a good point. 14’ seems awfully low to me, especially for jumping, but I guess it could be okay if clear span.

I’ve typically heard minimum 16’ for flatting, 18’+ for jumping.

1 Like

Thank you! This was helpful to visualize. I definitely think I need taller if it’s trusses, but I’m hoping for clear span.

Do you have a pic by chance?
I had one company come back to me saying I only needed 14 or 16 feet, but that just seems so low to me.

This is what I thought too. I asked for 20 because I wanted to make sure it felt nice and open, but one company came back and told me they wouldn’t do over 18 and they usually did 14 or 16

Maybe 20’ is not necessary, especially if you will have a clear span interior, no trusses?
Could you go check local barns like you are building, see what dimensions you like best, maybe some your builder put up?

Something else to consider, if you have now or want to add overhangs later, the lower the less width you may have for the overhang before it gets too low in front of it for horses.

Here are some pictures showing overhangs built on the side and how the initial height by the barn will limit how far out you can build and still have good height in front:


Good point on the overhangs. No plans on building those right now but you never know.

I definitely will be once I choose the builder. I’ve gotten some insane quotes and some really good ones so far.